#Blogsync post number 1. http://share.edutronic.net/
I have been a teacher of English for 24 years, a Headteacher for 9 years and, at the age of 48, this much I know about the number one shift in UK education I wish to see in my lifetime.
WARNING: I’m an idealist. I make no apology for that. Peter Bratton, who was Headteacher when I worked at Hove Park School, told me once that I was the least cynical person he had ever met. What follows is, then, predictably idealistic!
What annoys you about education? This is the question we ask to conclude final panel teacher recruitment interviews at Huntington School. Over the years it has elicited two or three predictable answers, the worst, and most un-thinking of which is, All the paperwork. Increasingly people respond, The politicisation of education. One of my favourite answers came from an idealistic young teacher who said, The moaners in the corner of the staff room; the ones who are like black holes trying to drag others into their cynical world. (I wrote that one down verbatim, I liked it so much!)
The answer I am waiting to hear to that question is simply this, What annoys me about education is the talk about students fulfilling their potential, because teachers cannot know what a student’s potential is because that student does not know his or her self, because none of us does. Michael Barber might give me this answer if he was my interviewee, because he made this point in his book The Learning Game; it is something I have never forgotten.
So, the number one shift in UK education I wish to see in my lifetime is the genuine eradication of everything in schools which explicitly or implicitly limits our belief in what we – students and staff – can achieve. The more you think about what limits our beliefs in what we can achieve, the more apparent it is that it will require a systemic shift in our thinking of monumental proportions to achieve my own Universal Panecea. But if you are a teacher you can begin to remove your students’ self-imposed caps on achievement tomorrow, in the very next lesson you teach, by consciously eradicating anything you do which will limit your students’ self-belief in their own ability. Go create the conditions for growth in your classroom and you’ll find that our potential is limitless.