Last week I was fortunate enough to visit my son in his school nursery. It came about because of the holidays in the LEA where I work differing from the LEA where I live. This meant that I had the pleasure of doing Daddy stuff like the school run and going to clubs.
The important thing however is what I experienced on my visit. As soon as I entered I could see the structures and routines; with four year olds I think that’s a pretty impressive feat. While the children had a slice of toast and settled in I was able to look through Finbar’s Learning Log. (Note: not a piece of wood.) It was clear what he’d been learning and there was a clear and rigorous tracking system in place behind it. (Which the children weren’t aware of; purely for the staff to identify progress and set targeted discreet learning experiences.)
Whilst looking through this I was mobbed by the children wanting to tell me who they were and what they had been learning. This was a purposeful learning environment where the children were proud of their achievements and enjoying themselves.
Then it was time for the ‘wake and shake’ which was recorded by older students at the school. I was especially impressed when I discovered they pick their own songs and choreograph these themselves.
I left thoroughly pleased and impressed, for some parents this is where the adventure ends but I wanted to share what a fabulous job I thought they were doing. I made sure I shared my thoughts with his teacher as it is always nice to receive positive feedback, but also made sure I sought out the Headteacher.
Praise to an individual is a good thing and I’m always keen to share positives but I also think it’s important to flag those positives up the chain of command because:
1) I genuinely believe if you have experienced something positive you should share it.
2) Great leaders want to hear positive things about their staff so they can share the bright spots and use these as opportunities for powerful positive dialogue. A well done or thank you from the boss is a valueable thing.
I used to do this when I had slot on a behaviour patrol rota. Simply put we wandered around to lessons that had been identified by the teacher as ones they would like you to pop into. This extra presence had a positive impact (behaviour statistics backed this up) and gave a great opportunity to see a lot of different ideas. I would often share the positive with the colleague and with their line manager. I’ve never had someone complain at receiving good news yet.
So next time you see something positive tell them AND tell their boss. As educational professionals it costs us nothing to share a bit of professional positivity and it does make a difference.
Barry Dunn – @SeahamRE