Sunday, 22 April 2018

Equality & Diversity in Film

According to BBC analysis, Hollywood is failing women when it comes to representing gender on screen.

Did you know that fewer than half of the 89 films named best picture at the Oscars have passed a common measure of on-screen female representation known as the Bechdel Test.

A movie passes the Bechdel Test if: 
  • there are at least two named female characters 
  • that they have a conversation with one another about something other than a man.
This conversation needs to happen just once for it to pass.

The research also shows that a greater percentage of best picture winners passed the Bechdel test in the 1930s compared to the current decade.

Recent winners such as Moonlight, Gladiator and Slumdog Millionaire all fail the test, along with two of this year's best picture nominees, teams from BBC 100 Women and More or Less have found.

Darkest Hour fulfils the requirement to have two named female characters but at no point in the film do women have a conversation with each other about something other than a man.

Dunkirk, set during World War Two, doesn't have any named female characters.

Thursday, 19 April 2018

Improvement Facilitator Training

We were delighted to welcome Maggie Farrar (from Educational Development Trust) to Mead Primary as we continued our journey with implementing a Peer Review process in Havering. Over 10 schools were represented with 16 Improvement Facilitators benefitting from the training.

Improvement Facilitators are key in helping schools unpick the findings of their Peer Review and creating their own action plan to support the cycle of school led continuous improvement.

A really insightful session. I now feel much more prepared to take on leading the workshops.

The toolkits are very straightforward. I can see that you would quickly become confident at applying them in different contexts.

I left feeling really inspired and can't wait to lead my first workshop!



Wednesday, 18 April 2018

Mistakes Leaders Make That Cause Good Teachers To Quit:

Sometimes there are some simple things that leadership teams could tweak to help with staff retention.

1. Showing favouritism.
We know too well about school politics. It’s really sad when teachers can tell who will be getting the next promotion because of their close relationship with the leader responsible for interviewing. Favouring - or being perceived to favour - certain staff for promotions and assignments is a sure way to damage team morale. This perception destroys team spirit and undermines engagement.

2. Leaders are quick to blame.
A bad boss assumes the worst. Throwing employees under the bus rather than standing up for your team in distressing moments is a sure way to lose points. Everyone is looking to you in moments like these. As the leader, why not act with dignity and advocate for your team? If you want to build loyalty, you must demonstrate loyalty. When you blame employees, it destroys your credibility and leads to a culture of distrust. Good bosses don’t dwell on mistakes made by others, hold grudges or point fingers. They take responsibility and focus on solving problems.

3. They don’t show they care. 
A bad boss treats workers like they’re interchangeable. Employees want to work for someone who treats them like a person. They have emotions and personal lives. If you care about employees, you will not continuously push them to work long hours or contact them after hours. Taking a healthy interest in your employees' lives is the first step in relationship building. It starts with supporting work/life balance. Show that you sincerely care about their well being. I can’t emphasize this point enough. If a staff member is dealing with personal issues as illness or bereavement show empathy instead of solely focusing on when they will be back out to work.

“Having a personality of caring about people is important. You can't be a good leader unless you generally like people. That is how you bring out the best in them.” 
- Richard Branson

4. Leaders don't recognise accomplishments. 
No one likes to feel ignored or like their efforts are taken for granted. As Dale Carnegie stated,

"People work for money but go the extra mile for recognition, praise and rewards." 

Appreciate employees, show them how much you value their efforts. It does not have to be always about monetary rewards. But simple things as "Thank You" and "Well done" goes a long way. Bad bosses make work drudgery and it's always onward to the next task. Employees spend over half of their lives at work. Create a fun atmosphere where you celebrate successes and bring people together.

5. They have no interest in employees' development.
One of the top reasons employees leave a company is the lack of development opportunities. Employees can interpret an employer’s unwillingness to invest in training as a disregard for their professional development. Acknowledge and encourage strengths, recognize the different skills employees possess and recommend them for opportunities. Subsequently, if a team member has informed you they want to move to another department support their wishes, don’t be an obstacle to them.

Sunday, 15 April 2018

What Makes Great Teaching?

Thank you to @LeadingLearner for pulling all these together.

What Makes Great Teaching – Review of the Underpinning Research by Coe et al
This would be my starter paper for discussion. It grounds you in what great teaching might be and how teachers can become great or at least much better. It looks at six components of great teaching referencing both Rosenshine & Dunlosky (see below). It needs a whole school focus.

1. What Makes Great Teaching – Coe et al via Sutton Trust

Principles of Instruction – Rosenshine
This was Mark Esner’s suggested paper; I agree, one of the top 5. It’s an interesting and detailed paper. The paper is built around principles rather than specific practices. Each principle has a useful “Research Findings” and “In the Classroom” section. It’s one for classroom practitioners.

