Thursday, 24 May 2018

Listening to understand... not reply

Listening is an art and too few actually do it well.

1. Putting our own spin on the purpose or content of the conversation.
Have you ever started a conversation and immediately put a thought or question out there that makes your point of view clear and fixed? Instead of giving the other individual time to formulate a response, we immediately re-phrase the question or remark and answer it ourselves.

2. Assuming their response and planning an answer
Even when we stop and wait for a response , we often don’t hear, as we are concentrating on our reply to what we assume they will say. The desire to be perceived as quick witted or decisive means we could be missing so much vital and crucial information.

3. Read the non verbal clues
Watch for non-verbal body language. When a person is excited they intuitively lean forward as if to say, “don’t miss this next point because it is very important”. Remain quiet, not just to hear every word, notice the inflection of their voice, whether they raise or lower the volume and the tone they use. Non-verbal hints can make up more than 90% of the communication going on in a conversation.

4. Wait before you respond... count to 8!
By speaking too soon you may cut off the other individual's response. Be smart and give the person  time to acknowledge your comment or statement. It builds respect and credibility. You also allow yourself time to hear and take notice of non verbal cues.

Read the full article here


Monday, 21 May 2018

7 mistakes even the most experienced leaders still make

Leadership is not an easy role. There are a multitude of ways in which you can make a mistake. However, if you are self aware then you can do something about it!

Fostering a cult of personality. 
It’s easy for leaders to get caught up in their own worlds as there are many systems in place that make it all about them. These leaders identify so strongly with their leadership roles that instead of remembering that the only reason they’re there is to serve others, they start thinking, ‘It’s my world, and we’ll do things my way.’ Being a good leader requires remembering that you’re there for a reason, and the reason certainly isn’t to have your way. High-integrity leaders not only welcome questioning and criticism, they insist on it.

Dodging accountability. 
Even if only a few people see a leader’s misstep (instead of millions), dodging accountability can be incredibly damaging. A person who refuses to say “the buck stops here” really isn’t a leader at all. Being a leader requires being confident enough in your own decisions and those of your team to own them when they fail. The very best leaders take the blame but share the credit.

Lacking self-awareness. 
Many leaders think they have enough emotional intelligence (EQ). And many times, they are proficient in some EQ skills, but when it comes to understanding themselves, they are woefully blind. It’s not that they’re hypocrites; they just don’t see what everyone else sees. They might play favorites, be tough to work with, or receive criticism badly. And they aren’t alone, as TalentSmart research involving more than a million people shows that just 36% of us are accurate in our self-assessments.

Forgetting that communication is a two-way street. 
Many leaders also think that they’re great communicators, not realizing that they’re only communicating in one direction. Some pride themselves on being approachable and easily accessible, yet they don’t really hear the ideas that people share with them. Some leaders don’t set goals or provide context for the things they ask people to do, and others never offer feedback, leaving people wondering if they’re more likely to get promoted or fired.

Succumbing to the tyranny of the urgent. 
The tyranny of the urgent is what happens when leaders spend their days putting out small fires. They take care of what’s dancing around in front of their faces and lose focus of what’s truly important—their people. Your integrity as a leader hinges upon your ability to avoid distractions that prevent you from putting your people first.

The bad news... these mistakes are common and they are damaging.
The good news... they are easily fixed if you are aware of them!

For the full article, click here


Monday, 14 May 2018

Education Today Article - Life Long Love of Science

Read the full article here

Wellcome article on Primary Science

It has recently been the topic of debate how Primary school teachers are facing a number of barriers in teaching science. Typically only 1 hour 24 minutes a week is devoted to the subject (according to a new report from CFE Research for Wellcome).

When teachers were asked what barriers, if any, they experienced when teaching or leading science the top four categories were: 
  • lack of budget and resources (35 per cent)
  • a lack of time and curricular importance (22 per cent)
  • a lack of subject knowledge (11 per cent)
  • issues relating to setting up space or access to resources (10 per cent).
In addition, more than 8 in 10 teachers think that maths (84%) and English (83%) are ‘very important’ to the senior leadership team of their school, but this number falls to just three in ten (30%) when it comes to science, suggesting that the subject isn’t seen as a priority for primary teaching

Here is an article about how Broadford & Mead Primary - in partnership with Empiribox - have tried to ensure that Science remains a curriculum priority for the their children.


Google Level 1 Bootcamp

We were delighted to welcome 37 educators from 10 different schools to Mead Primary for a Google Level 1 Bootcamp on Thursday 3rd May. This was a change for teachers and leaders to become familiar with the different tools and apps available in Google G Suite, while imagining how they could then apply them in their school.

