It’s been a busy month, and inevitably I’ve not done everything I planned to. But one thing that I have done over the last couple of weeks is to start doing my daily doodles on postcards. Of course, because I sometimes find times to doodle at work and other times at home, I only have half my stack here. But here’s some of the ones I like from this month – now safely stashed away to send in the future.
Commenting on the publication of the Scottish Funding Council’s Report on Widening Access 2016-17, Further and Higher Education Minister Shirley-Anne Somerville said:
“These figures are a stark reminder of why this Government was right to take the action we did on widening access.
“They show that in the four years up to 2016-17 nothing had changed and, on their own, universities were not making improvement in increasing the percentage of students from the 20% most deprived areas.
“The Commission on Widening Access reported in March 2016, by which time the vast majority of students had already applied for the 2016-17 academic year. So these figures provide a baseline from which to judge how successfully the Commission’s recommendations will be implemented – at a national level but also at an individual institution level.
“More recent figures from UCAS show a 13% increase in the number of Scots from disadvantaged areas getting a place to study at a Scottish university in 2017-18. So we expect to see demonstrable progress next year and beyond.”
- The Scottish Funding Council report on Widening Access 2016-17 can be viewed on the Scottish Funding Council website. http://www.sfc.ac.uk/publications-statistics/statistical-publications/statistical-publications-2018/SFCST062018.aspx
- The data shows that, in 2016-17, 13.8% of full-time first degree entrants were from SIMD20. For all Higher Education entrants (including sub-degree and college), 17.7% are from SIMD 20.
- The Commission on Widening Access target, accepted by the Scottish Government is, by 2030, students from the 20% most deprived backgrounds should represent 20% of entrants to higher education, with equality of access seen in both the college and university sector.
- To drive forward progress to the 2030 goal the interim targets are:
– 16% of full-time first degree entrants to Scottish universities from the 20% most deprived areas (SIMD20) by 2021;
– 18% of full-time first degree entrants to Scottish universities from the 20% most deprived areas (SIMD20) by 2026;
– By 2021, an individual institutional target for universities of 10%.
- The Commission’s final report was published in March 2016. The main UCAS deadline for the 2016-17 academic year was January 2016.
- The UCAS 2017 End of Cycle report (published December/January) showed a 13% increase in the number of Scots from the most deprived communities getting places to study at a Scottish university in 2017 (4,565 in 2016 to 5,170 in 2017).
The post Minister comments on 2016-17 widening access statistics appeared first on Engage for Education.
An excellent resource to set up a debating team or club. It can also be used in your classroom to discuss all manner of things to do with your curriculum.
Osiris Educational are a professional learning body offering some fantastic ‘cutting edge’ programmes. Check them out here:
|How does this quote start? |
"If they sign... Give 'em Rope" ...Or "Give me Freedom or give me the rope"
...And who said it?
2009 RBS Memo ...or 1700 Pirate John Goldenwolf?
1) Rebels with a Cause 2) Rewrite your Rules 3) Reorganise Yourself 4) Redistribute Power and 5) Tell Tall Tales.
In this post I look at some suggestions and ideas based on the Godfather of Rebellion's suggestions for his 2.0 version of The Pirate Code... an upgrade for the modern era of the true Democratic Society of the 17th Century.
For those who are unaware of the democratic nature and inclusiveness of Pirates and have a different -gold digging, cut throat - view, I'll use a quote from popular culture and an outlaw from 300 years earlier than the Golden Age of Pirates to make the point (One that might appeal to #IndyRef2 and #GrowthCommission fans):
"I shall tell you of William Wallace. Historians from England will say I am a liar, but history is written by those who have hanged heroes"
Need a clue? My son played his son in the BBC's History of Scotland (#ProudDad... Couldn't resist! Lol).
|Check those big blue eyes of Robert the Bruce's Son,|
King David as he gets crowned the King of Scotland ;)
1) The challenge, why this article and change is needed
2) A Suggested 2.0 Pirate Code Article
3) The Inspiration behind the proposed article
4) Some Warnings regarding things to watch out for and try to avoid
In this post I include the suggested Pirate Code Article from the book, before attempting to "manifesto jam" the articles.
I'll do this by including how, where and when Be More Pirate observations are accurate based on my experiences and/or highlighting books and links that support or complement the points made.
