In this episode, award-winning author and educationalist Bob Cox talks about his life, the books that influenced him and the strategies behind his 'Opening Doors' series for teachers. He shares his thoughts on using high quality texts in the classroom, using 'classics' in the curriculum and how we can help all our pupils achieve excellence in an inclusive, inspirational way.
Bob also explores the idea that approaching texts and the curriculum with a pioneering spirit can support well-being for both teachers and pupils alike. He shares examples of the impact of his work and provides a fantastic reading list which will help any teacher or parent if they aim to 'open doors' for their children.
(credits: Tom McGuire and the Brassholes - www.tomandthebrassholes.com / additional music by Scott Buckley - www.scottbuckley.com.au)
Hello, this's karma Coffee welcoming you to the more teacher told dedicated professional development on all things policy education. Theo share with positive voices, teachers and school leaders. Hello, on welcome Today I'm speaking to Bob Cox. He's an independent education consultant, writer and teacher coach who works nationally and internationally to support outstanding learning. Bob also delivers keynotes for national associations, multi academy trusts on local authorities and has seen his award winning series of teacher resources opening doors successfully integrate into the curriculum for many schools around the world. In Episode one, we heard from Pete O'Shea. If you haven't downloaded that, please do you find the time to listen to his storey? It's really powerful, and in it he mentioned the transformative power of reading, but the impact that it had on him and his life on his approach to the world, I thought that was something to really think about. Reflect on exploring more detail, you know how to books, reading and writing impact on our well being, in particular the way in which our Children think on approach the world on. How has that changed in the digital age? The National Literacy Foundation runs a project called Books Unlocked, which supports people in prisons on young offender institutions to engage with literature. Feedback from the project shows that reading for pleasure and discussing books in groups has a positive impact on multiple aspects of participants lives on. Last year, almost 70% of those taking part said their reading skills have improved. That they talked more about reading reported higher levels of well being in the national picture. Almost 400,000 Children and young people in the UK don't have a book of their own. With disadvantaged Children being the most affected Children transition from primary to secondary school Their levels of literacy, engagement, a mental wellbeing both declined and continue on a downward path. Children who enjoy reading and writing reports significantly better mental well being than their peers. And Jonathan Douglas, director of the National Literacy Trust, said Children and young people today face a multitude of pressures at school, at home and in their social lives. It is imperative that we do everything we can to enable our Children to develop the resilience they need to cope with life's challenges. Our latest research shows that the joys of reading and writing could be hugely beneficial. Not only does a love of reading and writing enable Children to flourish at school, but we now also know it can play a vital role in supporting Children to lead happy and healthy lives. So perhaps the idea here is that reading and writing doesn't just hold the key to success at school or in academic life. They may hold the key to wellbeing in life and even society, too. Our books, the building blocks of empathy for our Children and if so, what's the implication for us as teachers on his parents welcome, Bob? Okay, Bob, thanks so much for coming along to the podcast today. You tell me about your journey in education and how you got to do here.
Well, goodness me. It's been a long journey, and the journey continues. If I want to reflect back to the past, it's got to be teacher's, isn't it? Like for many of us, those inspirational teachers I can remember at primary school and a secondary school, perhaps one I can remember in particular what would now be called your seven. Giving out books like Walkabout, James Vance Marshall Murders in the Rue Morgue Edgar Allan Poe on also giving out leaflets where you could explore other books by well known authors. Order some, if you could for yourselves on have huge discussions. I think the excitement off books on poetry started to come through from that teacher on, then was continued by another excellent teacher who took us to the theatre. Without that teacher, I'm sure I would never have gone until probably I was a young adult on DH. I can remember, by the way, lots of my friends saying, Why we going? Do we have to go? Is Shakespeare boring? And then we got there on DH. It just came alive on the stage on DH. We couldn't stop talking about it, but I think it's an important point to remember that we were slightly reluctant before that teacher said, No, I'm taking you. I think you'll really enjoy it on. I still think I see the very best teachers today just having to nudge their Children along a bit when it's something more challenging, more unusual, something a bit different. It could be that the teacher is the person who will introduce their pupils to something pretty amazing. S O I mean, those are some of my memories. My parents did go to the library. We used to go to the library in the town on DH. I think that was a big influence to because it was the norm. I'm going to the library on taking out books, finding new books. We all did it together, eh? So I'm sure that was important as well. I think I would say when I look back, I lacked what people call wider reading. I think that it took me a very long time to actually get the breadth and depth. I'm not sure why that wass. I think probably lots of people lacked in those days because we're talking back to the sixties at primary school seventies at secondary school. But I certainly I think that that has driven some of the work I've done around the UK in schools. That sense in which I call it link reading. If we can link him or whole Tex at a younger age on DH, expect it in the nicest way possible. We start to get more quality reading from kids, eh? So maybe that has been an influence on me that by the time I got to university and I was one of only two people who got to university from my school. I was very aware that the people around me had read an awful lot more than May on, So I'm sure that is That's in me somewhere as an influence
