Are confidence and happiness the most important thing? [#domoreedu]


Britain’s young people are the most unhappy in the world; the riots last summer were not a suprise to many. Ewan challenged us with the question; should we be focusing on happiness and accept a dip in test scores.

Adam gave us a US perspective; he thinks we are measuring the lowest meaures, and that test scores in no way predict later success. Perhaps we should be looking for another common core set of standards which we measure that might be more useful.

Many countries seem to be achieving academic success, but producing students who can’t problem solve and don’t find later success. We have an expectation that this year’s young people must always do better than last year’s. Is it reasonable to expect improvement every year?

So what are the strategies we can use to increase the happiness in learning and achieve test scores?

As the discussion continued, I wondered if our teachers are confident and happy themselves. Fatima suggested teachers need to experience these things themselves in their own learning before they can encourage it themselves.

The difficulty of communication was discussed, with Pete from Every1Speaks talking about how is work on pupil voice technology has shown that actually the challenge is mind sets- most schools see pupil voice as a way of changing the physical space, such as adding lockers, rather than as an ongoing discussion about learning.

The use of the term ‘training’ in terms of student teachers was brought up as contentious- if we are going to educate teachers to enable good learning, then they need to learn in that way as well.

Looking for actions, our group discussed the fact that you gain confidence by challenging yourself and taking real risks. Teachers can make up risks for learners, or they can take risks too- perhaps we should be taking risks together.

Next actions:

Free time for teachers to work in small teams. Combine classes occasionally to free up the teachers.

Take risks in groups, teachers together or teachers and their classes together. Break new ground without a safety net, but do it together.

Collapse the training days and allow people to take the time like holiday when they feel the need.

Anonymous sharing of ideas to break down hierarchies in a school.

Have an R&D philosophy at the core of schools. Keep modelling, testing and refining new ideas. Then you can start to scale things. To achieve this you have to hold up the schools which are models of good practice (progressive but also achieving academic success) so that people can understand how progressive organisations achieve it and scale it. We need a large organisation to do this.

Convince teachers to do one thing on their to do list that is different to yesterday. This will raise questions and create discussion, if teachers are thinking in terms of discussion then they will start to move towards the positive changes. 

Peer to peer learning for teachers within school.

Make sure student teachers have influence of both subject specialists and pedagogy specialists in their education.

Leaders; don’t just encourage people to take risks but do so yourself.

As teachers make sure we have the ability to say “I don’t know, let’s find out”.


We continued to collect actions on the Google Doc.

Related posts:

Collaboration [#domoreedu]
Are schools efficient enough with learning? [#domoreedu]
Getting started with Do More Edu [#domoreedu]

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Coding across the curriculum - Miles Berry @mberryNicky Morgan: Technology key to reducing teacher workloadFlexible learning space opening at Westfield Junior SchoolLearning to swim - Eylan Ezekiel #wherenext @EylanEzekiel Creating a sustainable education system - Stephen Heppell @stephenheppell #eduict2013Tim Rylands - Back to their future #bett2013

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