Tony Gurr

Archive for the ‘Quality & Institutional Effectiveness’ Category

Want to Build a GREAT School? Follow These 10 Commandments…

In Educational Leadership, Our Schools, Our Universities, Quality & Institutional Effectiveness on 12/07/2016 at 9:39 pm

LEARNing Monkey (Abigail Adams quote TG ver)

This was the post that I planned to use to re-launch my bouts of bloggery this summer…

 

In the end I went with an ‘easier’ option…because it was so bloody difficult to plan, draft and finish! I started by reflecting on all the schools I had worked with this year…and all the ways I had tried to support their plans and initiatives (an ‘annual’ review, if you will).

 

It wasn’t enough! So…I went back 5 years (and almost every blog post I had ever written)…still didn’t quite cut it!

Blogging sucks (sign)

I found myself going back to the work of EDU Jedi Masters and their discussions of ‘what works in schools’…combining this with the THUNKS of those that helped me consider ‘what matters in schools’…and, reflecting on all the pearls of wisdom I had picked up from the school improvement, accreditation and institutional enhancement programmes I had worked on.

exploding head

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That got me closer (but I had close to thirty pages of notes) – it was time for a procrastination pill!

Netflix Pill TG ver 100716

In the end, I decided to do a ‘career review’ – yes, reflect on the successes I had witnessed and LEARNed from, all my failures (because they helped me more than the successes I may have had and helped co-create) and all things I still have on my EDU Bucket Listafter over 30 years in the busyness of LEARNing.

 

The listicle of my ‘Magic 10’ Commandments started to take shape…but then the last episode of this year’s Game of Thrones forced me to binge-watch the earlier 50 episodes!

Procrastination (dice now never later)

What? I’m on holiday, too!

 

So…just to prove that all those quotes you can pull up (if you google ‘procrastination’) are hogwashhere you go:

IMAGE CREDIT: https://creativetheology.files.wordpress.com/2013/05/10-commandments.jpg

If you want to build a GREAT school…

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Thou Shalt ‘begin with the end in mind’ and ensure that your school is built on a focussed and clearly stated purpose – and make sure that all members of the school community understand, share and are committed to this purpose and the goals of the school…

Purpose CoP TG ver 100716

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Thou Shalt believe in the transformative power of LEARNing, place LEARNing at the heart of your decision-making and walk-your-talk…

Change and Thinking TG ver 100716

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Thou Shalt recruit the best TEACHers you can, retain them (at all costs) and renew their talents, skills and knowledge at every opportunity you find…

Good School (quote) TG ver 100716

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Thou Shalt plan, implement and renew a curriculum / assessment framework that emphasises LEARNing the ‘right’ things in the ‘right’ way…

Delivering LEARNing TG ver 100716

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Thou Shalt provide caring and effective leadership, create the conditions for wider shared-, teacher-, and student-leadership – and evaluate the quality of this leadership in terms of the level of trust you build and the amount of LEARNing co-created across the school…

Leadership TG ver 100716

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Thou Shalt create an environment and climate that is organised, secure and safe – yet provides for risk-taking, creativity and imagineering at the student, classroom, departmental and school level…

Success TG ver 100716

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Thou Shalt create a culture that is driven by professionalism, collaboration, and stakeholder involvement – and is fuelled by an ethos of feedback, improvement and results… Leader Shadow TG ver 100716

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Thou Shalt build and maintain a classroom-focussed LEARNing culture grounded on high expectations for both students and TEACHers, dialogic TEACHing practices and an approach to the adoption of EdTech driven by ‘fitness-for-purpose’ and ‘LEARNing first, TECHnology second’… 

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Learning WoG TG ver 100716

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Thou Shalt adopt a research and evidence-based approach to change and planning – and balance the use of external best practices and internal research findings, as well as ‘big’ and ‘small data’…

EBP TG ver 100716 

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Thou Shalt use a range of policies, processes, and practices designed to evaluate and enhance the quality of decision-making, curriculum and assessment systems, classroom teaching, professional learning communities, allocation of resources, and stakeholder involvement across the school…

Quality TG ver 100716

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That’s 10, right?

 

As I was boiling all the Commandments down, I did ask myself whether I need to ‘spell them out’ more. I hope they are clear…as I hinted, they are all backed by solid research and evidence-based practice (EBP) – but I have seen them ‘work’ and know they ‘matter’!

 

Can I rank them – in terms of importance or priority? Not really – but I’d be interested to see how you might…or (even more) see if you would add any others…

 

T..

 

 

How Good Are Your TEACHers?

In Classroom Teaching, ELT and ELL, Our Schools, Our Universities, Quality & Institutional Effectiveness, Teacher Learning on 07/07/2016 at 10:29 am

 

This is one of the first questions I ask when I sit down with a School Director or Teacher Trainer to develop a new PD (or CPD) initiative at one of our many Schools (both State and Private) and University Prep Schools (Hazırlık – also both State and Foundation) here in Canım Türkiyem.

Questions (Joseph O Connor quote) Ver 03

It’s not a bad question to kick off with, if you believe (as I do) that the talents, skills and savvy of language teachers is one of the critical determining factors in determining the level of LEARNing and success that LEARNers ultimately achieve.

 

Some TEACHers do not like it!

 

I guess that is because they assume I am only talking about the quality of their language and that I am taking on the role of the judgy-judger Native Speaker (NS) TEACHer – pushing elitism…and native speakerism!

