I wish you a 2019 of falling … and getting up.

I second guess myself quite a bit.  I find myself fretting over what I’m thinking about doing and whether it will work.  And what it doesn’t?  What will happen then? Since commencing Real Schools, I’ve come to learn that this thinking was actually engrained within me across my time as a Teacher and Principal.  Doesn’t…

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Startle me.

I’m captivated by this picture from 1963 of Parisian children watching a puppet show.  I think it’s mainly because the level of interest in their eyes is so intense.  They just can’t pull themselves away from whatever is happening on stage.  The kids clearly weren’t ready for that little development in the plot! We talk…

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Musings about Gender in Education

I went to my own kids’ annual school presentation ceremony last night.  I love both of them dearly and I also value the wonderful contribution that their school makes to their growth.  But here’s the truth – it isn’t exactly a riveting evening. And so, I kept myself occupied scoring the gender split when it…

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What’s possible if you accept a challenge to change?

I had the privilege of being in the audience for some staff presentations at Albanvale PS last week.  These four PLCs have made commitments to challenge their practice through the work of our Real Schools Partnership in a variety of different ways in the first year of our collaboration. The Prep PLC looked at the…

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Little by little

One of Aesop’s fabled … umm … fables was The Crow and The Pitcher. Summarised, a crow dying from thirst finds a pitcher with just a little water in it.  But sadly, the crow can’t get his head far enough into the pitcher to get to the water. If managing, training or coaching the crow, the likely response of…

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Buying stuff versus learning how to use the old stuff properly.

I bought a new iPhone X not so long ago.  The marketing worked. With every Apple billboard I drove past I became more convinced that my photos weren’t quite good enough. Those majestic landscapes and funky city streetscapes sure are compelling. I also gradually convinced myself it was a “work expense” and that having the latest gadgets…

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You can’t get arrested for jaywalking in Boston

The city of Boston has no law for jaywalking. You can just cross the road wherever you like and the expectation is that you’ll just have a good look around first and try not to cause a bingle (I’m quite sure use of the word ‘bingle’ in the US is somewhat limited though). You’d be…

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Don’t make me wait.

I’m one of those people who need to be seriously unwell before I’ll visit a doctor.  It’s not exactly best policy for man hurtling towards his 50s … but there it is. My rationale for enduring the symptoms of all matter of afflictions is pretty flimsy.  I just hate the waiting room. I know full…

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How can Teachers address teen depression and suicide?

Almost every educator that I speak to agrees that we have a national problem with teen depression and suicide.  They’d also fervently like to contribute to solving that problem. I know also that teen suicide is a complex and distressing social phenomena with multiple contributing factors and it’s easy to get lost in case study…

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Making it easy

Konstantin Stansilavski is not a name you hear too often when it comes to learning, development, talent or professional training – but it should be! Stanislavski was an acclaimed character actor from Russia who went on to build a career as one of the world’s eminent theatre directors before his death in 1938.  But Stanislavski is remembered…

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They Aren’t All The Same

I’m not a fan of reality TV – although I get the allure.  Seeing good-looking yet otherwise ordinary folk in desperate competition for the affections of a stranger, to be trapped in starvation or to be reduced to tears by a personal trainer has just enough interest in it to have us abandon our principles.…

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Trial and Error on Trial

There’s some nonsense in the learning and development space about learning styles with as many as seven of them up for grabs. Apparently it’s useful to determine whether you’re  visual (spatial) , aural (auditory-musical), verbal (linguistic), physical (kinesthetic), logical (mathematical), social (interpersonal) or solitary (intrapersonal) learner.  Let me tell you right now, it’s not useful! Pigeon holing yourself as a…

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Making The Most of Your Time

I have two competing views about educational research:  that we spend far too much time and money researching aspects of the educative pursuit that have little or no impact or meaning.  No more studies about homework please – the truth is already known.  that when we find relevant and confronting truths within our research, that…

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The plane just won’t crash

Last week, I had the chance to share the stage with the incredible Dan Gregory (of “The Gruen Transfer” fame) at the Future Of Leadership Conferences in Brisbane and Sydney. Dan is one of those almost intimidatingly clever people who says it like it is (or even more bluntly than it really is!) and he told two…

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Education as a trajectory changer.

