A few of my favourite things

    Published: 20 March 2018

    So today I’d like to talk about raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens, bright copper kettles and warm woollen mittens… only kidding! I’ve never even seen the Sound of Music (sorry!). These are some other favourite things…

    Following the feedback I received on last week’s blog, ‘Stepping out of the bubble’, I thought it would be useful to share some of my favourite related internet talks in case anyone fancied setting up parent groups for watching and discussing videos, or indeed just whiling away some time exploring interesting and inspiring ideas. The list isn’t exhaustive, and I suspect I may end up doing a ‘part deux’ at some point, but these will hopefully get the ball rolling.

    On the topic of gender

    There are so many TED talks on the issue of gender stereotyping, so I have tried to be selective with a few that touch on the issue

    Let’s raise girls outside the pink box - Short and impassioned talk from Maya Chivi about how we can empower our daughters beyond the stereotype of ‘princess’ and challenge societal norms as we go.

    Inspiring the next generation of female engineers – Debbie Sterling challenges the gender imbalance within engineering and explores the cultural influences that contribute to this.

    To raise brave girls, encourage adventure - How can we raise our girls to be adventurous, risk-taking and resilient, just like boys ‘typically’ are? Caroline Paul talks about her own experiences and things she has learned along the way that could encourage our daughters to be brave.

    Pink and blue: communicating gender to children – In this talk Anthony Schullo explores how gender roles are communicated and adopted by children.

    On the topic of mindsets and learning

    This selection brings together videos we often use in training, or ones by thinkers whose work we reference in sessions on mindsets and formative feedback.

    Labels limit learning - James Nottingham speaks as a teacher and parent about how our often innocuous labelling of our children - boys and girls - can lower their expectation and thus effort in other areas.

    After watching this, your brain will not be the same - Lara Boyd explains neuroplasticity and how the brain learns and continues to change throughout our lives. An interesting insight into science and truly thought-provoking to boot.

    The power of yet – Carol Dweck, the researcher behind the terms ‘fixed mindset’ and ‘growth mindset’ explores what they mean for our children’s learning and what we can do to help, and focuses on the very powerful effect the small word ‘yet’ can have in opening up our possibilities.

    The effect of praise on mindset - Yes yes, I’m sorry (not sorry), it is another clip with Carol Dweck. This one covers some of the same principles as her other talks on mindsets, but shows, with children, the profound impact that language, specifically praise, can have on a child’s self-belief.

    Growing a talent hotbed - the author of The Talent Code Dan Coyle talks about how some places seem to produce a disproportionate number of successes in particular fields. ‘Talent’ grows and Coyle tells you how.

    Critique and feedback - the story of Austin’s butterfly - Ron Berger leads peer review and critique sessions with children from different year groups to show the power of specific, helpful and kind feedback on the quality of work a first grade child produces. Berger is the author of a fantastic book An Ethic of Excellence that explains his approach in supporting pupils to become empowered, independent learners.

    Outliers - Malcolm Gladwell has written some great books, but Outliers is still my favourite. This short talk gives some insight into the main themes from the book. I cannot recommend the book enough (it was the catalyst for changing my whole thinking on what makes some people successful and explores the many ways nurture wins out over nature). It was through Gladwell that I discovered Dweck and so on.

    While I’m in full flow Gladwell-gush, I implore you to listen to his podcast ‘Revisionist History’. The first series in particular has three episodes dedicated to social mobility that will, I’m sure, fascinate, enrage and motivate you as much as they did me.

    What I love about watching clips online is the way that YouTube will suggest other related videos, and so you can end up in a fascinating rabbit warren of learning. I could keep adding, but for now I will refrain and save some for a sequel in the future! Whether you watch a few, or all of these, I hope you enjoy them and continue the conversation with parents and stakeholders, because at the heart of it, all of us have the smashing of glass ceilings and the raising of our children’s expectations as our favourite things.

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