Author Archives: K Long

Master The Art Of Confidence With These 5 Tips

We wouldn’t be human if we didn’t have a crisis of confidence once in a while, but when our lack of confidence influences our decisions or judgements or prevents us from achieving our own personal goals, it’s “Houston, we have a problem!”

Here are 5 Techniques to improve your confidence.


Technique 1: Fake it until you make it! 

It sounds like nonsense, but it actually has some scientific weight to it. Interviews with 100 professional staff in large corporations in Melbourne, New York and Toronto revealed that there is a strong correlation between confidence and career success.

Technique 2:  Learn a magic trick! 

A study conducted by Rebecca Godfrey, Dr Sarah Woods, and Professor Richard Wiseman from the University of Hertfordshire, involved assessing the effect of teaching secondary school children some seemingly impossible illusions, including how to magically restore a rope that has been cut in half, and read another person’s mind.

Their Initial findings suggest that some children with low self-esteem may benefit from learning and performing tricks because “Learning magic requires self-discipline, an understanding of how other people think, and an ability to entertain,” noted psychologist Professor Wiseman.

It is no surprise that adults take comedy improvisation workshops as a way of boosting their own inner confidence.

If it works for the kids, then it may work for you!  You might even become the next Dynamo!

Technique 3: Did your mother ever tell you to sit up straight?  

Sitting up straight is not only good for your posture but it gives you more confidence in your own thoughts, according to a recent study!

It turns out that our posture effects how we think about ourselves. If you sit up straight, you end up convincing yourself by the posture you’re in.

In other words, sitting up straight allows you to experience a positive outlook.

Technique 4: Find your own personal awesomeness!

The small things matter!  Keeping a journal for two weeks and recording all the small positive wins you have achieved helps you to cultivate an attitude of awesomeness, which in turn helps to improve your confidence.

Communication expert Alexa Fischer breaks down how to start.

Technique 5: Read 10 pages of a personal development book a day!

Findings from the Benefits of Lifelong Learning (BeLL) project carried out in ten European countries revealed that self-motivated participation in learning boosts self-confidence and well-being, and expands social networks.

The additional benefits are that you are adding to your own personal growth and are creating an abundance of new areas of knowledge, skill and expertise.  All of which can be drawn upon to enhance your confidence.

Bennie Kara, Assistant Headteacher, agrees that confidence is a skill that can be developed.  On episode  40 of the Inspiration 4 Teachers Podcast Show.  Bennie and host Kelly Long discuss strategies for improving your confidence:




Until next time ~ Keep inspiring! 

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Story Source: Episode 40 and

The “Yes, And” rule can help you fulfill your leadership potential!

When setbacks send you plummeting back to Earth from the stratosphere of your dreams, leaving you staggering through the debris of your once hopeful rise to leadership, you may be thinking that your opportunities are over. 

But if a glimmer of hope still burns inside of you, how do you re-gain control and get yourself back on track?

Leadership plan

The “Yes, And” rule 

Applying the, “Yes, And” approach to your leadership aspirations helps to re-frame your situation allowing you to regain control.

“Yes, And” is a creative tool taken from comedy improvisation where in order to draw in an audience to a drama the actors must take a “Yes, And” approach to their scene.   The “Yes, And” rule  suggests a participant should accept what the other person has created (“Yes”) and then add something to it (“And”) (1)

The aim of the “Yes, And” principal is to keep the comedy improvisation in creative flow by not putting any blocks in place that would halt the improvisation, for example, a closed question that would result in a NO outcome drawing the scene to an end.

So let’s put you in your leadership improvisation scene, how would the “Yes, And” rule work for you?

First you need to begin by saying, “Yes, I want to be a leader!”, but more importantly, “Yes I can!”

Inspiration 4 Teachers

Admitting this to yourself opens the doors to the “And” conversations, voicing your desire to be a leader is the first step in having an open conversation with others about how you can achieve that goal,  because this is where others can offer the “And” ideas about how you might get there.

Chase the positive facilitators

In our fragile state where we often doubt our leadership aspirations it’s all too easy to have our “Yes, And” conversation halted because we sought feedback from the wrong person(s) or believed that someone’s opinion was in fact our truth about what we can and cannot achieve.


Don’t have your “Yes, And” conversation with the person(s) least likely to champion your talent.  It’s all too easy to have our dream crushed off the back of a flippant comment.  Find the people that are willing to make you better and guide you on your leadership pathway.  You may be lucky to have those people already surrounding you in your school, or you have a good friend that will have this conversation with you.  If not, the WomenED steering group will help to provide you with the platform you need to begin your leadership journey.