 

I’m not – and my question is wider, closer to the advice of David Crystal:

“If I were in charge of a language-teaching institution, I would want to know four things about applicants: are they fluent? are they intelligible? do they know how to analyse language? are they good teachers? I would not be interested in where they were born, what their first language was, or whether they had a regional accent. There are absolutely no grounds for discrimination these days”.

 

Like David, my question is both about language quality and TEACHing ability – and, for safe measure, it is also about what a TEACHer knows about language / student LEARNing and what s/he does with that knowledge in (and out of) the classroom. It’s a question that touches upon the core ‘Educational Literacies’ that all TEACHers need.

Sith army knife (TG)

 

However, that question of mine is so often boiled down to a Language TEACHer’s knowledge and skills in English – their ‘Disciplinary Literacy’. And, I’ve been asked (a lot more than once):

So, what should the CEFR / GSE minimum level be – for a TEACHer?

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GSE vs CEFR

 

I’ve spent a lot of time thunking this one over, reading journals, and jumping around blogs this year. There are many that are pushing for minimum proficiency levels for TEACHers (including major ELT organisations and those that produce/administer ‘tests’…wonder why, acaba) – especially since the ELT paradigm shift towards performance-based understandings of what it means to ‘know’ a language. There are others who are resisting this idea…for many reasons.

TELLing the truth

 

Just like we would not want our kids to be taught maths by someone that did not know their multiplication tables (or even use a calculator effectively), the vast majority of LEARNers / administrators / parents (esp. parents) want their language TEACHers to be as good as they can be. Undergraduate TEACHers-to-be want their programmes to prepare them to be the best version of themselves before they step into the classroom. Being able to hear the answer to my question is surely the ‘right’ of each and every one of these critical stakeholders.

 

The problem is, of course, we all know (well, at least those that have LEARNed a second language) that language is not a finite or clearly defined entity, which you either know in its entirety or not at all. You do not ‘know’ a language in the same way you know ‘content’ – a poem, mathematical theorem or chemical formula. You can only know it more or less thoroughly. I know many people that ‘know’ Turkish grammar far better than I…but still struggle to win a battle with the Tax Office! I’ve also met many TEACHers with off-the-charts ALES scores (the m/c test all TEACHers need to pass to get a job in a Turkish university – and ‘technically’ the only tool these universities can use to hire their TEACHers)…but cannot have a half-decent chat with me!

 

However, most people seem to agree that language TEACHers need to:

  • be fluent
  • be intelligible
  • know the language they are TEACHing
  • be confident language users
  • know how to analyse language
  • know something about the language their students use (L1)
  • be an active language LEARNer themselves (improving their own language day-by-day)

 

The question, it seems to me, is how exactly a TEACHer (both NS and NNS TEACHers) ‘knows’ these things about him/herself – and how they ‘evidence’ these abilities to others.

What if 06

What do you thunk – remembering, for now, we are are only talking about the language skills / talents (or ‘Disciplinary Literacy’) of our TEACHers?

  • Could we add anything else to this list?
  • Should there be a minimum proficiency level for TEACHers here in Canım Türkiyem?
  • How should we ‘measure’ this proficiency level (do not say ALES)?
  • If not, how can we ‘know’ exactly how good our TEACHers are?
  • Should NS TEACHers here also be required to demonstrate the same proficiency level?

 

T..

Tony (logo new) 260316 ACG

How long does it take to LEARN English, hocam? – The “10,000 Hour” Upgrade…

In ELT and ELL, Quality & Institutional Effectiveness on 21/02/2014 at 9:55 pm

There is a lot of talk around canım Türkiyem these days about how many hours are needed for students to LEARN or “speak” English. In fact, we have even invented new acronyms to help us do this – classroom contact hours are now frequently referred to as GLHs (or “guided learning hours”).

What a queer turn of phrase – when what so many schools really mean is “bums on seats” and ears “pointed at” the teacher!

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TELLıng theTRUTH (Ver 03)

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These discussions have been “aided” by wider (mis)understanding of the CEFR (the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages: Learning, Teaching, Assessment)– now, you know the reason for the abbreviation!), and its six levels of proficiency from A1 to C2.

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Now, not everyone is a fan of the CEFR – mostly because it has been skillfully co-opted by ELT marketeers eager to sell their wares (by pasting on a EU logo onto whatever they are flogging)!

However (and in truth), the CEFR is refreshing change from the “fuzzy labels” of the past – “intermediate” or “upper-intermediate” or even “pre-faculty” (in academic contexts).

More of the same (my dogs)

I never did really know what these terms meant anyways!

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Besides, the CEFR was originally designed to improve levels of “transparency” – always a “fan” of that (as is Julian)!

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Fasülye (Blog new ver)

YES…there is a “prize” for any non-Turkish speaker that can work out that one!

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In a way, it is impossible to accurately calculate the hours needed to LEARN a language – as it depends on factors such as the learner’s language background, the intensity of study and levels of individual engagement, the learner’s age and motivation (even “gender” – yes, girls do generally kick ass in the right environment), and the amount of study and exposure outside the classroom – in addition to the quality of TEACHing (we sometimes forget this one) …and how many iTunes downloads a student clocks up each week!

Many ELL professionals, for example, think it’s a total waste of time to even try and run a “time and motion study” on language LEARNing.

