By Pamela Fisher
“If you lie on your back and stick your legs up in the air, you’ll see her legs are on the wrong way round!”
It’s amazing what you can overhear in the hosiery department of Marks and Spencer (other retail venues for weird assertions are available). The frustrated gentleman was trying to explain with far too much enthusiasm to a somewhat bewildered and increasingly nervous shop assistant (they hadn’t role-played this scenario on her training course) how one of the mannequins had been incorrectly assembled. Curious.
Having a curious mind can, if you are not careful, lead you up the path signposted ‘Socially Embarrassing’. However, as teachers, it is crucial to possess one. OK, we don’t have to be completely weird when out shopping (do you check all the signs to make sure the apostrophe in Children’s is in the correct place or is that just me?) but we do need to be enquirers and discoverers.
I have just returned from the 2019 NABSS Conference, which took place in the impressive Hotel Melia in Valencia, where Dragonfly Training delivered the teacher workshops. My course, Effective English Teaching in the Secondary School, is a practical hands-on, try-it-for-yourself, see-how-it-works-for-you course. The workshop, which covers a wide range of strategies for all abilities and ages, ran over a day and a half with a group of wonderfully receptive teachers who threw themselves into the activities with unabated enthusiasm and good humour!
I recall one of my delegates who confessed to me after the first day, “I’ve realised I’ve become stale. I need to think more.” She’s not alone. We all need to think more.
Professor John Hattie believes, “Those teachers who are students of their own impact are the teachers who are the most influential in raising students’ achievement”.
If we really want our students to be critical thinkers, we need to model by constantly reviewing our own methodology and practice, and by asking ourselves how we could deliver our lessons even more effectively.
When Alice uttered the words, “I don’t think – “, the Mad Hatter responded, “Then don’t talk”. We don’t want to be told that. We are enthusiastic pioneers and powerful leaders of enquiry.
Now, where’s my M&S card?