For immediate ideas and solutions on kick starting your leadership pathway, listen to episode 38 of the Inspiration 4 Teachers Podcast Show, Jules Daulby and host Kelly Long discuss how to get back into the leadership game!


Finally, show no FEAR!

“Face everything and rise” – Zig Ziglar

Because the alternative is to, “forget everything and run”, bidding au revoir to your leadership aspirations as you mooch off into the distance.

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Until next time ~ Keep inspiring! 



(1) (Rules of comedy improv and acting”. Pan Theater. Retrieved 2015-09-20)

The darker side of perfectionism

If you are a woman and a perfectionist you may get referred to as being, “highly-strung”, “difficult to work with”, “inflexible” and that is without adding in all of the expletives. 

But you know as well as I, because I’m waving the flag that I am somewhat of a perfectionist when it comes to teaching, being mummy and a podcast host, that being a perfectionist means that your high personal standards can be relied upon to get things done!  This type of pro-active perfectionism is known as “Perfectionistic Strivings”, the good side of being a perfectionist because it can lead you to feeling a great sense of accomplishment and fulfilment.

The darker side of perfectionism 

There is however, a darker side to being a perfectionist.  Perhaps you’ve caught a glimpse of her reflected back at you in the mirror.  She’s the stressy, worrier that feels she’s a fraud because she is unable to meet her own high expectations at work or in the home.

A research study conducted by the Society for Personality and Social Psychology revealed that the toxic and destructive side of being a perfectionist can lead to health problems, eating disorders, higher stress levels, fatigue, and even early mortality.  These “Perfectionistic Concerns” come about when we feel as though we are letting people down and not living up to our own exceptionally high standards.  “Perfectionistic Concerns” are the dark-side of being a perfectionist; they are the toxic, all consuming feelings of fear and doubt over our performance that can lead to burnout.

Keeping focused and healthy

Challenging these feelings can be accomplished by setting goals, recording past achievements and by letting go and knowing that every time we make a mistake, it is an opportunity to fall-up and grow.

Helena Marsh, Deputy Headteacher, agrees that sacking the perfectionist is one way of balancing work vs. life.  On episode 39 of the Inspiration 4 Teachers Podcast Show.  Helena and host Kelly Long discuss strategies for juggling work vs. life and how sacking the perfectionist can help you to focusing on what is really important.


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Until next time ~ Keep inspiring! 

4 Steps to fast-track into leadership

You probably already know if you want to fast-track your career and aspire to school leadership!

But how do you do it quickly and smartly?

Get connected!

I’m probably preaching to the converted about Twitter and following hashtags such as SLTChat (20:00 every Sunday), but getting yourself into or setting up a mastermind group of like-minded fast-track candidates who work together to generate ideas and challenge each other is a real kick-starter!

Inspiration 4 Teachers Podcast ShowGet smart!

Twitter and masterminds would add to your leadership knowledge, but you need the fundamentals to underpin your pursuit of leadership.  MOOCs provide a fantastic open opportunity to develop your leadership skills.  Stefan Caspar on episode 28 of the Inspiration 4 Teachers Podcast Show shared his top resources on the best MOOCs.  Alternatively, for the most innovative ideas in leadership look on or Udemy.  They have a vast array of courses that you can take for free or for as little at £8.  Set aside 10 minutes a day and work yourself into a leadership mindset.

Become a social butterfly!

You may have heard or participated in a TEACHMeet, but organise yourself a LEADMeet!  Invite leaders to an event (informal meet / unconference) where great  leadership practice and personal insights are shared.  Learn from your peers, modify their knowledge and take action.

Define your leadership goals!

Tell the world, put it on your Twitter page and inform your manager.  If you can’t be held accountable to your hopes then you’ll struggle to bring them to fruition.  Share your leadership goals and allow others to guide you.

For immediate ideas and solutions, listen to episode 37 of the Inspiration 4 Teachers Podcast Show where Nikki Gilbey shares her ideas and resources to help you to fast-track your leadership pathway.

Here’s our 3 tips, in less than 3 minutes to help you fast-track into leadership:


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Until next time ~ Keep inspiring!

Applying for a new job?

How many jobs have you applied for and been unsuccessful? At what stage were you unsuccessful, on application or at interview?

When faced with rejection it is inevitable that you will feel frustration and that can quickly turn into feeling like a failure!  I know, I have felt it!  But that is where we need to turn to the great words of Shakespeare, in particular his Julius Caesar play,

“The fault, dear Brutus is not in our stars, But in ourselves, that we are underlings.”

 The interpretation is that it is not fate that dooms men, but instead their own failings.  Now that sounds harsh that I’m blaming you for your inability to secure that job that you really wanted.  But Shakespeare got it right!


