Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Providing Opportunities

I am really enjoying the book Bounce, by Matthew Syed. Syed introduces the idea of many who go on to achieve great things have been in the right place at the right time. In his own experience as the top table tennis player in Britain, he writes about four factors that gave him an advantage over other aspiring players:
  1. His parents bought a table for his family when he was a child
  2. He had a brother who also became passionate about table tennis
  3. A teacher at his school was a sports fanatic, especially in regards to table tennis, for which he was one of the nations top coaches
  4. There was a local club that his teacher ran that provided Syed almost unlimited access to the facility.
These four factors were key influences to Syed's later success.

From a teaching and learning perspective, we need to look at being factors that could have the same sort of positive influence on our children in all manner of areas: running a chess club; providing music tuition; coaching sports teams; a computer club; teachers with a passion for creative writing; teachers who have a love of numbers. There are so many ways that a school can provide opportunities for children to take initial steps towards achieving great things.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Three Factors to Motivate Others to Perform at a Higher Level

Following up on the Dan Pink presentation from my previous post, where I asked 'what are the three factors that motivate others to perform at a higher level?'. Here they are:

Autonomy: The urge to direct our own lives
Mastery: The desire to get better and better at something that matters
Purpose: The yearning to do what we do in service of something larger than ourselves.

What do you think? Do you agree?

Monday, June 21, 2010

And Make the World a Little Bit Better!

This is a superb presentation on motivation and is linked to Daniel Pink's book Drive (well worth a read, which the presentation will demonstrate).  Take 10 minutes of your time to check it out, you won't be disappointed!

As you watch, take note of the three factors that will motivate others to perform at a higher level.  One thing that doesn't make the list, in fact is detracts from performance, may surprise you.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Carol S. Dweck; A Common Thread

Two books that I have recently finished reading (The Talent Code and Nurture Shock) and one that I have just started (Bounce) have something in common; this being that all three use research from Carol Dweck.  I have found her research on motivation to be both interesting and enlightening.  All three books are worth reading for Carol Dweck's research alone.

I have added a link to Carol S. Dweck's web page under the education links on this blog.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Nine Characteristics of High Performing Schools

This is a worthwhile checklist for any school leader. Are they being implemented at your school? Certainly something worth thinking about. Click here to read about one school's journey with the process of implementing the characteristics.

The Nine Characteristics of High Performing Schools:
  1. clear and shared focus;
  2. high standards and expectations;
  3. effective school leadership;
  4. supportive learning environment;
  5. high levels of community and parent involvement;
  6. high levels of collaboration and communication;
  7. frequent monitoring of teaching and learning;
  8. curriculum, instruction and assessment aligned with standards;
  9. focused professional development. 
Clearly there is no silver bullet; but through hard work and dedication, the rewards will follow.

Friday, June 4, 2010

A Sir Ken Robinson Follow Up Presentation

The following is the promo comment for the Sir Ken Robinson's follow up talk to his 2006 TED talk (which I posted on an earlier blog entry).  Doesn't this sound very familiar?  A lot like what New Zealand schools have been aiming at for some time, although perhaps not so much any more with the introduction of National Standards.

'In this poignant, funny follow-up to his fabled 2006 talk, Sir Ken Robinson makes the case for a radical shift from standardized schools to personalized learning -- creating conditions where kids' natural talents can flourish.'

Take 15 minutes to have a look.  It's well worth it!