Probationer Training

I led two sessions today for all of our Newly Qualified Teacher (probationers). The feedback’s been positive and I certainly enjoyed meeting, listening and talking to these new members of our profession.

The content covered included:

Their personal perspective on teaching as member of staff;

Our culture – using multiple metaphor model;

Key principles of our Learning and Teaching Policy;

Formative assessment techniques;

Adopting a positive perspective; Martin Seligman

A Curriculum for Excellence;

Extreme Learning;

Teachers as reflective practitioners;

Social media – blogging; wikis; exc-el.

If today was anything go by the future of education in East Lothian and Scotland is in good hands.

10 thoughts on “Probationer Training

  1. Hi Don,

    On the subject of the Exc-el blogs – I have been following them with interest over the last six months or so. However, it has now become apparent that on at least one of your blogs, there is a policy that “anonymous” posters are not acceptable, and are to be censored immediately. I find this a great shame (especially since ANYONE posting comments to these blogs is essentially anonymous – I could easily post comments under the name Don Ledingham or Freddie Mercury, after all!) – it looked like this was going to be a site that welcomed free debate, but instead it seems to be a site for free debate as long as you’re a part of the blog-owner’s clique.

    This sort of policy isn’t what I’m looking for in a blog, so I’m moving on from Exc-el now – good luck for the future.

  2. I left a comment on the blog you refer to and do not see any ‘policy’ at all. The whole blogosphere is governed by different sets of “living room policies”, where one person’s idea of what is ‘friendly banter’ is different from another’s.

    Don’t take things personally – the resulting conversation has been exceptional. I guess we’d all just like to get to know you better to see where you’re coming from, but by choosing not to engage in conversation any longer that’s going to be tricky 😉

  3. Just seen that the ‘rule’ does indeed seem to have been introduced but for the reason I’ve suggested, I think: Robert wants to get to know him/her better and see where (s)he is coming from. So would I, tbh, if it were my living room.

  4. What people decide to allow on their own comments section is very much up to them. I have allowed a number of anonymous comments on my own blog – and most of these have been very worthwhile contributions. We don’t have a policy on this matter.

    You’re right when you say you could leave a comment under the name of Don Ledingham or Freddie Mercury (at one stage in my career pupils thought these people were one and the same person!). I suppose this is an area which could cause difficulty – particularly if the views purportedly coming from a person were in fact not from that person at all.

    However, given that most comment sections ask for an e-mail address it could be possible to seek verification – if the views were seen to be particularly controversial. Perhaps there’s a commercial opportunity here for some software company to provide verified IDs? – venture capitalists??

    I think the main point here is that we are in an evolving situation where we are all learning. I have to say I found some of your comments to be illuminating – and others less so – but I suppose that could be said for all of us.

    Instead of leaving exc-el you might like to consider keeping your own blog – so that you can properly share your views in a manner which is underpinned by mutual respect, empathy for other’s situations and common sense.

  5. When I started my blog, I was very worried about allowing anonymous comments. A week ago I decided to change the comments rule, as I felt confident that anyone leaving a comment would be sincere. If anything untoward was posted, I could delete it with as soon as it came so my attention. I may have to switch the comments verification on again. I am not sure why anyone would post an anonymous comment under a false identity or nick-name. Seems a bit underhand and cunning in a sense. As my colleague in RME would say, stand up for what is right, even if you are standing alone. One the other hand, if you don’t like it, don’t look!

    Quote Don:
    Instead of leaving exc-el you might like to consider keeping your own blog – so that you can properly share your views in a manner which is underpinned by mutual respect, empathy for other’s situations and common sense.

    And, once you have read the excel blogs, you don’t stop mate! 😉

  6. A Slacker,
    If you’re still around… I’m glad you’ve found the Exc-el blogs interesting over the last 6 months, and hope you’ll decide

    to return.
    Your contribution

    to Robert Jones’ blog, in my mind, marked a significant stage in the life of the

    Exc-el community, for which we have you to thank.
    For the first time, we started to see what Tuckman labelled the “storming”

    stage where team members open out to each other and confront each other’s ideas and perspectives. See Wikipedia on Forming, Storming, Norming, Performing. That post, probably for that reason,

    generated more discussion (currently 43 comments) than any post before or since.
    The community which is growing up around the Exc-el blogs, like any on-line community of interest, is made up of individuals. Many of the blogs are personal. Of course, not all will choose to run their blogs in the same way, and we don’t want to change that. The blog owners are their own publishers, and are trusted to make their own editorial decisions, just like any editor.(And many papers won’t publish anonymous letters unless the author

    identifies themselves, even if their name and address isn’t published. Maybe a similar arrangement could be a compromise

    solution here?)
    Diversity is important to Exc-el. To improve a situation as complex as modern education, we need to reflect the fullest possible range of different opinions and perspectives. That way, we build the richest possible shared understanding of our current systems. That in turn makes it much less likely that we’ll make changes with adverse consequences.
    Part of that may mean saying things which are “unsayable” in other places. The last thing we want is groupthink. If anonymous comments are the only way to air disagreements, they may have a value. But there’s a real risk that readers make false assumptions about what’s meant if they can’t go back to the author to check out anything that’s ambiguous or unclear.
    It needs to be a forum for free debate, as you recognise. There are no restrictive policies, and we should be proud of that.
    I hope you continue to be an active member of the community. Of course, I’d be delighted if you would consider keeping an Exc-el blog: you have a valuable contribution to make. You can set one up at any time – all you need is a blog name and any working email address. Go here to sign up.

  7. Hi Don,
    just wanted to say i was very inspired by your probationer talk the other day and I have since started my own blog. It was great to get the opportunity to disucss such topical matters such as T&L, Extreme Learning and Curr for Excellence with your peers in the situaions you set up. I have been most impressed with the East Lothian Probationer Course so far, thank you!


  8. Hi Don,
    Thanks again for the training last week – I found it really helpful. I just had a few queries regarding ‘Extreme Learning’ though. You spoke about it as if it were some revolutionary new idea. However, I can remember, from my S1/s2 experience, that we carried out two research based projects and had to use information for these projects from across the curriculum. The phrase used then was ‘study skills’ – is extreme learning just a repackaged version of this? Also, at Knox, pupils in the RMPS department are expected to carry out project work (using different subject knowledge) as part of the S2 syllabus. It will be interesting to see if wikis help them complete their projects this year.

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