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Richard Gerver

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Creating Tomorrow’s Schools Today, Author Richard Gerver talks organisational communication via Disneyland

IT’S TIME TO TAKE THE MICKEY!

A few years ago, after much scrimping and saving, my wife and I were able to take our children to Disney. I am not sure who was more excited; I know that I didn’t sleep the night before we left! I also remember the feeling each day as Cinderella’s castle came into view; a fast beating heart and the sense that something special was about to happen; every day was like a new adventure!
I have often been laughed at when I tell people that upon taking up my Headship in 2001, I asked the staff one question; how do we turn our school into Disneyland? I realise that this may appear to be a daft enquiry to some; somewhat trivial, almost naïve to others, but I was serious. I am a committed and I hope, highly professional, educator who chose teaching as most do, because I wanted to make a difference to children’s lives; to help to prepare them for the challenges and opportunities in their futures; the moral imperative. In no way did the asking of that question seek to devalue or make light of the incredible responsibilities we carry as teachers, it was a symbolic way of underlining to my new colleagues that during my tenure as Head our job was to focus on our primary customers; our children.
As educators we know that successful learning can only occur in schools filled with happy people; staff, parents, governors but most importantly, children. We know that learning is most successful when our students are engaged, excited, intrigued and we know that teachers are at their best when they demonstrate passion and enthusiasm. When I was given the extraordinary privilege of taking on my Headship, I wanted to help create a school where people arrived in the morning with their hearts beating faster; it’s why I asked the Disney question. I knew that we would be on the way to success, when on a cold February morning, in the middle of the winter virus season, if our pupils woke up with a sore throat and they would still want to come to school, in the same way that if they were waking up in Paris on that same cold morning, with the same condition, nothing would stop them on their trip to Walt’s world.
As a profession, we know more about learning, brain and emotional development and the links between them, than we ever have. Every Child Matters gave us the political mandate to do what we have always known was right; to educate the whole child. There is rightly still huge concern around the issues of inclusion and achievement, but the solutions do not come in the shape of targets, or in rows of desks and more prescriptive approaches to teaching and learning, the solutions lie in refocusing the agenda. We have to make learning matter to our kids, for some, for the first time, for others to ensure that they can rediscover that joy. For that to happen learning must be rich in context and purpose; children must be able to see the links to their own lives and how by engaging in education, it makes things better and can make their hearts beat a little faster.
Although I blame the advertising industry for many, many things; including the rows I have with my teenage daughter over shopping and pocket money! I am fascinated by the science of their craft; after all, if we could convince our children to buy in to school as a brand in the same way they do certain technologies or clothing lines we’d be on to a winner, wouldn’t we? Interestingly, there are two questions that branding experts ask of new clients when taking on a brief, the first is;
What do you want to stand for in the eyes of your customer?
And the second is:
How are you going to shape your behaviours, as an organisation, so that you support the response to the first question?
Whether we like it or not, our children are incredibly sophisticated consumers; they are the first truly ‘on demand’ generation. The future of education does not lie in how we control them but how we sell to them; a great education is one of the foundations of a successful society; it is of more value than any computer game, pair of trainers or music download and we need to ensure that children feel that. At its best learning stirs the senses, quickens the pulse and fires the imagination; much like Disney.
Education is a serious business, so is the Disney Corporation, it after all, one of the world’s most successful organisations. At the heart of the Disney ethos are the concepts of education and entertainment and as a result they captivate generation after generation, it strikes me that great schools follow exactly the same formula.

BUY RICHARD’S BRILLIANT BOOK TOMORROW’S SCHOOLS TODAY FOR YOUR HOLIDAY READ, NOW

The Creative Teaching and Learning Toolkit

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The end of a three year research and development project by Brin Best and Will Thomas  has yielded this phenomenal teaching and learning resource.  Based on a robust and holistic model for developing teaching and learning, this book is also packed with hundreds of tools, tips and strategies to enable your students to reach their potential.  The book combines ready-made tools alongside strategies for encouraging thinking skills, problem-solving and  inspirational approaches to learning. Over 200 useful quotes, a self evaluation tool and a CD ROM with printable versions of  many of the tools in the book are included. This is a “must-have” on every  upper primary and secondary teacher’s shelf.

Performance Coaching Workbook E-BOOK

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This electronic book is the practical resource book which follows the enormously successful Performance Coaching book by Dr Angus McLeod. Compiled by Angus McLeod and Will Thomas, this e-book is a must have on your laptop.The book here is part one of a series of three parts innovately designed and rpovided to you in electronic form. This e-book is packed with  13 tools for enhancing your practical coaching from set-up to completion.

