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Should Pedagoo be more activist?

This is a question which has been on my mind since Saturday’s fab #PedagooGlasgow event. Pedagoo exploded in its first two years and was potentially turning into a million and one things, which I wasn’t necessarily comfortable with. Following a period of illness and relative inactivity on my part, I decided to try and reinvigorate Pedagoo by putting many of these ideas to one side and focusing on our core business – positively sharing classroom practice. This has been, and is being, achieved through our twitter, our blog and our events without the need for any fancy structures, bank accounts, committees, paperwork etc.

I don’t know about you, but I’m really beginning to feel that the community is really returning to its vibrant best. There are loads of fab events across the UK, lots of brilliant blog posts and #PedagooFriday just keeps on growing. But there were a few comments made on Saturday in Glasgow which made me ponder if we could and should perhaps be doing more to more actively fight the forces of negativity…not least David Cameron’s rousing opening speech (and largely unrepeatable closing speech!)

Could we perhaps be getting out there a bit more and making the positive case for progressive reform in education? Part of me is drawn (and terrified) by this idea…which is why it has dominated much of my thoughts these last few days.

Ultimately though I think I’m coming to the conclusion that we keep doing what we’re doing. We’re changing the game here and we don’t need to play by their rules. Fighting fire with fire normally doesn’t achieve much in my experience. Let’s instead continue to focus on developing and sharing our classroom practice positively and professionally and as a by-product perhaps we’ll influence the wider picture. After all, Pedagoo is about showing what’s possible…not saying what’s wrong.

Unless however, you disagree. What do you think? Should Pedagoo be taking a bigger stand in wider educational debates? If so, what exactly is Pedagoo and who would take this stand? I think perhaps we just don’t fit in to the past models of professional associations, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing and if we try and change Pedagoo to make it fit more easily, there’s a chance we might break it…

Planning with the Learning Cycle


I mentioned this on #PedagooFriday last week. My S1 Learning Skills class are about to plan and deliver lessons in groups using our six part learning cycle. I first asked them to brainstorm ideas for each stage in the cycle based on their experiences in lessons this year. I was blown away by their responses – especially for the ‘Discuss Leanring Outcomes’ stage where they mentioned discussing the learning outcomes in groups, setting targets and agreeing success criteria for the lesson. If they manage all that in their lessons perhaps I’ll even learn a thing or two!

Masters Level Learning

I was a bit worried that last post would be a bit dull given that I was effectively just sharing that I went to a meeting of a new group, but I think it turned out a bit more interesting than I’d expected (if I do say so myself!)

So, I thought I’d follow it up with a similar post on another group I’m on which has just had its first meeting too. You’ll have heard of the Donaldson report, obviously, but you may (like me) have struggled to see any real change coming through in terms of teacher professional learning – apart from the new Standards of course. Well, I’m delighted to discover that there’s more going on than I had realised – at least in the Lothians, but probably in other regions too.

Edinburgh University are working with City of Edinburgh, East Lothian, Fife, Midlothian, Scottish Borders and West Lothian to develop Teacher Education Partnerships. The working group I’m on is developing pilots for Masters-level learning opportunities collaboratively developed in partnership between the University and the Local Authorities, and there are other groups developing other pilots also.

Although there are many and obvious concerns regarding the implemenation of this shift in how teacher professional learning is offered, I think there is real potential here to raise the standard and outcomes of the sorts of courses on offer to us. Particularly as practitioner enquiry seems to be featuring heavily in the conversations so far – which makes me happy and gives me hope.

There’s more info on progress implementing the Donaldson report on the Teaching Scotland’s Future website.

Continuous Improvement

I don’t know if you have, but I hadn’t heard much about the new Curriculum, Learning, Teaching and Assessment National Forums from Education Scotland. They’re not a secret, but I suppose that as they’re in the process of being set up just now there’s not much of a fanfare being made yet. You can read much more about them in Annex C of this CfE Management Board paper.

I’ve been invited to join the Core Group of the National Digital Learning Forum which met for the first time last month. Not knowing anything about it really in advance, I traveled through to Glasgow with low expectations. The word forum to me implies a lot of talking and not a lot of action. As Annex C in the document above suggests, I couldn’t have been more wrong. The plan for these new forums seems to be to develop a coherent approach to continuously improving our curriculum and therefore avoid the cycle of ‘big bang’ reforms. The principles of CfE are broad enough to potentially avoid a major reform in the foreseeable future as long as we continually improve the detail. These forums are an innovative attempt to bring together the people who are delivering the curriculum with those with the power to bring about any required changes. Clever, huh?

Not only was I impressed by the overall purpose of these forums, I was also pleasantly surprised by the overwhelming focus of the National Digital Learning Forum paperwork being on learning – which, as you’ll be able to tell from my recently revised about page, is pretty much what I’m all about. Technology matters, but learning comes first.

So, it’s still very early days, but I’m impressed so far…and if you get a tap on the shoulder to join one of the other forums, seriously consider it. I think they’re going to be better than they sound.