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  • Google. Goanna. Go! - Capturing teaching excellence at Challis

Google. Goanna. Go! - Capturing teaching excellence at Challis

This week I had the privilege of spending four days at Challis Community Primary School (on which I’ve previously done an ERRR Podcast episode).

The purpose of the visit was to capture examples of high quality teaching practice on video (for Steplab). Here’s a happy snap from the first day of filming, capturing Andy McLoughlin in action with Deputy Principal Mark McClements in the foreground.

I picked up so much from the trip, both personally* and professionally. One of the teaching techniques was ‘Google. Goanna. Go!’ (interim name… stay tuned)

I saw this one used by Bec Limpus, and it goes as follows…

Many teachers already use the handy phrase, ‘When I say go…’ to ensure that students don’t get a bit too excited and start following the instruction before it’s been completed (a technique that Adam Boxer has called front-loading).

Bec added a great twist to this. After giving instructions, she would pause for effect, then say words like ‘Google’ or ‘Goanna’ to try and trick students into false starts.

Some other good options could be…

  • Goatee

  • Gopher

  • Gorilla

  • Goby (‘a small, usually marine fish that typically has a sucker on the underside.’)

  • Gold

  • Gondola

  • Gospel

  • Goulash

  • Government

  • Golem

  • Gorget (a piece of armor protecting the throat)

I thought that Bec’s action signal approach was really powerful because it made students listen extra hard for the ‘go’ signal, and really improved the tightness of her classes.

If you have crack at this technique this week, do let me know how it Google. Goanna. Goes!

And a massive thank you to all of the leaders, coaches, and teachers at Challis who contributed to this amazing week of filming. It was a huge effort and enormously generous of them to welcome me into their classrooms. Their efforts this week will help thousands of teachers to improve their practice in the months and years to come!

*Mark McClements was kind enough to host me with his lovely family. Took on some parenting advice including, don’t go with the ‘tooth under the pillow’ approach for the tooth fairy, way too stressful trying to extract a tooth from under a sleeping child’s head. Go with the tooth on the bedside table on something soft (so the coin doesn’t clink)!

Announcements and Opportunities

Steplab Intensives in Perth, Melbourne, and Sydney!

The UKs leading thinker, writer, and speaker on Instructional Coaching, Josh Goodrich, is coming back to Australia in October to run a series of Steplab Instructional Coaching Intensives in Perth, Melbourne, and Sydney. And it isn’t just Josh who is coming, we’ll also be joined by Sam Sims and Harry Fletcher-Wood for a couple of them too! Here’s the info…

Steplab Instructional Coaching Intensive - Melbourne (Fri October 13th) with Josh Goodrich, Ollie Lovell, and Sam Sims.

Steplab Instructional Coaching Intensive - Sydney (Wed October 18th) with Josh Goodrich, Ollie Lovell, Sam Sims, and Harry Fletcher-Wood.

  • This week Brendan Lee confirmed that he’ll be making it to the Sydney intensive. It will be great to have Brendan along.

Here’s what popular educator and Director of Research & Practice at Queenwood had to say about the intensive with Josh and Ollie in March of 2023

The Steplab intensive was a brilliant springboard for bringing a coaching program to my school. The day was comprehensive and structured in a way that enabled participants like me to apply key concepts straight away. What I loved was that the presenters balanced the practical with the human side of sustainable and effective coaching.

Rebecca Birch

I hope to see you at one of the intensives!

Science of learning, reading, and writing masterclass

In August and September I’ll be teaming up with Peps Mccrea and Daisy Christoulou to present a science of learning, reading, and writing masterclass coordinated by Lyn Stone. This is a rare opportunity to hear from myself, Daisy, and Peps all in one go over six weeks.

Peps will be talking about, ‘The science of motivation: how can we boost attention and effort in school’

Daisy is covering, ‘The science of writing: what does research & assessment tell us about teaching writing?’

And, for the first time, I'll be delivering a live presentation on some key insights from Tools for Teachers, focusing on explicit instruction as well as reading and evaluating educational research.

Find out more and book here.

Quote of the week

‘Your professional success and quality of life depend directly on your ability to manage information effectively’

Tiago Forte