2. Principles of Instruction – Rosenshine

Cognitive Load Theory – Sweller
Arguably the most important theory for teachers to know, Dylan Wiliam certainly thinks so. The paper discusses the processing (short term memory) and storage (long term memory) of information. “If memory is the residue of thought” (Willingham) and remembering is a good thing; it is the basis for further learning as well as guiding current actions, then teachers need to take account of how to maximise this in their teaching. There are five recommendations for the classroom which are rooted in cognitive load theory.

3. Cognitive Load Theory – Sweller via CESE

Improving Students’ Learning With Effective Learning Techniques: Promising Directions From Cognitive and Educational Psychology – Dunlosky et al

The paper provides a review of the ten learning techniques; each one is set out using the same format: a description of the technique and why it is expected to improve student learning; an exploration of its “generalizability” in different contexts; links to any research and any identified issues with implementation.

4. Improving Students’ Learning – Dunlosky et al

Developing Great Teaching – Teacher Development Trust
If we want great teaching and learning in the classroom then we need great professional development in the staff room first and foremost. Too much professional development is quite literally a waste of time. Substantial effective professional development of teachers is a precursor of effective implementation and supporter of significant improvements in pupil outcomes. Eight key elements of effective professional development are explained within this paper.

5. Developing Great Teaching – Teacher Development Trust


Saturday, 14 April 2018

Habits of Mentally Strong People

Despite West Point Military Academy’s rigorous selection process, one in five students drop out by graduation day. A sizeable number leave the summer before freshman year, when cadets go through a rigorous program called “Beast.” Beast consists of extreme physical, mental, and social challenges that are designed to test candidates’ perseverance.

University of Pennsylvania psychologist Angela Duckworth conducted a study in which she sought to determine which cadets would make it through the Beast program. The rigorous interviews and testing that cadets went through to get into West Point in the first place told Angela that IQ and talent weren’t the deciding factors.

So, Angela developed her own test to determine which cadets had the mental strength to conquer the Beast. She called it the “Grit Scale,” and it was a highly accurate predictor of cadet success. The Grit Scale measures mental strength, which is that unique combination of passion, tenacity, and stamina that enables you to stick with your goals until they become a reality.

To increase your mental strength, you simply need to change your outlook. When hard times hit, people with mental strength suffer just as much as everyone else. The difference is that they understand that life’s challenging moments offer valuable lessons. In the end, it’s these tough lessons that build the strength you need to succeed.

Developing mental strength is all about habitually doing the things that no one else is willing to do. If you aren’t doing the following things on a regular basis, you should be, for these are the habits that mentally strong people rely on.

You have to fight when you already feel defeated. A reporter once asked Muhammad Ali how many sit-ups he does every day. He responded, “I don’t count my sit-ups, I only start counting when it starts hurting, when I feel pain, cause that’s when it really matters.” The same applies to success in the workplace. 

You always have two choices when things begin to get tough: you can either overcome an obstacle and grow in the process or let it beat you. Humans are creatures of habit. If you quit when things get tough, it gets that much easier to quit the next time. On the other hand, if you force yourself to push through a challenge, the strength begins to grow in you.

1. Delay gratification. 
There was a famous Stanford experiment in which an administrator left a child in a room with a marshmallow for 15 minutes. Before leaving, the experimenter told the child that she was welcome to eat it, but if she waited until he returned without eating it, she would get a second marshmallow. The children that were able to wait until the experimenter returned experienced better outcomes in life, including higher SAT scores, greater career success, and even lower body mass indexes. 

The point is that delay of gratification and patience are essential to success. People with mental strength know that results only materialize when you put in the time and forego instant gratification.

2. Make mistakes, and try again.
In a study at the College of William and Mary, researchers interviewed over 800 entrepreneurs and found that the most successful among them tend to have two critical things in common: they’re terrible at imagining failure and they tend not to care what other people think of them. 

In other words, the most successful entrepreneurs put no time or energy into stressing about their failures as they see failure as a small and necessary step in the process of reaching their goals.

3. Keep your emotions in check. 
Negative emotions challenge your mental strength every step of the way. While it’s impossible not to feel your emotions, it’s completely under your power to manage them effectively and to keep yourself in control of them. When you let your emotions overtake your ability to think clearly, it’s easy to lose your resolve. A bad mood can make you lash out or stray from your chosen direction just as easily as a good mood can make you overconfident and impulsive.

4. Lead when no one else follows. 
It’s easy to set a direction and to believe in yourself when you have support, but the true test of strength is how well you maintain your resolve when nobody else believes in what you’re doing. People with mental strength believe in themselves no matter what, and they stay the course until they win people over to their ways of thinking.

