Wednesday, 14 September 2011

The power of the Tweak (and Tweet)

I used to plan lessons which I thought were awesome. I've since become a bit more modest and am a on a quest to further my modesty. Back to the first sentence...After creating these lessons, one of my colleagues would e-mail me back with changes and modifications he'd made to the lesson. It was his first year of teaching, so I felt slightly undermined, threatened and annoyed at this. How could he?! But he would continue, every week to send me "his version" of the lesson.

Later in the year, I started looking over his resources and couldn't believe how watertight the resources were and how he'd improved them. They were more-differentiated, simplified, streamlined, in fact they were awesome! For a while, I would send out my resources to the department and wait for him to essentially proof-read and improve the lesson. As the year wore on, I too started tweaking other people's lessons and sending them back improvements. Occasionally it would just be a spelling mistake, sometimes wording which I thought would confuse the students. It's amazing what a fresh pair of eyes can see and add, almost completing the other 20% in Pareto's 80/20 principle for you. Even just changing the starter or plenary and then re-uploading the modified lesson onto the network made a huge difference.

What I learnt from this is that these tweaks that we made would make all the difference to making an OK lesson become good and a good lesson become great. I cannot stress how vital this tinkering is. I think that in every department, you need to use people for their strengths (a bit like the upcoming film, Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy). You need someone who can plan the year and the lesson ideas, someone to tinker and improve, someone to organise the department and the resources and obviously we all need to deliver.

So the next time someone tweaks my lesson, I will swallow my pride and say thank you, knowing that the lesson has probably been greatly improved and may just change the learning experience of our students for the better.

Still not convinced? Watch this:

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