Showing posts from June, 2013

The verifier God complex ...

Today someone used a term I have not heard in some considerable time. Quite accurate and always worth remembering, there are some standards verifiers out there who enjoy being God for a day and have an associated complex.

So if you are a standards (or external) verifier, examiner, moderator; remember, you are mortal like them and a mere critical friend. You do not need to keep turning stones and find issues, it will not extend your phallus or enhance your mammaries. If you feel the urge to fulfil a deep seated God complex, best go and do something else.

The art of oral podiatry ...

Do you ever have a situation where you are in a meeting, where others drop their organisation in the mire. I visit educational establishments on occasion to inspect their provision and ability to maintain standards.

Whist this is not as critical as an ofsted inspection, it is a process that can present educators with problems that may eventually reverberate in years to come. Yet I am often in professional and sometimes private situations, where the hapless soul opens mouth to firmly enter foot.

Or become an oral podiatrist.

It happens time and again, someone says something without thinking. Its harder when you know them in a personal capacity.

The compliance visit ...

Often centres plough on regardless with their standards verification, unaware that there is a hidden treat in store for centres that are suspected of miscreant behaviour.
Over the last few weeks I have been involved in a couple of compliance visits; where a senior verifier and investigator appear announced asking for the chief executive.
The initial scurry of activity then morphs into a cascade of emotion from top downwards, as everyone is suddenly flung into having to respond to our requests for information, marking, verification, registrations etc.
So, if you are at a centre thinking that you can pull the wool over the eyes of a standards verifier. You may be correct; but out there is an interesting array of triggers that encourage a compliance visit.
Be aware that ofqual themselves are a primary trigger, as well as whistleblowers, unhappy parents, students, relatives and vexatious souls. Your data may not ring true, a trend may be observed or regional quality experts may spot beha…

Are you a vocationalist? ...

I do like further education colleges … fact … well ok, I like the lecturers. While I may now work at a university, there is something about the direct, honest and impassioned nature of this cult that brings out the vocationalist in me.

Fathers Day thought :

Having had a meagre experience of fatherhood during my youth; the prospect of becoming a father contained all the natural trepidations and excitement. Now over twenty years down this road, what can I say that would give wisdom on the experience?
Someone wiser than I, once said "as parents we are all amateurs; if we are lucky our children do a decent job of helping us bring them up". 
How many reading this, as parents can relate this this? Even those without children can recall when we have had to 'gently educate' our parents. 
Making mistakes is part of the process, as our children mature it moves from dictat to discussion. From direction to healthy debate. But parenting is not a democracy, more a benign dictatorship, in fact it is probably between the two and both at the same time.
I have to ask my children what it is like to have a father, as that experience has been so sparse. The feedback is that they are still talking to me after 20 and 17 years respectively. On…

More use of phones (again) ...

There was a time when the technology was not advanced enough; that the notion of the phone being an intrusive device in the classroom suited my educational ethos. As well as the indiscipline that surrounded this.

Holding the record for confiscation (a whole group during a mass-recording of a fight); I do understand the need for control. But having seen the change in tech over the last five years and the economic constraints many academic colleagues operate under. My standpoint has moved from 'no phones' towards ... why aren't you using them under a well managed culture of discipline and mutual agreement?

Recently I had to conduct a centre visit. It was a pleasure to discover that we had a centre that offered wifi to their student community of 2000+ and allowed all of them to use appropriately their mobile phones for learning.

This is somewhere that had recently acquired an ofsted grade two and from my perspective maintained quite a sensible culture towards mobile based lea…

Breaking the ringleader ...

Having taught for many years face-to-face; now no longer in this realm. With typical occasional frequency, when the conversation goes to this matter, they will say 'bet you dont miss teaching the kids then'.
As you can tell, they don't teach hence why they make such a darn fool statement.
The majority of my teaching of young people has been an absolute pleasure. Yes there was the occasional group or individual that made it difficult. But ironically I have found adults especially teachers more challenging at times and more inclined to behave inappropriately.
On the rare occasion when you had the group that were a challenge; the trick was to work out who the ringleader was ... and break them.
There was two simple methods that could be applied five or more years ago: Devise an exit strategy that was meteoric and left the rest of the group aghast at this human sacrifice.More common was to break them, own them, control them and make them your intellectual play thing. If you stru…

An outstanding use of Phones in the classroom ...

This is purely anecdotal and relies entirely on trusting that the two souls who independently shared this experience were also sharing a factual truth.

During a training session I was co-delivering, the discussion moved towards the use of mobiles in the classroom. The group of 16+ educators divided clearly into two camps. Until two members shared the following notion:
By getting my students to use their phones as part of the lesson; I gained a grade of outstanding. One asked students to tweet questions into a RSS app on their smartboard, the other asked the students to use their phones to complete a search for some information.

Nothing complex, no overtly clever techniques, just an example of good practice and learning taking place.

It is worth noting that they work around 250 miles from each other.