on that than who have bean, your biggest influences or most inspirational figures in education and why
I think big educational figures. I'd site Barry Heimer, who talks a lot about intrinsic learning. And I remember going to a presentation by Barry some years ago really feeling that he got it right in terms of empowerment, learning how to learn, actually hearts and minds, if you like. And he very quickly got involved with Carol Dweck growth mindset, actually, the hard work and the belief in learning paying off in a big way on also Deborah, who is now running a fantastic worldwide network called High Performance Learning, who has been talking for a whole career about creating room at the top firm or on. That's a mantra that I've certainly taken on, like I totally buy into that, you know, in a class in a school you have to believe that every child can aspire to more. That may be hard work. It may sometimes mean that, you know, there are bumps along the road, but far better tohave an excellence ethos in a school on beyond them. I would also say that the people with whom I've worked have been a fantastic influence. So Belinda Lee on the much missed Sue Freeman at Court. More School in Fleet. We're huge influences on DH. I do actually believe that we're influenced the most by the person in the classroom next to us. That's every day, isn't it? The way the teachers around work, think, pioneer debate. It's hugely important. And also having the models off great teachers around you makes a very big difference on DH. When I've been in some schools where there's not so many top class teachers around to go and observe and watch, it's been harder for people to actually get the right kind of frequency. Just
thinking about books then for from Bob, what books have had the biggest impact on your life?
My goodness me, that, sir, that's really hard. I think you probably if you want to go back to the beginning early reading is really important. I can remember mystery the burnt cottage by any blind, and I can remember that was the first book that I owned for myself. So early influence is very, very important in terms of adult reading. Almost certainly John Steinbeck, The Grapes of Wrath, of Mice and Men on practise, particularly East of Eden. I think those books for me painted a panorama of life. Great characters I wanted to read on wanted to turn the page. Huge epics, in my view on these things are subjective. But I think Stoneback has had a great influence and probably also Thomas Hardy. You can see similar trout strands. They're probably with my own preferences of, you know, huge human dramas played out on a huge scale with big ideas, big principles about life, the world people, Shakespeare's the same love, jealousy, romance, tragedy, et cetera.
Thank you, Bob. I heard about your books, then the opening door series of books. They've been a tremendous success with a global audience. Can you tell our listeners more about the books and how they help teachers and pupils?
Yes, there's. I mean, there's a lot to say. So I'll try to limit it, tio Some of the main points. We've been thrilled that the books have gone so far across the UK Onda Broad. If you had to pin it down to why, I think that we're offering via the title, which is the biggest clue. Opening doors were offering access strategies. It really is possible to work with very challenging texts to actually really enjoy archaic language, unusual styles to revel in, even made up words. You know, like in Jabberwocky, the Vorpal sword. Kids love it. Children will revel in it, but they need access. So we think we help with access strategies, whether they are exercises around pictures or slivers of texts, whether they are links into other texts, we think access is very important. Also, we've done a lot Mohr linking past texts to present texts So Gothic storeys like Jane Eyre. They may link with Neil Diamond's Coraline or the Graveyard book. So we're proud of the way that we have tried to introduce a very famous texts and texts. Not so famous with really important texts off today on DA, we think that's really healthy. We get lots and lots of whole text reading. Although they've been introduced by thie extracts we call wider reading link reading. It's something that's been important to me. And opening door schools have taken it up in a big way, which is that you make those links through concepts. So it might be the concept, Let's say, of a mysterious setting and actually all the books in the link reading share that concept and you get Mohr Amore quality reading read as part of the curriculum, encouraged by the teacher. I'm very much part of a bigger reading for pleasure diet, if you like, and we're just getting great feedback from schools. And if you can plan that in the year by year, think of the positive effects By the time your pupils have got to your six into your seven year eight. The depth of reading is there on. Actually, that means that any further teaching about comprehension about vocabulary, about spelling, punctuation and grammar it can all come in the context off the text. We just seeing some great results on that. So if I had to pick out two things, I'd say the access and the link reading and probably the taste of draughts, which a small short bursts writing which come towards the start of the process on DH, they build on understanding off this long term reading journey that they're on and imitating the text that they're studying. That twos had great feedback and has led to assessment for learning which improves the following draught s o we got with it. We've got a good cycle going there at all of what I've said is based upon feedback that I get from opening doors schools. So we're delighted the latest books are called out Me doors to a richer English curricular One for 6 to 91 for 10 to 13. Andi, I must ah, really pay a great debt to my co authors, Verity Jones and Leah Crawford. Ah, we were talking about being influenced by the people around you. Well, then they're opening doors team on DH. Apart from contributing to the books themselves, I'm learning from them every day on DL the time. So I think their influence has been really important in moving the books on into Maura Vice on Concepts, the curriculum sequencing on very much literature from around the globe that links with some past favourites and as we said, we always include some texts which arm or unusual in a new two people, and we think that's good.
