03/01/2014

2014 All in all not just another brick in the wall

So, Sam Bailey's 'Skyscraper' was the Christmas Number 1.

No surprise there then.

I've got nothing against Sam. She's certainly got a wonderful voice, and I'm sure that she's a lovely person who thoroughly deserves her success.

Sam Bailey

But it's just that seven of the last eight Christmas Number 1s have come from the X Factor.

(James Arthur, Little Mix, Matt Cardle, Alexandra Burke, Leon Jackson (who?!), Leonard Lewis and Shayne Ward - for reference, if you're interested!)

And all with covers of other people's songs.

Now I'm showing my age! Or just getting sentimental about the past.

But once upon a time, great songs - truly original songs - got to be Number 1 at Christmas.

When I was 15, this was number 1 at Christmas.

Pink Floyd


'Another Brick in the Wall' by Pink Floyd.

 

I never thought then that I'd go on to be a Head! Ironically, given what I said about originality, this is a song about how bad education can crush both the individual and their creativity!

We don't need no education

We don't need no thought control

No dark sarcasm in the classroom

Teachers leave them kids alone

Hey! teachers! leave the kids alone!

All in all you're just another brick in the wall.

All in all you're just another brick in the wall.

 

We don't need no education

We don't need no thought control

No dark sarcasm in the classroom

Teachers leave them kids alone

Hey! teacher! leave us kids alone!

All in all you're just a another brick in the wall.

All in all you're just a another brick in the wall.

 

"Wrong, do it again!"

"Wrong, do it again!"

"If you don't eat yer meat, you can't have any pudding. how can you

Have any pudding if you don't eat yer meat?"

"You, yes, you behind the bikesheds, stand still laddy!"

 

Great education - great learning - is of course all about unleashing it.

I've just said that I never thought I'd be a Headteacher when I first listened to 'Another Brick in the Wall'. But, 35 years on, I do now understand that truly great teaching, and, for what it's worth, decent educational leadership is about enabling people to be relentlessly creative and to find the hidden talent within themselves.

Put another way, I suppose its all about recognising and releasing the potential in every individual.

I got this for Christmas. (Also no surprise).

Mo Farah Autobiography

One chapter really struck a chord. It's where Mo describes his decision to change coaches in the year prior to the Olympics, having already enjoyed moderate success at European Championship level.  This is what he has to say about Alberto Salazar, the man who took him from good to great on a world stage. It's all about what another great coach, Team GB Cycling's Sir David Brailsford, calls 'marginal gains' (incidentally also featured in my 'One Team, One Mission' Blog back on 4 March: www.parkhouseschool.org/Blog/One-Team-One-Mission.aspx)

'Alberto's attention to detail is painstaking. He obsessed with making sure every little thing is just so.

I'll give you an example. In 2010 I was a good runner - good enough to win the Europeans - but my core wasn't stable enough. If you look at my races from that year, I'm rocking and rolling slightly. Alberto's thinking is that running side-to-side is a waste of energy and loses you valuable seconds over the course of of a 5000 or a 10000 metre race so he spent a lot of time teaching me how to run fully straight rather than leaning to one side. He taught me how to improve my running stride. Before Alberto, my arms used to come up too high, which made be less aerodynamic. He showed me how to run more efficiently by having my arms only come up to the point were level with my chin before I'd bring them back down....

Mo Farah

Little things like this, when you add them all up, make a big difference to your time.'

For me, the connection was obvious. Great coaches -  like great teachers - recognise and develop talent in the individual, and then empower them to express it. It's a classic equation' really:

Great assessment & Feedback + Actions Taken in Response = Outstanding Progress

So, here's to 2014! Here's to a celebration of unleashing creativity in all that we do! Here's to definitely not just being another brick in the wall!

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