I am extremely keen to knit together all of the resources on this site so that they provide as much support as possible to leaders who, like me, are working towards greater and greater personalization. Having moved resources into a more logical order it was necessary to rewrite parts of the site and add more references to external sources and models.
It is true that most successful schools have clearly defined values but why does it make such a difference which ones you choose and do you need to restate the values of your country or just assume them?Values are what underpin everything that occurs in a community, in this case a school. They should trump all other considerations and form the moral compass that guides the community. If ‘Equality’ is one of your school values then you would expect all aspects of school policy to be underpinned by the need for equality, students treating others unfairly should expect to be corrected and so on.
If a school in France left out ‘Equality’ then teachers could simply cite the national three values of Liberté, égalité, fraternité so perhaps schools in France tend to leave this one out of the list because it is assumed. Similarly religious schools may fail to state some of their values because they are assumed from the religious teaching that they identify with.
In fact, if there were not an underpinning set of values for a society then any school would place this as a much higher priority to get right because they would no longer be safe to assume that all parents and students had the same expectations of their community. In reality, the diversity of our country and the range of influences on the web means, I would argue, that it is more important than ever to set the values of the school and have them agreed and explained, even if we believe they are generally accepted community values already.
Which values to choose?
This is a chicken and egg situation. Do you survey the whole of your community and find the three most commonly agreed values or do you decide on the values you feel are important and then over time you will attract parents, students and staff who agree with you and wish to sign up to these?
I have brought together some common examples here which all suggest quite a bit of variation both in actual values and in the methods used to arrive at them. The Wordle approach is common, in which you bring together everyone’s views in one document then paste it into http://www.wordle.com and get an image in which the most commonly written words appear larger. Also common is the inclusion of faith based values. Some values are really personal skills such as resilience. Whichever method is chosen the key thing is that the Head is committed to embedding them in ALL aspects of the school The logical starting point is the Head of the school because it would be hard to imagine a school operating within a set of values if the Head did not live by them.
My favourites are probably those that reduce the number of values and then describe them in ways that the students will understand such as the following example.
Decided to go for a ladder approach to evaluation, recognising that it is more important to get started and then improve on this rather than achieve the whole thing in just one step.
I revised the guidance on these pages so that there is less overlap and greater linkage to the learning by ladders site.
Got feedback via email that the home page needed a navigation panel so (having spent an hour or so working out how to put hyperlinks into a widget!!) I added one with links designed to help navigate the site.
Today I added links to the REORDER model and incorporated a comment from Stephen Heppell regarding personalising WITH learners. Click on ‘How to personalise’ to see the new links and ‘What is personalisation’ to see the addition of WITH.
I have written a short description of the Personalisation FOR and BY model that I first introduced in 2002 and used this as the introduction to this mini site in response to the suggestions that have been emailed to me to lead with definition of Personalised leading – I agree this does work better.
Click on ‘What is Personalised Learning?’ in the top menu to access it.
Video comment recorded by Merlin John at the Microsoft World Wide Education Forum in Washington DC 2011
This website is designed to help schools that are personalising education for all of their learners. All pages are open to comment and suggestion
As I work in different countries and with different school systems I see models that are working and those that are not. As with all case studies, it is extremely difficult to pull out the reasons for success or failure so that the learning that has taken place can be shared internationally. On these pages I hope to think out loud about possible solutions. I tend to write when I have the time with gaps and periods of no clarity or inspiration followed by bursts of crazy ideas that eventually form into useful solutions so please view this site as a permanent work in practice and feel free to comment at any stage.
Hope you find that something on the site causes you to think and if it does please post your thoughts and share them good or bad.
To start exploring the content click on ‘Start Here’. More page content is added each day apart from when I am travelling.