I wear more than one hat. I am a part time supply teacher in addition to running my own outdoor learning company, Creative STAR. This is a deliberate decision inspired by meeting a Romanian school inspector on a Comenius funded outdoor learning course in Sweden several years ago. She was required by law to spend a minimum of half a day per week teaching. Imagine that!
Now extend this line of thought a little further. Consider the impact of education directors, quality improvement officers and everyone else involved behind the scenes having to take up a weekly front line position at the chalk face – oops! – interactive whiteboard.
To help us think rationally about this scenario, let’s don our de Bono’s Thinking Hats. For those of you who are not familiar with this approach, it is a handy tool for talking through a subject or gaining feedback from children and adults of all ages. There are six hats, each a different colour representing an area for discussion, thereby making fullest use of everyone’s intelligence, experience and information. For example when wearing the black hat, the negative consequences or happenings are considered. The red hat is about feelings and emotions evoked, etc.
I have an enormous yellow hat super glued on my head when it comes to this topic. The yellow colour is for thinking about the benefits or positive results. In Scotland, the non contact time could be covered without the need for additional staff. The education officers and inspectors would have a pay cut, as teachers are mostly paid less than non teaching promoted posts. This will help financial accountability. Everyone in the education sector will have current firsthand experience of the impact on and outcomes for children of policy changes. It’s a win-win situation.
Back to learning outside…I often use de Bono’s Thinking Hats for reflective discussions after outdoor activities. They are memorable and can be carried around in your head rather than on a piece of paper. For more information, read Edward de Bono (2000) Six Thinking Hats. If you want to see how this works with children, contact me for an example.