Anything in blue text is an extract from Be More Pirate.
All captains and crews profoundly expect, respect, celebrate and appreciate the art of strategically, structurally, intuitively and instantly making shit up. Not irresponsible imaginings, reckless reimaginings and certainly not false or fake news. We champion creative solution finding and positive problems solving based on available facts, the moment of opportunity and the power of practiced intuition. When indecision is not an option, when change is constant and nothing is normal, we’re proudly comfortable to rationally and rapidly develop, test and implement solutions on the spot. We learn from our mistakes, even if we don’t celebrate them, and use them to make making it up better.
In the interview above the interviewer says he can see why the political left, right and middle would love her ideas ...but also hate them too, to which she replies
2) The Banks are unlikely to change their ways... Owned by the Govt but can't prevent branch closures?
4) Jobs are, at the moment, being lost quicker than they are being created amongst some groups
I Don't Know... But I Know a Man who Does
Some might excuse these businessmen because, as Sam highlights, they were working on the basis of
HOWEVER, in one of the business books that a lot of business people read, Think and Grow Rich, we have a prime example of the concept of "I don't know" working really, really well and being a sign of leadership, critical thinking and intelligence... by a leader from yester-year:
Ford was asked questions like "Who was Benedict Arnold?" and "How many soldiers did the British send over to America to put down the rebellion of 1776?"
Ford became tired of the line of questioning and said "If I should really want to answer the foolish question you have just asked, or any of the other questions you have been asking me, let me remind you that I have a row of electric buttons on my desk, and by pushing the right button, I can summon to my aid people who can answer any question I desire to ask concerning the business to which I am devoting most of my efforts. Now, will you kindly tell me why I should clutter up my mind with general knowledge, for the purpose of being able to answer questions, when I hire people around me who can supply any knowledge I require?"
We challenge a century old static format as the best structure for the fluid future of our organizations, projects, dreams and schemes. We believe in motivating manifesto that makes clear our vision and we follow a concise but responsive road map with agile measures of accountability. We believe in collaborative ‘working’ and adaptive formats that are regularly used and reviewed in collaboration with not just the whole crew but even our customers, beneficiaries and stakeholders, to openly evaluate success, failure and future scenario planning. No captain will produce a ‘plan’ for only a narrow audience, or a moment in time, only for it to gather dust in an inbox ignored or unused by the crew.
I detailed in my previous Be More Pirate Post how this worked with the FE Commercial Services idea in my Business Development Ideas for FE.
After all, culture and core values are underrated at the best of times... To then expect people to fight for them like this? Only going to happen with a very particular kind of group and teams!
But whatever it is, it's a real fight, one where you're putting your neck on the line, you could get hurt, you've got something to lose, it could cost you your job, end a relationship, damage your reputation, or worse" Be More Pirate
The game changing "Stage 5" companies that Tribal Leadership author, Dave Logan found, take core values very seriously... and how many game changing organisations are their out there?
|NB Check the similarity between these teams and NodeXL map maker |
Marc Smith's community models - esp Stage 5 and Tight Clusters
That said, in February I did a quick "5 min favour" but (for whatever reason), there was no follow up to this support... But I had opened a communication channel up.
Be More Pirate fans... when it comes to manifesto jamming (Especially when things don't quite go to plan), the image below *Just Might* go on to become your best friend when in unchartered waters... or any time you find yourself ship wrecked, rudderless, marooned (Or worse) end up like poor old Stede Bennett.
The conversation with detractors done and dusted... now it's on to talk core values and ships articles with The Pirates ;).
Profit -> Purpose
Hierarchies -> Networks
Controlling -> Empowering
Planning -> Experimentation
Privacy -> Transparency
At what point do we return to normal life?
"We've got our treasure (Whether improved social condition or cold hard cash) Let's return to shore and be consultants for the Navy"
Then ask yourself (And/or go on a Pirate scouting expedition), who is doing things well?
I have done this will all of the edu reports that I've worked on (Social Media in FE, Business Development in FE, Story Telling, Culture in Edu, EdTech Development)
For me the bright spots are KIPP Charter schools... Who just happen to have their own Pirate code in the form of a committment that every one - students, parents and educators - sign up to.
