Half term has arrived after a very busy first half of term. The pupils are very much deserving of their rest and recuperation. Yesterday’s tutor/tutee meetings allowed pupils the chance to share what they have been most proud of in their learning, the challenges that they have tackled and the areas that they feel need more support. The very act of processing this information, lifting themselves out of daily life is integral to metacognition, and taking the right steps to own their progress. This has been a part of Holmwood life for many years, but we made some small changes this time bringing in some ‘coaching questions’ to help the children focus on their academic work more. I am a big believer in coaching – and developing ownership – from the sports field. Allowing a team to analyse what they have done well, and what they need to tackle in the second half of a match – rather than telling them – was always the best way, although there were times I couldn’t resist direct messaging when needed. In the classroom a pupil who is able to analyse what they have done well, and how they can improve (not just where) will always make quicker strides forward. (For those who want to investigate coaching further there are lots of versions out there – the group I spent time with can be found here with a link to the impact on parents – I did the education version – the course I did took me out of my comfort zone but gave me a new frame of reference – and I haven’t applied it all, sometimes out of philosophical disagreement).
Last week I attended the IAPS Conscious Inclusion Conference which was chaired by the brilliant Andrew De Silva, who has since been appointed as head of another Bellevue school, (which is so good as I can keep learning from him). Prep schools from across the country were represented and I took away a lot, not least to be more than colour blind, but to be colour and diversity conscious; and to ensure that educating about diversity in schools is more than just token events and assemblies, but to be usual in the curriculum e.g. when studying Shakespeare to ensure that all female figures in a term are not tragic heroines – and thus the need to be continually reviewing our curriculum. There was a great deal to process but the importance of celebrating the diversity of our community came through – and I am keen that we do this better.
My assembly on challenge today drew attention to King George VI’s battle against his stutter – and how he and his speech therapist took on the challenge to help him with his public speaking – and how that bore fruit during World War II. Older children may ask to watch the King’s Speech. I referenced it but didn’t show the trailer due to some interesting choice of language at one point. Teachers had sent me some of the challenges pupils had tackled this term and I read out some of these to the school – encouraging them to take on challenges and grow from that.