Travelling in the name of Churchill

San Diego! I have arrived in the first city on my journey up and down California as a Fellow of the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust.  I am incredibly thankful to be travelling in the name of the greatest Briton where I will be investigating innovative approaches to school design.  Having a particular interest in interdisciplinary project based learning, I have found several schools to visit.  High Tech High in San Diego has been a school I have admired for some time and i’m particularly excited about.  My itinerary can be found here.

I am a little anxious at the scale of what I want to find out in terms of school design. Curriculum and assessment are two big areas to investigate.  The teacher inside me wants to be in classrooms talking to teachers and students, but I also seek to investigate widely the wider enabling conditions for successful student outcomes and whole school success. So I intend to use some of the essential questions below to structure my research and to help dig deep beneath the surface of marvellous student project outcomes.  These are just to help me think but a project of this type can be fairly informal unless speaking to administrators where I might use a more formal interview approach.

  1. Describe your role as a teacher
  2. Why do you work at this particular school?
  3. Describe the learning environment you teach within in just 5 words
  4. Describe the culture of your school in just 5 words
  5. What is the school moto?
  6. How have you been inducted into the culture of your school?
  7. How does the organisation and structure of your school enable the existence of its distinctive culture?
  8. How does the organisation and structure of your school enable students to learn effectively?
  9. How does the organisation and structure of your school enable you as an educator to learn effectively?
  10. How does the organisation and structure of your school effect your agency as an educator?
  11. How is the schools leadership structure organised within your school?
  12. How would you describe the relationship between the school leaders and the teaching staff?
  13. As an educator what are you responsible for?
  14. As an educator who do you feel you are accountable to?
  15. What would you say to a traditionalist who disagrees with your approach?
  16. What accountability measures does your school have?
  17. What evidence is there to support your distinctive approaches?
  18. If you could keep only one aspect of your school what would it be?  i.e. what is the most important feature of the school?

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