Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Teachmeet Clevedon - what I found out

I rarely feel "inspired" or have the inclination to describe something as "inspirational". The verb and adjective are both overused in education in my opinion. I often feel like replying to someone who says "such and such is/was inspirational" and asking how? and why?

However, parts of teachmeet Clevedon 5 did inspire me. (I won't say everything did for the reason given above).

The first teachmeet I went to was also at Clevedon and it was less formal than 20th October. The presenters were varied quality and the transitions were less slick. I enjoyed it though, the atmosphere was overwhelmingly positive and that makes a change from some schools and re-energises you.

"Learning Rocks" however, was a very slick evening, the transistions between presentations were improved by having a running order and someone off screen queuing the presentations so your PowerPoint was ready for you as you arrived at the podium to begin your talk. Time limits for presentations were kept to close as possible to 5 minutes so that the evening ran to time and stayed good natured.

The slightly different format of the evening included a seminar slot between the key note and the presentations. 

I missed the keynote presentation by Vic Goddard from Passmore's school, the one featured in Educating Essex. The opinion in the room was that he spoke very well and many were enthused by what he had to say.

I did arrive in time for my seminar slot. I went to hear John Wells the Head Teacher of Clevedon School speak about the journey the school had been through. It is clear from the talk that John has a clear vision for the improvement of the school and he doesn't lose sight of the things that have gone before. Being someone who likes diagrams I liked the way that the improvement of the school could be represented as concentric circles showing the layers of pedagogy that have been introduced in the school. I do always wonder with these things if everything is as well embedded as the senior management say it is, but I liked that idea that pedagogy (and not curriculum change) was at the heart of the school improvement.

Then we moved onto the presentations. I had volunteered to do one on the 5Es of lesson planning. You can find the presentation elsewhere on this blog as well as other posts about them. On entering the hall I discovered I was 16th out of 17. A lot of time to get nervous!

Gavin Smart spoke first @gavinsmart about the use of an expert (his Grandad) talking to the class. The project went well and the students and his Grandad enjoyed it. This has given me confidence, because while I cannot skype my Grandad from my year 7 science class, I would like to get real scientists more involved in what we do at school. It is something on the back-burners at the moment, but a real aim.

Dave Gale spoke about the ultimate maths faculty - a meeting of like minded maths teachers who use a hashtag to communicate via twitter. Again, I was pleased to hear that and feel that we have that supportive community already built up and using the #asechat hastag. I hope other science teachers joining twitter can feel confident about joining in too.

I was inspired by Dave Stacey's presentation. He talked about re-booting his teaching. I can really empathise with that. I have been a better teacher in the past and I know how to be a better teacher, I just need to find the focus to do it and maintain it. It was great to hear from Dave that it is possible to improve your practice and you aren't stuck as the teacher you are at the moment for the rest of your career.

I always enjoy Kat Crocker's presentations about what you can do during tutor time and I have already used the Guardian Eyewitness site with my tutor group.

Alessio's presentation about priezi was not only entertaining but also thought-provoking. How can we use presentations during lessons to support thinking and not just a quick way of giving information. This is something I will consider during the holidays.

A lot of the presentations were about on-line ICT, which we just can't use. But that is what I like about teachmeets, there is something for everyone.

Great evening, and well done to Mark Anderson and the Clevedon Team.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

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