What you shouldn’t do in a school?

Some rules have been written down for centuries, others exist in folklore, whilst a few are conveniently made up on the spot. Rules have the capacity to liberate or constrict. They help us understand who we are and pave the way for what we will become. But are we all clear on the rules that govern our classrooms, staffrooms and playgrounds? What if we started to question them – to discover what you should and shouldn’t do at school???

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Time to Listen

Recently Hidden Giants devoted a morning to work with the entire staff of a large primary school – a school the size of three, four or five primary schools.

We asked the staff to place themselves into their teams – their own notion of who they worked with, in their perceived role(s) within the school. We saw a group of 40 people immediate disperse and rearrange themselves into specialist areas.

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Trapped inside a Polytunnel

Recently, we invited 29 educational professionals from an inner-city primary school, to go for a silent walk with us. The purpose of the walk was to facilitate a conversation around the curriculum, and teacher agency. But what actually happened was completely unexpected. As seasoned educational facilitators, practitioners and consultants, we knew it was something amazing.

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Hagrid’s armpits smell of chocolate

I first read Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone when I was 22 in a backpackers’ hostel somewhere in Canada. I could perhaps be a little embarrassed to reveal that I was reading Harry Potter at the age of 22, but the reality was up until that point I had never found reading enjoyable. Throughout school, college and university I experienced reading to be perfunctory, just about tolerable, and always dictated by someone else.

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What do we do now?

Not knowing what to do can be uncomfortable – if left long enough it can be distressing. We like knowing what happens next; cliff hangers only work because they suspend time encouraging us to come back for more to discover what happens next. We love weather forecasts to discover if it will be sunny tomorrow. We want things to be calm and peaceful as it suggests certainty. Disturbing images only last a finite time within the media as they present a ‘not knowing how to deal with it’ or ‘but what can I do?’ scenario. We tie things into a bow and go to sleep knowing that tomorrow will be like today and much similar to yesterday. Continue reading