What is your leadership style?

Today I was reminded of a seminar I once attended by the Colourworks, mainly because their blog talked about;

Engaging Managers can come from any possible colour combination

It always seems sad to me to think that managers have always previously been managed and therefore presumably thought about how they would like to have been managed better, yet seemingly fail to learn from that experience. As soon as promoted, they seem to believe that they’ve got to change, to adopt more of a stereotypical “manager” style, to wear the mask of authority. Whilst there may be good reasons for this belief – it is stereotypical after all and some organisations promote and reward a “redder” style of leadership (e.g. quick, decisive, controlling, capable of making hard decisions and whip the department/team into shape) – it is, of course, a huge mistake. Not used to behaving in this way, these managers struggle to use this Fiery Red energy in a mature and positive way and soon lose the trust of their people, whilst simultaneously suppressing their natural leadership talents.

One thing Colourworks does very well is work out quite quickly what colour leader you are and those of your colleagues. At the time I attended the seminar my colour was sunny yellow, with a mix of green and red and a bottom colour of blue. On reflection I can now see that I had fallen into the trap above. Despite being a successful leader because my top colour didn’t come out as red I struggled internally to believe it. Even though I recognised everyone else as being the right colour for them i.e. the data manager came out cool blue, whilst the head fiery red and the pastoral manager green, it took me a month or so to see that I was just as integral a part of the team as everyone else and we needed all of the strengths including mine. It did make me then think of team building and the need for Senior leadership teams to be made up of different characteristics if they are to be successful.

So my message from today’s blog with the help of Colourworks is – be yourself after all that is who they hired, not you pretending to be a cool blue or fiery red as in the end you will all be disappointed.

colour

Have a quick look which do you think you are?

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Leaders 1 – Teaching your subject

As managers of subject areas the following are things to think about to ensure effective teaching and learning.

  1. How will you (as a manager)  ensure curriculum coverage for your learners?
  2. How will you ensure that teachers are clear about the sequence of teaching in the subject and objectives of individual lessons?
  3. How will you provide guidance on choice of appropriate teaching and learning methods?
  4. How will you ensure that there is effective development in all current strategies including literacy, numeracy and technological skills?
  5. How will you establish and implement policies and practices for assessment, recording and reporting learners achievement including target setting?
  6. How will you set targets for a) learners and b) teachers in relation to standards of pupil achievement and quality of teaching?
  7. How will you evaluate the quality of teaching and then how would you use this good practice to improve teaching in your department?
  8. How will you establish a partnership with parents, community and businesses?

Basic Timetabling for department heads

Timetables are always there to greet us at the start of the new term as teachers, but what happens when we get to be managers and need to do our own staffing timetables or indeed the whole schools timetable.  Ideally you should love puzzles and a little bit of maths. After this a sense of humour as it can take weeks to get a large schools timetable correct and then someone on the staff will say can you just change this for me without realising the repercussions on others as well as the time to reshuffle others around.

In Technology for instance each year group on a rotation timetable needs to go to each member of staff in turn to ensure they get their full curriculum quota.

Here is an example of one such set of groups year 7.  It is for a group of 5 classes labelled X1-5 for ease but you can easily put the class name in e.g. 7AB, 7EF, 7JF, 7DE and 7VG.

Each group must do food technology, graphics, electronics, control and resistant material projects.  There are 5 teachers needed to deliver it. here is a suggested approach to timetabling this rotation. The initials of the teachers are EF, NS, TG, AM and HC.

Group DateSept-Nov DateNov -Jan DateJan – Mar DateMar – May DateMay – Jul
X1 HCFood TGResistant Materials AMGraphics NSElectronics EFControl
X2 EFControl HCFood TGResistant Materials AMGraphics NSElectronics
X3 NSElectronics EFControl HCFood TGResistant Materials AMGraphics
X4 AMGraphics NSElectronics EFControl HCFood TGResistant Materials
X5 TGResistant Materials AMGraphics NSElectronics EFControl HCFood

This is quite simple as each is moving along but can be readjusted if the teacher stays with the class except for food lessons as a change of classroom is needed. See the timetable below. As you can see there are two different resistant materials projects for this particular rotation. But anything can be inserted e.g. History/English or other year groups and their projects including exam classes.