I'm really intrigued to find out more about the literature across the globe but a school at Frogmore. There's been a real benefit that they've worked with you for a long time, and I saw in one of the early draughts of the book even credit Frogmore with thanks. Well, problem. But it's been a success. Storey Here's from Frogmore. Some of the outcomes initially before engaged in the work well, it was some of the lowest in the country on currently. You know, it's not been a quick fix. It's been a lot of hard work and a lot of factors. But they face to ask the teachers, How did you do it? What's been the biggest influence, or what's had the biggest impact on they say to us? And they say to me, It's the Bob Cox approach to writing that's made a difference. And do you have any examples of success storeys that you've collectives along the way?
Um, yes, I do on DA. By the way, I should say at this point It's been a thrill returning to Frogmore on actually seeing that success for myself. You know, congratulations to all his staff and to yourself. You know, it's been a journey, and I saw the previous people begin that journey towards a much more rigorous and a much more ambitious curriculum. I've seen your kids absolutely loving it today. Ah, and so much exciting work. I've got to work to read out in terms of success, which is partly evidence by visits that I go on like the one today. You're gonna be interesting, Karl. I didn't know this before Today. The older means a lot to you, but I'm going to read out something from a school in Oldham Greenacres primary. I'm gonna embarrass Tim Roache, the teacher who's been a bit of an opening doors pioneer. But I know I know also, he's a pioneer in so many ways. On this piece of work was inspired by Han Shan ancient Chinese writer on by Czech Republic writer Miroslav Holub, So Hand Chan's work is called Cold Mountain Miroslav Callebs at the door there in the new 10 to 13 book, and this is what Mac wrote from Greenacres primary As the hinges creaked open, a handful of dust flew in through the gap, which made me sneeze. A shining light blasted in, nearly making me blind. The door opened. A group of finger pricking capped. I could be seen in the distance. In the foreground, I could see an arid desert. It was a dry as a pineapple, not cut or washed crabs and scorpions clicking. Klaus could be heard. I could taste the fresh smell of dates hanging on palm trees. I stepped out and the feet burning sand burn my feet. Looking closer, I saw old and enchanted bones laying on the sand. Huge temples stood with doors to enter. Well, do you know what? It's an absolute privilege reading fantastic work that comes from all over the country on DH. Thanks, Tio. Greenacres Primary for that one. I can quote schools. I can quite a few schools, and I'm sorry for the ones that miss out that air on opening doors. Journeys like Frogmore Grove Primary in London Coast lands in West Wales, Western Pembroke, Red Barn, Primary and Gospel. A fantastic right time project in York. Theus, Spiro, trusting Macclesfield, who called us back three times because ongoing work is incredibly important. Um, nothing happens overnight on. All these schools have taken trouble. Teo, begin Teo actually bed. There's also rifle Primary, Mott Ingham, Long Sutton in Hampshire. They're all on journeys, which have involved really challenging texts on DH. We'd like to think we've helped just a little bit. It's always the heads, the teachers and, of course, the kids who done it. So partly, these success storeys very much come through the pupil's work. Many of the store the schools we worked with do finds that they have the performance indicators for success because there's lots of other things going on in their schools. They tend to be schools that want a pitch high. Andi. They're ambitious for their kids. So there are, of course, many other people influencing these schools on DH. So we tend to see some of the more traditional performance indicators, whether it's off stairs or others actually showing that there are other external signs off progress. So I think I think success is seen long term in our travels, on its very much seen through a curriculum that is more sequence to more progressive. There's very good examples of leadership and management in their opening doors schools. But it tends to happen when a school wants a longer journey to a richer, deeper curriculum. A
similar AAA is with similar thoughts. Then what are your thoughts on how reading a writing impacts on thinking?