5. Be kind to people who are rude to you. 
When people treat you poorly, it’s tempting to stoop to their level and return the favor. People with mental strength don’t allow others to walk all over them, but that doesn’t mean they’re rude to them, either. Instead, they treat rude and cruel people with the same kindness they extend to everyone else, because they don’t allow another person’s negativity to bring them down.

Mental strength is as rare as it is important. The good news is that any of us can get stronger with a little extra focus and effort.

Read the full article here:

Dr. Travis Bradberry is the award-winning co-author of the #1 bestselling book, Emotional Intelligence 2.0, and the cofounder of TalentSmart, the world's leading provider of emotional intelligence tests and training, serving more than 75% of Fortune 500 companies.


Thursday, 12 April 2018

Alan Peat Training

We were delighted to welcome Alan Peat to the Havering Primary Teaching School Alliance last term. The afternoon session focused on practical ways to develop Greater Depth in Writing across KS2.

  • 100% of delegates agreed that they had a clearer understanding of how to develop a collegiate writing approach.
  • 76% of delegates strongly agreed that the session had introduced new, simple strategies to improve writing
An inspiring session that simplified what has been a really daunting task. We have struggled to improve outcomes, but the collegiate approach is what we have been missing.

Practical, fun and packed with ideas we can implement straight away! Thank you.

If you'd like support from our English SLEs, please contact our Teaching School Director:
Joanne Stanley
jstanley@teachingschool.havering.sch.uk



OLP Leadership Survey

We have received many responses to our first annual school leadership challenges survey. There is still time to contribute though!

Supported by Best Practice Network and the University of Chester, the survey aims to provide a detailed insight into the key issues facing those in charge of schools across the country.

It includes questions on the key challenges you face as a school leader today and how these affect your wellbeing, as well questions on your professional development and support needs, workload and resilience.

The results will help us to refine and develop our professional development programmes and school improvement services so that they continue helping you and your colleagues in your crucial work.

The survey takes just 10 minutes to complete and if you enter your name and school details you’ll be entered into a prize draw to win a package of free places on two of our professional development qualifications.

The survey is open until Monday 16 April 2018 and can be accessed here.


Why Leaders Should Care about Employee Loyalty

Loyal teachers are a major asset for a strong school. Schools may think that teachers are automatically loyal just because they’re getting paid. The truth is loyalty isn’t for sale. Loyalty has to be earned by the way you treat your staff. Transforming your school culture isn’t easy. You can’t do it alone. 

Why do teachers leave?
Poor leadership may lie at the heart of a teacher's departure. People don’t leave jobs, they leave leaders (line managers). Who is the school’s first point of contact with that member of staff? If that contact is bad, the relationship with the school will be bad and the teacher won’t stay long. 

In the present environment, it becomes a necessity for schools to have a strategy for retaining their best teachers. Other schools are waiting at the door with "treats" to lure away your top performers. According to data drawn from 30 case studies taken from 11 research papers on the costs of employee turnover, it costs at least 20% of their salary when an employee leaves. These costs reflect the loss of productivity from the departure, the cost of finding a replacement, and the reduced productivity while the new teacher gets up to speed.

How can we raise productivity?
The link between teacher job satisfaction and productivity is long-established. Research has found that happy staff are 12% more productive than their less satisfied counterparts. 

Train people well enough so they can leave, treat them well enough so they don't want to. 
-Richard Branson

Tips To Help You Keep Your Best Teachers
When teachers feel disconnected, undervalued, and unappreciated, it doesn’t take long for them to jump ship and look for another job that will recognize their contributions. The only thing that can stop a high turnover is to give staff a reason to stay, or, even better, multiple reasons. Here are some tips to help retain your best employees:

* Establish a clear vision and moral purpose - and show how the individual can contribute to it. Id staff believe in why you are doing what you do, and see their impact they are more likely to stay. Of course you need to celebrate when you see people actively supporting the vision and let them know that you value their efforts!

* Don’t treat teachers like machines – they will want to know that their leaders understands
 the need for a work/life balance and respects their personal time.

* Create opportunities for growth and development – Always make sure there are ways your staff can grow and can do work that inspires them. Have you got a long term plan for each member of staff? Is access to CPLD equitable? Do staff know what opportunities there are open for them?

* Reward staff efforts - An open school culture with room for recognition and appreciation is very important. If you want the best, you must pay the price for the best.

* Don't micromanage - Trust staff. Give them autonomy and breathing space to get their work done.

* Provide adequate training and support. Training demonstrates a company’s commitment to employees in terms of personal and professional growth.

* Show Empathy. Very few bosses show empathy towards their team members and this helps improve overall team morale and performance.

Furthermore, when people leave your school, find out why. Your school may have morale weaknesses you are not aware of or have been underestimating. In one study, 89% of managers surveyed said they thought most employees leave for better pay. However, another study found that 88% of employees who quit did so for something other than money. Clearly, there is often a disconnect between managers and employees about what motivates an employee to leave. 