Afterall, it’s the “quality” rather than the “quantity” of hours that matter…isn’t it?

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So, what do we “know”:

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GLHs (Hocam post)

Yep, that bloody acronym…again!

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I really, really, really have my doubts about the recommended GLHs for C2 – most higher-level learners do not get to this level based on classroom GLHs alone (“talent” is a key factor, as is extended contact with native speaker-like environments – ….or taking a “spouse”…)!

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C2 Level (Hocam Post)

Also, the right kind of “interest” or “engagement” is soooooooo importantmy wife has been an EL learner for 27 years (her first “second” language was French) and I do not think she would mind if I said she would probably struggle in a more “academic”  ELL environment – she would, however, wipe the floor with most native speakers on matters of a spiritual nature, reconnective healing, and…counselling workaholic EDUcators!

But, that’s for another post…

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For many hazırlık centres or “prep schools” at university level in Turkey the distinction between B2 and B1 is of more interest. This is because, in terms of the CEFR, most Turkish universities have selected a hazırlık “exit requirement somewhere between B2 and B1.

We see this more clearly when we look at IELTS equivalencies for these CEFR levels – somewhere between IELTS band 4.5 and 6.5 for those of you more familiar with IELTS.

Yes, you heard me…there are some “bodies” here in canım Türkiyem that believe that a student with a Band 5.0 in IELTS…can go onto a full-time, English-medium…undergraduate programme!

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Handle the truth

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BUT, maybe we should just avoid talking about IELTS…for now!

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You know me sooooo well!

I never did listen to my lawyers that much…

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Most “hazırlık centres” in Turkey are still to define their programmes and progression systems in terms of CEFR (the labels, we use…at least!) – TOEFL scores or IELTS bands are the more common form of currency when discussing what it takes to “graduate” from hazırlık into “freshman year”.

Top ranking universities in the UK currently all require an IELTS band of 7.0 and other “respectable” UK universities ask for an IELTS band of 6.5 (with no less than 6.0 in each module) for international students applying to their undergraduate programmes. These universities will also accept a band 5.5 for entry onto their “foundation programmes” – …the equivalent to hazırlık.

If you want to live in Australia (forEVER – …speak to my wife before you do that!), you have to make sure you have an IELTS band of 7.0 – remember this!

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However, let me introduce you to my little friend:

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Gladwell

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Yeah, I know some (very smart) buggers have been having a dig at Malcolm Amcaof late!

But, you know what, I like this 10K thunk of “his” (…and Anders Enişte).

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I was going to do an analysis of the 10,000 hour “rule” for ELL – but someone beat me to it…someone I love to bits!

Sarah Eaton, a wonderful ELL Consultant from Canada – and…

…fellow “Jedi blogger

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I have mentioned Sarah a fair few times on allthingslearning – and she has often extended more than a helping hand to little ‘ole moi with my bouts of bloggery!

Sarah did a great paper on the time required to become “an ELL expert” – and published a version on her own blog (Literacy, Languages and Leadership).

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In her paper, she suggested a number of “scenarios” (you know how I loves me “mini-cases”):

Scenarios (no years)

Now, I know we ELL professionals are not that well-known for our “math skills” (I hate that my English is being “corrupted” by those guys “across the pond”)!

BUT, get your calculator out…NOW!

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Bet you didn’t!

The calculator thingy…that is.

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Scenarios (years)

Bet you (real “cash” money…this time!)…you are thunking something like this

Expletive (one)

…right now!

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I got thunking to meselfwhat if we did this for our hazırlık schools…here in canım Türkiyem!

I did, you know!

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Here goes!

This is what you WILL thunktrust meI’m a TEACHer:

Expletive (four)

Don’t believe me?

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Hazırlık (01)8

Told you so!

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The solution?

Well, I guess we need to look at our tried and tested quality / improvement strategyyou know the one, çoçuklar:

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ELT Strategy

Yeah…right! Worked in the past…YES?

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Let’s crunch the numbers…with a calculator!

Double the number of contact hours (sorry, GHLs!)…and…let’s throw in a “summer school” – why not!

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Hazırlık (02)

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You know what I am thunking, YES?

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Expletive (sixteen)

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YOU, too?

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Ask the studentsgo on, I dare you!

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Expletive (too many to count)

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So….what is the answer…Tony Paşa?

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Scroll up!

Yes, UP!

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What do my dogs say!

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What EXACTLY are the “Skills” needed by 21st Century TEACHERS? – The “Robocop” Upgrade…

In Classroom Teaching, ELT and ELL, Quality & Institutional Effectiveness, Technology on 18/02/2014 at 3:24 pm

21C Teacher (Robocop ver) 160214 TG

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I have been heard to say that you can’t throw a rock into the blogosphere these days without hitting a post or article on the 21st Century “something-or-other”.

Love it or hate it – the notion of 21st Century Skills is one of those HOT topics these days – especially in Turkey. Sadly, however, the discussions on EDtech here seem to be dominated by some very strange creatures…you know them as:

21C Digi Cheerleaders

…IDIOTS, mostly!

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The real problem is:

Digi Cheerleading Rabbits

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IDIOTS that are breeding like bloody rabbitson steroids!

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IDIOTS that (still) do not link the 21C concept to real LEARNing – choosing instead to focus on what seems to be both the engine and the fuel of the 21st Century…..

