Tony Gurr

Posts Tagged ‘great teachers’

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


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:


If you want to build a GREAT school…


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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’… 


Learning WoG TG ver 100716


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 


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


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…





10 Things All GREAT TEACHers “DO”…(and “KNOW”)!

In Classroom Teaching on 13/08/2012 at 11:40 am

This one is just to “prove” that I can also do a post with less than 75 words

A few weeks ago, I did a post with 3 images – images that went down with my co-bloggers (and “pinners“) very well:

I thought perhaps I should elaborate on this.

…after all, I hear that GREAT BLOGGERS frequently “do” TOP 10 LISTS

Mmm…could we add any more, acaba?

P.S: Told you I could “do” it – words on images do not count (and neither does a “PS”)!

Imagineering the 21st Century Teacher…

In Classroom Teaching, Our Schools, Our Universities on 18/09/2011 at 7:19 pm

In one of my very first posts I tried to outline what I thought were the ingredients for great teaching (or even “great teachers”) – I did this because a couple of bloggers had criticised my over-emphasis on LEARNing (had to set the record straight).

I is a “teacher”, too!


But, perhaps (more importantly) I did this because I’d also been invited to speak to a group of “4th year under-grads” – who had put me on the spot by asking me to talk to them about “what makes a great teacher”!

The chat with the under-grads went something like this:

I have to admit – I even surprised myself with that!


Feeling as if I might have short-changed them a bit, I sat down and tried to elaborate on a couple of themes we had touched upon (they had, you see, also asked me if I had a blogthey could “follow”gulp)!

In version 1.0 I said this – having “switched”, sharpish, to the idea of the “effective teacher” – teachers should:

  • Treat students with respect and a caring attitude
  • Present themselves in class as “real people”
  • Spend more time working with small groups throughout the day
  • Provide a variety of opportunities for students to apply and use knowledge and skills in different learning situations
  • Use active, hands-on student learning
  • Vary instructional practices and modes of teaching
  • Offer real-world, practical examples

But, also I made the piont that it was the  level of “LEARNing Literacy” (or “learnacy”) of the teacher her or himself – that was the “critical factor“:

Not everybody liked my choice of “image” – but, I do love my South Park!


I did, for a nano-second or two, actually believe that I might have “coined” my first original  educational phrase (as I had done a few years back with “Assessment Literacy” – damn you, Stiggins) – I had to settle with a pretty “neat” set of questions that teachers could, perhaps, use to reflect, learn, growand get off the planet quicker!

In more recent posts, I have been waxing lyrically on “How to make a mushroom omelette” (my other hobby is cooking – with a good glass of vino by my side, of course)…

The mushroom was, of course, a bit of a metaphor…we do love our literacies (and fluencies) in education.

And, if we want 21st Century Learners…surely, we need 21st Century Teachers who speak the same language(s) so as to co-create the LEARNing that everyone demands of us all.


And, so…thought it was time for version 2.0…

the “effective” 21st Century Teacher!

My darling wife has just called me to “act” on my love of allthingscooking – tis Sunday evening after all (and Dexter wants his dinner, too) – have a thunk and we can chat later!


What makes a teacher really “GREAT”?

In Classroom Teaching on 06/04/2011 at 9:57 am

I mentioned a while back about the “Good to Great” theme of a conference I attended last weekend – it reminded me of an earlier post I did back when we first started the blog.

I have re-posted this below for all of you that may have “missed” it – and for the great teachers in Konya.

What about TEACHING and TEACHERS? It is what teachers think, what teachers do, and what teachers are at the level of the classroom that ultimately shapes the kind of learning that young people get (Andy Hargreaves and Michael Fullan). It’s a relatively self-evident truth that teaching and learning are two sides of the same coin. However, and as a growing body of evidence and research is demonstrating, most learning in the world takes place without any form of formal teaching … Read More

via allthingslearning