Yeah, quite a lot of thoughts. I think it it does in a big way, I should say, by the way, just to follow up your comment there, if anyone this thing wants to look at the Crown House, they're my wonderful publishers, the Crown House website under my name. On under each of the books, they will see examples of pupils work, which we link with the units. So if, for example, you find there's a unit on Jane Eyre, press the button on and you will see then the pupil's work that has come in from schools all the way around the UK. Please use this as a resource on DH. Anyone listening out there who has already worked with me, please keep sending the work because we are absolutely thrilled and we see lots of it on Twitter. But we get what we can, um, onto that website. So I thought that was worth mentioning on the link with thinking. Yes, in a big way. Challenging texts are not just worth studying because there's something from the past and we should they're worth using because they have a greater scope for learning. And, of course, as I've said, they link with picture books, Children's literature, other texts off today. They're not just talk in complete isolation. But you know what? There is a ll the teachers mentioned. The Children learn more about vocabulary because the vocabularies harder they loam or about a range of styles. Because the styles can be a little bit unusual on we very much see that as an opportunity. Now many of you listening may know Doug Leme offs Reading reconsidered. It's Ah, terrific book, which cites the need for challenging texts a lot. But Doug also does some research on text from the past, and he writes about archaic language on DH. The in a sense, it's a bit of a plague because it creates difficulties for teachers. Well, what opening doors schools have done is being inspired by that work, and that research have turned them into opportunities instead of plagues. It's an opportunity to read about Miss Havisham and to find their some words you don't understand. And the kids love it. They love talking about them, playing with words and so on. Let me just read out a little example from a text, which just shows you what I mean in terms of scope, opportunity, the possibility of the learning going deeper and remembering that were accessing this for all learners and that that's a principal part, you know, off the opening doors. Siri's So we do work with schools and anyone who gets the BookScan see lots and lots of ideas for how to access it. But this little sliver of text is from Eliza Cook, writing in 18 40 it's from a longer poem called The Song of Old Time on you'll get the theme Andrew Marvell Time's Winged Chariots, If you know that one. Here it goes. I eat through treasures with moth and rust. I lay the gorgeous palace in dust. I make the shell proof tower my own and break the battlement stone from stone work on at your cities and temples. Proud man built high as ye may and strong as he can, but the marble shall crumble the pillar shell full and time. Old time. I will be king after all. Can you imagine the scope? Ah, for teaching about adjectives, about metaphors, about extended metaphors, about huge motifs about linking yes with Andrew Marvell, if you want slivers of it. But other famous poems Ozymandias comes to mind on DH cities and Thrones and powers by Kipling, but also teaching about the spelling punctuation in the grammar. There's use of semi colon is there that are used in a particular way. The lines have split up in a particular way. We got repetition on what about just that adjective. Old time. There's a lot to say about that word old I have. Ah, we'll have views on vocabulary. We all know how important it is. One of my views is how interesting, quite common words. Khun B. On actually challenging text give that opportunity toe to play around with the use of the word old in this text. By the way, it's a capital letter old. There may be more to say than we could possibly imagine, but the text that we recommend in opening doors give teachers that scope to go further and absolutely light up the room. The response on the resulting speaking and listening where you develop the kind of thinking that Carl was was questioning me on there is really very powerful. So the kids will think about time about how it passes. Does it pass slowly? Does it pass fast? Their concept of time will be different, but they will absolutely that a poem like that will give every possibility for thinking further, thinking deeper, developing debates in all sorts of ways, but also thinking about vocabulary, spelling and punctuation. So you've got functional sides of English. But you've also got philosophy as well, which can just sift through these great works. I mean, think of Miss Havisham so well known. Think of the the kind of, Ah debate there about the kind of desecration around her, the dust and the decay and what that might mean and why. Writer, my invent such a scene. Big ideas are very, very important, and I think the earlier that Children can love to play with language and develop big ideas the more they will develop in secondary school. This thinking aspect is very important in terms of the curriculum that they will get on great work. The secondary English teachers due to take this on and many secondary schools user opening doors as well in terms of years. Seven and eight. Continuation on DH depth.
What place do books have in the digital age? Bob?