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Don’t get me wrong…I’m not some kind of EDtech luddite who wants to put a stop to the so-called tablet and akıllı tahta dönemi we are currently witnessing in Turkey.

Turkey is my adopted home, I am a “milli enişte” and I am amazingly proud that I helped co-create one of Turkey’s first “digital natives” (and also one of the toughest and most beautiful, too – ask me about the “Türk kızı” who took down men twice her size on the Turkish TV version of “Wipe-Out”).

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I am a “daddy”, too!

A very proud one….

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21C LEARNing FIRST

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But, my business is LEARNing (as if you didn’t know) – not TECHnology. And, I’m interested in how we actually “do” something with all the talk-we-are-talking these days – talk about the new kids on the curriculum block:

  • INDEPENDENT, CRITICAL and CREATIVE THINKING
  • PROBLEM-SOLVING and CREATIVITY
  • COMMUNICATION, COLLABORATION and SHARING
  • COGNITIVE and EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE
  • ETHICS, ACTION and ACCOUNTABILITY
  • LEADERSHIP, AGILITY and ENTREPRENEURIALISM
  • CURIOSITY, EXPERIMENTATION and RISK-TAKING
  • SELF-DISCIPLINE, RIGOUR and REFLECTION
…even:
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IMAGINEERING
(a wonderful “skill” that brings many of the above together)… 
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 21C SMARTBoards and DUMBIdeas

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We know here in Turkey (not that different to the rest of the world…really) that we still have major challenges with:

  • ORAL and WRITTEN COMMUNICATION (the 3R’s in TURKISH) – of course!
  • ENGLISH LANGUAGE (the 3R’s in ELL)

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But, the TECH (and the so-called “new digital landscape”) still gets many more column inches and pixels than student LEARNing.

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Our raging debate, a debate that others in the US and Europe have picked up, centres on Turkey’s plans to purchase 15,000,000 tablets over the next few years (as part of the Fatih Project) – and has international and domestic commentators really talking:

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Actually, I’m not sure if we should be talking about the tablets (the PM was today…again and again and again) – we should be discussing the skills the tablets are supposed to be ushering into Turkish schools.

…and, the impact of these skills on TEACHers.

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In an earlier post, I discussed how these 21st Century realities are creating a new set of roles for TEACHers:

However, discussion on how these roles translate into a new evolving set of teacher skillsliteracies and fluencies has been (very) limited – especially, in Turkey.

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Isn’t it time we started to ask some REAL questions:

  • What skills do TEACHers (in Turkey) need as we continue our march into the 21st Century?
  • How many of these skills actually relate to how we deploy and use TECHNOLOGY?
  • How many of them relate to effective LEARNing and TEACHing?
  • What do TEACHers actually think themselves – and what do their LEARNers think?
  • How effectively is TEACHer (and LEARNer) LEARNing being promoted and supported (in Turkey)?
  • What else needs to change to make the 21st Century “wishlist” a reality?

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Hey, maybe we can even start asking some of the most basic questions.

Questions like:

21C TECHnology SECOND

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I’d love to see some fresh ideas and comments. 

If not (and you are a lover of “bedtime reading”) – here’s a little list of some resources on allthings21Cskills:

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Tony’s 21st CENTURY LEARNing Library

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Why there is no more room for the “Blame Game” in 21C LEARNing Culture…

In Educational Leadership, ELT and ELL, Our Schools, Our Universities, Quality & Institutional Effectiveness on 19/09/2013 at 10:47 pm

21C Logo TG ver 02

I know, I know

…I promised that I would stop using the phrase “21st Century LEARNing”.

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SUE me (Ver 02)

OK – so glad we got that out of the way!

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In one of my very first posts (seems like a lifetime or three ago…but it is, in fact, only 30 months) –  The End of the Highway – I talked about the type of organisational culture that I saw evolving over the next few years (for the Information Age and Knowledge Economyso now you see why I went with “21C” a wee bit later).

A culture, I suggested, that was characterized NOT by the “old world” my-way-or-the-highway approaches adopted by so many of the “bosses” we had when we were younger…but by a “new world” organisational culture grounded on:

21C Org Culture (ver 02)

OMG! My graphics were pretty lousy back in the day, yes?

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Now, that’s a place I want to live…the kind of place I want my grandkids to LEARN within (no, just stop asking me about that bloody “manopause” thing already)!

A true LEARNing Culture for the 21st Century!

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But, what happens, for example, if I meet with an untimely demise – there are many Mütevelli Heyeti Presidents out there (a few YÖK employees, too) that would not be too unhappy if Tony Hoca “disappeared” or just started sleeping with the fishes (shock-horror).

Or, perhaps…I just get eaten by Zombies

Zombie Grammar In Use

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Those grandkids of mine might grow up (in canım Türkiyem, of course) with a wonderful degree of control over their mother-tongue…but be not so hot in their grand-daddy’s tongue.

Heck, they might even have to go though Hazırlık for a few months…

Hazırlık Mob (Proficiency Test)

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As I suggested in my last postall is not well in the state of “hazırlık” – apathy and lack of interest in the most important medium of global communication on the part of many hazırlık students, has evolved into a zombie-like pandemic! 

Bloody hell – just typing those words scared the beejeebers outta me…

Hocam will this be on the test 

The Ottoman Empire was once described as the sick man of Europe – today, it is Hazırlık that is being described in similar terms:

Hazırlık (sick man of HEd) ver 01

In truth…all of HigherEd in canım Türkiyem…needs a check-up!

