In the news - Vaughn Malcolm

19th March 2010 at 00:00

Who is he?

Vaughn Malcolm teaches languages at St Mary's School, Calne, in Wiltshire. He recently completed the Extraordinary Leadership Programme, a scheme based in Kenya which helps business men and women develop their skills. Now Mr Malcolm wants to share his experiences and encourage more teachers to take part in the programme.

What's special about this programme?

"My friend, Nigel Linacre, is an executive coach and he developed the programme," Mr Malcolm says. "He takes executives to a school in Kenya which has no computers, technology or resources. The visitors are told to take lessons and, in doing so, develop their business management and leadership skills. He suggested I attend to develop my teaching skills. I went with a colleague in February half-term."

So there were no resources?

"We had to improvise about how to teach. We went to work with the teachers, not the children. We were put on the spot, in front of 25 teachers who were watching and listening to every word. We had to model different ways of learning and communicating. It gave you the chance to be spontaneous, to make a conscious decision and ensure we were doing the right thing."

Was he doing the right thing?

"Yes. But you learn all sorts of truths about yourself. At the end of each day, we would spend the evening being coached by Nigel on what we experienced, how we led the day and how we conducted ourselves. We learnt how to operate as a teacher. After six days, we got a good understanding of who we are and what we do. It gives teachers the chance to reflect on their practices and on the syllabus. It's about how you lead; how you teach others."

What did he learn?

"The Kenyan teachers had a great sense of humility and pride in what they do under the circumstances. It enabled me to think about what I want to do in education. I would like to cut down my classroom teaching and work with heads and deputy heads to expand this programme."

What's next?

"I go back in July and possibly October. I'd like to visit two or three times a year, with six to eight teachers. We're working on funding - Teach First has expressed an interest, and I'll be speaking to the British Council and the Department for Children, Schools and Families. Teachers will learn from this experience, instead of being seduced by the syllabus and the next page in the book ... They become aware of the teaching and learning going on."

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