I watched the first episode of the new Jamie Oliver programme on Channel 4 (9pm) last night – Dream School (http://bit.ly/ewWFyi). His mission is to turn around the lives of a bunch of young people who, like him, dropped out of education with less than 5 GCSEs. To do this, he has brought together some of Britain’s most inspirational individuals including David Starkey, Rolf Harris, Simon Callow, Ellen MacArthur and Robert Winston.
Last night’s episode made me think about what I’ve been learning on the MICL. David Starkey seemed to embody all that is wrong with bad leadership. He is clearly hugely knowledgeable in his field and has a passion for his subject (so common of many organisational leaders), but his inability to create a positive, supportive climate in which the students felt able to participate and learn was cringe-making. At one point, he verbally abused a student (a pity he chose the one who had just had a very positive experience in a session with Simon Callow during which he felt the relationship between tutor and student was less hierarchical than he had experienced at school). He certainly didn’t encourage the heart, inspire a shared vision, model the way or enable others. No space for engagement, creativity and reflection there.
He isn’t a trained teacher (at least I don’t think so!) and this makes great television, but his old-fashioned methods made me wonder how much of his kind of approach to leadership, learning and development is still in our academic system.
Throughout our teaching so far on the MICL, we have been encouraged to reflect. Many opportunities and channels have been made available to us to digest and interpret what we are being taught. There have been plenty of opportunities for us to learn by doing and to share our experiences. As a group of students we are open and honest with each other and with our tutors. I know we are at Masters level and there may not be such a requirement to cover a strict lesson format that schools have to, but I would like to think that Starkey’s approach, which has already horrified the head teacher at Dream School (the only ‘real’ post) is dying out in schools.
Did you see it?