Headmaster’s Blog Post 1 – Communication
There is a poster in the Chalet Orny staffroom which shows a Hemingway quote: “It takes two years to learn to speak and sixty to learn to keep quiet”. It’s good advice, but more for the teachers than the students. Teachers receive substantial feedback from their students by keeping quiet. Classrooms in an international school are fertile breeding grounds for new ideas and ways of knowing. In fact I have lost count of the times a student shines a light onto a problem in my economics lessons. More important than these flashes of insight is the constant, often subtle, feedback that students give in classes. A sigh, a fidget, a hand in the air, maybe a laugh all tell the teacher what is going on in the minds of the students. In fact communication between teachers and students about the success or the quality of a lesson is probably more non-verbal than verbal.
One of the highlights of the term so far has been the House afternoon. The Marmottes and Dahus battled it out in the Water Assault Course, the Egg Drop and other games. It’s great fun but at its heart is the integration of the whole school from Class A to G. Everyone can learn something here. Class G can learn that Class A’s unbridled joy in taking part in a group competition, essentially “to dance like nobody’s watching”, is far cooler than claiming not to bother. It is also vital for Class A to see older students and become normalised to older children in a non-hierarchical fashion. It is a classic example of community communication and learning through showing, not telling.
The modelling of expected behaviour is just as fundamental to teaching as communication. Write clearly on the board and students will do the same in their books. Talk assuredly with the correct terminology and students will do likewise. Communication is delivered through showing and repetition rather than shouty CAPS LOCK telling. The relaxation of Covid regulations has opened up more opportunities for parents and staff to communicate. The welcome drinks in the school were very successful and there is a PTA drinks in the W Hotel Beach Bar on Thursday. It has been wonderful to see parents in the school. Hopefully, we will be able to converse, communicate and act meaningfully and purposefully, modelling great practice to all our children and students over the coming year.