Consequently, when people stay with your school, find out why (Stay Interviews). Here’s the reality: employees are only as loyal to the company as they believe the company is loyal to them. Loyalty is a two-way street. So in the end, building a school of committed, loyalty employees ultimately comes down to demonstrating to employees that the company deserves their loyalty.

The Future of Leadership: Rise of Automation, Robotics and Artificial Intelligence
Brigette Hyacinth
Published on April 5, 2018


Wednesday, 4 April 2018

How reliable is research?

Read the full article here

When you add the tag 'research states that...' or 'evidence shows that...' it doesn't actually mean that the claims are genuine. Education is now being subjected to a new wave of 'knowledge' that uses 'research kite marks' to authenticate approaches, resources and techniques. But are these claims believable?

As we enter the Easter holidays, it might be a good idea to draw a comparison with the 'research' that has informed the debate about whether chocolate is good for you or not.

Who is funding it?
Chocolate manufacturers have poured huge sums into funding nutrition science that has been carefully framed, interpreted and selectively reported to cast their products in a positive light over the last 20 years.

For example, studies published last year found:
In 2016, eating chocolate was linked to reduced risks of cognitive decline among those aged 65 and over, while cocoa flavanol consumption was linked to improved insulin sensitivity and lipid profiles – markers of diabetes and cardiovascular disease risk.
Most studies on chocolate and health get industry funding, but this isn't highlighted.

“Industry-funded research tends to set up questions that will give them desirable results, and tends to be interpreted in ways that are beneficial to their interests,” - M Nestle NYU.

Are meta analyses based on fair reports & research?
The public are also misled into believing chocolate is healthy through what scientists refer to as the “file drawer effect”. Two of the aforementioned studies – those on blood pressure and markers of cardiovascular health – are meta-analyses, meaning they pool the results of previously published research. The problem is that science journals, like the popular media, are more likely to publish findings that suggest chocolate is healthy than those that conclude it has no effect, which skews meta-analyses. 

“It’s really hard to publish something that doesn’t find anything,” says Dr Duane Mellor, a nutritionist at Coventry University who has studied cocoa and health. “There’s a bias in the under-reporting of negative outcomes.”

How are control groups set up?
Unlike in drug trials, those taking part in chocolate studies often know whether they are being given chocolate or a placebo. Most people have positive expectations about chocolate because they like it. They are therefore primed, through the conditioning effect – famously described by the Russian physiologist Ivan Pavlov – to respond positively. They may, for example, become more relaxed, boosting levels of endorphins and neurotransmitters, and triggering short-term physiological benefits.

Lessons to learn?
  • Be sure you know who funded the research
  • Check that meta studies are based on balanced views
  • What methodology was used to get the results

Sunday, 1 April 2018

How to Create a Culture Where All Voices Are Heard

Patrick Leddin, Ph.D.

Patrick recently published an article giving suggestions on how you can build a culture where all staff are heard and valued. 

We want to be active members of the process, not marginalized actors pushed to the side.

The good news is that regardless of your role, you can be the key to helping the voices of others be heard and creating a greater sense of belonging among team members.

Patrick uses the BelieveBehaveBecome framework:

Step 1: Believe

What you create in the physical world begins in your mind. In order to create, you must first imagine. I invite you to reflect on how you value the voices of others by answering these questions:
  • Do you believe that everyone’s voice matters?
  • Can you envision people that you work with who are marginalized, or left out of key conversations?
  • Is it possible that no matter your role in the organization, you could help to bring the less heard voices into the open?
  • Do you believe that some of those people might have something of value to add to the conversation?
  • If so, which conversations and which people (name them)?
Step 2: Behave

Although mindset matters, it is insufficient without a change in behavior. Take a moment to reflect on how you currently behave and what you would like to do differently in the future by answering these questions:
  • Do you listen with the intent of understanding? Or, do you fake listen, partially listen, or outright ignore?
  • Are you constantly asking the same people to be part of the conversation?
  • How good are you at asking one question at a time and waiting for an answer?
  • Have you established systems to encourage everyone’s voice to be heard? Or, do your systems limit input to that from only a select few?
  • What might you do differently tomorrow, to encourage and embrace the voices of others?
Step 3: Become
Shifting your beliefs and your behaviors will no doubt lead to changes in yourself, your team, and the broader organization. However, change can be difficult. Unless the benefits are worthwhile, you might chose to go back to old patterns. So, take a moment to think about what you, your employees, and the organization might achieve from bringing more voices into the conversation. Answer these questions:
  • If those who currently don’t have a voice begin to contribute more, how will it impact them? Will they be more engaged, committed, or driven?
  • How might you change? Will you learn new things or experience better results? Will people see you differently? Will you see yourself differently?
  • How might the organization benefit? What might be accomplished in both the short- and long-run?