First off – the longest, most intense, most intellectual, most practical and most challenging Day Conference I think I have ever been to, which to me makes it also the best I have ever been to.
I have read several attendees’ blogs, and indeed sat next to some of them, but I’m not able to function particularly well like that – tweeting is as much as I can cope with! To that end, this post is simply a summary of my tweets for the day – I hope no-one minds! I’ve added and annotated where appropriate! I also find that I tend to remember only what I have recorded if I do so. These then are my permanent reminders:
Nutshell: Beware the OFSTED Whisperers, when is an OFSTED 1 a Real 1, what good leaders do, what good schools do.
Learning behaviours for infants
(Photo of Slide – I Tweeted this and it got a lot of RTs and Favourites – it clearly hit a nerve!)
Most lesson plans I see are elaborate to do lists.
I agree with this, but only because, isn’t that what they are? Isn’t a recipe a to do list? His point however was more than that – I took it that we can’t just tick things off and think they are done – we need to keep going back to them again and again.
There is a perception that expertise is a function of time.
This was at the beginning but really resonated. Many years service does not make you a better teacher than the NQT teacher next door. In fact, they’re probably better, according to Dylan Wiliam. I have been driving for 14 years – I don’t think I am improved immeasurably as a driver despite this. The point was this – Deliberative Practice – my mantra. He also had a great perception of hexagons – the knowledge is on the shapes, but the skill is seeing how they join together.
(A longer blogpost by @dailydenouement can be found here.)
David Didau –
Ofsted Whisperer – The Anatomy of an Outstanding Lesson
Nutshell: Use music, Marking is planning, don’t overplan activities, don’t accept not finished, vary the depth of your questions
‘Sapere aude!’ – dare to know!
A very good session from a Secondary English teacher and writer on what he does to make his lessons sing. He is clearly thoughtful in his approach, and there was lots to get from this as a Primary Specialist. His blog is very good too. Found on Twitter as @LearningSpy.
It is easier to ask for forgiveness than to get permission.
David’s session showed how he measured the optimum level of deliberative practice he gets his students into, as well as revealing a brilliant questioning chart to get deeper understanding from his students. He has high expectations, which the children are aware of, and strive to achieve. He also plugged a brilliant tool the Learning Event Generator, to skip the hassle of making an activity. Find the free online version here.
Bill Lord – Change as a Head
Caveat – Bill and I are friends. He has been very supportive of me, and I in turn have leeched from him the various experiences he has had as a Head since he started. I one day hope to reciprocate the friendship.
Nutshell: Try everything, take risks, ground everything in work, make your philosophy relevant, be honest and true to yourself
What the eleven year olds do the four year olds do.
Everything is fair in Bill’s school. I love the idea of a flat curriculum!
School motto ‘Reveal your inner star’ (child-created)
This is part of a motto, and are actually on all the staff identity Lanyards. Created by children themselves, as Bill says ‘If we don’t live it, they don’t love it.’ I’m very taken with the Smile Inside concept, and I think Bill’s work here is great. Or rather, his pupils’ work.
2 ‘classes trialling 2 terms without any displays as action research’
Bill confessed that although he read up on things, his staff were taken with him, rather than reading independently. To that end he is involving them in Action Research, and his staff will be all the richer for it too! I hope I am this brave and ambitious when/if a Head.
Kill the cult.
Bill Lucas – What is Intelligence?
Nutshell: Change your perceptions, research more, join us, intelligence is flexible, mindset is key, what type of learner are you
Split-Screen teaching – objectives are both knowledge and ‘learning habits of mind’ straddled (paraphrased)
This was the middle Keynote, and despite being the most grounded in terms of reference and research architecture, there was a strong amount of ‘noise’ on Twitter regarding some of the things that Bill Lucas said. I for one enjoyed the Keynote, I liked the focus (one of personal interest), and I think that a growth in Research papers from teachers is a natural offshoot of the more organic nature of Pedagoo and Teachmeets.
I *think* that he has some books out, and perhaps next time, he might want to mention this in his presentations…
David Rogers – Guerilla Geography
Nutshell: Geography designed by The Beastie Boys. Anarchic yet brimming with ideas, possibilities and concepts. If I’d been taught by this team, I’d be teaching Geography now.
Two phrases of
#genius in Geography lessons – ‘prove it’ and ‘so what’
I loved this session. David has a team of three and takes them on an Away Day to get them excited and inspired for the coming year! I think this is BRILLIANT. He also is challenging and subversive, but in the best way. Learning is active and exciting to him, and so should be for the children. This was the most untheoretical of the sessions today; lots of fun and very practical!
Bill Rankin – Light and Heat
‘the non measurable stuff is the more important and more valuable stuff’ – (paraphrased, my interpretation)
Nutshell: What is best for where we are now, classes are largely passive, schools have become monocultures, make your learning alive, use the world as your classroom, I make beautiful slides
You know one of those situations when you are glad you made the right choice? I was sorely tempted to go home and miss this last Keynote – I’d had a busy week, and my brain was feeling veeeeeery tired at this point, but I felt compelled to not miss out on what had already been a great day. I am so glad I did. Bill was a fascinating speaker on a great range of topics. He spoke with interest and confidence, yet was very humble in his authority. I really felt warmed by his call to arms. I think (hope) that I live his dream, but found it encouraging anyway!
All credit to Nick Dennis and his team for putting together something so interesting, professional and yet very relaxed and fun. It was a celebration of what is good in Education, as 300 people sitting in a lecture hall at 4pm would be testament to. Thank you Nick, Rebecca and Berkhamstead for letting us ‘Pedageeks’ invade!