What is the Essence of Your School?

Great read on school culture. Yet another story of a school searching, moving, transforming!

Steve Mouldey

Thanks Jo for this image from #EdJourney by Grant Lichtman Thanks Jo for this image from #EdJourney by Grant Lichtman

In #EdJourney, Grant Lichtman discusses schools’ value proposition. That is, what your school offers compared to other schools. Each school sets out their vision – implemented to different levels by different schools, some completely through all staff members, some just believed by Senior Leadership. The Value Proposition, as I understand it, is about what you actually do compared to what you say you will do (much like Espoused Theory vs Theory in Use by Chris Argyris). It essentially says that the practices of a school tells their community they really value. If we asked parents what their son or daughter gains by going to your school rather than the one down the road, this is the Value Proposition.

This reminded me of a challenge from Ewan McIntosh at the end of last year to capture the essence of what our…

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Beyond Dependency Learning: scaffolding, crutches and stabilisers.


scaffold1 Scaffolding is the means to an end…but the building should stand alone.

One of the challenges we face as teachers is knowing how much help to give.  There are so many examples of structured support across a range of learning experiences: arm-bands in swimming, stabilisers on a bicycle… the vocab crib-sheet in language learning.  They are all designed to provide support in the early phases of learning, with the explicit goal of removing them later on.  The question is when.  My feeling is that, too often, we leave the support structure in place for too long and students develop a dependency; an over-reliance on the support and a mutually reinforcing fear of failure.

I remember teaching my daughter to ride her bike.  It was a classic parenting moment.   With stabilisers, it was a piece of cake. But, once they were off, she didn’t find it easy.  One day I was…

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Renew and Adapt

Schools: Innovate or become irrelevant

Our system and school leaders gathered last week to reflect on past achievements and to focus on the work ahead.  Over the next two years our system’s strategic focus will be to ‘renew and adapt’.   It is not about changing course or increasing the workload but reflecting on our practice; renewing our skills and passion; and adapting our pedagogies to improve the learning outcomes of each student.

Each year we select a professional learning text. This year’s was chosen because innovation requires teachers who are willing to continually renew and adapt their practice in ways that positively impact on students’ lives and learning.  As Lyn Sharratt says this is the essence of educational innovation.

Lyn Sharatt and Gale Harild’s book Good to Great to Innovate builds on Jim Collins’ good to great analogy by illustrating that purposeful innovation is dependent on a solid foundation of literacy and numeracy.  Schools must…

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