Tuesday 25 May 2010

Not meeting, but learning

Jon and I had a very interesting visitor from Hong Kong today. Paul Clark visited us from South Island School in Hong Kong to talk to us about our approach to creativity at Thomas Tallis. The South Island School website is really interesting and demonstrates the ways in which the school is keen to offer a creative learning experience to its students, especially the ways in which it uses ICT creatively.

Another really interesting thing that came out of the meeting was the school's attitude to training. From what I can understand the week is book-ended by two two-hour training and development sessions for staff. At first this seems like a lot of time, and may be an impossible thing to fit into a teacher's busy week, but then, I started to count up the hours of meetings that take place during the week and realised that this often exceeds the four hours a week that the Hong Kong school uses for developing staff skills. What would happen if instead of having meetings we had skills sessions where people work together to develop their ability to innovate, solve problems and be creative? Could lots of things that take up meeting time be shared in a way that doesn't require large groups of people to sit and listen to one other person speak or deliver? If people were better at developing skills would we need so many meetings? If people were enjoying developing skills alongside other colleagues would that have more of an impact on attainment than using the same amount of time in meetings? Finally why couldn't students be involved in these skills sessions?

Another really exciting thing about South Island School is that each student has their own MacBook and they are required to have it with them throughout the school day. Presumably this allows them to use the laptop when appropriate for the task that they're working on, so students can use their initiative to work flexibly with the different tools available to them. That sounds like a fantastic idea.


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