If we really want to correct the fault in our stars then we need to address the underlying causes behind our shortcomings.  Objectively, reviewing your own performance is not easy, especially when the bruises of a failed application are still so raw!  Allowing for the dust to settle is too long to wait.  You want to capture yourself in the moment.  I’m not advocating storming up to the selection committee and giving them what for, but being your own critical friend and asking, “why did this not work out for me?” is the mindset to continuous improvement and success. 

There may be many reasons as to why your application or interview was rejected, perhaps you are not mentally in the zone or physically ready for the challenge; trust me I know, I once went to an interview three days after having a knee operation.  I hobbled into the room, explained away my crutches and then totally bombed on the interview.  A* for effort and commitment to the cause, but totally ungraded for preparation and being mentally ready for the interview.  I mean seriously how much preparation could I have done being drugged to the eyeballs on painkillers?  In hindsight, (which is such a beautiful thing) I should have called, explained my circumstances, expressed my passion for the role and ask to be considered should they be unsuccessful in securing a candidate.  At least that could have kept me in the frame in case the first round of interviews were unsuccessful, or if a future role was on the cards.

The key to all of this is to truly not beat yourself up!  Instead, consider yourself as always the prospective candidate. 

That way you’ll always be taking the steps to reflect upon your goals and what you need to do “daily” to achieve them.  I say “daily” because without continuous tweaks and improvements over time, not only to your CV but to your own professional learning you are not positioning yourself as the number one candidate.  As a Business Studies teacher I regularly teach Kaizen, the Japanese practice of continuous improvement.

Its core principal, change (kai) for the good (zen) can be applied to your own career development and when seeking new job roles. Kaizen suggests that everything can be improved, your research, pre-interview preparation, your CV, application form, cover letter, interview technique, observed lesson etc.

Don’t take my word as gospel; Ross Morrison McGill of Teacher Toolkit the leading blog for teachers in the UK has experienced adversity in the face of redundancy.  Experiencing first-hand the challenges of the senior leadership application process, Ross shares his key takeaways on stepping up into senior leadership.  On episode 36 of the Inspiration 4 Teachers Podcast Show, Ross offers his experience and advice to support you in your pursuit of Deputy Headship.

Press play and listen to our 3 Tip Challenge designed to provide you with Ross’s three essential tips when applying for roles in senior leadership:


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Until next time ~ Keep inspiring! 

What science knows vs what education does

What is the longest period of time you can focus your attention without your mind beginning to wander and your concentration plummeting off a cliff?

Wikipedia states that the maximum attention span for the average human is 5 minutes.  The longest time for healthy teenagers and adults is 20 minutes.

However, according to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, at the U.S. National Library of Medicine, the average attention span of a human being has dropped from 12 seconds in 2000 to 8 seconds in 2013. This is one second less than the attention span of a goldfish.

Inspiration 4 Teachers Podcast Show8 seconds to a maximum of 20 minutes is a startling difference, and worrying if you are an educator, but there are two key types of attention.  The 8 second attention span is known as ‘transient attention’ which is a short-term response to a stimulus that temporarily attracts or distracts attention.

Where educators need to focus their energy for learning is on selective sustained attention, also known as ‘focused attention’.  It is the level of attention that produces results on a task over time.  But if we only have a maximum of 20 minutes, why are most school lessons constructed around a 50 – 70 minute lesson structure, four to five times a day?  That means in the average school day there are around 20, twenty minute learning opportunities before breaks are considered.  If that seems like a lot, once you add in classroom transient distractions it’s possible that those opportunities for sustained concentration significantly decrease.

How do educators and schools address these lack of opportune moments for learning?  Shorter school days, more frequent lessons or breaks, the options are vast, but this is where we must focus our thought back on what science knows to be true.

Studies into the investigation of physical activity for learning reveal that:

“… breaks throughout the day can improve both student behaviour and learning (Trost, 2007)” (Reilly, Buskist, and Gross, 2012).


Science also reveals that sustained movement-aided learning significantly improves learning rather than purely mental learning activities:

“Movement is an exterior stimulus, and as long as the learner is engaged in his or her learning task the movement indicates that the learner’s attention is directed toward what is being learned. When attention is purely mental (interior) the activity becomes very difficult to sustain, because the nerve and muscle systems are inactive” (Shoval, 2011).

If frequent breaks and connecting the mind and body for learning have been proven to work, why does our education system not evolve based on what science knows?

On episode 35 of the Inspiration 4 Teachers Podcast Show, Rae Pica, host of Studentcentricity and founder of BAM Radio Network, discusses how connecting the mind and body is crucial for learning.  She reveals the ideal mind and body classroom for learning:

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Next Generation Virtual Learning Environments

Has your Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) become a dumping ground of resources that learners rarely access?   Has the framework of your VLE changed as frequently as its provider’s expiring contract that engagement from staff has plummeted?  What is the point of them anyway?

