Working theories

While reading and researching new ideas and reflecting on current practice, I have had the brainwave of consolidating the key thoughts which influence me and putting them here. Time will tell as to whether it is of any use.

The curriculum is the progression model

a curriculum sets out the journey that someone needs to go on to get better at the subject. In short, it models the progress that we would hope (although cannot guarantee) that someone will make. The curriculum is the progression model.

(Michael Fordham’s blog)

Thinking deeply about curriculum addresses long-standing issues around defining progress and also the wildly open to interpretation of ‘challenge’. Quite simply, becoming a better geographer is making progress and is also challenging. It is a long-term process or ‘journey’. The geography curriculum maps out (excuse the pun) this journey and it is for this reason that we have to get the curriculum right.

Behaviour is a pre-condition for learning

Ok, this isn’t a direct quote, I am actually paraphrasing a documentary on the One Child Policy. In the documentary, UN demographer Siri Teller explains that the Chinese government saw population control as a pre-condition for economic growth and social progress. This quote resonated with me because it also applies to behaviour in schools. Without managing behaviour, we cannot hope to improve teaching and learning and we cannot hope to improve outcomes.

The conversation is the relationship

Off the back of some CPD at school on the appraisal at process, I looked up Susan Scott’s book Fierce Conversations. I have always been conscious that I, like many people, have a natural disposition to try and avoid conflict and difficult conversations. As such, it has been an area I have focused on. Indeed, forcing myself to do things which I will try – consciously and subconsciously – to avoid is critical. When reading Scott’s book I came across this nugget of a phrase – ‘the conversation is the relationship’ – which has stayed with me. I have always prided myself on, and been recognised for, my ability to form good relationships with people and I have attributed this to being able to make good conversations. I’ve always found that working hard to build and maintain positive relationships goes some way to avoiding difficult conversations, but having strategies for when those conversations do become challenging has definitely helped.


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