Thursday, 17 May 2012

'The Talent Code'

I was re-reading the 'Talent Code', by Daniel Coyle, which covers similar ground to 'Outliers' by Malcolm Gladwell, 'Bounce' by Matthew Syed and 'Talent is Overrated' by Geoff Colvin. It draws on research to show that ability isn't something we are born with but something that we can create, grow and nurture.

The fact that 'greatness isn't born, it's grown' is great news for educators and a wake up call for parents and carers, schools, colleges, universities and governments because it shows again that we can build brilliant everywhere if we have the right toolkit, the right attitudes and the right people. It's not about structural change but cultural change and Daniel Coyle talks about 'deep practice', 'ignition' and 'master coaching' as his three keys to success.

Deep practice is about goal setting; chunking up tasks, repetition and learning to feel and is at the heart of the work I have been doing over the last fifteen years in York, Leeds and Sheffield. It is at the heart of The Pacific Institute's STEPS programme and was deeply ingrained in the best National Strategies programmes, like Every Child a Reader. Ignition is about passionate engagement, ownership and belief; lighting the touchpaper in learners and watching the fireworks. Master coaching lies at the heart of great learning and was the basis of the work pioneered by my colleague and friend Dirk Gilleard.

The interesting thing is that brilliant learning requires all three and Daniel Coyle draws on example after example to show that we can build world class and not just in some places but consistently across the whole learning landscape. Every school can become a brilliant learning place where every child and young person can achieve to their potential.

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