Mind the Gap, Episode 19 – Culture, Leadership, Diversity, and the Assessment Discourse

by Sean Ryan


To kick off this “Tom & Emma” episode of Mind the Gap, Emma Turner discusses what’s been on her mind: Culture (0:45). She refers to a diverse sampling of recent reading on leadership and culture, from John Tomsett and Jonny Uttley’s Putting Staff First, to a Teacher Development Trust working paper on school culture, to Anthony Quinn’s Klopp. Tom and Emma discuss the factors that contribute to a strong culture, the actions that can be taken to build such a culture, as well as some of the “don’ts.”

In the next segment (10:45), Tom discusses assessment, a topic that’s been on his mind recently. He refers to recent discourse around the purpose of exams and the proper ways to validate children’s learning. He shares some of the recently proposed assessment alternatives and why they’ve come up short, as well as the many factors we value in children’s well-rounded development, which we can appreciate better without attempting to measure them. 

Next, we get to Emma’s Reading List (20:45). She recommends Bennie Kara’s A Little Guide for Teachers: Diversity in Schools, and both she and Tom discuss the importance of the subject matter. Kara will be a guest on an upcoming episode of Mind the Gap.

On Tom’s Reading List (26:55), he recommends a trio of books from John Catt’s “In Action” series: Generative Learning in Action, Cognitive Apprenticeship in Action, and Cognitive Load Theory in Action. He also recommends the free paper What Should Schools Teach?: Disciplines, subjects and the pursuit of truth, available from University College London. 

To find all video episodes, featuring additional segments from Tom and Emma, subscribe to Mind the Gap with Tom & Emma on YouTube.

To listen to the audio version, subscribe here on your preferred podcast app: https://anchor.fm/mindthegap-edu 

About the participants:

Tom Sherrington has worked in schools as a teacher and leader for 30 years and is now a consultant specializing in teacher development and curriculum & assessment planning. His books include Teaching WalkThrus, Rosenshine’s Principles in Action and The Learning Rainforest Fieldbook. He regularly contributes to conferences and CPD sessions locally and nationally and is busy working in schools and colleges across the UK and around the world. Follow Tom on Twitter @teacherhead

Emma Turner joined Discovery Schools Academy Trust as the Research and CPD lead after 20 years in primary teaching. She is the founder of ‘NewEd – Joyful CPD for early career teachers’, a not-for-profit approach to CPD to encourage positivity amongst the profession and help to retain teachers in post. Turner is author of Be More Toddler: A Leadership Education From Our Little Learners and Let’s Talk About Flex: Flipping the flexible working narrative for education

Follow Emma on Twitter @emma_turner75

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