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However, rather than help “fix” this very real problem – there is many a faculty lecturer, a head of department, a dean (or Vice Rector…even) within our so-called English-medium universities that would love us all to believe this (perhaps to cover the fact that their own English language skills are not that great or that they are still “delivering” English-medium “courses” in Turkish – of course, all down to the fact that the Hazırlık “Team” taught them nowt)!

These critical hazırlık stakeholders” (many of whom do not even know where the hazırlık building is) just can’t get enough of passing-the-buck – or playing…

Blame Game (TG ver)

 …you know how it goes, yes?

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You also know the question that always gets asked…first!

Who is to blame

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Will they never LEARN?

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We could, of course, point all those fingers at the students themselves. I mean it’s not as if they don’t give us enough reasons.

Reasons, I might say, are all reinforced by the things many hazırlık teachers have been overheard sayingthunkingagain and again!

Kids today

Go on! Raise your hand, if you have NEVER said one of these…

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The parents?

Yes, they started all this…

Pointing at the belly

…and dragged their kids up to be all the things they never could…be…afterall!

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There is no shortage of “targets” for our fingers – just look at how many we have in both Hazırlık…and the post-Hazırlık world (remember guys…there is a life after the proficiency exam – before, too)!

The TARGETS

…and, let’s not forget those pesky trouble-makers – Teacher Trainers!

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BUT…

Hang on there

Weren’t we saying something about…a 21C LEARNing Culture?

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How does this “finger-pointing” fit in with a climate of collaboration… – and what were those other thingimejigs we all say we want to see in our institutions?

21C LEARNing Culture (TG ver 02 upgrade)

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Heck, if we look at our websites – we ALREADY have them…ALL!

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If we really believe that this type of LEARNing Culture is who we arewhat we need – is there “room” for the BLAME GAME?

NO

Sorry about that full stop…beating off Zombies here!

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Call me a “dreamer” (I take that as a compliment, BTW)!

Call me a “fool” (Mmmm, this one…not so much)!

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Is it just me…acaba…that thunks…

Different QUESTIONS

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A good start is this one:

Rather than (Peter Block)

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Every single “stakeholder” in every single university across canım Türkiyem has, in some way, contributed to the pandemic spread of the Lise5 Syndrome – even the parents (and those Vice Rectors I mentioned).

And, you know what?

I’m guessing many other English-medium universities around the globe…have their own strain of the Zombie virus we have been looking at.

You can take that to the bank…

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b

THUNKing a wee bit differently…is the key!

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If we could just get to that first “question flip”, we might have a chancewe might survive!

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Hey, you never know…we could then perhaps ask a few other questions:

Perhaps then (Peter Block)

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That having been said…

Give LIFE a SHAKE (Ian Gilbert)

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…maybe, we can just keep “living” with the “walking dead”!

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NOTE from the CBO

This post is a “potted” (and updated) version of a mini-dizi I did back in May 2013 (for all you busy, busy folk). If you want to take a closer look (and consider even more “thunking questions” for the challenge that is hazırlık here in Turkey, take a look at the following posts:

What is “Reflective Savvy”?

In ELT and ELL, Quality & Institutional Effectiveness, Teacher Learning on 14/07/2013 at 12:32 pm

REFLECTION (Jack Sparrow GET IT)

I really don’t know why I used the bloody word “savvy so much…

…when talking about allthingsREFLECTION in LEARNing and TEACHing.

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The thing is…IT is totally the RIGHT word – just a bugger to get across to people that might not have come across it before.

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One can be everso terribly clever and explain that it comes from the French savoir faire” (even though Google Translate does not, again, do a very good job with it) – but it don’t help, if they ain’t heard of that either.

I actually picked up the term from my dad…growing up in north Manchester, he was the only person I ever heard use it…and he used it a lot (…even “made up” tens/hundreds of more phrases using the word).

Now, you see where I get it from!

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When I started to learn French, I thought that he might have picked it up because he grew up so close to France (New Haven, near Brightoneven though everyone called him “Cockney Doug”…he never bothered to correct them). That, of course, was silly – New Haven was just as working class as north Manchester – even today, working class kids just not “do” languages very well (clearly…Geography, too)!

It was not until I saw Johnny Depp (as Captain Jack Sparrow) in the movie Pirates of the Carribean that it “clicked

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NO, my dad was not a pirate!

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But, he did “fake” his age to get into the Navy and “sign up” for the Second World War…to escape his family and the UK!

You also see where I get that from!

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Sailors…and pirates…use the term “savvy” a lot. And, so does the Urban Dictionarythank God!

No, I did not write that entry…but I could have, yes?

There’s also a very good story about my dad – involving a boxing match, an officer-who-wasn’t-a-gentleman and a dishonorable discharge (that my dad was VERY proud of)…but, I’ll save that for another post!

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Of course, I use the word to talk about reflection…or what it “is” about those TEACHers and EDUcators that seem to get more from their students…more for themselves…and more money!

OK – two out of three ain’t bad!

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REFLECTION 17 (Reflective SAVVY) TG ver 03

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It’s a Sunday today and I hadn’t planned on writing very much at all for this post!

