Cooperative learning - because we is more than me
I was born in Denmark in 1971 and I have worked and lived here in the UK on and off since the late 90s. Basically I love this place and so in 2013 I decided to move here permanently. I am married and have three children.
My love for Cooperative Learning stems from having witnessed its power first-hand in the most challenged environment: Exam average in our underachieving, underfunded Islamic faith school had moved from E to C two years into my tenure as head of English, and national average was surpassed in four years.
I want to see Cooperative Learning create an empowered, accountable, innovative next generation of Britons. I want to see this confused, polite, wild, and tea-drinking people find their stride as the world leader, not of some industrial revolution re-run, but of a post-industrial revolution: Men and women who are able to uncover their own values; to make meaningful choices; to build and run their own businesses; to find equilibrium in themselves and in their national past to form a better future; to lend their voice to sensible debate, rather than buy simplistic political spins. There's more, but you get the drift.
So, how does that relate to you surviving the next Ofsted inspection? Well, first of all, business and governments have been screaming for differently worded versions of this vision for ages. That's the first part of the answer.
The second part of the answer is that if you are anything like everyone else in (and often outside of) education, you see outstanding results as just a by-product of such skill sets. Like I was, you are just struggling day-to-day in the classroom to join Dennis the Person to Dennis the Datasheet.
This is why authentic Cooperative Learning - not to be mixed up with disorganised "group-work" - is the way forward for any school with low resources, tired staff, small budgets, and big challenges. It's like instant coffee, "just add pupils and stir."
The more I work with schools here, the more evidence I find that Cooperative Learning is the ideal way to balance student-centred learning and empowered individuals with full teacher control and smash results to create a respectful, relaxed, yet highly effective, learning environment.
Full-spectrum and flexible, attainment and social skills, classbuilding and community; teacher-led and student-centred, nothing but Cooperative Learning will offer anything remotely close, even at four times the price.
By trade, I am a teacher of English as a foreign language. In the Danish context that means teaching the history, culture and politics of the entire English speaking world, including Australia and Pakistan. I specialise in socially challenged, multicultural, multilingual learners - having my first daunting experience at an inner-city school in Copenhagen in 2001. I hold a BA in Religious Studies, a diploma degree in psychotherapy, and a Cambridge CELTA.
A staunch believer in lifelong learning, I wrote a BA in Sociology of Religion at Copenhagen University on the Trojan horse scandal in Birmingham, as I see any outstanding academic achievement in relation to the wider impact of education on communities, citizenship, business, culture and politics. My engagement with West Midlands Police is an example of how Cooperative Learning may be used in a wider context. More information here.
With the current focus on the Asian community, one of my main interests is how Cooperative Learning may turn the heterogeneous/multicultural challenge into an advantage as demonstrated by the 21st century British Muslim programme for the Association of Muslim Schools UK. A number of my research papers on social constructivism and student-centred strategies in traditional environments, and religion in relation to statecraft and media are available for peer review on ResearchGate, or may be downloaded as pdfs from my blog cooperativelearning.works.
I have spoken on these and other topics in several workshops, conferences and seminars, including the inaugural BRAIS conference at Edinburgh University, and the EIC in London in 2014, UKFIET 2015 at Oxford University, ASE in Birmingham, and lead a major conference in Turkey on Cooperative Learning and the education of Syrian refugees. You are welcome to contact me if you are looking for a speaker on these subjects.
I am always open to individuals or institutions who wish to explore the power of Cooperative Learning in their fields of expertise.
In summary, my vision is to see Cooperative Learning change the face of UK education in such a way that everyone wins.
It's possible, simply because we is more than me.