Harry Fletcher-Wood’s Top Blogs of the Week – 25 January 2016

What made Charles Darwin an effective thinker? Follow the Golden Rule

By @farnamstreet

Charles Darwin’s working methods have fascinated me since visiting Down House, where he spent much of his life. This post explains many aspects of his life that I had missed, such as the reason for his spending eight years studying barnacles, after identifying the main ideas in The Origin of Species, but before publishing the book. It also discusses his “Golden Rule”: “That whenever a published fact, a new observation or thought came across me, which was opposed to my general results, to make a memorandum of it without fail and at once; for I had found by experience that such
facts and thoughts were far more apt to escape from memory than favourable ones.”

12 Principles of Effective Teaching

By @headguruteacher

Tom Sherrington is honest with us: “Teachers are always being offered lists of principles, axioms, tenets, precepts – the magic beans of teaching”, thereby covering himself in order to offer his own set of 12 Principles for Effective Teaching. What differentiates his offering is their balanced incorporation of key ideas from both research and his own practice, and their pithy formulations:
“Mark Lean” is a particular favourite. He concludes by inviting us to “Get Some Balance”, both in the approaches we employ and in accepting that “there’s also only so much impact you can have; only so much you can do”.

Being a headteacher interviewee

By @stuartlock

The first in this series featured in Blogs of the Week a fortnight ago. The second post is just as worthwhile, this time on the interview process. Stuart discusses the range of tasks he has come across in a number of headship interviews, and his approach to each one. His honest discussion of the tasks he has encountered, and his response to each, will undoubtedly remain an invaluable resource for aspirant headteachers for a long time to come.

Nine ways for leaders to be better at communication

By @informed_edu

In this thoughtful piece, David Weston discusses nine ways leaders can be better at communicating. “Be careful with suggestions, label their ‘power’ and examples. Invite the other person to summarise too, e.g. ‘I don’t know how clear I’m being – please could you play back what I’ve just said to help me ensure I’m not being confusing?’” Wise advice for anyone.

To motivate employees, do three things well

By @emmaseppala

Emma Seppala discusses three important principles: the importance of kindness, inspiration and “self-care”, linking to studies that explore the effect each has on employees, and concluding “It’s easy to lose sight of what really drives employee well-being. The best leaders are able to take a step back and maintain a human touch in the workplace by inspiring employees, being kind to them, and encouraging them to take care of themselves.”

Um, do I teach you? (Or why working with children is hilarious)

By @MrHistoire

Toby French reminds us quite how bizarre teaching can be in this short scene for two actors: Toby himself and a confused year 7 who insists Miss Cape wishes him to deliver his book to Toby. Lines spoken aloud “But she said to give it to you,” are interspersed with Toby’s inner monologue: “I’m feeling pretty sorry for him now. He hasn’t a clue why I won’t take his book, and I don’t know why I’d want it, let alone have a clue who he is.” An enjoyable digression for readers, if less so for Toby and the year 7 concerned.