It’s time to evolve the human race beyond the mindset of solely a ‘consumer’ and the dangerous, destructive and limited relationships it has created. We will perform a forced reset on the language of consumerism that in turn will help us to develop more interesting, involved, interactive, mutually respectful and naturally more beneficial, respectful and rewarding relationships between our organizations, our audiences and finite resources of our world. All pirates undertake to advance the evolution of the idea of ‘the citizen’ as the dominant defining thought of our audiences and communities, and of our future.
- How many educators help develop your product?
- How many students help develop your product?
- Do these stakeholders share in the business success?
(More than a T-Shirt + some stickers + a "shout out" on Twitter)
- Do founders Skype in to classes to discuss their story and work with educators and young users?
In the warning section Sam makes an important point that this is not anti-capitalism or an anti-globalization ideology or idea. It's a natural development of where things are at.
We take happiness seriously, and give deep happiness the place and importance it deserves. We see happiness as a strategic driver for success, productivity and creative output, but also as a strategic objective in and of itself. We do not believe happiness is a nice-to-have, we believe it is a need-to-have. We make happiness a starting point, not just an end point; we use our intention to achieve happiness to inform the decisions we make, the environments we create and the projects we undertake. We endeavour to measure, manage and share the proof we accumulate that happiness is symbiotic with great work, great impact, great relationships and greater effectiveness. We do not conform to a one-size-fits all happiness, nor expect to be happy every day, but accept and respect the right to make happiness the goal.
1) Am I having fun?
I've worked on project where we've used Pirate articles to have fun while getting s**t done.
|Chris Sacca first step for Happiness is the same as Sam's Be More Pirate|
(Yes... I said Blackberry. Yeah go on laugh it up... I'll just wait til you've finished pointing and laughing at the tech dinosaur. Finished Yet? No? I'm parient, I can wait. Can we continue now?)
A live or die by your sword business model!
- We've seen through Jane Jacobs that "Unslumming" is possible
- (You just need to give a shit instead of moving on)
- We've seen how unconcious bias can be detrimental to all
- We've seen what KIPP and Livity have done in deprived areas, and
- We've seen how excited people can get about politicians through #IndyRef, when there is a genuine sense of hope and change.
This time in the hope that others will pick up on the work I hope that I've started, been involved with and/or attempted to have an impact on.
I left paid employment to try to make them work... Go ask how many
Is extremely sound advice indeed!
At the 2013 World Economic Forum the comment was
Nor will my kids be in school in 20 years time when the latest magic wand solution and restructure that's currently being strategiesed and planned will be realised!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Nor do these politicians "eat their own dog food" because policy makers send their kids off to private schools... a clear admission of how much they believe in themselves and the services they provide??
Go check out Brick by Brick to see that we have the way Lego treated it's dissenters and how you might just have Mads Nipper to thank for Lego still being here today
...Since the near disaster of 2001 Lego corrected the ship and made an epic return to Ol Kirk Christensons cover values!
Another *Must Read* book for aspiring pirates before they hoist up the Jolly Roger! It's an example that could help provide a following wind when you set sail.
In Glow Blogs, we have the Glow Blogs Reader (Follow Blogs)
The Glow blogs reader allows you to ‘follow’ a number of Glow Blogs. In following blogs you will be able to see which of these blogs has been updated in your dashboard rather than have to visit each site to check for updates.
Useful because 1. it allows you to follow private blogs which an RSS Reader will not and 2. For teachers unfamiliar with RSS and readers it will be a lot simpler.
It doesn’t have the facility to mark off or record posts that you have commented on which is of interest to Aaron.
One the 18th May a book called "New Power" was recommended to me by Tim MacDonald (And he's one of the people who's advice I don't ignore!).
On the 19th May I went into Waterstones to ask if they had it... they didn't stock it (not even on their system, apparently). Pants! What to read then?
A pink book called Be More Pirate was on the shelf. My kinda book! I perused it and liked what I saw.
At the #RSAPirate talk the thought provoking and 100% accurate advice has seen The Godfather of Rebellion, Pirate Sam, tells us that he's had 50 people emailing him saying that they have handed their notice in after reading the book...WOW!
Simultaneously inspiring and whoa! regarding the responsibility of having such an impact!