Their purpose is to allow teachers to share educational materials with their pupils via the web, but there are so many ways we can do this now that it makes you wonder if VLEs could serve a greater purpose.

How about approaching your VLE with a new perspective, why not host your version of a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) where learners interact and engage with courses not because they have to, but for the curiosity of learning.  And if your VLE were to host MOOCs, what type of courses would you chose to host?  How exciting could it be to provide learners with a space where they could learn or discover new ideas with one another.  Where would their curiosity take them?

Stefan Caspar, Enhanced Learning Production Manager at the University of Southampton has a passion for VLEs.  He discusses on episode 28 of Inspiration 4 Teachers Podcast Show how schools can improve their VLEs.

Before you listen to Stefan’s suggestions, if you could create your own VLE what would it look like and why would it be better than what you currently have?

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Cross-curricular success


“Knowledge is power. Information is liberating. Education is the premise of progress, in every society, in every family.” ~ Kofi Annan

Too often curriculum content is not liberating! Instead it can stifle creativity, limit progress and in some cases it is simply out of date!

Placing children at the centre of our curriculum models and asking BIG philosophical questions of them helps to liberate the learner. It provides them with the opportunity to autonomously seek knowledge, articulate, understand and then model it through their own journey of learning. Philosophical learning is not just for the high achievers. Debra Kidd, Education Consultant and former teacher, developed a cross-curricular model that placed the child at the centre of the learning, and discovered that it significantly added value to learners with low attainment levels in English.

On episode 34 of the Inspiration 4 Teachers Podcast Show, Debra discusses how to develop cross-curricular assessment models that helps children with philosophical learning. She reveals her lessons learnt and ideas for curriculum and assessment improvements.


If you enjoyed this article please tweet the knowledge forward and share it with your community! If you’d like to share your ideas or contribute to the discussion on curriculum models, please connect via @Inspiration4T

PedaWooWoo – professional development

Pedagooers, here’s a spicy little mix of podcast workshops bursting with tried and tested pedagogical concepts that will add value to your professional toolkit this year!

Unlocking creativity in the classroom




In this podcast workshop you’ll learn:

  • The problems associated with creating activities that challenge learners to think creatively
  • Ideas on developing problem solving activities in the classroom
  • How to improve what we already know and unlock the creativity that exists within our classrooms

Enhancing your teaching toolkit to boost learning




In this podcast workshop you’ll learn:

  • What is Mind Mapping and its power to aid learning
  • How to create a basic Mind Map
  • Using Mind Maps to enhance learning, improve revision and exam technique, improve feedback, assessment and classroom planning


Developing cross curricular lessons; snatching inspiration from other subjects



In this podcast workshop you’ll learn:

  • A practical model for cross curricular lesson planning
  • Ideas on developing differentiated cross curricular learning pathways
  • Overcoming the challenges of cross curricular lesson integration
  • Extending cross curricular learning beyond the classroom


FedEx your Professional Development



In this podcast workshop you’ll learn:

  • How autonomy based motivation models can drive professional learning sessions
  • How to launch your own FedEx professional development model
  • How to maximise the feedback delivery of your school’s professional development FedEx day to add value to the whole school

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Re-framing challenging behaviour

In ten years of teaching I can specifically recall on one hand the names of pupils who had me down and out on the classroom ring floor in terms of their excessive challenging behaviour. Each teaching moment with these pupils created a daunting sensation in the pit of my stomach and overwhelming emotions of incompetency, where I believed myself to be ill equipped to manage their behaviour.

Those un-teachable moments can shatter your confidence and make you question your ability to teach effectively. Experience has taught me that the repertoire of behaviour strategies is often not creative enough to tackle and address the challenging behaviour of some pupils. Sometimes a re-thinking of the problem is what is required and often it can be as simple as meeting the child where they are, on a cultural, social, morale and peer hierarchical level.

How can we help teenagers and young adults to overcome self-defeating beliefs and habits from holding them back?

On episode 27 of the Inspiration 4 Teachers Podcast Show, Steve Beckles-Ebusua, a Change and Life Skills Expert, and I discuss simple teaching techniques that can help radically transform a pupil’s behaviour and their ability to re-frame their thought-process.

What behaviour strategies have worked for you in the past?  What would be your ideal solution to address challenging behaviour (regardless of boundaries and resource restrictions)?

Episode take-aways:

  • Overcoming pupils’ self-defeating beliefs
  • How to adapt your teaching to address challenging behaviour
  • Allowing pupils to physically experience the learning

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