In factmy big task for today was actually supposed to be more focussed on finally working out exactly where I now live here in big, bad İstanbul! Some people (the phone company…but the internet guy disagrees) tell me I live in Suadiye…other people (the electric company) tell me I live in Erenköy…and then, yesterday, one of my wife’s old friends from Dubai told us we actually live in Şaşkınbakkal (which roughly translates as the “confused grocer”he ain’t alone)!

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So, I’m going to leave you with a few thunking questions:

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How “savvy” are you with your own reflective practice?

How do you know this?

What do you do with this “savvy”?

How do these things help you get better at what you do with what you know?

If someone asked you “evidence” this “reflective savvy”, how would you do that?

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And, as a little Sunday “treat”…some of my favourite thunks on the nature of reflection!

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REFLECTION 16 (Pearce quote)

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REFLECTION 15 (Woon quote)

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REFLECTION 14 (Levithan quote)

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REFLECTION 13 (Cicero quote)

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REFLECTION 12 (Confucius quote)

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REFLECTION 11 (Ronald quote)

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REFLECTION 10 (Frost quote)

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REFLECTION 09 (Drucker quote)

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REFLECTION 08 (Kierkegaard quote)

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REFLECTION 07 (Rogers quote)

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REFLECTION 06 (Socrates quote)

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REFLECTION 05 (Camus quote)

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REFLECTION 04 (Confucius quote)

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REFLECTION 03 (Alfadi quote)

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REFLECTION 02 (Wheatley quote)

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REFLECTION 01 (Wordsworth quote)

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REFLECTION (Jack Sparrow GOT IT)

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Yes, I know that was a bit of a cop-out…but the images/quotes were nice, yes?

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Teacher LEARNing, PD, CPD, Training….wotever! When are we going to get it ‘right’?

In Adult Educators, Quality & Institutional Effectiveness, Teacher Learning, Teacher Training on 13/07/2013 at 8:06 am

TEACHer THUNKS on CPD

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As you can see from those little images, all is not well in the State of Teacher LEARNing, PD, CPD, Training (delete as you “prefer”) – and not just in the sense that I outlined in my last post!

Indeed, when we try to speak to many TEACHers about their PD or professional LEARNing – more often than not, we get a response like this:

Dont make me use my TEACHer voice (TG ver)

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But, maybe…that’s half the problem?

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When we do ask TEACHers to use their voice on allthingsCPD, we tend to find that many of them are split into TWO camps:

CPD (two camps)

…but this is to the “untrained” ear!

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When we dig a little deeper (and I’m more interested in the “unsmiley group” – that is the problem), what we actually hear them saying is things like this:

PD is crap 01

…and a couple of other things, too:

PD is crap 02

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To put it quite bluntly – many of the “solutions” are thereright in front of our eyes!

We have two ears and one mouth for a reason…proportionate use is the key.

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Sure, there many be issues with money and funding (isn’t there always?) – get creative with sponsors! If we really value LEARNing (of the TEACHer variety – and we should), we’ll find a way to trim some “fat” and inject it where it “matters”. Yes, and there might be one or two malcontents out there (in our staffrooms) who will give us a hard time…whatever we do.

Hey, that’s life…deal!

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but...

…the fact remains that…most TEACHers are human beings, too (!) – they too are imagineered for LEARNing…they love LEARNing new things…new stuff…new ways of promoting student LEARNing

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The LEARNing opportunities we provide them just need it to be “fit-for-purpose”…to be convenient…to be useful…and FUN (but not just a “laugh-and-giggle show”)…

Gamification 02

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There’s been a few really good posts thrown into the blogosphere of late – many of them offer some great THUNKS on how to get it right:

Blogger (still ignore you)

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Adam Bellow did a lovely post based on FOUR critical wordsPD: Four Ways to Start Changing the World This Summer

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Josh Round did one some time back (but I only found it this week) – What to Put in the CPD Pot – full of sensible practical ideas.

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Med Kharback (aka @medkh9) put an EDtech and DIY “spin” on professional development in his post – Top 8 EdTech Tools for Teacher CPD.

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Laura Conley gets us to think about “flipping” (no, not THAT type !) with her great post – 7 Steps To Flipped Professional Development (first appeared on gettingsmart.com).

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@WhatEdSaid (aka Edna Sackson) made a storming return to the blogosphere with her – 10 Principles of Effective Professional LEARNing… – a post that stretches us to be “thunking doers” not just “PD delivery boys” (and girls)!

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LEARNing (cannot be delivered) Ver 02

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…and….ONE more:

Susan Lucille Davis gave us her – What Teachers Really Want – a post that every PD Coordinator, Training Manager or EDUboss should take note of (TEACHers, too)!

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All good stuff!

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But, then again…it’s always better to hear the voices of our own TEACHers!

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REFLECT (and THUNK) Yourself…to GREATness (the RE-boot)!

In Adult Learners, Quality & Institutional Effectiveness, Teacher Learning on 26/06/2013 at 12:38 am

big bad İSTANBUL

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A couple of you have probably heard that I have “moved” …and have been “celebrating” that around half-a-million folk have dropped into the ole blog (shirously, guys…you have to get a life)!

OK – this post has been one of the favourite “hits” for many of you…and, as part of my 500K celebrations, I decided it needed a “re-boot”…so this is what you get!

