English Teacher and Head of Learning and Research at @WellingtonUK, Carl Hendrick is no ordinary teacher. Completing PhD at King's College, he became Wellington College's first head of research last year. Seeing as our USA Founder is Dr. Julie M. Wood, ex-Harvard Director and now our Academic Director, we were keen to link up with a fellow researcher.
Here is Nic's interview with Carl:
TT: Why did you initially decide to become a teacher?
CH: I had been a musician and after being dropped from a major label, I decided to become a writer. I thought teaching English would allow me to earn money and have free time to write but when I got into the classroom I found it way more interesting than sitting at a desk trying to write the next novel. Also I honestly had to ask myself 'do we really need another middle class white male writing about his feelings??' I felt teaching would be more useful to the world. Also I was better at it than writing novels.
TT: How did you move from being a classroom teacher to being a consultant/writer?
CH: Well, I still am a classroom teacher first and foremost, but last year I started a head of research role which got a lot of attention due to the unique nature of the role. I had been doing a PhD for years and was always amazed at how research is largely absent from school so when asked to lead on some area of school improvement, I suggested this and the school gave me the support to develop the role.
TT: How have you gained your following on social media do you think? Any top tips for our TechnoTeachers out there?
CH: No idea! I think being honest is important firstly. After that I think you probably need to 'specialise' in a specific area. Writing a blog helps too but again, honesty and critical reflection is key. An awful of what is posted by teachers on Twitter can only be described as a 'tidal wave of guff' so to be discerning is the key.
TT: Why do you think it is important to grow as a teacher/ share your ideas with others?
CH: The emergence of teacher voice on Twitter has had a huge impact on education despite there not being a lot of teachers on Twitter. Some of the leading voices in government policy and school leadership are actively involved. Also, for a long time the only input teachers had was from local education authorities and wild west consultants. What social media has done is to aggregate elements of our profession into grassroots movements like ResearchED and Northern Rocks and has held to account many charlatans who previously went unchallenged. And a good thing too. (Follow this link to connect with Carl on Twitter).
TT: Which are the top pieces of work you'd like us to share in this blog and why?
These three blogs about the problems with an over reliance on data, (specifically numbers,) the issue of education ignoring research and the problem with motivational posters have been my most read posts.
The Semmelweis Reflex: Why does Education Ignore Important Research?
The McNamara Fallacy and the Problem with Numbers in Education
The scourge of motivational posters and the problem with pop psychology in the classroom
We will be checking in with another TechnoTeacher this week - so if you have any suggestions for whom you would like us to speak with next, or if you have any queries for Carl (or us!), please comment below. Looking forward to hearing from you!
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This is where Jules and Nic will post articles, links to interesting sites and things that we think our TechnoTeachers will like.