VIEWS From the pen of... Matt Lloyd-Rose Fromthepenof...Ma
tt Lloy Thismonth, in our
ongoing series on authors in education,we hear fromMAT
author of “The Character Conundrum: Howto develop confidence, independence and resilience in classroom”.
‘Giving my pup i
that is challenging causes them not to be willing to try it, not be willing to fail,’ Charlotte told me,
‘and often results in them getting angry, getting upset, behaving badly – just to avoid being perceived a failure basically…’
As a researcher in primary and secondary schools, I heard versions of Charlotte’s quandary time and time again – stories of under- confident, risk averse and poorly motivated pupils. I heard tales of apathy, timidity, frustration and disorganisation, and tales of pupils going to great lengths to evade work they disliked or didn’t think they could do. ‘I’ve never known a child to have such negativity towards maths,’ said Becky of one pupil, ‘and it displays itself in bad behaviour, distraction, asking any question except for something that’s relevant.’
These kinds of situations are not uncommon, particularly (but by no means uniquely) in schools in the poorest areas: vicious cycles of low confidence, unwillingness to engage, and underachievement. In Prof DylanWiliam’s words: ‘When students believe they cannot learn, when challenging tasks are just one more opportunity to find out that you are not very smart, many students disengage. And this is perfectly understandable.’
In UK education circles today, a common response to these issues is to talk about ‘character’: a catch-all term that denotes the mindsets, skills and habits that young people need to succeed in learning and in life. ‘Character education’ is ‘almost universally sought as the holy grail of good schooling’, union chief Geoff Barton wrote last month. But despite universal agreement that it matters, ‘character’ is frequently a source of confusion and controversy. Which skills and mindsets matter most? How do they develop? Are they malleable? Are they teachable? Can you teach them without interfering with academic learning?
In my book The Character Conundrum: How to develop
confidence, independence and resilience in the classroom I grapple with those questions, unknot the debates around ‘character’ and map out what teachers can do to overcome these challenges – how to turn the vicious cycle described above into a virtuous cycle o f effort and achievement .
I argue that nebulous terms like ‘character’, ‘non-cognitive skills’ and ‘soft skills’ are part of the problem and that we ought, instead, to name the specific qualities that pupils need to thrive in the classroom:
• Confidence: believing you can succeed, being willing to make an effort, and daring to think ambitiously about the future. • Independence: working autonomously, solving your own problems and taking responsibility for your learn • Resilience: pushing yourself, pursuing your aims challenges, and recovering from setbacks.
in the face of ing.
The Character Conundrum offers a practical guide to developing these qualities, full of strategies, case studies, and teacher and pupil voices from primary and secondary schools.When pupils feel confident, independent and resilient, and act accordingly,
disengagement and defeatism vanish. Instead of giving up, avoiding challenge and limiting themselves, they throw themselves whole- heartedly into their learning, believing they can succeed and equipped with the skills and determination to do so.
Decemb e r 2017 2017 tt oyd-Rose BritishEduca cational SuppliersAs
VIEW S British Educational Suppliers Association (BESA) rs Association(BESA)
Howbest to inn ovate your school? Tr
Try speed dating!
Thismonth, regular Education Today contributor PATRICK HAYES, Director at BESA, looks at an innovativeway of putting schools in touchwith suppliers.
ls a piece of work the
Earlier in the year, we at BESA undertook an extensive survey of school leaders about the use of Education Technology in the classroom. One of the biggest barriers to its use was teachers not being aware of what the most innovative resources are. Of course, by far the best way of
identifying these is by attending the Bett
Show in London every January. The largest EdTech show in the world, over 900 exhibitors fill the vast hall of ExCeL London, with upwards of 35,000 people visiting. From the cutting-edge of virtual reality, to innovative initiatives helping schools cut down on workload and help save money, it’s all there.
If you want to narrow down the field a little, then have a look at the companies nominated for Bett Awards. I chair a 40-strong panel of expert judges for the awards, who scrutinise hundreds of applications from all over the world. Indeed , this year we received more applications from EdTech companies than ever before. This reflects the status of the Bett Awards as being the global gold standard when it comes to recognising excellence in education technology. You can see the list of shortlisted companies spanning 20 different categories at www.bettawards.com
but do keep an eye out for companies wearing their “Bett Awards” For general classroom resources, then the
Education Resources badge with pride.
are an important source of information. The ERAs, awarded eachMarch, highlight the best in class of a wide range of resources, from recruitment solutions through to educational books. As a mark of their quality and authority, this magazine is a longstanding media partner. However sometimes nothing beats picking up resources and looking through them yourself, and asking questions of the people who produce them. To that end, I highly recommend going along to one of the many InnovateMy School “speed dates” that happen around the country.
The one I attended was a fascinating experience. Usually in a hotel or school hall, InnovateMy School www.innovatemyschool.com
brings together some of the most innovative suppliers of educational resources in one place – and, importantly, usually close to where you are based.
Borrowing a model from dating – hey, if it can help find love, then why not innovative resources? – school leaders spend 10 minutes with each supplier who gives them an overview of their products. After the time is up, a noise sounds and people move Business cards are exchanged, and certainly there found it an incredibly helpful way to e of cutting-edge products and initiatives.
ngage with a wide range school leaders I spoke to on to the next supplier.
Many of those exhibiting at InnovateMy School are BESA members, and this is another important way of identifying quality resources. BESA members take great pride in displaying their BESA “tick”. It shows that they sign up to a Code of Practice that makes them fully accountable to schools, with an independent means of arbitration – BESA – should any issues arise.
To look at our full list of members, and to read our Code o f Practice, visit: www.besa.org
For information fromBESA contact: Patrick Hayes 020 7537 4997
www www .education-today.co.uk.co.uk
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