Gold Tidbits from Educating Ruby – Part 1

Upon recommendation, I’ve been reading a book entitled ‘Educating Ruby’ by Guy Claxton and Bill Lucas. The book is not only a call to action about modern learning but demonstrates research about effective pedagogical practice – the Roms, the Trads and the Mods.

The Romantics believe that children will blossom if we leave them alone. The Traditionalists seem to believe that all would be well if we had lots of old-fashioned grammar schools teaching Latin and algebra. Trads like to keep things simple, even if their beliefs are damaging or wrong. The third tribe is the Moderates, which includes the vast majority of people who work in or care about education. Where the Trads are simplistic and pugnacious, the Mods like to think and tinker (or ‘thinker’, as Michael Ondaatje put it).” An excerpt from this blog.

I thought it might be helpful to collate some of the golden tidbits from this book to remember.

Chapter 1. Call For Concern

  1. We must encourage risk-taking

Many of our students are risk adverse having lived a molly-coddled life wrapped in cotton wool in which failure is unacceptable.

“How different my life might have been if my school (as many do now) had deliberately nurtured my appetite for adventure and a tolerance for error.” Tom Middlehurst, Head of Research at SSAT

2. We must encourage parental engagement

So many teachers are fearful of parent engagement, concerned that parents will “judge” or that their involvement might deem their teaching powerless.

“…the effect of parental engagement over a students’s school career is equivalent to adding an extra two to three years to that student’s education.” John Hattie, Director of AITSL

3. Finding a meeting point for all stakeholders is vital.

Those behind cried “Forward!”

And those before cried “Back!”

And backward now and forward

Wavers the deep array;

And on the tossing sea of steel,

To and fro the standards eel;

And the victorious trumpet-peal

Dies fitfully away.

 Macaulay.

Essentially, there is a call for concern. But, these authors are preaching to the converted. One of the reasons I chose to read this book is to have an empirical basis for my concerns about the lack of progression in education.

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Which Personalities Are More Open To Change?

Working in an organisation that embraces innovation and change, I have begun to notice those people who thrive on change and those who panic with change.

I believe that there are a plethora of reasons behind these responses, but I have been wondering what part one’s personality plays in an individual’s response to change, if any.

There are a range of personality theories and types. In today’s blog, I’m going to be focusing on the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator personalities. If you aren’t sure what your MBTI is, you can do an online test here. Having already completed this test, I’ve discovered that I’m an ENTJ type. In short, I’m extroverted (over introverted), I’m intuitive (over sensing), I’m a thinker (rather than a feeler) and I make judgments (before perceiving). I’m known as ‘The Executive’. I’m not sure how I feel about that, but, anyway.

I think that I deal with change well… I actually enjoy change. Let’s see what the experts think…

According to the personalitypage.com “[ENTJs] are assertive, innovative, long-range thinkers with an excellent ability to translate theories and possibilities into solid plans of action.” Does that mean I deal with change well? According to 16personalities.com, I thrive on challenges, too.

Interestingly, systemsthinker.com says that the INTJ personality is the most open to change and “Because of their frustration with inefficiency, and their ability to clearly visualize a more optimal state and the strategic steps necessary to achieve it, the INTJ may, when functioning within an ineffective system, be extremely eager for change. This eagerness may lead them to expect or demand immediate change. When others around them are open to that change, this attitude can expedite improvements. However, the INTJ often fails to recognize when circumstances call for a more incremental approach to change.”

Interesting… What about you? How do you deal with change?

4 Ways To Make Change Easy

1. Recognise That When You Aren’t Changing, You’re Not Growing – And when you’re not growing, you’re dying. Benjamin Franklin said it well – “Without continual growth and progress, such words as improvement, achievement and success have no meaning.” If you truly want to place yourself in the best position, that position needs to be in state of constant change.

TRY NOW TIP: Try driving a different way to work or eating a food you haven’t tried before.

2. If The Wheel Hadn’t Been Reinvented…  – … we’d still have wheels made of stone, I guess. However, the best inventions start with small changes and innovations; the kind of changes that can be fast proto-typed in a quick, efficient and cut-throat way. We all need to be looking for small changes we can make everyday.

TRY NOW TIP: Have you thought about a more efficient way to use your toothpaste? What about re-organising your wardrobe? OR, Heaven-forbit, what about throwing out some clothes you haven’t worn for a while?

3. Get Comfortable With Being Uncomfortable – I remember a horse farrier giving me an anecdote to explain a horse getting used to a bit. He asked me what my response would be if he pushed me down onto a tack. I replied that I would get up immediately. He asked how I would respond if he did it again. I gave the same response. He followed this up by saying “What if I pushed you back on that tack over and over again?” I gave the same response. Then, he called me an idiot.The smartest and least painful response would be to stay on the tack… getting comfortable with being uncomfortable.

TRY NOW TIP: Don’t sit on a tack – that’s stupid. Try putting yourself in slightly uncomfortable situations such as, spending some time with someone you don’t know well or even going to a BBQ as a newbie.

 4. Stop Talking About Change Management – The term ‘Change Management’ creates an underlying assumption that, at Point X, we will stop changing. Humans love to reach milestones, don’t they? We imagine that once we implement changes a, b and c; we will have reached utopia and we will never need to change again. We love that quintessential image of ourselves standing on top of a mountain, flag in hand with an ‘I made it!’ look across our faces. We imagine a time of rest once we have conquered a supposedly insurmountable challenge. Let’s face it –  change isn’t going to stop anytime soon. Change will be ongoing and the only way to manage it is to actually change.

TRY NOW TIP: Imagine hitting a milestone and then ask yourself, ‘What’s next?’

Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future.

John F. Kennedy