The first post I read after joining Pedagoo just happened to be http://www.pedagoo.org/discuss/topic/izzy-wizzy-lets-get-busy/ by Mr W – which of course has the rather wonderful reflective question…..”Tell us about a time when you enabled a learner to achieve beyond their own expectations – explain how you met their needs”.
I have started every one of my department meetings with this question for the past 2 years -I occasionally extend into the ” explain how you met their needs” follow on question if the contributor has something we could all benefit from (or they themselves really need to share)
Admittedly I haven’t demanded a lengthy answer – the question has been used as just a simple way of getting my team to realise they make a difference every day. It’s purpose is to focus on “the main thing” we do as teachers – make learning happen and making a difference.
Initially staff found it tricky to answer – its not a very easy thing to do – to realise you have had an impact. It is even harder to admit it publicly!
Often the answer isn’t earth shattering or in requirement of some revolutionary technique. It can be based on a home contact, some extra support, some one to one attention, or just sharing the learners issue with a colleague. As a leader it helps me reflect that there are often 17 ways to skin a rabbit.
I have a team of 17 teachers – and one thing they constantly remind me of is that rarely does one size (or approach) fit all. What matters is this:- for that person and their students that individual way works. It strikes me often that teachers (and tweachers maybe especially?) look for a silver bullet that will revolutionise their practice. Occasionally there are such items – take for example the #5minlessonplan by @teachertoolkit -thousands of downloads and counting – that can deliver a real “one size fits all” change. Often though we forget that part of the enjoyment and progress our students have is precisely because they have different teachers with different approaches.
Experience has taught me that getting someone to fuse Afl or differentiation or management strategies or anything developmental into their teaching, not just use it, needs a way that they buy into. Telling them to do it is pretty futile. Letting them see how it can work for themselves brings real change.
Like the students themselves !
I urge you, on a weekly basis, to ask yourself the self same question as I ask my team -“Tell us about a time when you enabled a learner to achieve beyond their own expectations” – then reflect on the fact that it is the action YOU have taken that made the difference. YOU have made the difference.