Sunday, 27 October 2013

NQPH Placement: My preparation

It's been a complicated process arranging my NPQH placement (for reasons not worth going into). But tomorrow I belatedly start my placement at a lovely school around 25 miles from where I live.

I have been tasked with raising standards in Science as part of a cycle of subject reviews. Science is not a subject that I feel is a personal strength of mine. So the task will be challenge - one that I'm looking forward to. I haven't any real success criteria yet as I need to determine these myself through a review of the subject in school tomorrow.

I will be working with the Subject Leader to carry out research into standards of Science in the school. As part of the process I plan to:

Meet with the Subject Leader
This is the best person to be able to give me an insight into the current standard of the subject. I hope he'll be able to articulate his vision for Science. It would be good to find out about what he believes are the strengths and areas to develop. I wonder how a 'buzz' about science is created by the school.

Meet with the Pupils
I want to speak to a cross-section of children who will be able to tell me what they like and what they don't like so much. I'd like to find out things like how they prefer to work in science, and how they like to record work.

Learning Walk
I'm hoping to look around the school for evidence of science being valued and enjoyed. It would be great to see displays.

Book Scrutiny
I hate the term 'book scrutiny', but that's what I need to do. I'd like to find out about the planning of the work, and see the progression, continuity and challenge between each year group. I wonder how the work is marked?

Finding out
I want to find out any data that is recorded for science - and how it is obtained. I have an audit for the teachers to find out their views. I hope they'll have time to fill it in.

By next week I want to have devised an action plan with success criteria based on what I have learned. I want to use Lesson Studies as a method of developing teachers. I also need to consider whereabouts the school is in working towards fulfilling the objectives of the new national curriculum. Perhaps this will form part of my plan.

I've prepared my questions, printed my staff audit, made notes on the lesson study process and printed the science pages of the new curriculum. I'm nervous as working in a different school will take me right out of my comfort zone. But I guess that's why I need to do it. As I always tell everyone else - it'll be fine!


Sunday, 13 October 2013

My Learning Style

We all learn in different ways. I completed the Kolb learning style inventory. The inventory is designed to help you to understand how you learn best in educational settings and everyday life.

My results showed that I learn best through concrete experience and by active experimentation - in other words, by experiencing and by doing

Learning by experiencing means:

  • Learning from specific experiences
  • Relating to people
  • Being sensitive to feelings and people
Learning by doing means:
  • Showing the ability to get things done
  • Taking risks
  • Influencing people and events through action

I feel that these are all strengths of mine. I believe that I can learn best through experiences. I am able to relate to people and consider their feelings. I am a big believe in the phrase 'you don't know unless you try' and therefore I like to take measured risks. I am someone who likes to see action and think I can influence people this way.

My preferences in these types of learning confirm that I am an 'accommodating learner'. This means that I 'may want to put ideas that I have practiced into action, finding still more uses for whatever has been learned. I tend to accommodate, or adapt to, changing circumstances and information.'

People with an accommodating learning style 'have the ability to learn primarily from 'hands-on experience'. 
"If this is your style, you probably enjoy carrying out plans and involving yourself in new and challenging experiences. Your tendency may be to act on intuition rather than logical analysis. In solving problems, you may rely more heavily on people for information than on your own technical analysis. In formal learning situations you may prefer to work with others to get assignments done, to set goals, to do field work and to test out different approaches to completing a project."
The basic strengths of my learning style are:
  • Getting things done
  • Leading
  • Taking risks
  • Initiating
  • Being adaptable
  • Being practical

Sunday, 6 October 2013

Emotional Intelligence

On one of our NPQH elective days I completed an Emotional Intelligence Assessment.
According to the results, the strongest aspect of my emotional intelligence is Relationship Management. This was followed by Social Awareness.

It is interesting that my scores for self-awareness and self-management both came out as my lowest score. It appears that I do not know myself very well.

But when I looked at Daniel Goleman's framework of Emotional Competences I can't help but agree with the results of my assessment. My self-confidence can sometimes be low. My self-control can be rubbish (e.g. poor eating and exercising habits sometimes.) Whilst I believe that I am trustworthy and conscientious, I am not always very quick to adapt.

In terms of my social competences I think that I am very service oriented and have an awareness of what good service involves. I believe that I have good leadership skills and am aware of the need for different parts of an organisation to work well together. I am frequently told that I can be influential within my establishment, and a good communicator. I am good at building teams and can be a catalyst for change, when needed.

So what have I learned? I need to be more reflective about myself. I need to be more confident in my own abilities.


Work-Life Balance

I love this blog post about Work Life Balance by Ezzymoon. It has got me thinking about what my own personal work-life balance policy would be.

Mine is pretty similar, but for family reasons, there are some differences:

  • Arrive at school by 8am and leave between 5 and 5.30pm.
  • At the most, work 2 hours on Sundays and have the rest of the weekend to spend with family and friends.
  • Work no more than 2.5 hours each night at home during the week. (I tend to do this late at night after having enjoyed some family and chill out time).
  • Do not reply to work emails outside of working hours.
  • Spend at least 20 minutes in the staffroom each day eating lunch and socialising.
  • Have a conversation with at least 3 different adults per day during working hours.
  • Go to sleep by 11.30pm each night during the week.
When I become a headteacher I will insist on my team setting themselves their own limits. How can we teach children to have lives if we don't have lives of our own?