Using the right Tools

First blogged for MidKent in January 2012

In which Steven defends Dance, gets passive aggressive (but not with you, he likes you), takes issue with western philosophy, doesn’t refer to anything metaphorically or euphemistically, makes no use of Urban Dictionary and hopefully finally finishes his story.

I’d like to apologise – even if it’s felt I don’t need to. Editor

Let us discuss Professional Communication Skills. No really. They are an important tool.

Communication skills are an important part of what we do, and our ability to connect with students can make all the difference in their development – whether that be ensuring they progress to Uni, supporting students through personal experiences, or even – shockingly – learning something fundamental in a subject.

Communication skills are also an important part of how we talk to each other, listening as well as speaking. And this is something often forgotten about with long days, pressures, and occasional lapses of basic human dignity and respect.

Part of the issue with western philosophy is a focus on ‘or’ rather than ‘and’.

This very early on infects the educational system, with an insidious subject hierarchy, and informs public and political perceptions.

Okay, easy on the politics. Editor

Maths is seen as more important than geography. Fine art is seen as more important than dance. To paraphrase Ken Robinson, in defence of dance (and in no way because Louise Molton is my Head of Faculty), what’s more important than dance? To study movement?

The hierarchical attitude to students can not only damage their sense of self, but also educator’s attitudes towards each other. Making them put down other courses, other people.

Those teaching ‘Mickey Mouse’ subjects, feeling the need to overcompensate, will often do just that. And for clarity and honesty I can argue why Media Studies is the most important subject in any modern educational system. I can argue why the use of the word ‘studies’ in a subject should be stopped. I can argue how the subject Cultural Literacy should be created and made mandatory, on all courses.



There are many interesting, funny, hardworking, caring people that work at this College who you have never met, and have no intention or opportunity of ever meeting, of communicating with. You have a tool, which you really should, and could, use more often.

Following the previously discussed, enlightening conversation with the wonderful Vanessa Kent, I went to see Lesley Mayo, seeking opportunities to further my community experience. Timing (as is often the case) is everything. Thanks to Mr Grix recently connecting the College to local primary schools, Burnt Oak had made it clear they were looking for a Community Governor. I instantly put my name down. And because I had in previous years taken the time to get to know the School Partnerships team and provide them with support where possible, Lesley was very happy to support me.

And that’s how I became the Governor of a Primary School.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s