You did ask…..

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I like asking questions. I don’t like people asking me a lot of them but I do find that I am constantly asking to try to understand or to see things in a different way. ( given I have been told I am 50 shades of black and white) I suppose I don’t always listen to the answers even if I hear them.
A few instances this week have made me think about questions and the how and why.
I was invited to take part in some fairly challenging discussion about provision and sustainability of language learning with a primary head teacher. We have had animated discussions in the past but I was looking forward to chatting if not sparring.
Eventually it was me who asked the question” how much are we talking? ” we could have dressed it up but that was never going to get anything done. I learned very early in my teaching career that the best way for me to get on was to have a solution rather than another problem. We looked at some creative solutions and questioned the impact it would have on learners. All with cake of course. We decided that we needed to be bold and to engage with teachers to take forward a vision that would work. That will inevitably bring questions, good questions.
I then found myself between two ICT professionals who like my photographer friends speak another language. I’m lucky enough that one of the, knows me well enough to frequently draw me a picture. Not being very tech savvy when it comes to anything more in-depth than the on button. I watched as the two of them got animated talking about stuff and asked what it really meant in terms of time and manpower. Cut to the chase why don’t you? However, I was indulged, my questions were answered and we’ve come away with a solution.
My visits have now started to my student teachers and very often they will ask for “even more feedback” and despite having a reputation for being a dragon at times, I don’t believe in going scattergun and destroying confidence and professional ideas. Questioning is key in getting people to reflect but when the “and why would you think that would work?” is asked, it shouldn’t necessarily be taken as a criticism.
Another question is “and the rationale is?” Various discussions recently have been anImated about the design of curriculum and pathways. It always brings out the worst in me, particularly where the question that is never asked is why not?
We don’t do that here. Why not?
Our kids wouldn’t BUY into that? Why not?
Questions about the bigger picture and change always make people uncomfortable, yet the only way we are going to get the best for our young people and ourselves is to ask the right questions to better inform what we do.
A bit of enthusiasm, a willingness to actively listen and knowing the right action to take is a start. Worked a wee treat last week.
Educating for the bigger picture. With cake and sparkly shoes.

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