My mission is to now get my application and admission process to a completely paperless state. I had no idea about the power of Forms and the kind of information that I could collect.
Central Park Primary

100% of the delegates agreed (67% strongly) that they were now more confident with Google G Suite and felt empowered to advance adoption in their schools.

Google G Suite has been transformational at Broadford and Mead Primary. The collaboration that the apps unlocks is amazing and has dramatically improved communication, increased efficiency and reduced workload. 
M Drakes - Executive Headteacher

Key to the success of the workshop are the Facilitators. Apps Events provided a brilliant team who kept the tone light, fun, enjoyable... yet incredibly informative.

If you are interested in attending a Google Bootcamp then check out the Apps Events website, or contact our teaching school:
http://appsevents.com/
bookings@teachingschool.havering.sch.uk






Saturday, 5 May 2018

New Teams - Icebreakers

As you start to look ahead to a new school year - without losing focus on what there is still to achieve in this one - you may want to develop some icebreaker/get to know you activities with your teams. But don't just wait until September - you might learn something new about the people you are already working with.

Concentric Circles
This icebreaker has staff or pupils arrange themselves in an inside circle and an outside circle, the inside facing out, forming pairs. Pairs discuss their answers to a getting-to-know-you question, then rotate for the next question, forming a new partnership. This game gives staff or pupils the chance to have lots of one-on-one conversations and helps them quickly feel more at home in your class.

The possibilities for questions in this kind of configuration are endless; be sure to use more open-ended questions that can get people talking, rather than those that simply ask for a yes or no answer. Here are some sample questions:
  • Do you play any sports? If so, which ones?
  • Do you consider yourself shy or outgoing? Why?
  • What was the last movie you saw? Did you like it?
  • Describe your perfect dinner.
  • What would you do with a million dollars?
  • What is one thing you’re good at?
This or That
This icebreaker has staff or pupils informally debate on light topics such as “Which animal makes a better pet…dog or cat?” Participants have to choose a position, then physically move to the side of the room that most closely represents their opinion—one side means dogs, the other side means cats—and then talk about why they chose that spot. It builds participant confidence with talking in front of their peers, and helps them quickly find kindred spirits, and it’s also just a lot of fun.

Sample questions for This or That:
  • Would you rather live in the country or the city?
  • Should all students be required to learn a second language?
  • Which is worse: bad breath or body odor?
  • Would you rather be indoors or outdoors?
  • Which is better: Playing sports or watching sports?
  • Would you rather travel every single day or never leave home?


Friday, 4 May 2018

Don't Doubt Yourself!

At this time of year many teachers will be thinking of taking the leap into a different leadership post for September. One concern that can hold people back is the worry about coping with the challenge of establishing your identity and presence again within a new environment. Although each situation, post and person is very different, there are some common themes which can be drawn out.

Read the full Susan Ritchie article here

Have you ever asked yourself any of these questions?

How do I stop feeling like an imposter?
Research shows that as many of 70% of leaders will feel like they shouldn’t be in the role they're in. Imposter Syndrome refers to feelings of being a fake and a fraud, that we don’t deserve our success and we’ll never replicate it. It can be career-limiting stuff and especially potent in the early days of a new role when it will take the wind out of your sails. There is an article in the Huffington post which gives 7 tips on how to cope: click here

I don’t think my new team like me! What can I do?
Connecting with your new team quickly, and building relationships with them will be high on your list of things to do in the first 100 days. Getting to know anyone can be a challenge, and here is a guest post I wrote, with 7 Ways to Build Business Rapport that will enable you to create the culture of your team from the outset. A useful reminder for anyone who’s been leading their team for some time too!

I’m not sure who I am as a leader! How do I get used to this new ‘me’?
New roles demand new things of you – qualities that you may still need to develop, behaviours that may initially feel uncomfortable and alien to you and a new way of ‘being’ that your team and your bosses will be expecting to see. This can be confusing and quite daunting. Understanding how to be an authentic leader and still be able to change and respond to your new role is a crucial piece of learning. None of us are set in stone – we’re not the same people we were when we joined the workforce – however many years ago that may be. This article, The Key to Being an Authentic Leader, will help you to make sense of seemingly conflicting demands on you as a leader.


Wednesday, 2 May 2018

Working Collaboratively



School work best when they work together!

On Wednesday, we welcomed colleagues from local schools in Harold Hill to take part in a writing moderation session. These meetings are designed to help promote accurate, robust and consistent teacher assessment judgments against year group expectations.