Skip to main content

Poor Preparation and Planning leads to Piss Poor Performance

When part of the military, we had many, many mantras.  One of the most important was the title of this story.  I'm sat by the side of the swimming pool at the moment and pondering.
1. How do you plan?
I start with the big picture. Years ago my geography team and I sat down and made a video based around our vision. Then we worked backwards. Our vision, simply was:
// be the best geography department in the country.
// high quality teaching and learning from lesson one of Year 7
// teach the hard stuff straight away.
Schemes of Work were written collaboratively in Google Docs and meetings were all around sharing ideas. I plan by talking to teachers about teaching. I don't use a form. Everything is linked into the bigger picture, which ultimately is about:
// getting students to love geography 
// getting students to achieve more than they thought possible in the exam
2. Where/when do you plan?
Wherever it suits me. I'm never off duty and I plan when the ideas flow. That could be a quick audio note on my phone, or sitting down in a pub with my team. 
3. Which parts of the planning process generate the most value for you?
Thinking about the big picture stuff. Start macro then add activities and resources. I love weaving A'level stuff into key stage 3 and degree stuff into GCSE. The danger of focusing on individual lessons is that the learning journey is disjointed and doesn't make sense for young people.
I am very proud of the 5 year learning journey we developed at Priory Geography
4. As a profession, do you think we've got planning right?
The act of telling people how to plan is what is wrong. There is no 'one' way in my opinion and great learning experiences start with an open mind and blank paper, not a proforma or a resource. I think there is far too much focus on the individual 'lesson' at the expense of bigger curriculum aims - start with the big stuff and then work backward.  It's about the sequence of lessons, not the whizz bang performance.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

#GAConf22: A paradigm shift for anti-racist, decolonised teaching and inclusion

 " You can't start a fire,  You can't start a fire without a spark" Bruce Springsteen.  Well, it's been a fair while since I felt the motivation or the need to blog. Whilst not a story for now, over the past five years I've danced along the knife edge and, often, the call of the abyss has been both tempting and compelling. Certainly, my failing in both my personal and professional life have been numerous. But. This is not about me, but the people that have (re)ignited the spark to the fire in my soul. I realise that this is from the perspective of a privileged, white, middle class male view. I even have a beard. I am scared of getting it wrong on this topic. Teach me if I am wrong, it is from the position of a learner. I was looking forward to the GA Conference this year, the first face to face since 2019. I have to say that Alan , as president, and the Geographical Association's team did a fantastic job at being inclusive. The hybrid format allowed peopl

What makes a learning experience profound? Personal reflections and possible implications for classroom practice.

I have recently begun a Leadership Pathways journey.  As part of the first core day, we were asked to reflect on a profound learning experience. This got me thinking about how many profound learning experiences I have both been involved in, and how many I have been able to give to others.  Our group came up with a huge long list, but these are my five. Emotional Connected Demanding Reflective Collaborative As always, these are personal thoughts and quite mixed up.  I put them here so that I can look back on them (plus they’d get lost inside my world-cup-free brain) 1. Emotional I can’t think of a time where deep learning hasn’t engaged my emotions.  From being awe inspired to that tingle feeling when a student gets a light bulb moment.  From this-is-the-happiest-day-ever, to I-think-I’m-about-to die.  How often do we engage the emotions of those we teach?  Here, I would argue that having a safe learning environment is not always conducive to profound

The interview adventure: Lesson idea

Closing time Every new beginning comes from some other beginning's end. This is the first in a short series of posts around my successful appointment as an Assistant Headteacher at Patcham High School .  The job starts in September.  This post shares a lesson idea that would be worth a polish and revisit for any context.  I’m sharing these things here mainly for me to reflect upon and revisit at a later date, but also as others may benefit from the experience. The brief was to create a 25 minute lesson around the word ‘INSPIRE’ which forms the school’s mission statement.  The interpretation was open and I wanted to avoid being explicitly geography  linked.  Now, it’s impossible to develop a fully formed lesson in that time with a class that I haven’t met. It’s also not possible to teach an Outstanding lesson to such a group of young people, not least because I hadn’t marked their books.  With this in mind, I wanted to take a risk and show the type of creative stuff I lik