‘Cos Jill Berry said so


‘Cos Jill Berry said so

17 Mar ’18 #Success Teaching 0

I think a blog on each subject (or whichever ones you think are particularly interesting) would be good and might reach a wider audience. – Jill Berry

There are few educators, people, I respect more than Jill Berry (Dr Jill Berry that is.) She is in that small group of educators, who “I aspire to be more like…” Jill, Chris Chivers, Dr Curt Lox and Tim Whitmore, who sit aside from those go-to and trusted educators, Ben Bond and Paul Blake (Paul Blake and Ben Bond)* Chris McShane…

Since Southern Rocks in February I have been wrestling with an idea. The event was reported to be a resounding success, however what I took away from the event was the power of conversation. The depth of knowledge and applied experiences of the speakers and attendees, and how these committed educators went onto enliven conversations on the day, as part of the sessions and following the event. 

I felt compelled to somehow curate that teaching knowledge, and particularly that applied experience. Not in the face of evidence informed teaching, but with respect to those working at the coal face of teaching, with respect to tried and road tested practice. 

As we go, I plan to stitch together the responses into some sort of coherent narrative that may be useful to teachers more broadly. Then stitch these summaries into something interesting and more important insightful and useable. That is the plan anyway. Thanks for your responses and for generously giving a little of your teaching self.

The germ of an idea

Two ideas collide. Kathryn Morgan shared an idea on using “Always, sometimes, never,” and we shared a conversation of professional development. The “always, sometimes, never,” question format is well used. It makes for a thought provoking lesson thinking activity, as well as a thought provoking reflection question for teachers. It is almost conversational, which prompted me to use it to try and capture teachers applied experienced.

The next step was to devise the questions. I started with a notepad and merely listed as many interesting questions as I could think of. Reviewing these questions they loosely fit into three categories. I always intended to add a question for respondents to submit new questions… and my word they have. We are asking currently trying to ask two questions or one survey per week (responses pending) with responders contributing roughly four questions each cycle.

Lastly, I went with Google Forms to collect the responses and and Google Docs. Along the way I have learnt a few things.

  • For example, share a Google shortened link, requires a Google Account to access the form / doc, not so for the long URL link.
  • Google forms allows you to remind respondents emails the link to complete the form (though I am loathe to do this too often as teachers are busy people).
  • I quickly realised, that coding the form visually by colour is easier that by name (however Forms only has 15 preset colours) and we have had more than 30 questions submitted.
  • We have a growing group of devoted responders… how to thank them?
  • Quite often “always” and “never” responses are the similar, just polarised. Always “meet your students at the door,” versus never “allow students to wander in without greeting them at the door.” I am still working out how to minimise this consequence in plain English instructions.

Following the second cycle of survey and summary, the project received its first endorsement.

Hi Kristian,

Would it be ok if I share the responses you have written to questions 1 and 2 with an NQT group that I run in Gosport. I think they’ll find it really useful. I have some SCITT students that attend too so it’ll be very useful to them. I’ll keep plugging for you when I can.

Best wishes,

Following the third cycle, I received my first thank you email.

Really interesting document, thank you!

I intend to keep plugging away. In the mean time, CPD leads, school leaders, Headteachers, teacher trainers, teachers, sharing the link to secure the 50 reponses weekly, would be much appreciated.  In exchange, I will summarise and share the survey feedback promptly, until we exhaust the question list.

If you able to spare a few minutes to get involved… the first 4 surveys (and the number of replies at the time of writing) are below. If you contribute to the most recent cycle, you will get the summary and the link to the next one.

Questions 1 and 2 (RED)  https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSfWQijbFSKL3tHOr8rdaP6V5SBq9D79QimwjaF-IC_s8H5New/viewform?usp=sf_link  (55 replies)

Questions 3 and 4 (ORANGE) https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSf_k-qYvPf_NQnT-Sm9xahIlZ4jnnHBwKFjjw26Craw6EvBIw/viewform?usp=sf_link (52 replies)

Questions 5 and 6 (LIME)  https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSfTZM6lglYcNlPGgeu4sku9U05zqiMocNY4LDTGh0Q7Rpt_Vg/viewform?usp=sf_link (Replies 58)

Questions 7 and 8 (BLUE) https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSfXPgEGN6bkpwFaSkXF9KMxMJVLB97dW63kBNZSUd-LTdvp3Q/viewform?usp=sf_link (58 replies)

Over the coming weeks, in line with Jills suggestion, I will also try and release some shorter blog posts on the various question summaries.

*They will argue on who is first on the list as they do when I call one of them before the other.


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