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Best way to be BORING (Voltaire quote)

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Did you KNOW that:

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  • 65% of conference attendees believe they LEARN nothing from plenary sessions…
  • 55% of conference attendees prefer the coffee breaks to the break-out sessions they attend…
  • 45% of conference attendees “sneak” off to do a bit of sight-seeing…or shopping…(!)

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Did you also know that 33% of statistics are made up on the spot!

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OK, OK – my conference “stats” may lack a bit of reliability…but it’s true – we EDUcators do not do our best LEARNing at conferences!

I lke boring things (Warhol quote)

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Neyse…. to something totally different!

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I have done a great deal of interviewing in my time (karma…previous lives poorly lived, no doubt) – but one interviewee still stands out for me…nearly 13 years after the fact.

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I had probably interviewed around 15 candidates on the day I met him – and I was bored to death by people telling me what a great team-player they were…how flexible they could be in difficult situations…and, how they were really “interested” in all our “strategic initiatives” (that weren’t even on the website)!

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He popped in (with no tie, I must add) – the “balls” on the guy…and I decided to ask him (first question – right in):

“Tell me why you are a great TEACHer…”!

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His response:

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Not sure I am that great…I’m good…but I’m good because I LEARN faster than most, I work harder at reflecting than most and I like doing “it” with other TEACHers…

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OK – I had to hold back a “giggle” with that last comment (but “humour” is what we look for, too). 

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I gave him the job!

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TEACHers learn best by REFLECTing:

Classroom reflection (FQs for TEACHers) TG Ver 03

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And, they do “it” best with OTHER TEACHers!

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A TEACHer’s level of “reflective savvy” is essentially the product of “who they are“; their level of critical literacy, their level of LEARNacy and their level of emotional literacy.

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This savvy is critical for the level of EDUcational Literacy that a teacher has – the GOOD news – it is “LEARNable”! And, LEARNable by just doing “it”.

OK – I really have to stop that…

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I have to admit…developing your reflective savvy does take time (maybe, it never really stops).

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It’s about asking the “right” questionsagain and again. Taking the time tostep back and weigh up what’s really happening around you…within you…as a LEARNing professional.

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It’s about working towards greater clarity and understanding – by being “honest“.

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BUT, most importantly – it’s about taking ACTION – and ACTION that leads to “improvements” in what you KNOW, what you DO and WHO YOU ARE as an EDUcator.

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Many educators do this by asking questions about TEACHing:

These are “great” questions – but are they enough?

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We all know that there is a huge difference between asking questions about TEACHing and asking others about LEARNing:

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In fact, we can take the same 3 questions and apply them to LEARNing:

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If you want…we can even push that boat out a little further…just a little, mind:

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WHAT the HELL….in for a pound, in for a penny; Let’s take those THREE little questions and think about:

  • CURRICULUM
  • ASSESSMENT (and, TESTING – of course)
  • EDUCATIONAL LEADERSHIP
  • QUALITY
  • …the CONFERENCE BUDGET (and how we can spend that money so much more wisely)!

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Hey, here’s a whacky idea  – …speak to your HoD and ask her to cancel the “boring administration meeting” she had planned for you all this week!

Get a cup o’ çay (and a biscuit) with your friends…take the time to “sit” and “chat“…and REFLECT!

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Einstein and CPD

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GO ON…do “it” with another TEACHer today

…you know you’ll have fun!

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FIXing Hazırlık…(the Postscript)

In Educational Leadership, ELT and ELL, Our Universities, Quality & Institutional Effectiveness on 26/05/2013 at 11:12 pm

Dummies (fixing hazırlık))

Some of you might be thunking…a postscript?

What the heck for?

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That last post gave us so many good best practices to get our teeth into…actually, we’ve already got / done a few of them.

All we need to do is put all the others in place!

8Checklist (WRONG)

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You might be right! Maybe…I should just get round to writing that book I mentioned…the one above?

Afterall, it’s that type of advice that ‘sells’…yes?

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Certainly sells more than wishy-washy, idealisticquixotic stuff like:

Learning and Improving 01

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…or even,

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Learning and Improving 02

 

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Sorry (bw)

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My turn to say…

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NO

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Now, don’t get me wrong…a lot of those suggestions can be very good for an institution. Getting involved in an accreditation process can really help an institution to ‘see’ itself…

REFLECTing ourselves

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My worry is…

…exactly how much can going through the motions of an accreditation process (I did not say anything about…jumping through hoops…honest!) help us with problems like the ones we noted in the very first post of this mini-series:

Lise 5

you know, remember…we said something about ‘hazırlık’ being ‘broken’!

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Seriously, go back and take a look at all those suggestions (this is where you CLICK…on the ‘red’ stuff)…

put yourself in the shoes of a ‘typical’ student at your own institution (no, not one of those ‘süper-inek’, 100% scholarship students that our schools ‘love’ to cream off the YÖK lists)…

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…and ‘answer’ this little question:

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Litmus Test FQ

Hey! Maybe, you could even ask a few students…for REAL?

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Or, you could just ask the teachers, too!

Teacher (hands tied)

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Yes, it’s that simple – that is the ‘litmus test’ for any ‘quality’ initiative or any ‘improvement’ strategy!

Anything else, especially the way I presented those ideas, is a bit like:

Quality (the wrong way)

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Remember…

Broken Quality (TG definition)

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Now, you might also (round about this time) be thunking:

WHY (joker Face)

…is Tony telling us this?

