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Best of both worlds: Estelle’s journey in a pioneering role - Nov 19

Author: e.ashman

This months blog inspiration comes from the TV show RuPaul's Drag Race. If you haven’t seen RuPaul’s Drag Race, imagine a mash up of Project Runway and The Apprentice but with Drag Queens and you won’t be far off the mark. What has this got to do with education or my hybrid role I hear you ask, well as I have been watching the series unfold over the last few weeks it has occurred to me that communication is at the show’s core. Whether that is communicating about issues that are important to the drag community, communicating as teams within challenges or simply communicating how you want to appear to the audience; communication is key. This got me thinking, how well do we communicate within our own communities; be that education or industry?

One of the things I found completely different when first starting my role as Curriculum Content Developer with Digital Schoolhouse was that Shahneila wanted to see my work in progress. This was something completely alien to me. In education there is never any time to see work in progress, so I had become used to being given tasks to complete and my line-manager not being interested in seeing anything until it was finished.

This led to some confusion when I rushed to complete work because Shahneila had asked to see it, not realising that she only wanted to see what I had done so far. I am pleased to say that this led to a conversation about expectations and I quickly understood what was expected of me and that time would be set aside to be reflective at all stages of the development process. This isn’t to say that teaching staff aren’t interested in the process of development but that there is simply not enough time to allow for it. Because of this, teachers often end up working in their own silo and this can become even more pronounced when working in a one-person department.

I am not sure what the solution to this is. Every school I have worked in has had issues with communication. It isn’t uncommon to find that information that was supposed to be disseminated down from the SLT (Senior Leadership Team – education loves an acronym) has stalled somewhere and it has been assumed that it has reached its intended audience. Indeed, a common complaint is that schools will call meetings for the sake of having a meeting when often an email would have sufficed.

So far, my experience of working in industry is that communication is much better handled. We have a lot more meetings but they have specific goals, we will often use video conferencing when a face-to-face meeting isn’t possible and if an email will suffice a meeting is not called. Perhaps there is a need for industry to provide some CPD (Continual Professional Development training) to schools on how to communicate better?

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