The educational landscape is undoubtedly ever evolving and changing. As the sun sets on one idea, view or approach, so the next day starts with more thoughts opinions or aspects to consider. After working in education for nearly two decades, I have come to see this as an essential part of the Teaching Profession, which allows it to expand the opportunities for young people and push the boundaries of what it means to be a learner in the 21st century.
As a school we aim to have learning as our core purpose; to ensure our children gain a mental or physical grasp of things, make sense of the world around themselves, interpret the events and actions that unfold, whilst also processing the words and actions of others. Learning and teaching come hand in hand and with that comes the relationships that exist between a school and its community. These relationships are the key to ensuring that all children, parents and staff are able to create the right climate for learning to take place and at the heart of this are the conversations that help shape and mould the way in which a community evolves.
Over the past couple of weeks I have had lots of conversations as usual with all sorts of children and adults who are both within and beyond our school community. Many of these conversations arise naturally from planned meetings, routines, visits or opportunities, but what I have found fascinating overtime is the power a conversation has to sow a seed of thought, bring about a different perspective or sometimes hold up a mirror to reflect on the way we do things.
As a school it has been great to start to work as part of Oak Learning Partnership and through the conversations between all three schools, start to see how collaboration across a primary school, secondary school and secondary special is in such a short space of time already starting to have an impact on the offer we want our children to have as learners.
Our newly established parent forum is another example of conversations that we are engaging with as a school to further expand our motto of “Together We Build Understanding”. As part of our forum launch we looked at the remit of the forum and its purpose, which was further enhance by a presentation from Bury2gether, who are going to work with us to establish a forum which allows parents of children with SEND to feel empowered to share their views and opinions. For us as a school we would like it to be owned by our parents and it is a real opportunity for us to work together as a community to continue to enhance the opportunities for learning that all our children have. The conversations within our forum between parents, members of staff and Bury2gether highlighted to me that our school community want to have more conversations and have lots of ideas and suggestions that will continue to help us move forward together.
Sometimes it is those conversations that happen by chance or that occur because of an opportunity which go on to change how things are. A parent once said to me 4 or 5 years ago “I would love to be a fly on the wall and see the things that my child tells me all about when they come home” and from that came our use of Tapestry and Twitter to bring the classroom to peoples finger tips.
We all want to do the best for our children, but at times there can appear to be challenges or systems and structures that seem to get in the way of this or somehow disrupt what we want to do. All it takes sometimes is a conversation to take us back to our shared purpose of ensuring our children get the best deal as learners and the future of society. Unsworth is always a place that is open to a conversation, a conversation that may almost seem insignificant, but a conversation that has the power to be the catalyst for change. The late Rita Pierson was an educator who believed in the power of human connection and always had time to listen to all those conversations that fill our daily lives and the shared spaces in which we exist as a society.
“How powerful would our world be if we had kids not afraid to take risks, who were not afraid to think and who had a champion. Every child deserves a champion; an adult who will never give up on them. Who understands the power of connection and insists that they become the best that they can possibly be.” (Rita Pierson)
So as simple as it sounds, all it often takes is a conversation to bring about understanding or bring about change. Our lives are filled with conversations and it is empowering to think that as a teaching profession our Chartered College came from our collective conversations about pedagogy. Our growing engagement with digital apps such as Twitter shows us that conversations about education and ways to move forward are always possible.
All it takes is a conversation and somebody to start it off.