Working in education is hard at the moment. A staffing crisis makes keeping schools open on a day-to-day basis quite a challenge. Constant changes to the curriculum and exam system leave teachers feeling as if the goalposts are constantly shifting. Austerity means that we teach a lot, have a relatively little planning and preparation time, and have to be super organised in order to be able to deliver the best we can.
It is sometimes difficult not to feel negative.
Yesterday I got up at 5 am, drove to Glasgow, and joined four other colleagues who I have connected with through Twitter to travel across to Fife for Pedagoo Muckle. I then spent the day with a group of teachers before returning and getting home at 8:30 pm. Although the issues mentioned above were touched upon during the day, because we had not travelled to cloud cuckoo land where the realities of day-to-day teaching do not exist, the day was overwhelmingly one of positivity, hope, humour, connection, and professional excitement.
It is clear what makes a Pedagoo Muckle day so fantastic. On the surface it is its simplicity; a group of educationalists ranging from headteachers to PGDE students getting together to talk about ideas that work with passion and commitment. But the simplicity is deceptive. Because the incredible hard work and attention to detail behind the scenes is far from simple. From the fact that the event is free, to the wonderful refreshments provided throughout the day, to the small but meaningful free gifts, to the incredible cartoons drawn by artist Dylan Gibson, to the creative and hugely well planned activities, to those taking photos and tweeting, to the children of the organisers roped in to make it a family affair, to the pupil from the host school Levenmouth Academy playing the guitar as we enter, to the welcoming, inclusive, encouraging, caring atmosphere that makes everybody in the room feel valued and loved…. all of this low-budget simplicity results in a phenomenally high-value experience that shows us that quality CPD is not about PowerPoints, highly paid speakers or corporate sponsors.
It is about a small group of committed and hardworking folk who have found a formula that works and repeated it, year after year, to enable teachers to fall back in love with what they do.
For that, those behind Pedagoo and Pedagoo Muckle deserve a huge thank you:
Feargal Kelly, Aileen Kelly, Ciara Gibson, Susan Ward, Lynne Jones and Sheena White.
Extra thanks in relation to yesterday’s Muckle must go to the staff and students of Levenmouth Academy who made the venue such a welcoming place and also to Gemma Sanderson and Jenny Harvey.
If you don’t know about Pedagoo, check out the information and video here: http://www.pedagoo.org/
The programme for yesterday was this:
I am sure that if you are interested in the Learning Conversations, you could contact the facilitators for the notes.
Several friends of mine were unable to make the event (Ish, Mandy, Joyce) and so below I share a few notes that I made about some parts of the day for them and anyone else who missed it.
The best thing to do if you weren’ t there, however, check out Lynne’s stority on twitter:
And if you can, make it your goal to hear David Cameron speak at some point soon. My notes below do not do justice to David’s passion, knowledge, and expertise. I have heard David speak many times now and what I find hugely inspiring is that he is always entertaining, thought-provoking and original and yet his key messages never change. Above all he knows that it is about:
I left Muckle feeling hugely inspired, re-assured and validated and with every one of expectations met.
What brings us to Fife?
Fascination with learning and teaching.
Pedagoo is a community. Mainly online. Can sit in jammies with toast and connect with people around the world.
Twitter and the Pedagoo website are key parts.
Coming together for Teachmeets and Muckle events allow real-life connections.
Explore what you do with likeminded people.
Try things you are scared to do.
May be lucky to have supportive peers in your own setting.
Why Muckle? Want it big.
Everything you do every day in your setting has real value.
Want to take Muckle on road after this.
Feargal on Scel
Framework and teacher leadership docs are here to take away.
What does leadership mean to you and what does leadership mean to you
Teachers lead learning day in day out.
Professional autonomy is crucial.
Teachers can make a difference
Joyful and tough
Collaboration is key.
Part of today is that we make a pledge to carry on the work of Pedagoo
eg – organise a Teachmeet or a Weemeet.
Shopping and eating are her passions
Inspired by Isobel Wallace “Pimp my lessons”
We big up our kids but not each other.
Combined love of shopping and Pedagogy.
Bought a lot of things and encouraged people to use them in lesson
Objects on table…. pick one think about how you might use it in a lesson.
Mr Ross HT at Levenmouth
5 a day- see 5 pupils and ask what is going well with learning
Find a way of sharing with staff
No naming- respectful
Short report to staff – anonymous
N5 and higher
5 questions from previously- 2 from last lesson and 3 from before
May take 15 minsof a 50 min lesson but is valuable
S1s needing help with focus.
