Today is publication date and there are only 3 chapters left to explain.
Time management is a critical factor in teaching so it was important to me that any book that suggested making changes, no matter how demanding, dealt with the use of time management. It is my experience that trying to do too much in too little time limits our capacity for change and change rarely gets truly embedded.
Question: Why is it that in teaching there is never enough time?
Answer: Well, the short answer is because you try to do too much!
‘Teaching is a full-on job; there is no doubt that it is demanding both physically and mentally. Teaching can be draining and leave us without the energy or motivation never mind capacity to change our approach. It is only fair then if I am suggesting change, although much of building learning relationships and PBCF is about approach and attitude, that I consider how you can best manage this often scare resource -time’
Starting with a look at the Urgent/Important matrix I develop a formula referred to as the ‘Not Enough Time Equation’. This is a tool I have developed to help you explore how you use your time and to make better decisions on how to use it effectively. Don’t worry if you have maths anxiety, there is no adding up or multiplication involved!
Question: What’s Johns 12 rules all about?
Answer: Chapter 11 is one that highlights the importance of a mentor during your time as a teacher. I was lucky when I started teaching, I had John as a mentor.
‘My teacher training course involved both my subject specialism and the theoretical and practical aspects of teaching and lasted three years plus a probationary year. It was a good grounding, but I have said that to be a teacher you must remain a lifelong learner and in doing so you should be open to advice and ideas. Sometimes you learn without really knowing it; that was the case with me and John’s 12 rules.’
John had a number of saying he would drop into our conversations, but it was not until his passing that I sat down and reflected on them. Then I realised they were integral to the way I approach learning and teaching and that I had taken them on board without knowing it. John’s rules are very much associated with learning needs and so I have listed all 13 of them (yes 13) for you along with a detailed explanation of how they can be applied.
Question: Just what is Learning Intelligence or ‘LQ’?
Answer: The short answer is that LQ is about seeing learning as a problem-solving activity. Another way to put it is your ability to manage your learning environment to meet your learning needs. It is not something to be measured but something to develop. It consists of a set of skills, attributes, attitudes and behaviours that are needed to manage your own learning. Chapter 12 looks at different intelligence and learning theories before introducing the concept of LQ. and describes how I came about the concept and the definition.
‘An important aspect in your teaching is about having a story to tell pupils that draws them in.’
‘You need a narrative, a story that brings all the elements together in a way that makes sense and can be related to learning experiences. ‘
‘Our ability to learn is not just defined by a single general intelligence (IQ) nor through our emotional awareness (EQ) or what learning abilities or intelligences we demonstrate (MI) and the learning preferences we have. It is defined by all of these things as well as the yet to be fully defined working of the brain which we are only beginning to understand. ‘
‘Providing a narrative that will allow you to embrace all these elements and understand how they fit into the learning jigsaw has been my breakthrough. ‘
If you have found the insights into the how and why my book came about then perhaps it’s time to buy a copy. You can do so through Critical Publishing or Amazon
Recently I met with Charlotte Davies to find out more about her work in person. I have followed Charlotte’s work for some time both out of interest and knowing that it has something to do with my own work but not sure how. My head is still buzzing! Charlotte’s profile on LinkedIn says “Education Consultant, Tomatis Consultant” she is also Director at “Fit-2-Learn” and she is co-author of “The Maze of Learning”[i], a book written to ensure “that your child has the best foundation for learning”. So why am I so excited about her work?
Like so many in education Charlotte has a great passion for learning, especially when it comes to the human developmental aspects that need to be in place before we can become ‘efficient’ learners. Her second passion, like so many dedicated teachers, is to make things right. Those that have followed or read my work on my concept of “Learning Intelligence” (LQ) and student engagement through “PBCF” will know I share both passions so it was natural that we should meet at some point. Let me share the outcome.
My work with LQ focuses on enabling the learner to understand and manage their learning environment. Doing so involves us meeting our “learning needs”, developing or possessing a set of skills, attributes attitudes and behaviours (SAAB) that are needed to efficiently do so. Having identified what is needed to manage your learning environment and understand the impact it has on us both physically and emotionally, it can be tiring and stressful, I have been exploring ways of developing our learning needs. This is where Charlotte and her work comes in. What if there is something that is preventing you developing your LQ and aspect of SAAB, something that is causing far more stress than it need be. What if you can’t put your finger on it, or worse still, if it has been given some broad label that often suggests there is something wrong with you or something that can’t be put right. Both dreadful scenarios and ones we have all come across as teachers. I hope you can see why I am interested in Charlotte’s work.
Charlotte has taken a ‘parental’ view of both these scenarios, I say this because there is nothing like the drive, the energy or the open mindedness like that of a parent wanting to find a solution to their child’s needs and challenges. A parent will move mountains to find a solution or an understanding and do it with un-exhaustible energy and commitment. You may now understand why my head is still buzzing!
Developing LQ in learners works, I know, it is my own learning story and it is the way I taught, it may have lacked a definition in those days but seeing learning as a problem solving activity is the way forward – without doubt. But, and here is the caveat, if the right pieces of the developmental jigsaw are in place. Sure we are not all perfect and we can find coping strategies to overcome limitations but ultimately this will either slow our learning or limit us in some way, possibly even causing elements of stress or anxiety. So if it can be ‘fixed’ why not fix it? Surely this is a better way forward.
Charlotte has identified these developmental aspects and in my meeting we discussed and explored how to identify them and check they have evolved correctly. You may say it’s ‘child development’ and teachers are taught about child development. True, but in my experience many teachers are subject specialist first and child development specialists third or even fourth. Teaching is a full on activity and with the additional pressures of administration etc. etc. you can understand why they have little time to spend on identifying and fixing developmental problems. I am not making excuses, it is just the way it is, my approach of LQ and enabling students to manage their own learning environment is a way of trying to help too, after all we all want ‘independent learners’.
It all starts with motor skills but there are other pieces of the developmental jigsaw that need to be in place. We have sound processing and visual processing to consider too. Each element is part of the developmental sequence that will enable us to become efficient learners. Trying to rush learning, to learn things such as skills or carry out certain types of learning such as reading before all the pieces of the jigsaw are in place is surely morally wrong. It can also lead to a degree of ‘damage’ to the learner and the learning process that stays with the learner for life. How many adults truly believe they cannot learn because they were put into a learning situation before they were ready, before they developed the necessary motor skills or sound processing necessary? Meeting with Charlotte was an eye opener in this respect and also underlined why LQ works. When I help learners re- visit something they believed they cannot learn it may well be either they have now developed that aspect that was not ready earlier or they have developed a coping strategy that will allow them to be successful.
We do not need to leave things to chance though, we do not have to leave learners to develop coping strategies, as Charlotte clearly showed me, we can do something about it. Yes I was ‘tested’ and asked to perform some strikingly simple actions to find out if, even as an adult, I had motor developmental or sound processing issues that needed to be addressed. This too was interesting, it’s never too late to fix things and some of the people Charlotte works with are not just the young, teenagers, they are middle aged or even older like me.
So my head is buzzing and my way forward with LQ a little clearer, although a little more complicated too. I have much to learn if I am to integrate this into LQ. I will also be working on my sound processing much to the delight of my family who have had to put up with my lack of rhythm or ability to hold a tune over the years.
I’ll leave you with a quote from the fit-2-learn website.
“We believe that everyone can move beyond coping strategies and use all their senses and motor skills in a coherent, efficient manner to learn and to live calmly.”
How important is that!