Turning failure into success
I really enjoyed the talk by Matthew Syed (Black Box Thinking) because it explained how well we can learn from our own mistakes, and to build in a range of new techniques and employ new tactics to improve performance. He used the example of a Black Box as they help us to avoid future air crashes and to actively encourage increased, and safer, performance or progress. Adopting a Growth Mind set and actively learning from mistakes breeds tenacity and a “can-do” attitude. Instead of giving up, you encourage yourself and others to be more resilient and to do better next time. You can constantly refine each part of the teaching / learning process to further maximise performance. In MFL especially you can only really make sustained progress by making mistakes and then by learning the correct patterns, spellings and grammar. A wide variety of techniques, used by the whole team, will help to improve everyone’s performance. We should see failure not as the end point, but as an opportunity to learn.
Nature v Nurture
Everyone can get better at something if they keep working at it. If you think that you succeed solely through talent or potential, without hard work, then you will not necessarily get that far. Hard work and real effort, on the part of both pupils and teachers, should not be embarrassing. Hard work unlocks potential more effectively, and sticking with a challenging task will reap benefits. Simply saying that you can’t do it because you don’t have the talent or skill is an excuse. Increased effort will need to further success in every field.
Seizing every opportunity
From the “Preparing bright students for a rapidly changing world” talk I gained some useful insights from speakers from industry and academia. Employers are becoming less interested in just where people go to university but more importantly in terms of their skill base and personality. The speaker from Oxford mentioned the Student Consultancy programme which allowed university students to work with local industry. One of the business consultants mentioned the Mini-MBA which they have used with 6th Form pupils in local schools. Both projects give pupils the chance to work outside the comfort zone of their own schools to focus on solving real-life business challenges. I would be very interested in seeing how far we could adopt these, or similar, programmes at Kennet. Every opportunity, be it EPQ or MOOCs, trips, work experience or voluntary work, the chance to learn something new or different, should be seized upon. All these opportunities build confidence and skills which are invaluable for pupils’ future careers.