Andy Falconer

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How To Help Your Pupils Revise More Effectively


19 May 2017 | Leave a Comment |

There isn’t one perfect revision method which will guarantee success 100% of the time. revisionWe know that. We’ve all taken exams ourselves and we’ve probably tried various methods of cramming information into our heads. For the well organised planners among us this probably included preparing beautifully organised folders with coloured dividers, a wealth of plastic pockets and a reassuringly huge amount of paper, indexed and featuring carefully copied notes. For the last minute panickers among us it was probably more to do with an overdose of caffeine and sugar and a lot of desperate praying the night before. For some of you those techniques may actually have worked! For some of you they won’t.

The good news is that since we took our exams a lot more is known about how the brain learns, and we have a much better idea of how to use that understanding to guide pupils through revision. Read the rest of this entry »

The Power Of Perseverance


10 May 2017 | Leave a Comment |

Mark sits beside a hospital bed in Italy, surveying the wreckage that is his best friend Jonny. perseveranceJonny is connected to this world by nothing more than humming machines and tubes. Jonny doesn’t realise that he’s been in a coma for the last 4 weeks. Jonny remembers nothing of being knocked off his scooter in a hit and run accident. Jonny doesn’t know how close he came to being killed.

 

If you are interested in cycling you will recognise the names of successful British cyclists such as Bradley Wiggins, Victoria Pendleton & Mark Cavendish but you probably haven’t heard of Jonny Bellis. Jonny is a European champion and he competed for Team GB in the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. His best friend Mark, who sat beside his hospital bed, is Mark Cavendish, one of the world’s top cyclists.

 

Jonny thinks he’s in for a minor operation & will be back racing with the GB cycling team in Belgium the following week. Jonny has no idea that doctors have just told his parents that he will be paralysed from the neck down.

 

What happened to Jonny Bellis, who was told in 2009 he would never walk again? Read the rest of this entry »

What Is Good Teaching? – Barack Obama


22 Jan 2017 | Leave a Comment |

Growth Mindset & Maths Setting – Mutually Incompatible?


9 Dec 2016 | 2 Comments |

We set in maths. We are a growth mindset school.How can you claim to be a growth mindset school & have maths setting?

Some may question how these two sentences can stand side by side; surely they are impossible to reconcile? How can we claim that a child can improve if they try hard enough, while simultaneously telling them they are only ‘good enough’ to be in the bottom maths set? Are growth mindset and maths setting not incompatible?

Maths is a subject unlike any other in the curriculum. It speaks a language which is unlike any other. It seems mysterious and intimidating to many of us and there are grown adults whose palms start sweating when a memory of their own struggle in some distant maths classroom are brought unexpectedly to mind. I’m one of those adults myself. The power of these emotional reactions to maths can colour our perception of it and some of the worry we feel about it is probably passed onto our children.

Many schools say they have more queries and questions about maths than they do about any other subject in the curriculum. Far more than they receive about English, for example, which underpins most of the rest of the curriculum.

So why is it that schools receive so many requests that a child be moved up a set? Read the rest of this entry »

Growth Mindset – How to help your child develop this essential attitude to life


25 Aug 2016 | Leave a Comment |

Five years ago at St Olave’s School we became interested in something called growth mindsetgrowth-mindset. There is a wealth of material in books and online about growth mindset, the research behind it and the many lessons that can be learned from it.

The headlines of growth mindset are very simple: if you try hard and learn from your mistakes, you will make progress. That’s growth mindset in a nutshell. It sounds so obvious you would think that every educator, every parent and every human being would be able to work this out for themselves without decades of educational research and, of course, you’re right. We know that it’s common sense.

So what is revolutionary about growth mindset? Don’t we all inherently understand and agree with the logic and the theory? Read the rest of this entry »

The Pursuit Of Perfection – Don’t Do it!


7 Jul 2016 | Leave a Comment |

Have ever read one of the Little Miss or Mr Men books? 2. PerfectIf so, you will recognise Little Miss Perfect and Mr Perfect. I have another question for you – would you rather be perfect, or accepted for who you are? If you chose perfection over acceptance, what would ‘perfect’ look like for you? I’m sure we all have our own definition of perfection.

Whilst many people describe themselves as perfectionists, perfectionism isn’t actually a positive trait. Perfectionism is striving for flawlessness and setting excessively high standards, accompanied by overly critical self-evaluations, and worrying too much about what other people think of you.

Perfectionism drives people to attempt to achieve an unattainable ideal, and when perfectionists don’t reach their goals, the consequences are negative. Ironically, the pursuit of success actually keeps the perfectionist focused on failure, completely undermining what we understand as success. Read the rest of this entry »

Living Without Regrets


30 Apr 2016 | One Comment |

Twenty years from now you’ll be more disappointed 1by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. Are you living your life so that when you look back you have very few regrets?

Jeanne Louise Calment is in the Guinness Book of Records for living to the grand old age of 122 years and 164 days. Susannah Mushatt Jones is currently 116 years old and has 100 nieces and nephews! It’s amazing to think just how much change they’ve seen in their lifetimes. Tim Peake is living in space at the moment, whilst the man on the moon was merely a throw away phrase when they were growing up. Read the rest of this entry »

10 TIPS FOR BECOMING A LEADER WORTH FOLLOWING


31 Mar 2016 | Leave a Comment |

The secret of leadership and being a great leader1 is knowing yourself and your tendencies, which allows you to lead yourself first, according to Jeremie Kubicek, CEO and co-founder of GiANT Worldwide, a global leadership consulting firm. He believes that once you become competent in leading yourself, the secret to leading others lies in understanding when to alternately support and challenge them with consistency. When people see you leading yourself and know you are for them, then they are more apt to follow you, because they perceive you as a leader worth following.

Jeremie has closely observed traits of the very best leaders in the world and has been around some of the worst. At the end of the day he wants to be known as a leader worth following who was constantly fighting for the highest possible good for those he leads and loves. Isn’t that what we all want? Read the rest of this entry »

Developing Future Leaders


13 Jan 2016 | Leave a Comment |
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Developing Future Leaders – Attain Magazine

Effective leaders are made not born, and the skills and values pupils need for leadership must be imparted at an early age whilst at school.  This is an article which I wrote for the Spring edition of Attain Magazine, which can be read in their online magazine here: https://attain.digital/issue29/attain29_article4_1.html

Leaders are born not made. I disagree. Whilst I don’t think that leadership can be taught, in the way that chemistry or French is taught, I do believe leadership can be developed. Management is a science that can be taught, but leadership is an art that must be developed. Like so many things, the earlier we start the process, the better.

John is a risk-averse Chief Financial Officer, unwilling to make a decision Read the rest of this entry »

Make the next 5 years, your best 5 years as a leader


1 Nov 2015 | Leave a Comment |

It doesn’t matter if you’re in the first year as a leader, or you’re Next-5-yearsMartin Gilbert (CEO of Aberdeen Asset Management since 1981), Martin Sorrell (CEO of WPP since 1986) or me (Head of St Olave’s School since 2005), as a leader you want to make the next 5 years, your best 5 years. I’ve been giving this some thought recently and the following are some of the things that I think will help those of us who are committed to making the next 5 our best 5.

Read the rest of this entry »