I LOVE hanging out with the early adopters and innovators because they wring in the changes but, as a user... I'm a laggard. I hope this juxtaposition comes in handy regarding Be More Pirate and this development.
In "Crossing the Chasm" Geoffrey Moore user Mel Gibson's character to define the customer profiles of the early adopters and Danny Glover's character to demonstrate the pragmatists views. No idea if anyone is assisting with the paperwork and/or have identified a potential case study for this model... if not this post *Just Might* be of some use.
Turning Pirate and going through the process - Rebels with a Cause, Rewrite your Rules, Reorganise Yourself, Redistribute Power and Tell Tall Tales - Is something I've been doing for a few years and hope I might be able to help those who have come to the same conclusion as I have after reading Sam's awesome book.
This post and my next one will be one of those "Knowledge Transfer" articles and will detail examples of how and where I have followed the steps Sam recommends. Be More Pirate: The Pirate Code will follow.
My experiences are in line with the 5 steps in Be More Pirate (They are not necessarily in chronological order).
How Citizen Pirates Shop... It's a Participation Sport
On the 22nd I bought Be More Pirate a way that I hope the author might be proud of.
Me: Can you tell me where a book called Be More Pirate lives?
Assistant: Business in the Basement ("Precisely where our economy is at the moment," thinks I)
Me to my little 7 year old Pirate Spy Guy: Help me find Be More Pirate, it's a Pink book
Assistant: You find it OK?
Me: Yep! And I'll buy it if you give me your best Pirate "Argh!"
Assistant (Enthusiastic and fun): Argh! ...complete with elbow action
Laughs all round ...and my son gets another example of how much more fun it is to be a pirate.
Wanna buy the book and break the customer-customer service unwritten rule of hand item over without saying anything (Ideally with both parties being on their phone) and leave ASAP without a word being said?
And/or the treat Waterstones like a library in that we are a little bit quieter in book shops than others?
Get the assistant to give you a Pirate Argh (Better yet get them to encourage the whole shop Argh'ing via the shop tannoy?)
Waterstone's staff... wanna go Pirate on your customers and get a raise? Put an announcement over the tannoy saying
"Customer announcement: Calling all pirates please come to XYZ floor/till. We have a customer about to buy the only copy of Be More Pirate"
Then auction it off the to highest bidder... Let's be Book Pirates!! Lol
Judging a Book by It's Cover
Never judge a book by it's cover, right?
Well I'm gonna judge this book by the cover after reading it, by doing something that I HATED at school...
What do you think the author was thinking when he used the onomatopoeia as an alliteration of a similie that was a conundrum wrapped up in a paradox when he had crunchy cornflakes instead of carefully chosen cheerios for breakfast on that cold, cold, wet day?
Study Tip for Kids: Don't say that
"Maybe because it was on special offer at Asda,"
"Maybe that's all that was in the cupboard because the impact of the RBS Captain's Credit Crunch who #NRAM'ed the economy to bits with their #TooBigToFail old school buddies who cabled money through to them in 24 hours"
Pirate Pink?! I'm all for womens rights and gender pay gap, love Anne Bonny and Mary Read to bits but Pink? Really? What is this Robert De Nero's character in Stardust-type piracy? ;)
Pink is most definitely is not the new Jolly Roger Pirate Black! Lol! ;) ...But kudos for going straight to paperback!)
So we have this cyberman vibe on the front cover.
A tip of acknowledgement and slight admiration to Anonymous?
And/or a glimpse into the future when people hold the book up to their face to act as a visual warning...if you're not careful you and your job is about to be replaced by AI?
Then to the back of the book... Manga style. Everything that you'd expect on the front is on the back.
"Be More Pirate"
"How to take on the World and Win"
In the right position, except on the reverse.
Penguin logo? Bottom right and sideways... as opposed to Top left and the right way up?
Barcode? Upside down.
Price? Sideways in the middle of the back cover.
Definitely the write kind of Pirate! ...And, again, that's judging the book by the cover AFTER reading it!
Wonder what my English Teacher would make of all that "What was the author thinking" stuff? Wonder what Edward Teach would make of it all? ;)
The book then goes into a history lesson in the Golden Age of Pirates and highlights how, where and why establishing a counter-culture may appear to be counter-intuitive...
But is actually the quickest and best way to affect the kind of change that people and organisations need in these days of uncertainty where leadership and new ideas are sorely lacking... but is desperately needed.