Group DateSept-Nov DateNov -Jan DateJan – Mar DateMar – May DateMay – Jul
X1 HCSafety

Food

TGSafety

Electronics

TGResistant Materials 1 TGGraphics TGResistant Materials 2
X2 EFSafety

Resistant Materials 1

HCSafety

Food

EFGraphics EFResistant Materials 2 EFElectronics
X3 NSSafety

Electronics

NSGraphics HCSafety

Food

NCResistant Materials 1 NCResistant Materials 2
X4 AMGraphics AMElectronics AMResistant Materials 1 HCSafety

Food

AMResistant Materials 2
X5 TGSafety Resistant Materials 1 TGElectronics TGResistant Materials 2 TGGraphics HCSafety

Food

Benefits of Bilingualism

Brilliant post that explains some of the benefits of bilingualism. They include;

1. A conscious approach can help you clean up your writing and your speech and help you communicate more clearly.

2. Bilingual individuals can pick out a speaker’s voice easier

3. Develop creativity because learning a second language improved speakers’ planning, cognitive flexibility, and working memory, three pillars on which creativity is built.

4. Patients who spoke more than one language had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s four years after their monolingual counterparts.

and finally

5. Make smarter decisions as people thinking in a foreign language were more likely to consider a question more slowly and analytically than in their native language 

Really interesting thanks to http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dan-roitman/why-it-makes-more-sense-t_b_3435076.html for this story.

Recent research suggests that learning a new language, at any age, not only will enhance your next vacation or better prepare you for an upcoming business trip, it can also make you a better listener, boost your creativity, spur brain growth, and for some people, even delay Alzheimer’s.

Each of these benefits stems from the various ways that language learning improves your brain’s ability to focus. Learning a language physically changes your mind, ultimately making you a stronger, more creative thinker. Here are five reasons why you should start learning a foreign language right now:

1. To improve your communication skills. The key here is consciousness. While most of us rarely think about the grammatical structures of our native tongue, learning a second language brings them into stark relief. When attempting to write or speak in a second language, you suddenly have to focus more on the order of words, your verb tenses, and parts of speech. And in recognizing how sentences are constructed in a second language, you can become more aware of how they’re arranged in your first language. That more conscious approach can help you clean up your writing and your speech and help you communicate more clearly.

2. To become a better listener. A study at Northwestern University showed that bilingual individuals could better pick out a speaker’s voice amidst distracting noises. This superior “attention, inhibition, and encoding of sound,” as the researchers put it, can help you better focus on what a client, boss, or employee is saying. The ability to listen closely is a valuable skill that can translate into a real dollar value. Look at IKEA, which attributes its record 2012 revenues and growing appeal in part to its ability to listen to customers and then respond accordingly.

3. To boost your creativity. Every time you speak a second language is an exercise in creativity. While words in your native language might string themselves together naturally, requiring little effort on your part, constructing sentences and meaning in a second language often requires more conscious thought. A study published last year found that learning a foreign language enhanced people’s fluency, elaboration, originality, and flexibility, the four scales measured by the Torrance Test of Creative Thinking. Researchers concluded that learning a second language improved speakers’ planning, cognitive flexibility, and working memory, three pillars on which creativity is built.

4. To sharpen your mind. Learning a second language can beef up your brain’s executive control center — the hub that helps manage your cognitive processes. A second language offers a strong exercise regimen for the executive control center, ultimately making it more efficient. Bilingualism can keep this center strong even as you age. In a study of 24 million dementia patients worldwide, many of whom also had Alzheimer’s, researchers found that the patients who spoke more than one language had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s four years after their monolingual counterparts.

5. To make smarter decisions. A study completed last year showed that people thinking in a foreign language were more likely to consider a question more slowly and analytically than in their native language. It seems that thinking in your native tongue is often associated with breezy, emotional decision-making that reveals natural biases. But when considering the same problem in a non-native tongue, subjects in the study demonstrated “enhanced deliberation” based more on cold hard logic. So the next time you have to make a big decision, you might get a better outcome if you consider it in a language other than your own.

As a language learner, you’ll not only become a more conscious thinker and listener who can communicate clearly and think creatively, but you’ll also gain the most significant benefit of multilingualism: a broader, more global perspective. Each of the five benefits outlined above show that learning another language really does reshape the way we think, helping us better empathize and communicate with customers, partners, and employees by adopting, through language, a new way to see the world.

Children in Wales are making progress in developing their Welsh Language skills

A report out today says that at Foundation stage the children in Wales are acquiring Welsh language skills but the focus now needs to be on improving reading and writing skills.

