Preparing for Year 7

Having delivered a week of a Closing the Gap Summer School with Create Development I found myself challenged in new ways.

The ethos of the project is around empowering pupils to make the transition from primary to secondary school by raising their awareness of the skills (Learning Powers) they have and need in order to be successful in their new environments.

The challenges for me were manifold:

  • A target audience with whom I had little experience
  • Colleagues I knew but had not worked closely with before
  • A programme I understood in theory yet had not so far practiced or witnessed in action

We constantly challenged the pupils to try new things, to test themselves and to have no fear or embarrassment of failure, but to accept it as a learning opportunity. We frequently encouraged and provided opportunity for mentors and pupils to review their learning – with this linked to their own Learning Journeys.

So, do I feel I modelled the behaviours that I hoped to see from the pupils? Lets review my Summer School experience in the same way as we asked the pupils to review theirs.

1* Write about what you did

2* Draw a picture of what you did

3* Write and draw about what you did

4* What did you learn from what you did

5* How will this help you in the future

6* Share this with your group

7* Share this with the whole group

Here goes – have a read and give me a star rating!

I co-tutored the second week of a 2-week Closing the Gap Summer School for Create Development. You can see some of the things we got up to from the photos on my twitter feed (nearly a drawing?!). I lead and helped with tasks and activities linked to learning powers to help year 6 pupils with the move to secondary school. I was lucky to work with a great tutors, great staff from the school (Clarendon Academy) and great mentors from years 8 upwards.

It became apparent that in order to fully emphasise and deliver a key message through a variety of tasks my planning needs to be more detailed and include work around how I will provide reflection opportunities. It also became clear that I can continue to develop my ability to ask good questions and I’m pretty sure this moved on in leaps and bounds during the course of the week. I realised that I am able to build relationships with pupils, mentors and peers quickly to allow us to work well together. I do this through my personality and enthusiasm and energy. I have not yet addressed my weakness in learning the names of large groups in order to take these relationships to the next level.

Creating an environment where mistakes are accepted and not feared is something I believe strongly in. I need to be more willing to make mistakes myself to model this – trying to refer to people by name will give me this opportunity.

Through reviewing our performance on a daily basis against Learning Nutrition criteria (I’ve blogged about this before) it became clear that creating a “culture” of behaviours is a tough thing to do. It requires a relentless drive over a period of time and cannot be achieved if you don’t believe in it and live it yourself.

I now intend to put a real emphasis on learning people’s names. In my job I see people sporadically and in different contexts so often struggle to name and place them. This will make a big difference to my confidence when meeting people again and will make relationships more personal and hence valued by both parties.  I need to look for opportunities to stretch myself more regularly. Given that I am coaching fewer regular hours than ever before this will most likely be through my wider development work. There is no reason why I shouldn’t seek to do this in social situations too! As an introvert (despite what I’m like when delivering) I find it very easy to sit back and watch the world go round from a quiet corner. Maybe I’ll put myself into conversations a little more and make some new friends – just in case I ever have to move into year 7!

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