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Hidden Giants support learners, teachers and leaders to create the conditions for change that grow cultures which are empowered, agentic, and brave.
We work in partnership with schools from across Scotland and in international contexts to co-create the conditions for meaningful and sustainable change to take place. Our services are always bespoke and can range from one-off training sessions to long-term partnerships with schools.
educators are the same.
system based on this simple fact.
HOW IT WORKS
Hidden Giants have developed a process to support innovative change and professional development, based on practical experience, research and feedback from our extensive work across primary, secondary, and early years.
Once you get in touch, we will deploy a three step process to develop an bespoke approach for you, your school, and your students:
In an increasingly fast-paced and complex world, it can be difficult to see the bigger picture. We use innovative facilitation methods and coaching techniques to support people to honestly evaluate themselves and their organisation.
From these conversations, we focus on what seems to matter, what people care about, and what ‘sticks’.
Together, we identify what needs to happen, and what support is required. The cyclical process then starts again as we notice what happens from the action.
The events of 2020 have accelerated both the need for change, and the examples of what change looks like. We have seen pockets of the future in the present and we must build on these to ensure our learners and systems are agile, resilient, creative, and confident. Hidden Giants and the schools we work with have thrived in the uncertainty brought by the pandemic because of how we encourage and understand life – as complex, complicated, interconnected, diverse, challenging, and uncertain. Curricula can be positioned to respond to a very different set of principles than has gone before. We see tradition as ‘peer pressure from dead people’ and work purposefully to challenge dogmas and move away from orthodoxies, in order to create, innovate and experiment.
We recognise that school leaders need support. We have spent time with Heads and SMT, listening in order to understand the circumstances and nuances of each school. We use coaching techniques to explore solutions and new approaches. We seek to draw out from leaders what can be done to make change sustainable, rather than prescribing quick fixes. Leader and manager are very different jobs. Kotter (1995) argues that the purpose of management is to keep current systems functioning, while the fundamental purpose of leadership is to produce useful change. Hidden Giants work with school leaders to understand the contradictory forces within these two positions and to find the best course of action for them and their school.
As the Education Scotland (2020) document Learner Pathways suggests “No one approach should work for every school and the curriculum will look different in different parts of the country”. We see this as a vital component of curriculum strategy, with teacher confidence and empowerment key to its success. We are passionate about what we do, and champion a move away from ‘fades’ and ‘one-size fits all programmes’ to create an ecosystem that thrives on interconnected networks of localised, bespoke, and innovative schools.
Teacher agency requires confidence, a willingness to reflect on oneself and others, and a wider understanding of the social, political and cultural issues affecting education. Hidden Giants’ work supports teachers in all of these arenas. Teachers who exercise their agency positively can become the pro-active and progressive designers of curricula, rather than the passive deliverers of a pre-determined set of performance criteria. Effective teacher agency can empower others to take more active roles. Confident and capable teachers can harness pupils’ potency to participate positively in co-constructing their own learning, leading to higher levels of engagement, better behaviour and improved attainment.
There is compelling evidence that pupil participation in school raises achievement and attainment. Our practice draws upon research studies that exemplify how meaningful (not token) participation is linked to improvements in learning & teaching, self-esteem, well-being, engagement, behaviour, inter-generational relations, and decision-making. Pupil participation amounts to more than adults merely listening to young people. Intergenerational dialogue is required, through which adults and young people engage in communications which are two-way, voluntary, sustained, deal with real concerns, and are based on mutual respect.
Hidden Giants has worked hard to position itself as an organisation that is able to bring policy and theory into practice. We are passionately interested in the contemporary discourses that surround education, and work with schools to translate or interpret them into practice. We appreciate the pressure that many teachers are under to ‘deliver’ a curriculum that meets the needs of external influences. This can often lead to a parade of repeated learning experiences, an over-reliance on heavily-structured learning programmes, and ultimately the curriculum delivered as a pre-determined plan. Teachers need space and partners to support them in realising their agency to make and co-design curriculum with their pupils as an authentic lived experience. When learning ‘matters’, it ‘sticks’.
Find out how we can help uncover your students hidden potential