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Those ‘lovely’ accreditation folks (and the expense-paid trip)…painted a very different picture!

Tony’s suggestions (or rather…those of his ‘mates’) are very similar to those standards they showed us…the action points they suggested we put into our ‘self-study audit’

…all the things we have to put on our 18-24 month ‘to-do-list

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Sorry (bw)

…again…

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But, in my defence, I did tell you this mini-series was gonna be all about…

Truth (mini ver 01)

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The thing is, when me and me mates, did that listwe kinda forgot ourselves (the wine did not help either)

…we became:

Cheerleaders (accreditation)

…rather than EDUcators!

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…just for a couple of hours, mind! We’re OK…now.

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We just forgot that many of the people who put accreditation body ‘standards’ together have actually been in the ‘quality game’ for years (decades even). They have worked in schools that have built and re-invented their own traditions over timeand made many a mistake along the way!

ADAPTation (Paul Schoemaker quote 01)

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These schools have been able to grow, adapt and LEARN new ‘cultures’ – because they have created ‘thunking teams’ who asked the ‘right’ questions.

And, the answers they have ‘co-created’…led them to create thecommunities of purpose we discussed earlier.

ADAPTation (Charles Darwin quote 01)

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These schools were not interested in accreditation

Quality (the real prizes)

…for all the wrong reasons!

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They did not fall foul of the ‘trap’ that many schools have found themselves in:

Quality (Harvey quote)

…they lived ‘quality’!

…and they took the time to LEARN  how to walk-their-own-talk!

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These schools and their ‘quality’ leaders realised that:

Change (BPNE)

…especially if we ‘borrow’ without ‘thunking’ – or, at the very least, consider the issue of ‘fitness-for-purpose’!

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In a nutshell, they realised that they needed to create NEXT Practice’ for their OWN Institutions – and this takes TIME, CARE and LEADERSHIP

LEADERSHIP final definition

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As I noted in Part 02 of this series, many of the people who created accreditation programmes asked themselves the type of questions Peter Block has suggested can help us ‘fix’ many of the challenges we face in our schools, colleges and universities.

And, I bet you all the profits from my next book (LOL) – they also took the advice of Arthur Ashe:

The ARTHUR TEST

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So, if you are serious about ‘fixing’ your hazırlık…what about asking some other questions, too:

4 FQs (where are we right now)

…the more, the merrier – when you thunk these over!

Hazırlık COMMUNITY

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What about these:

What STOPS (teachers and learners)

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Or, one of my favourites:

One SINGLE Problem

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But, double-check this by asking:

2 FQs (to double check)

Forget, the ‘easy’ questions:

Fixing FQ 06

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It is the more ‘profound’ (tougher) questions that will open the minds of your people and connect those in your own community of purpose:

Fixing FQ 08 09 and 10

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Sevgiyle kalın!

FIXing Hazırlık… (Pt 03 of 03)

In Adult Learners, Educational Leadership, ELT and ELL, Our Universities, Quality & Institutional Effectiveness on 25/05/2013 at 1:53 pm

But TONY

Come on, guys! Give me a break…for crying out loud!

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I had wanted to stick with Arthur – but my in-box overfloweth…and not with stuff that I can repeat on this blog (my daughter still reads the posts…from time to time…when I ‘bribe’ her or drop a subtle hint that I have been gossiping about her…again)!

I mean…what the Eternal Example tells us is just goldengolden advice from a golden bloke:

The ARTHUR TEST

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What Nikos Amca tells us about the need to create a ‘community of purpose‘ is ‘golden’:

Purpose 1 (Mourkogiannis quote)

…not to mention, a moral imperative, if we (really) want to do something about the ‘rust’ that has been building up on the hull of the ‘good ship hazırlık’ over the past few years…

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And, what about Peter Block? Those wonderful questions…of his…

YES (red exlam tilted)

…this is what WE need in OUR hazırlık…in ELL Prep Schools across the globe!

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Innit?

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What do you mean…

NO

…you want ‘what’…WHAT?

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Practical advice?

Tips n’ hintsyou can use on Monday morning?

Best practices?

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Al buna!

OK…that was a bit rude of me!

…guess I’ll be dining with Hannibal tonight!

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So, I sat down with some of me mates…and we came up with a few ideas…for you all.

Dummies (fixing hazırlık))

…NO, this does NOT mean you are ‘dummies’ – some of you are soooooo sensitive!

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OK – first off:

Improvement advice 01

Got that? Easy…yes?

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Then,

Improvement advice 02

All good…out there?

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Oh, yes…don’t forget:

Improvement advice 03

What? You want more…?

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OK – you asked for it:

Improvement advice 06

Now, there’s one that can go on everyone’s list!

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Next…and read this one carefully:

Improvement advice 05

I said…’carefully’!

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A few more?…you guys are ‘good’…bloody good:

Improvement advice 04

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More?

Improvement advice 09

…gotta get us some of those ‘handbooks’! Now, how do I Google…

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What about…these three?

Improvement advice 10

This little lot should keep us busy…till Thursday!

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And…on Friday…we can have a stab at this one:

Improvement advice 07

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Whoopsie-daisies…I forgot this one – the ‘bestest practice’ of all:

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Improvement advice 08

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That’s how WE  fix OUR  hazırlık programmes, yes?

ID Card

Türküz…Doğruyuz……Çalışkanız…

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Me thunks…I need a post-script!

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