Corny as it may sound, it was a major concept breakthrough for us as a group to work out our purpose and what we reacted to so wholeheartedly was the notion we could “share the love”. We decided our job would be to be the unblockers, the enablers and the ones who would be able to trigger thinking about personal and social capabilities. We did not think it was our job to tell people how to do it because teachers are professionals with a lot of experience and different ways of approaching their classes and students. We warmed to the notion that we could be facilitators of this and spent quite a long, animated, productive time thinking of all the ways we could spark insight into personal and social capability and whom we could target and how. We isolated our target groups, the resources which would be appropriate and the scaffolding we needed to enable ourselves and our group. We have reached the end of our school year being able to tick all the boxes on the personal and social capabilities ourselves! Great feeling. In fact, if I have time I may well get those capabilities out and chart what we have done to match them.
Now I have been through the self review of the personal capabilities of self-management and self-awareness I can already see the time was well spent. Yes, already. From the time we looked at self-awareness there was a culture change in the class to that of being more focussed and particular. Having also done the self-management and then the goal setting I can see the benefits already. I now have ways of expressing how to improve. It’s consistent because we have all done that exercise. I can now ask all students to be on the same page with regard to blocking and enabling, with regard to how they can make the most of their learning time, with regard to how the are helping or not helping each other and themselves. What they liked was having some clear messages as a whole class about how they can help themselves and what appropriate behaviour is. I need to keep pursuing this. It’s a strength of what we have just achieved. I am wondering if they will deal with their sleep issues and their health and fitness. What they really liked was being able to give themselves a mark out of 10. In fact, they told me that is how they should assess themselves! They also like being able to say if they needed help or not and who would help them. The time frame was something that annoyed them. they didn’t want to have to say when so frequently they responded “as soon as possible.” I maybe need to look at that part of the self review to come up with something better. I now have to decide when to do the social capabilities. Probably next term. Ideally it should be personal capabilities in the first semester and social capabilities in the second semester. Next year I can start with this. If you click on the link, you can download a copy of the self review I made and use it for your own purposes.
Having done the self-awareness review and then the self-management review it was quite straight forward and easy to do the goal setting. On the top of the sheet we set the goals for my subject area and on the bottom of the sheet I encouraged them to set goals for other things since they had mentioned so many other things in their self reviews. I have spent 3 sessions of about 25 minutes of class time on this. It’s a good class and we shall be able to make up the time. Not so sure that a subject area, which is already interrupted by other activities is the place for this but the national curriculum is not giving us a choice. Perhaps we need to look at how all these capabilities are actually going to be addressed in a subject area. Having said that, my Year 8s are so much clearer about how to manage themselves and their work now so it does have good value in terms of application and improvement. It has helped them to create a better sense of self and how to achieve and to ask better questions in class.
These are the five clear messages my Year 8s came up with after we looked at the indicators for the personal capabilities – self-awareness and self-management. If that is the outcome then I am happy with that because they have reinforced the good messages for themselves. They know to get enough sleep. They know to stay on top of things. They know to look for the positives and they know to stay steady. When we set their goals on Monday I shall be able to show them what they can come up with. That ought to give them confidence to set some achievable goals.
Today’s self assessment with the year 8s on self-management went better than the self-awareness one. It only took 20 minutes to complete. I used different headings next to the indicators. This time I used :
Goals (to sustain strengths)
Key actions to build
and review date which we made Term 3.
Next week we are goal setting for the self-awareness and self-management elements. They didn’t like the by whom? and they couldn’t differentiate well between the Goals and Key actions. They worked much more readily with the headings I gave them last time:
say whether it applies to them or not
give themselves a mark out of 10
say how they can improve
say whether they need help
The students came up with some really good responses to the self-management indicators though. What seemed to be a recurring theme was the need for a proper night’s sleep and to be calm. The also mentioned things like getting fitter and working on their health and using exercise to help manage a more positive lifestyle. That was really rewarding to see those sorts of responses. Having done these two elements, though, I realise it will be very difficult to look at all the other general competences and assess them as well as what I am teaching by way of subject content. I am more inclined to think now that some of the competencies need to be the specific responsibility of certain curriculum areas and that all teachers look at addressing some of the elements in different competencies as they teach their subject.
It’s good to know that the things which have been important to us in our thinking and development are also important to others. These are the top posts for the blog:
|Making Slough Happy|
|Emotional intelligence affects behaviour|
|The most inspirational person you know|
|School Safety Audit Checklist|
Coming to terms with the social networking predilection of students can be a headache for educators, but there will come a time where educators themselves will be social networkers . There was a social networking seminar held in August last year as part of the Transforming Learning through ICT.
You can listen to a podcast of the seminar and orientate yourself to the social and teaching implications of social networking on the Curriculum Leadership Journal. Certainly adds clarity to the social networking fog.