External Critique

I have had multiple conversations lately about the power of critique in forcing deeper thinking and the lack of critique occurring in many schools. A couple of years ago I wrote about how we might develop a culture of critique within a school. This was focused on actions within the school and looked more at the individual level. I have had great experience of how a Critical Friends set up can help. At Hobsonville Point Secondary School we were all paired up with a critical friend. This worked so well for me that when I left, Claire Amos and I kept up our critical friend relationship going. My recent thoughts have been more around how an external critical friend could help provoke at a school level.

Critique is not something that we do or take particularly well in schools. Often within school we can be threatened by someone asking us why about our actions. Our typical response is to get defensive rather than being open to digging deeper. I have a hunch that external critical friends who are there with that clear purpose may not be so threatening. They aren’t challenging you personally but trying to prompt reflection on why the school has made certain decisions.

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What Could Education Look Like In The Future?

A series of recent activities, events and discussions have seen me imagining a range of future education scenarios. So, this post is an attempt to write up a few possible scenarios. What could education look like in the future?

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I have always been a large advocate of listening to what teachers have to say about education. I much prefer to read books by teachers or those who are working closely in/with schools over those who have lots to say but lack the authenticity of recent work on school grounds. The same with blogs – I’m a big ol’ nerd, who loves to read blogs of what teachers are thinking about and doing in their classrooms.

Teachers, though, have a very vested interest in the future of schools. Will those of us whose jobs depend on the system staying fairly much the same way it is now, really investigate all possible options for the system could shift? Continue reading

#EdJourney Part 1

Snip20150128_1   I recently finished reading a wonderful book by Grant Lichtman called #EdJourney. This book is the result of an 89 day trip in which he visited 64 schools and interviewed over 600 people on educational innovation and the future of schools. Part One of the book is on roadblocks to change and innovation in schools and then gives examples of how schools he visited have overcome these. The four major obstacles found were:

  • Time (the most common)
  • People (risk, fear and growth mindset)
  • Leadership
  • Structure

Each of these are discussed in a chapter and also gives examples of how schools have overcome each of these. Continue reading