From organisation to personalisation (Issue 8, January 2011)

As part of our continued professional development programme at school, we are undertaking professional enquiries from a choice of 12. These enquiries will be made up of groups of teachers enquiring into aspects of education, teaching and learning and hopefully engendering some positive change.

I was asked to facilitate the PEG (professional enquiry group) looking at personalisation, so as part of our two and a half day school conference staff could opt to go to a taster session for four of the PEGs before choosing the enquiry group we wanted to work with after half-term for the rest of the year. In my taster session, I started off by having a rolling slideshow of groups linked to a painting by a famous artist. Two of the groups had their first or nicknames and a picture of themselves on the PowerPoint, one group had their Mr/Ms name and a photo, one group had initials and no photo, and one group just had surnames. I was delightful to my first two groups during the Connect the Learning activity (draw what affects how you work on a daily basis), giving them sweets and praising them whilst I shouted at and ignored the other groups. In the first review, straight after the Connect, we discussed how that classroom set up made them feel. One colleague commented

“You treated us differently; you gave different things to different groups of people.” So I asked him, was that differentiation? We then discussed how one line of enquiry might be the difference between differentiation and personalisation. How can we ensure that school is personal to every child, not just to groups of learners? How do we ensure that we treat Amy as Amy and not just as CAT=108, MQT =B UQT=A? 

After a short video input we had some very interesting discussion about how we shift from organisation to personalization. What kind of shifts we might need to make in our school in order to achieve a personalised school which has 2,300 students in it? Not an easy task!

We then watched some excerpts of another video which is an animation based on an RSA talk given by Sir Ken Robinson last year. I watched the talk last year and thought it was great, but the new animation just takes it to another level! A fascinating, question raising talk! 

As part of our continued professional development programme at school, we are undertaking professional enquiries from a choice of 12. These enquiries will be made up of groups of teachers enquiring into aspects of education, teaching and learning and hopefully engendering some positive change.

I was asked to facilitate the PEG (professional enquiry group) looking at personalisation, so as part of our two and a half day school conference staff could opt to go to a taster session for four of the PEGs before choosing the enquiry group we wanted to work with after half-term for the rest of the year. In my taster session, I started off by having a rolling slideshow of groups linked to a painting by a famous artist. Two of the groups had their first or nicknames and a picture of themselves on the PowerPoint, one group had their Mr/Ms name and a photo, one group had initials and no photo, and one group just had surnames. I was delightful to my first two groups during the Connect the Learning activity (draw what affects how you work on a daily basis), giving them sweets and praising them whilst I shouted at and ignored the other groups. In the first review, straight after the Connect, we discussed how that classroom set up made them feel. One colleague commented

“You treated us differently; you gave different things to different groups of people.” So I asked him, was that differentiation? We then discussed how one line of enquiry might be the difference between differentiation and personalisation. How can we ensure that school is personal to every child, not just to groups of learners? How do we ensure that we treat Amy as Amy and not just as CAT=108, MQT =B UQT=A? 

After a short video input we had some very interesting discussion about how we shift from organisation to personalization. What kind of shifts we might need to make in our school in order to achieve a personalised school which has 2,300 students in it? Not an easy task!

We then watched some excerpts of another video which is an animation based on an RSA talk given by Sir Ken Robinson last year. I watched the talk last year and thought it was great, but the new animation just takes it to another level! A fascinating, question raising talk!

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