The reflective blog of Robert Jones, teacher and educational leader.
My son and I are sitting in Cafe Bleu enjoying the free hotspot and waiting for Ellis Brigham to open so we can get some essentials for our day's boarding. The weather is a bit grey but the road to the Lecht is open! Can't wait!
I hear a lot of talk about skills-based curricula in Scotland these days, with the general vibe being that skills-based curricula are a Good Thing™. I'm not entirely clear what people mean by a skills-based curriculum, because it is one of those phrases which has slipped into the common parlance of educators without any clear definition (see also "learner conversations"). Try searching on the Education Scotland website for "skill based curriculum" and you'll draw a blank. I guess it means a curriculum defined in terms of the competencies being developed by our learners: a curriculum defined in terms of the things we want our learners to be able to do, rather than what they know.
I can see the appeal of this, but I am wary. Here are a couple of things which would worry me if they were true:
1. Is this curriculum seeking to develop generic, transferable skills?
If so, we really need to distinguish between actual skills which are applicable in a range of conte…
Several months ago I found myself sitting beside a quite senior staff member from one of our colleges of initial teacher education, who complained to me that her student teachers all seemed to be obsessed with behaviour management.
I was flabbergasted, but failed miserably to put together a reasonable argument for why the students were quite right.
That conversation came back to me today as I taught a maths cover class, who were learning about the graphs of linear equations. The class had some lively characters in it, and they were clearly struggling with the central concept: that a line on a coordinate diagram represents all the points where a particular linear equation involving x and y is true.
As they explored this concept through a series of activities, many of them experienced confusion and frustration. These are normal, healthy emotions for learners. We were able to stick with these challenging experiences partly because the pupils were operating in an environment in which mis…
I have volunteered to "share my leadership journey" for ten minutes before leading a discussion with other middle leaders at a SCEL event in Edinburgh. This blog post is a rehearsal of those ten minutes, and I would gratefully appreciate any constructive feedback. I have a leadership story rather than a leadership journey to share. This is the story I tell myself about how I got to where I am now as a leader, and about where I might go next. It is very subjective and selective. Nonetheless I think it is worth sharing, because this is the truth I inhabit. You also have stories you tell yourself, and you inhabit your stories every day of your professional life. It is sometimes easy to recognise these stories in others - the colleague who sees themselves as the victim of unreasonable burdens regardless of changing circumstances or another who sees themselves as blessed and lucky no matter what misfortunes befall them. It is much harder to identify the stories we tell ourselves,…