NB I am detailing these experiences in the hope of helping the people this book has spoken to, because they are right. Whether good, bad or indifferent experiences at the time... I am grateful for every single one of them! And to all the people who helped me learn them!
Be More Pirate Q)1 - What Really Holds You Back in Life?
I gave 10 years of my life to a startup where I excelled in every role held. This included expanding the number of education partners we had and established a whole new business unit: from conception to working with 50% of UK FE colleges (With 100% repeat business when I managed the project!)
The culture changed when the economy bombed and when David Cameron scrapped National Indicators and Every Child Matters (Which we'd aligned our work with) for the "Big Society" and slashed everyone's budget.
Panic and paralysis affected everyone... Politicians, educators and the organisation I worked at.
Poor decisions over the next 12 months led to a deterioration of the service and the company's income. The doors to the Glasgow office closed.
10 years of my life. A project I believed in but failed to live up to expectations because of the culture. I personally wrote over a million pounds from educators in sales for this business, the unit I created over 3 million as well as taking up hours of educators time... but had little to show for it all. Not ideal!
I vowed never to knowingly take educators time up with anything that I didn't see the value in - from a product AND culture perspective - Over the next few years I would discover that this would turn out to be not as easy as it first appeared (Optimism Bias... both a good and a bad thing)
A friend at the organisation above left and on 3 occasions tried to get me to work with them. After doing my due diligence I eventually agreed.
However, the resources in the day job were never provided so I created content in my own time in the evening. The scarcity led to innovation... and I was co-creating with potential users and customers.
Educators were saying that budgets were tight and they were asked to do more with less. I produced a report with 9 ideas based on what Silicon Valley startups were doing to thrive and shared with colleges.
After sending a single email I had 300 colleges asking for more information. After 3 weeks I had 10 colleges click "Commit to this project for £500" without making a single sales call or email after the initial idea.
All enquiries were inbound after the first email great results (All from exploring ideas out of hours).
Once again the culture wasn't right, but I didn't wait about 10 years to see if things might improve.
At an exit interview I asked what is there in this document (Provided before I started with the company) that I am not delivering on?
The goals that I want to achieve in my world of work have remained unchanged for years now, and include:
1) To make a contribution to the organisations I collaborate with and the wider community
2) To develop personally and professionally
3) To push and challenge myself to be "Comfortable with Uncomfortable" situations
4) To make enough to pay the bills
These organisations were not giving me this, so I set out to acquire the skills to work with either major tech companies (Microsoft, Google, Apple etc) or a Silicon Valley startup both groups appear to;
i) Know how to create great products and
ii) Know the importance of core values and culture.
I did achieve one of these goals... and there were core values that spoke to me, but didn't appear to be much more than a cat poster.
Be More Pirate Q)2 - When Did you First Stand up to Power?
I always questioned the value of why were things done the way they were in work, sometimes I was listened to and ideas implemented, others my voice and ideas got drowned out.
When Borders Book Shop closed their Glasgow branch (What a fantastic shop!) Jim Collins "How the Mighty Fall" was reduced from £18 to £3... an author I admire and I felt this was a symbolic final purchase from a great shop.
As I read, I was shocked to recognise the 5 stages of decline at the company I worked. I highlighted this to my Managing Director and was met with more of stage 1: Hubris... "How dare you suggest my company is in trouble?"
12 months later, when announcing the closure of one of the offices, I presented the same email and argument from a year earlier. Managing Director said nothing on this occasion... but colleagues said:
1) You send this to the boss? You're braver than you look... you're braver than I am!
2) It's as if Jim Collins was sitting in the office watching all this unfold
As I've found tends to happen, ideas have a life cycle (Everyone talking about entrepreneurship for a while, then it's technology, then STEM, then gender). In 2012/13 every man and his dog in education was talking Entrepreneurship... Dragons Den and The Apprentice was on there were Peter Jones Academies, Espark, University Technical Colleges... and the epic fail that was Gazelle: A project to establish entrepreneurs that COST £5 million which, at it's height, had 27 colleges signing up .
I didn't stand up to this organisation, instead I shared ideas from the forthcoming Business Development Ideas in FE report that I was working on with one of the Gazelle Founders 6 months before it was founded.
