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What Stops High Performance?

What’s the biggest thing that prevents staff and students from achieving high performance and the results they want?

  • Fear (of Ofsted, failure, what others think, change or the unknown…)?
  • Procrastination and/or indecision?
  • Uncertainty or lack of knowledge?
  • Upbringing, experiences or role models?
  • Anxiety and stress?

It could be any or all of these and more!

Yet these are symptoms rather than the cause. The number one thing that prevents high performance and the achievement of results is self-talk – the things we all tell ourselves and the stories we make up.

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Zero Tolerance Doesn’t Work

Image School behaviours NotepadZero tolerance and hard discipline in themselves do not improve behaviour, according to a recent study by an American research organisation Child Trends.

Students need character development and to understand why they should behave positively.

Zero tolerance is the most widely promoted approach in the United States, though my own experience suggests we are much better in the UK at positioning our rules and policies with students.  However, in the busy world that we all operate in and with so  much to do each day I think there is much more most schools can do to develop the right student (and teacher) behaviours.

So what more can schools do?

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The Appetite is There

Resilience-For-Success-3dAfter my post last week there is a clear mandate for teaching character and resilience.  Of those voting 100% agreed that it is something we should be doing in our schools.

There were a few e-mails sent too – saying we were already teaching it, which is great news. A few of these seemed to think there was a criticism in what I was saying and this was not intended. So many schools do so much already and the profession is constantly being challenged and under review from the Government, Ofsted, the media and parents (to mention a few).

Given this and the changes to terms and conditions, pensions and the many initiatives, it isn’t surprising to find teachers and other staff feeling demotivated.  Despite this so many continue to give their best to students every day and you are our heroes as you strive to raise ambition and achievement.

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Building Character and Resilience in Schools

Resilience road sign

Should we use lessons and the time a young person spends at school to build their character and resilience?

We have recently seen the launch of the Character and Resilience Manifesto from the all Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Social Mobility, which has been produced in collaboration with the CentreForum think-tank and a call from Tristram Hunt, the shadow educations secretary for schools to focus more on this area because of the benefits it will bring, and particularly for those predicted to have more negative outcomes.

The parliamentary report suggests the need to concentrate more widely than just on academic measures of success as children move through the education system and into the workplace.

Among its recommendations is the extension of pupil premium into pre-school education, extra curricula activities should be a more formal part of teacher contracts and students should receive certificates in this area to demonstrate their experience and skills to employers.

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Teacher or Student Led?

Coaching cartoonThere has been so much debate about the style of lessons that should be used to ensure all our young people get the learning and the results they need.

Everybody seems to have been jumping in – Michael Gove, the Blob, Ofsted, Teaching unions and most importantly school leaders and teachers. The only people we don’t seem to hear a lot from are the students.

Should lessons be teacher led or student led? Should they be focused on learning by rote or through discovery? Should students be told all the information and spoon fed or be expected to find solutions for themselves?

Well I think the answer is coaching, which is a much misunderstood skill for schools.  Both for lessons and for school leadership.

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