Grit, character and well being

I had never been to The Festival of Education but quickly realised that my one ticket needed planning. At times during the day I wished I were Hermione Granger with a time spinning device. So many things to see and do. I prioritised my school development strands and hoped lunch time would let me see some more. I hadn't reckoned on a talk being rescheduled to lunchtime meant surviving on 2 ice creams. 

If I get to go again, I'll bring a colleague, some students and a picnic. So what have I learnt? So much? Now to put find into a detailed development plan. These are my notes to help share some learning.

Nicky Morgan.

 Stretch and challenge all students. Look at the in school gap and national gaps. Go beyond the curriculum and offer enrichment. Passing exams is important but character, resilience are too.

Light bulbs panel. Rachel Jones, Keziah Featherstone, Amy Harvey, David Rogers, Debra Kidd, Steph Ladbrooke, Sue Cowley.

Develop strong practice in schools by using curiosity not spoon feeding. Keep it simple and creative to make it stick. Schools should be a sanctuary, safe stable places for students to learn. Students should create trouble by asking questions and make every moment count. Leaders should give permission to teachers to let children explore their interests. Build teacher confidence. When children are captivated and motivated them they are learning. Are we using too much quantitative data and is there room for more qualitative in ks3 where students explore an independent task? Is data sanitising education? Are we using data to drive teaching or is data driving teaching? 

Tom Bennett rebuilding a profession: research in education.

Be resistant to fads/fashions. Become discerning analysts not passive recipients. Drive a model of reprofessionalism. Become more research engaged and maintain ownership of classrooms. Ask critical questions. Research won't solve education issues but ask the right questions. Is your CPD a monogue? Turn it into a dialogue. Take ownership of your own CPD. Teacher craft/experience/wisdom is not to be lost. Research based education can lead to cherry picking. Be aware and be critical of research and research evidence.

Grit Dr Angela Duckworth

Grit = perseverance over the long term on the same thing. Talent is one thing but grit is important. Older adults have higher grit than young adults. Character, kindness, stability grow as you get older. Grit might be malleable. Grit = sustained passion and perseverance for especially long term goals. Achievement = Talent & effort. Repetition not memorisation is key as it leads to automaticity. Gritty people think about what they are doing not a possible reality. Deliberate practice is the only indicator of how well you will do. Tell students that Olympic swimmers etc hate  practice. Frustration and confusion are natural for learners. Say good for you - you're learning. 

Surrogate grit is needed when a third person helps you out when your will is weak. We often need someone who is psychologically distanced. 

Well being Liz Robson-Kelly

Poor mental well being - I'm going to fail so why try. Mental well being = effective learning. Staff CPD needed, remember in an emergency you need to put your own air mask on! Whole school approach. A culture of well being for all. Mindfulness, resilience and growth mindset in addition to anti stigma PSHE lessons.

 Mental toughness. Help students move up the mental health spectrum and flourish if they have low mental illness and high mental health.  Low mental illness and low mental health = languishing students. 

Positive psychology is a science of optimal functioning, success and well being. Teach staff skills to coach posited emotions, empathy, relationships. Communication skills, thinking skills and self emotional awareness. 

Australia are using behavioural coaching. Improve hope, reduce stress. Positive failure - failure is an inoculation that helps you become more resilient. Embed it, teach it, live it. 

So I had a clear brief to follow. Now to put this into a plan that works for our school community. Staff, students, parents as an ethos not an add on.