The reply to the email? "Interesting I'll come back to you"
No "Interesting, we're working on an enterprise idea at the moment" and did this person come back to me? Not exactly... only when I was working on new projects and ideas did I ever get any kind of response.
When people got fed up with Enterprise every man and his dog moved onto technology and (Fanfare please) FELTAG... and the aim in 2014 is to have 50% of all FE course material online by 2017.
After trying to have sound ideas being heard (Again!) and failing (Again!) I sent an email telling the good and the great of Politics and Education Policy makers exactly what I thought of their plans.
I received the quickest and best reply that I ever have done from the pointless political classes.
If the politicians in question care to check the email that followed me standing up to them... they will find a document that pretty much has "Be More Pirate" written all over it.
What's more the ideas would have worked! But those education leads may not be in those positions any longer... so it's not their problem now, right? Kicked down the road for someone else to deal with... til the next reshuffle. 2017 comes and goes... but none of the results that were promised. The reason?
Because FELTAG "Evolved" and we're now living with the spirit of FELTAG... A bit like the Pirates of the Caribbean and Davy Jones. Lol... But all of Udacity's course material is online today.
The trick with "Being More Pirate" is the fact that the culture needs to be there. The code needs to be in place... you need to keep looking til you find and/or are able to create that culture.
In 2015 Chris Van Der Kuyl gave a keynote at the Scottish Learning Festival calling for educators to collaborate more.
I agreed with the comments and, given the startup/corporate, Gazelle and FELTAG experiences... I decided to simply get cracked on by myself this time.
When I started to share what I was doing, I was pleasantly surprised when the then Education Secretary asked me to pitch in.
Unfortunately, I was not entirely surprised when they found themselves unable to acknowledge the time or efforts of those I got involved with the education consultation... at their request.
They lacked the common decency to say "Thank You" and blocked me on Twitter, when I questioned the actions (*Sad Face*).
Oh well never mind, you'll see that I expected this and had legislated for it in my "Brand Voice" post.
A word of advice: If creating a group from scratch... It's an idea to try to collaborate with people that you have some kind of pre-history. Are they REALLY pirates? Or is it people opportunely looking to take advantage of the situation for the benefit of their own careers?
William Shockley did with his colleagues by taking credit for their work (This, and the "Traitorous Eight," played a huge role in establishing Silicon Valley's culture of collaboration).
Twitter Co-Founder Biz Stone... and The No Homework Policy
For any young Pirates out there here's a conversation that Twitter founder had as detailed in "Things a Little Bird Told Me" in chapter 13:
"Matt was loading his backpack up with books. I was dumping all my books from my backpack into my locker, not to be seen again until the next day.
As I closed my locker and it was apparent to Matt that I had no books, not to mention a backpack, Matt asked me how I was going to do my homework.
"Oh" I said "I have a no homework policy"
Matt looked incredulous. He laughed nervously. "You're joking"
"Matt," I said, having a little fun with him. "This is America. We can do whatever we want. Freedom. I have a No Homework Policy and it's great.
I shut my locker with unusual emphasis and headed to lacrosse practice, unencumbered.
I wasn't against rules per se; I just liked to look at the big picture. Staying up until 4am wasn't realistic. Something had to give.
Standing Up Against the Status Quo - 1960 & 70s examples
What's the alternative? This?
"Why work with a group of people who don't even like each other? Many seem to think it's a sacrifice necessary for making money... Free agents check in and out on a transnational basis, is worse than cold.
I want to count the kind of relationships as detailed by James Netwon in "Uncommon Friends" and the sense of belonging that Tom Mandel found at The Well as the fruits of my time at work.
Be More Pirate Q)3 - If you could break any rule, what would it be? And how would you remake it?
I hope that people with a 1st-4th Edition find this to be a collectors edition... much like
In his 2011 Commencement speech Chris Sacca's step 1 is also to hit Ctrl+Alt+Delete and advocates for happiness, just like Pirate Sam does.
He also advises that we "Be Helpful," and then highlights the potential cost of ignoring this advice for anyone who'd rather opt to chase money at all cost. He provides the cautionary tale via the "stench" that follows of the people who caused the current economic problems and how it follows them around as colleagues avoid them and with members of their family... Hope the money was worth it!
