Last week the University of Northampton hosted an event at which Stephen Drew, from ‘Educating Essex’, spoke to local teachers about education.
The room was full of more than 200 teachers, teaching assistants and university staff. Stephen Drew’s talk was entitled ‘The Endless Learning Journey’ and he spoke about his beliefs and approach to learning and teaching with a great sense of commitment and a sense of humour. He showed us the values poster that his school uses to support behaviour – this was arrived at through discussion but his suggestion ‘dance every day’ did not make it to the poster! He reminded us of some important principles such as ‘every day with a child is a new day’ and ‘unconditional positive regard’ and asked us ‘why do we expect children to behave like adults?’ – we have to let them get it wrong and learn from this.
It was great to hear him refer to teaching assistants and support staff in his talk. He explained how he includes all staff on the learning journey – giving them opportunities to learn and develop and involving them fully in the life of the school. His team of coaches to support teachers includes support staff, providing an valuable alternative view of learning and teaching. Its great to hear someone so passionate and positive about learning – and he reminded us we need to keep ourselves refreshed. I liked his idea of the away from school training day ‘go where you want to’ INSET, where all staff went off to learn elsewhere.
Stephen Drew reminded us that children only get one chance to learn what we are teaching – we might teach it to another group this week, next term or in subsequent years and we might improve – but the children only have that one chance so we must prepared and able to do our job well.
The audience had the chance to ask questions – males in primary schools; support from other agencies, the parental role and other current issues. Stephen’s commitment to inclusion and supporting children to learn was apparent throughout his talk. It is so important that we hear from passionate and committed teachers like Stephen to remind us of the bigger picture and inspire us in our work.
You can read more about Stephen’s visit here – Educating Northamptonshire