Layers and Lenses: #EdClub Reflections

#EdClub has certainly got EduTwitter talking and it has added a much welcomed additional outlet for discussion and debates surround education, serving as another vessel within which teachers can exercise their voice and discuss the things that matter.

At a time where it is all too easy to take to an online platform to speak solely in rhetoric, absolutes, these polarisations serve little purpose to driving forward together as a collegiate, and sadly, that is difficult to temper in 280 characters. When encapsulated within that limitation, we can be tempted to speak in soundbites, to speak as opposed to listen. For every discussion that acknowledges diversity and seeks to understand the perspective of others, there are ten that pit against the prior until the exchange reaches a pretty rapid stalemate, and so it was interesting to seek out a space where we can regain the necessary nuance needed to partake in a debate.

When Peps gathered a group of us for a pre-clubhouse chat, it was really quite refreshing to experience the distillated, intimate nature of conversation: without distraction of Powerpoint slides or fidgets of others, without wondering where David got the artwork on his wall from, without the ping of an email in the background, but in quite a deliberate, considered manner, quite simply working really hard to listen.

The first four weeks of EdClub have been a real delight to both listen in on and take part in: from a navigation of the thorny topic of remote teaching, to tackling a post-covid curriculum; from an exploration of school culture, to a rich education of the different ways schools have approached coaching as part of a continual journey of improvement, EdClub has challenged my thinking, broadened my opinions to move past ‘no one right way’ and become more curious in the ways in which other schools, and teachers can learn from one another.

I was delighted to take part as a speaker alongside Helena Brothwell, Claire Hill, Daniel Muijs and Clare Sealy to discuss a post COVID curriculum, and what we may need to be mindful of as we prepare for a return to a more physical presence in school buildings. It was really useful to reflect upon the collective insights of the panel to consider how we should look to be guided by credible sources for what determines best bets: what does the evidence state around remote learning?

Should we be so flippant to dismiss what has come before? How can we move beyond the narrative forming around catch up to ensure that we do not suffer a dilution of the very subjects that serve students in ways that a diet of Maths and English simply cannot fulfil? How we hold the line to protect our own narrative of what makes for high quality teaching and learning, one that deserves to surpass any alternative that suggests loss and inadequacy, and instead looks for the stability of what is known, what is familiar.

CPD has taken such a myriad of forms over the last year, and I have celebrated this entirely- as Founder of Litdrive, it has been heartwarming to hear from people who, having never been able to make weekend events and conferences, benefit from the rich diversity of recorded workshops, evening panel discussions, a growing multitude of podcasts, book clubs, platforms such as this which open up a dialogue. Thanks to Peps and Emma, I have been able to learn from Josh Goodrich as he spoke passionately about instructional coaching, consider Louise Lewis’ pensive and candid considerations around what the evidence indicates that we might learn from remote learning, but also listen to the masterful way in which the Chairs of each respective discussion have driven and handled debate. Laura McInerney was interrogative in the way she teased differing views from what remote learning data can help with as we return physically to schools, whilst Kathryn Morgan provided a narrative to the tricky task of attempting the codification of culture. This shared wealth of experience and expertise is such an exciting prospect for us to learn and grow.

As we go into what may be a tricky term ahead, and we navigate how to ensure that both staff and students feel a sense of restoration as we get back to business as it were, I value being lucky enough to hear from revered members of the profession who have so much knowledge to share, which will help me to continue to reflect, refine and improve how I approach my role within school.

You can find upcoming discussions for #EdClub here, as well as suggest points of discussion for future events:https://edclubhouse.com/

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