They may not be suffering financially, or even as much as those who their decisions affected... but they are paying a price.
When my boss made people redundant because of his actions and leadership, was it an easy decision to make? Nope. Would he have agonised and suffered over making it? Possibly, I certainly hope so.
In addition to this, Atari Founder Nolan Bushnell highlights in "Finding the Next Steve Jobs" how difficult it is to change the culture after the first 12 people are hired... after that point others will fall into the social norms of the organisation.
"It's bad medicine... but I guess the patient needed it" Steve Jobs re: getting fired from his own company.
"Our competitor is preventable disease... we're gonna kick cancers butt, and we'll work with anyone and everyone to achieve that"
Find the outliers and change agents in the org that you're not happy with and let others in the org join in at their own pace... as and when the results come in and when they are ready to party.
To get this started, give the reformers some free space to discuss their ideas (See A Different Operating Procedure)
First, I read in 2013 that This will be the #1 Business Skill of the Next Few Years and have worked hard on this.
For various reasons, I may be wrapping up my 'work' in edu and am trying to salvage some value from my 'career' and am currently trying to pass things onto others, in the hope they'll pick up on it.
Whether this turns out to be the case or not, we'll find out in a blog post and email or twos time ;)
In the mean time, for those who have handed in their notice to @BeMorePirate... I hope at least some of the links and experiences in this post help.
I start this look at the introduction of the Scottish National Standardised Assessments (SNSAs) with statement above from John Swinney, the Deputy First Minister and Cabinet Secretary for Education and Skills, made when he announced the contract for our new standardised testing had been awarded to ACER International UK, Ltd. This organisation is a subsidiary of the Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER), whom have been responsible for the development of the National Assessment Program - Literacy and Numeracy (NAPLAN) regime of high-stakes testing in the Australian system since 2008. I also believe they were one of a very short list of providers who tendered a bid for this contract.
I was drawn to this statement as I reflected on many of the responses I have received after I put out a request on Twitter asking for people to get in touch about their experiences with the new standardised tests as they are introduced across our schools. I sit on the board of Connect (formerly the Scottish Parents and Teachers Council) and the issue of the new tests had been raised at a recent board meeting. I said I would gather more information for Connect, so that we were able to offer advice to parents on the new testing regime, and hopefully allay some of their fears.
What quickly emerged was a very mixed picture in how the tests were being used across Scotland, but there was a commonality in the types of experiences children, teachers and schools were having, and it very much flew in the face of Mr Swinney's assurances given at the outset of their development.
'regarding SNSAs…Where do I start? I have had 3 children I have spent all year working with to build self-worth and self-belief, comment that they are ‘no good’, ‘useless’ and then cry. I have had one child who decided to guess most of the numeracy questions, and got them correct! (Lies, damned lies and statistics!) Most frustratingly, I am a class teacher administering the tests in class using 2 ipads and a desk top. Class of 27=81 tests. Huge impact on learning and teaching as you can imagine. With so many children suffering from low self-esteem and an increase in mental health issues, why is this happening? I truly despair.’
This was a response from a primary school class teacher, one of many who got in touch, expressing their concern with not only the impact on learners, the learning going on in their classrooms whilst testing was taking place, and the implications for their workload. I had a number of similar responses from teachers, school leaders and members of senior management teams.
This, from another class teacher, backed up what many colleagues were saying about the impacts for learners and teachers, as well as wider school, workloads. This was the first response that also started to query wider system issues of the new testing, such as the cost, the appropriateness of the content and the emotional impact on very young learners. One or two indicated that they felt most of their children weren't unduly stressed by the tests, they were able to present them in a fun way as a quiz or some other way, but they still queried some of the content, the usefulness of the outcomes and the disruption and impact being caused for teachers, children and schools.
‘Highlights of the P1 SNSA reading test included a passage on hummingbirds! Hummingbirds??? Vocabulary included hover and perch (and backwards). It also included a question asking what an alternative word for ‘beak’ was. So testing general knowledge then? It is impossible to do with a class of P1. SMT now doing individually, with all 70 plus P1s!!! Aaarghhh!!’
was a reflection of some of the frustrations felt by one headteacher. She went on to add,
Does the categorising learners as 'Low' 'Medium' and 'High' promote setting, labelling and further disadvantage?
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