The approach is concise and immediately helpful in knowing how and when to use specific tools in coaching. We believe that this workbook is suited to coaches and prospective coaches in all sectors, particularly those who want a rapid and accessible route to understanding coaching practice and who want a reliable source book for coaching methods. We present an easily understandable structure for coaching so that all the tools sit simply within a practical framework for developing and enhancing your own coaching style. This framework, the STEPPPA Model, also provides a coherent and practical tool for keeping in touch with the coaching process as a structured journey.

You will quickly recognize a layout that becomes familiar and enables fast access to key information. Links between other related models and tools are provided throughout, so the complexity of coaching processes, with time, becomes even more comprehensible. We have very deliberately included linguistic-triggers in the text to help coaches use the right set of tools in their actual coaching sessions without having to pause in their work.

We include a number of self-evaluation frameworks so you can make progress in ways that are personal to your own style of coaching delivery. The world of the coachee’s experience will become more familiar to you and this will help to advise your use of the tools.

Available for free download at http://willthomasblog.com

EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT TEACHING

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EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT TEACHING…but are…

EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT TEACHING…but are to busy to ask. This book provides a collection of briefings for busy teachers to update you. A great read in its own right, this book is also a valuable reference covering a whole range of topics relevant to education including ICT, mentoring, questioning strategies, inclusion, NLP, writing frames, accelerated learning and many more. Briefings on fifty topics raise your game for preparing for interviews and promotions, updates, and for those new to the profession. A teacher’s encyclopedia for just £12.99

Coaching Solutions Resource Book

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Coaching Solutions Resource Book by Will Thomas

Packed with over 80 practical coaching resources, all in photocopiable form, including:

– foundation tools for creating focus and identifying motivators
– coaching session prompts and record sheets
– question banks to help coaches pick great questions
– a variety of tools to identify strengths, generate really motivating targets, overcome obstacles, create innovative solutions, help with   making decisions, and evaluate progress.

This is the perfect companion to Coaching Solutions, the original ground-breaking education coaching text from Will Thomas and Alistair Smith. It provides practical ways to help individuals, teams and organisations secure peak performance through a coaching approach. It contains a concise summary of all of the key elements of coaching practice, along with a well-organized and accessible bank of resources.

Whether you are a new coach or an old hand, this book will make coaching more effective and more manageable.

Coaching Solutions

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Coaching is a proven method for improving individual and team performance. Its success derives from an understanding that all meaningful progress is driven from within. Here, Will Thomas and Alistair Smith offer practical advice to help individuals, teams and organizations secure the improvements they want.

This is a great book for:

– managers who want to help their team re-claim the agenda
– teachers who want a way of better understanding and motivating the ‘hard to reach’
– leaders who want an institutional focus that will bring energy to the system
– parents who have reluctant youngsters at home
– communities who want to get back in touch with each others’ needs

It answers the following questions:

– What is coaching?
– How do you coach?
– Where do you begin?
– How do you develop a coaching organization?

It includes: dialogues,case studies, examples of schools using coaching successfully, masterclasses and plenty of information about further help.

Managing Workload Pocketbook

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Managing Workload Pocketbook by  Will Thomas

Teaching is a challenging and rewarding profession. If there’s a downside, it’s the workload: not properly managed it can lead to stress and related problems. If you feel you could be using time better – working less and enjoying life more – then this book offers some useful tips, tools and strategies for work-life balancing. Sections on stress, attitudes and habits, time management and looking after yourself lead to a helpful workload evaluation tool at the end of the book. Drawing on the experiences of real teachers in real schools, you sense that Will Thomas understands the pressures and challenges peculiar to the job and his common sense approach is welcome.

Head of Departments Pocketbook

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Head of Department Pocketbook by Brin Best and Will Thomas

Brin Best and Will Thomas present a practical and informative guide for secondary school teachers aiming to manage their departments effectively. New, aspiring and existing heads of department will find the book offers practical tips and techniques and gives a helpful overview of the role identified by the National College for School Leadership as the ‘engine room of change’ within secondary schools. The central chapter, ‘Managing your Department’ looks at aspects of creative leadership, lesson observation, managing meetings, developing and recruiting people, managing stress, inspection, finance, health and safety. Other chapters cover effective documentation, maximising student achievement and raising the profile of your department. The self-evaluation framework at the end of the book is a useful, analytical tool for any middle manager looking to develop departmental practice.