Saturday Period 1 – Research Ed. Me, really?

This is my first attempt at a blog – it probably ‘requires improvement’ (RI) most things do. I hope it might help encourage teachers to become Tweachers(use twitter), read blogs (not necessarily mine) and learn about CPD opportunities. #NTENRED

So Saturday period 1 I usually like to make a long lesson mainly because it comes between Friday period 5 and Sunday period 1 which obviously brings Monday period 1 ever nearer. I try and do very little work Saturday period 1 because everyone tells me we need a work life balance, so no planning or marking or admin, but there is always thinking about school, almost always – there was when I had a full timetable and there is now (as Tom Bennett put it) that I have a fuller wallet and easier timetable being SLT.

This Saturday 3rd May I was in school, not mine but Huntington, there were lots of teachers SLT, heads, researchers and maybe 400 in total (someone can correct me) on a bank holiday Saturday. I got there really thanks to twitter and have tweeted with many people who were there. I think I have met two of them before, I felt I knew them from their writing, their tweets, though not from their twitter images and well it turned out the reality was even better than the virtuality. So my purpose is to encourage you to get on twitter, to get along to a Research Ed conference or maybe a teachmeet. Why?

I wish that I had been able to do a wordle of the day – most common words I heard were: teachers, learners, thriving, progressing, inspiring, sharing, reflecting, evaluating (well and a few more). What I didn’t hear much about was inspecting , Gove (one mention) politicians, targets. So frankly I found myself enjoying Saturday assembly with the inspirational John Tomsett, who in talking to us was as good as his blogs;

Period 1 with Mary Myatt I was seriously reminded about the aspects of teaching and learning I so love. She showed us that research is already happening and easy to encourage and profound in it’s ability to raise energy and passion in the day to day job and its ability to bring life cannot be unedrestimated. I agree

Period 2 with David Weston proved my decision to ‘work’ on Saturday was right as he said so much CPD gets lost once we return to that hurley burley which unlike in ‘that play’ is never “done”. David’s point ‘ the best CPD is aspirational, collaborative relevant, differentiated, sustained, underpinned by research, evaluated and led by leaders who model great learning and demonstrate trust and distributed leadership’ wow just that pearl makes me think about what we can do.

Period 3 we looked at some possible NFER evaluative tools. I find evaluation so hard to do, time being a major issue and was encouraged to see there is no easy, obvious way to do the task. However the tools here looked useful -we’ll see.
Lunch without supervision meant I could talk with a colleague who was also in York. An enjoyable conversation, a chance to catch up with a valued teacher colleague a reminder of the importance of finding a bit of time to do so.

Period 4 is a tricky slot and Jill Berry spoke about the transitioning from deputy to head and her research in that area. I tweeted this was more helpful than much of my NPQH but it was refreshing to hear from a wise practioner who is looking to help the profession on this task and who hasn’t joined the inspection brigade (sorry if you have).

Period 5 was Tom Bennett – those blogs, tweets and books of Tom’s came to life, an enjoyable session reminding us despite being busy practionors that we need to bring research and practice closer, we need to ask the right questions in our quest to find out what works for us, our learners, our strugglers. There is a challenge here, which was recognised as we do have frameworks to work inside and I am acutely aware myself that children get the one chance , but the idea of at least trying to get some overlap between proper research and the classroom is well worth the risks. I reminded myself we teach 80,000 lessons a year in my school, we need to get most of them right, not just worrk about ‘you know what’.

Period 6 OH NO I am only used to a five period day so was this an after school session, revision or just detention. Stephen Tierney showed us how he had made it work in his school. In a skilled presentation with good humour he showed how much he valued the research, how he had moved from sharing good practice to joint practice development. He brought me full circle as we thought about that busy brilliant teacher balancing workload and a home life. If they are doing a good job for young people that’s fine by me but to make sure it keeps on happening help others take on responsibility and spread the effective ideas.

Now if you led a session and I was one of your learners , just maybe you hoped I had learned more, well I have but I can’t get it all in a blog. As well as content there is the inspirational and the challenges. The latter is what I now need to consider. So my starter for four:

1. How do we help staff see they do research now?
2. How do we get more research going and make sure the “good stuff” we already do is caught, shared, lifted and trialled?
3 What do we ‘stop’ to make room for this in the ‘hurly burly’?
4 Evaluation evaluation evaluation.

Well and lots more questions too but they can wait until Sunday period 1 or for this bank holiday weekend Monday period 2.

I work in a faith community, today is the first Sunday after Easter and in church we were looking at story of the road to Emmaus “and they had their eyes opened” Our call and our duty too?

5 thoughts on “Saturday Period 1 – Research Ed. Me, really?

  1. Pingback: Saturday Period 1 | Teaching & Learning Blo...

  2. Pingback: ResearchED York- the blogs - Tom Bennett - Blog - Tom Bennett - TES Community

  3. Thanks for this, John – and it was good to hear about sessions I didn’t manage to get to. I tweeted on the day that I really wanted to be in several locations at once!

    And I have to confess I am an inspector! Not for Ofsted, but for ISI, the Independent Schools Inspectorate, where all the Team Inspectors are serving or recently serving heads or senior leaders in independent schools – the system is founded on a belief in peer review. Trust me – it DOES work, and ISI isn’t the bogeyman figure that Ofsted can be. Perhaps we can have a conversation about this when we meet sometime!

    Glad you got so much from the day. I thought it was a great Conference.


    • Thank you for taking trouble to reply. Definite apologies about inspecting – this now sounds like an excuse but we do get people who haven’t been in a classroom giving a verdict. Giving advice is always welcome! Much to think about and so glad I went.


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