Who would want to be the first penguin to leap into the icy Antarctic waters? The first brave soul to do so risks unseen leopard seals and orca. However, without at least one penguin prepared to take that first plunge, they would all starve. So, the penguin community needs risk takers to survive and grow. Teachers are a bit like penguins. We need risk takers. We need to encourage risk taking. Otherwise, our practice stagnates, intractable problems remain unresolved and pupils’ experience is diminished.
In order to be a bit more penguin, all teachers at Sawston Village College undertake a Teaching Excellence Project, a research and investigation project designed to develop the practice of individual teachers, build the expertise of subject teams and enrich the learning of pupils across the school. The projects culminate in an annual celebration, when colleagues share their work and insights.
This year, the teachers who pushed themselves furthest from their comfort zones, who thought most radically about teaching and learning, were presented with the inaugural “Penguin Award” – the cuddly, foot high penguin is now taking pride of place in the lab of the science colleagues who explored the possibilities of flipped learning, producing a series of videos as they reimagined what homework is for and how it can be done.
This post gives just a taste of the inspiring, vibrant, thoughtful work that colleagues have produced. Subsequent posts offer some more specific examples of the work undertaken by Sawston teachers.