Never … like, ever … fall for the trap of thinking that education is something that you deliver.  Learning isn’t a pizza, an app, on online purchase, a new washing machine or a used car. Learning isn’t a product at all.  Done right, it’s a transformational process. Through this metamorphic experience, we don’t merely acquire tools and…

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Authoritarian versus Authoritative

Every part of my moral code tells me I shouldn’t laugh at the rude and so politically incorrect plotlines in the cartoon South Park.  But I do!  My favourite character is the incorrigible Eric Cartman.  Click below for a little sample! Eric is enamoured with authority.  The problem of course, is that his lust for…

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The critical importance of affect

Mindful as I am of the miniscule amount of content that any human is willing or capable of absorbing, then storing in long-term memory and then committing to a practice change from any PL day, I strive to maximise my limited opportunity. The temptation is to cover more content, to design better PowerPoint slides and to…

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Distance covered and distance to go.

I’m a keen observer of people and their foibles.  Even the word “foible” is kind of hard not to spend a little time observing.  But what I notice even more than individual foibles is when these habits and rituals become the traits of whole staffs, and even of industries. One such foible that educators have…

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Prying for something really juicy.

I read a fabulous and somewhat confronting quote this week by Zora Neale Hurston who said that “Research is formalised curiosity.  It is poking and prying with a purpose.” This got me to thinking a little about some of the verbs we use in the learning and development space and whether they have allowed us…

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It’s time to measure what matters.

In his best-seller “7 Habits of Highly Effective People” Stephen Covey wrote a story to illustrate his 7th habit – sharpening the saw.   He spoke to two woodcutters.  One would rise early and get to work sawing down trees in the forest.  He could rack up a large number of trees sawn down, but his dull…

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The serious role of laughter in learning.

“Of all the things which nourish the imagination, humour is one of the most needful, and it is dangerous to limit or destroy it.” – John Millington Synge. Public conversation around what we need more or less of in schools is so predictable.  Whether we’re on the sides of coding, decoding and teaching emotional intelligence…

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Personalised learning trajectories over edu-tainment.

I was thinking recently about some of the traditional ways in which we’ve learned and the extent to which technology has transformed the ways in which we do it.  The inclination, of course, is to marvel at the toys, devices and gadgets that we’ve developed in the name of work efficiency and conclude that the…

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Delaying gratification.

Last week, I was having a chat with a Wellbeing Coordinator at a large secondary school that we Partner with. Her school is implementing Restorative Practices as a foundation of their whole school culture and it’s been a challenging and rewarding ride for them … and that’s just so far! We’re often impatient when it…

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The danger in what you already know.

Renowned historian Daniel J. Boorstin was onto something when he mused that “The greatest obstacle to discovery is not ignorance – it is the illusion of knowledge”. Boorstin’s words are a not-so-subtle reminder to continually question what we know … or that which we think we know.  In fact, now presents as a worthy time…

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Hacking Education

It’s true that Australian Teachers are pressed for time. The impact of workload on those who sustain the system again hit the media last week in examining why so many Teachers are leaving the profession in the first 3-5 years of what should be a rewarding career. While we bemoan a lack of understanding and…

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You’d better get cracking.

A couple of weeks ago we launched our “Restorative Classrooms, Strong Classrooms” workshop to be held in Melbourne.  Then we got excited and a week later launched it at the other end of the country in Darwin too.  The response has been just a bit awesome. Our analysis of this powerful statistical display (ok –…

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The madness of the crowd

I’ve been speaking to people lately about the way we, as leaders of learning, fail to take full effect of the ominpotent control we have over the learning context.  In other, more simple words, we clump people together and hope that we can spray our wisdom across them with such brilliance that they are forever…

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Imitation is NOT the highest form of flattery

I love to play cricket.  I’m not particularly good, mind you, but I love it anyway.  Being a park amateur at best means that my game has always needed work and the pull shot is something I always struggled with.  So a coach told me to watch Ricky Ponting play the pull shot. Ricky Ponting…

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It’s not so hard to change.

I went to the footy at the MCG on Saturday.  And while I enjoyed my Tigers getting a win over their arch rival, the Blues, I found myself enchanted by the tactics of the opposition’s diminutive coach, Brendon Bolton. Bolton is know for being a “teaching coach” with a knack for great communication and being…

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A purpose for your hard work.

This is one of my favourite photos ever, taken the day in 2016 that my family and I visited Baan Tharn Namchai at Khao Lak in Thailand.  It was a day we won’t forget in a hurry. A home for more than 100 orphaned Thai children, we spent the day playing with kids who should…

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Take me to your leaders.

A quick message to our School Leaders as we emerge from the proven toughest part of the school year.  Our challenge is to emerge with the right habits intact and with the less productive ones challenged.  Are you ready to do what it takes to ensure strong staff morale through the remainder of 2017?  Or…

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Seizing the moments to build curious dispositions.

The great Professor Sugata Mitra was again in Australia recently posing some big and provocative questions at the conferences where he was a featured speaker.  Mitra is famous for his “Hole In The Wall” experiment in the slums of India where he proved that children can learn … even in a foreign language … even…

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