On focus groups
No really, this one is different!
For Sydney subscribers
Being a Science of Learning practitioner can be a lonely business. Demographer Dr Lisa Denny was commissioned by Knowledge Society to investigate the profiles and experiences of individuals implementing Science of Learning, to present at the recent Science of Learning Leadership Accelerator. It was so fulfilling for teachers to connect with their tribe at the event, but sadly, her findings reflect that many would have to return to their school environment where they are the ‘black sheep,’ the ‘rogue',’ and the ‘lone ranger.’
I attend focus groups from time to time because I think it’s a bit like voting. If you don’t put up your hand to help potentially shape policy, then you get what you get. I refer to myself as ‘that person’ — often the only person at the table who thinks literature should give students a window, not a mirror; that we should be as ambitious in our curriculum for the advantaged as the disadvantaged; that we should teach and assess fundamental skills, rather than engage in areas where we have no teacher expertise, like podcast amateur-hour.
But this focus group will be different. It will be a place for the Sydney rogues to meet and share, run by CIS, an organisation that has student outcomes at the centre of what it does. We need more people to feel supported in what they are doing so that they develop the confidence to empathetically persuade others. What we need is for SOL to become mainstream. At this focus group, you’ll find people who face similar struggles in their practice, who might also be seeking support, and people who will feel more connected after meeting you.
The event is face-to-face, which is a delight post-COVID. Please take this as an invitation to join, to give up a small part of your Saturday morning or afternoon (click to choose a session) to advance your advocacy of the strategies that you know to work for your students.