The report says that

 In the best schools, teachers are highly skilled, passionate and plan fun and stimulating activities that engage and excite the children, but in a minority of schools and settings staff are not devoting enough direct teaching time to developing the Welsh language and there are gaps in practitioners’ knowledge and skills that are inhibiting the children’s learning and development.

This is a difficult one if the teacher’s do not speak Welsh fluently then the school will be unable to move further forward without either employing more natural Welsh speakers or up skilling the teachers level of Welsh knowledge. This leads me to wonder about EAL teaching how often do we as teachers/inspectors/observers assume the support assistant has the skill set but they also need up skilling not only in English but in their home language as well? ….  Just as valid is the next question that follows should we ensure we are up skilling these practitioners to support our children to get the best education?     Just an observation open for your ideas and comments.

For the full report see http://www.estyn.gov.uk/english/news/news/children-in-wales-are-making-progress-in-developing-their-welsh-language-skills-in-the-foundation-phase/ or the whole piece below.

Children in Wales are making progress in acquiring Welsh language skills, but more needs to be done to continue the upward trend in their reading and writing skills, according to Estyn, the education and training inspectorate for Wales.
In a report published today, Welsh Language Development in the Foundation Phase, the inspectorate found that in the majority of English-medium schools most children are making good progress in speaking and listening to Welsh in the Foundation Phase, but their reading and writing skills are less well developed.
Ann Keane, the inspectorate’s Chief Inspector said,

“Welsh Language is one of the seven Areas of Learning in the Foundation Phase Framework for Children’s Learning.
During the last two years, we have seen progress being made in Welsh Language Development in the majority of schools and settings. Children are enjoying learning the language of Wales in innovative and fun ways.
In the best schools, teachers are highly skilled, passionate and plan fun and stimulating activities that engage and excite the children, but in a minority of schools and settings staff are not devoting enough direct teaching time to developing the Welsh language and there are gaps in practitioners’ knowledge and skills that are inhibiting the children’s learning and development.”

The inspectorate also found that children’s progress in Welsh Language Development is a concern in over a third of English-medium non-maintained settings. In these settings, children lack confidence in using Welsh outside short whole-group sessions such as registration periods or singing sessions and they do not use the Welsh language in their play or learning without prompts from adults.
Ann Keane continues,

“Schools and settings need to review, evaluate and plan engaging and effective ways for children to speak, read and write Welsh across all areas of learning.
In the best schools, teachers use real life experiences for children to use their Welsh language skills such as making shopping lists or writing party invitations. In these instances, children are highly engaged and are making good progress in writing Welsh.”

The inspectorate outlines a number of recommendations for schools and settings, local authorities and the Welsh Government, to address the issues highlighted within the report.
For example, schools and settings should evaluate planning to make sure that there are enough opportunities for children to use the Welsh language in other areas of learning and outdoor activities and monitor and evaluate how well children are doing in developing their Welsh language skills. In addition, local authorities need to be providing better access to Welsh Language support and training for practitioners as well as sharing good practice.
Ann Keane concludes,

“Every child in Wales has the right to access the best quality Welsh Language education. This report provides a number of best practice case studies illustrating how schools have successfully developed children’s skills in Welsh. I would encourage all practitioners to read this report and use the case studies to assess their own practice and develop new ways of improving the provision of Welsh Language Development.”

Advice for my first MFL lesson as an NQT – UK

I saw this and wondered if anyone had any ideas to suggest.

Hi All,  I am starting my NQT job next week and am looking for some advice, particularly regarding my introductory lesson with each class. I definitely want to do something on classroom rules. I just wondered if anybody has done this successfully before and how you went about it? Did you use the TL throughout or stay in English?  Thanks for your help, H

Reply at: http://community.tes.co.uk/forums/t/585859.aspx

Personally I think with all first lessons you should establish your expectations and where possible involve them in the rule setting.  However know the schools rules otherwise  they could try to trip you up.

It’s also good to let them know why they have to be followed i.e. they want everyone to listen to them when it is their turn etc. Also what the sanctions are if they are not followed, again quote school procedure and be prepared to follow through anything you say. Your confidence and tone will let them know that you mean it.

Remember that it also fine to put it on the lesson plan and take the time it needs to establish your rules. After this quickly praise anyone following through the right way usually 5 praises to a negative works.