If they follow rules they get a butter bean and tub- certain number = treat
Eg listen to music, watch movie.
Mindset approach- assess accordingly
Post-it’s useful – they feed back to him – eg “Mr Nicholl needs to explain it better”
Feedback from them has really changed things
Getting them to think about their learning and his teaching has been transformational
They write “I can’t do it….yet”
Plenaries on a plate tool – ppts
Mike Gershon- really good website.
Really good resources in one place
Girls in school who were hard to engage.
Table tennis club after school for three years has really moved things on and they come to her for help
Hard in winter when you just want to go home and eat but worth it.
1 week in – great school
4 yrs in sciencecentre
Division- dice out
Inclusion – if you are going to de clutter for all pupils, de-clutter for all.
Session on how we can make homework work better.
When pupils are doing work
(Kirsty Turner from Manchester)
If they get the wrong answer – find the mistakes.
Came last year and did not get to speak.. a bit disappointed.
Speaking to pupil yesterday re fear- him of singing and her of speaking.
Will be able to share how it went with him next week.
Last year pledged to connect after the event and did it.
This year- needs to have a weemeet with staff and team.
Teaches EAL English and lit – itinerant.
Outdoor learning to help with language.
20p gliders from chemist. Really useful prop.
Fly them in playground and encourage positional language – up, over, down…
Noisy, confidence building
If you do not revise you shall not pass!
Dunfermline high school NQT
We get pupils to collaborate but don’t always do it ourselves
Do not see each other for days!!
Microsoft teams as professional learning community
Eg sharing date
Large primary in East Ren
Last year pledged to hold a teachmeet.
Had a teachmeet.
High levels of expressed emotion and fear.
NQTs and young staff ok- others less so.
Really positive- lots of learning and connections
Why do older colleagues lack confidence?
Dread learning visits by SLT twice a year – have been more about performance rather than learning.
Has trialled lesson study instead.
DHT at Levenmouth
Mini teach meet
Pieces of paper prepared for in service day.
Made people talk and share learning
Try and do different things.
Be brave, be bold, be creative
Much to my horror, a video was made of my contribution which you can see here (thanks to Jenny):
The point of this exercise is that when we want to teach children about behaviour it can sometimes be difficult; in my experience the easiest way is to put them in a role where they demonstrate the behaviour we desire and then praise, praise, praise. It is amazing how children who have experienced Adverse Childhood Experiences and whom we may see as ‘challenging’, ‘fidgety’ or ‘disruptive’ suddenly act with self-control, maturity and respect when we treat them as we would a highly-skilled professional.
I think Paul Dix, author of the amazing book ‘When The Adults Change, Everything Changes’ might agree.
It is at least 23 years since I first started playing 0006 at a South London comprehensive school. As David Cameron says, sometimes we don’t need new things, just to make them better. (When I play her again tomorrow, the ‘better’ will be that I talk about ‘watching like ‘a’ hawk, not hawks. The nerves I felt in front of the Teachmeet group far exceeded any I usually feel in front of a class!)
Why the flip do we not make things work?
Regional collaborative or changing governance means nothing to @chriskilkenny.
Addiction to doing something new instead of doing things better.
We do not need an attainment challenge.
We are here on a Saturday.
We need to talk about what works and how we do that. @pedagoo does that.
If we don’t have time, we don’t have time to waste.
Legacy is key
Translate what works.
Hattie and Logan slides on difference between rhetoric and reality in schools -nonsense
The rhetoric is at the top, not in schools.
Not about the soloists but the choir.
The voices we sing with, not the voices we listen to.
Visible learning is about ‘so what’ – find it and work back from it.
What makes a difference in outcomes is what happens when educators and young people come together. So what? must be the driver.
Reflection is crucial.
Humility is key.
Moderators in Pedagoo stand behind it not in front of it. Not about them.
We are here on Saturday because we know we can make a difference to young people. Otherwise their potential is to fail.
Need to redefine potential.
Levenmouth is a community with challenges – check out the police twitter feed.
But the staff and pupils here are ambitious
Ambition, courage are needed.
Commitment to idealism and willingness to believe in more.
What we need is to learn from Practice.
Why not for real?
Need to build coalitions of success (Hattie)
Not improvement through change but through engagement
Being with us makes despair impossible and hope inevitable.