Nil Satis Nisi Optimum at SSAT

The SSAT conference in Liverpool last week was an inspiring break from the washing machine of DfE policy announcements and faux consultations. There wasn’t a minister in sight and delegates could channel their energies into discussing how to develop young people’s learning and teachers’ professional development.

A shrewd move from a revitalised SSAT. I don’t want to hear from another politician for a while. My concerns for the system have driven me close to apoplexy – as previous posts will testify.

We were supporting our brilliant young entrepreneur at the conference, @iamjsanderson, below right.

Just before our disconcertingly windy trip on the Wheel of Excellence

James pitched his iOS coding business http://www.pixelbitapps.com/ on the main-stage with the kind of poise many of us can only dream of.

Later we heard some immutable truths from an impressive collection of academics and educationalists including Dylan Wiliam and “Flipped Learning” advocate, Prof. Eric Mazur.

We attended alongside the burgeoning educational Twitterati whose blogs and common sense are giving so much comfort to those of us needing more than just companions in woe #FF:

A.J. Quigley

https://twitter.com/HuntingEnglish

http://huntingenglish.wordpress.com/2012/12/01/the-power-of-habit-helping-students-master-their-habits/

Tom Sherrington

https://twitter.com/headguruteacher

http://headguruteacher.com/2012/12/09/leading-21st-c-learning-getting-my-bearings-for-the-journey-ahead/

Just two of the great educational Tweeps whom I recommend you follow and read.

No need to repeat the excellent points from their posts but I will bullet point some of the key ideas from the conference that will resurface at DHSB:

  1. We need to accelerate our pursuit of the digital literacy agenda and be at the forefront of developing these modes of learning – without sacrificing other great practice. We have some fantastic student leaders here;
  2. We need to align our curriculum to real world problems / concerns – like Emily Cummins in Design and Technology;
  3. Risk aversion can stifle creativity and entrepreneurship. We need students who, “Know what to do when they don’t know what to do.” Removing the fear of failure within an education system that is predicated upon it; we learn best from risk-taking and failure.
  4. Developing the culture in which all teachers love working with young people, using their chosen subjects as vehicles for their learning relationships and continuing to engage with pedagogical shifts and professional development throughout our careers;
  5. Increasingly “Flipping” learning in order to maximise student engagement. See @DHSBClassics and @MCDHSB for DHSB proponents.

I say these points will resurface because I believe each of them is being addressed at DHSB.

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Clear views and a breath of fresh air from Liverpool and not a politician in sight.

The teaching profession, supported by the SSAT, seems to be taking increasing succour from the one thing it is in control of – the culture of improving teaching and learning in our schools.

Nil Satis Nisi Optimum – the Latin / Liverpudlian motto of a team renowned for not giving up. Today provided another excellent Evertonian example.

Teachers may be feeling under the cosh but won’t give up.

And I’m a red.