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Mike Fleetham Mike's Thinking Classroom Blog


Speedy Subject Leadership

I’m working with a senior leader who (amongst many, many other things) is Literacy co-ordinator. She wants to lead the subject as best she can but time is a huge issue. There’s not enough of it. Know the feeling? 

So her solution is to set up an Iris Connect group, (what's that? Find out here) invite selected teachers into the group and manage the subject through this group. But how does this help? Here’s how:

1. Monitoring

She invites teachers, representing the range of key stage and teacher experience into the group, then asks them to share a very short (5 minute, focussed, edited) reflection (video). This saves her the time of visiting every class and, once she’s added them to a group page, has a snapshot of what’s going on across the school in her subject.

2. Progress

She plans to repeat this invitation 3-4 times over the year. These snapshots can be assembled into ‘narratives of progress’ 

3. Coaching
She has a coaching role in school and can easily use the group page to do two things:
a. Write general, formative feedback to the whole group on their strengths and challenges, based on reflections that have been shared.
b. Identify who might need what type of support either with Iris Connect coaching or other available interventions.

4. Teaching
The sharing of short reflections allows the whole group access to a range of approaches – something that would not be feasible in a normal school (could you get released to see 6 colleagues start a lesson on the same day?)

5. Leadership
Her management of the group and the resources/interaction within its pages are live evidence of her leadership in action. 

This approach is effective so long as the right coaching protocols are in place, including a coaching contract. And although she can lead a great deal of her subject directly through the group, this does not replace the need to work face to face with her colleagues – though it does reduce the requirement to do so.

Creating and developing a group is intuitive. A big well done to the developers at Iris Connect who’ve made it obvious what to do and how to do it. And if you do struggle, well, I think there’s a group you can join to help!


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