Well, what a question. I always of the view reading is reading, You know, if we're reading it and its digital is great on DH, I do think all our certainly my reading habits are changing. Lots of people talk about this and and right about, are we doing more skimming and scanning? Are we reading short of its local The people on Twitter writing short bits, getting short bits back, writings changing reading is changing. There seems very little doubt about that. Let's run with it. Let's accept we're in the digital age. But do you know what books are retaining their popularity, too? So if reading digitally is how you love your storeys, fine. But I guess personally, for me, that feel of the book will never change the cover, thumbing the pages, feeling that it's something very, very precious for me that won't change for other people. That has changed. Andi may continue to change. But there are signs in the last three or four years that books are retaining their popularity on when I see a fantastic school library like the one here at Frogmore. Like many other schools that I visited, robbing her Judea in Sutton comes to mind an amazing library. I can't help thinking that is the visual. Look off all the books on all the browsing. Andi, shall I read that? I'm not sure. What do you think? Talking to your friends about it, Talking to the librarian. What a critical role librarians play in influencing readers, influencing teachers on DH. I can't help thinking that that is so very important on that. I think I think it's It's absolutely as important ever as ever, wass in education tohave a thriving school library. So I think you know the visual look of the books. It's holding up the popularity of books, but of course we are all reading in all sorts of ways. On DH. You know what's wrong with that
in the social media age, and obviously reading plays a huge parts, and I think from from your point of view or from a literacy point of view. What do you see as the biggest challenges for teachers or parents when, when dealing with that or managing with that on what advice would you give to help them overcome that?
I think it's It's still about falling in love with words and pictures and turning those pages I've got little example for. You are very lucky. I was invited to a birthday party last week. My neighbours one year old daughter on DH. One of her presence was each peach pear plum. And there she wass turning the page is absolutely full of wonder. Only a year old turning those pages on DH. I just thought, It's the beginning. So it comes right back to early beginnings. By the way, after she'd finished turning the pages, she then undid both my shoe laces. Um, so ah, it was Yet she's definitely someone who's going places. Um, on DH. It was It was a great experience to see the very young once again on DA I think love of words, love of books is it is reading for pleasure. We've got this fantastic research by the UK Ella, the Open University, led by professor to raise a criminal absolutely brilliant stuff. It really works. If we fall in love with reading, we read more on its for life. You know, you heard me just impulsively coming out with Mystery. The Cottage Enid Blyton Something happened all those years ago. So loving words loving storeys. Eso Michael Morpurgo is very good, always reminding us the Storey, the Storey, the storey poems have storeys to that hook. If parents can get that hook to narrative, too exciting events. That's still what we're doing when we hook in pupils to famous literature. I've meant to Miss Havisham. I could mention the school room scene in Little Women, which is in AA a new 10 to 13 book Eyes Full of tension is full of drama. We are hooked into Storey the earlier that could begin the better. And of course, schools are brilliant at encouraging it with their storey reading sessions with their reading cultures. Arm in schools where there's pictures of the teachers reading their books, perhaps on holiday, where there's assembly's about reading where you know the site manager gives an assembly where a parent comes in and talks about reading. These are the sorts of things we encourage where a reading culture is absolutely everywhere. You know where the world where if you walk through any town, you pass people staring at their phone. Some of them are trying to cross the road in front of you that still staring at their phone on you know what? I guess I've done it. One school they try walking around, reading their books on I mean, the adults and the Children. It could cause a bit of chaos. I know. But it was. It was an idea to say, Do you know what? Forget technology for a moment and just walk around with a book. Spend all day talking about a book. And I loved the idea, by the way, um of when they actually bring in a post it on DH there, posted on the classroom wall of something exciting that happens in the book they were reading at home last night, and you get a coloured wall in the classroom and the teacher can then follow it up. It's drip, drip, drip on ongoing, that kind of building of love of words, love of pictures. Love of Storey is essential quality. Picture books are absolutely fabulous on DH whether it's Sean Town or David Vizner. Illustrators like Emily Gravitt, Roberto Ina Senti They are absolutely playing their part way include them in all their sessions as a buildup toe. Other literature. But some of them are so good that you could still use a secondary Sean Town. The Lost thing. Absolutely brilliant. So we can't underestimate the the fact that picture books literature as well a fantastic education lists electoral called Mary Roach as written great books about picture books. She gave me this quote, which would be included in our in our books about picture books. They are books, she said, that do not yield up meaning easily. Ah, I love that books that do not yield up meaning easily. I think that Khun G. O. For the English curriculum used books that don't yield up meaning easily on the pictures, the words, the thinking, the debate, it all starts to come
together. That's really powerful. But two ideas there one. The idea of Children walking around the school with the books in a similar way to what you might see in a town with people on their phones that that's a vision that I definitely could buy into love. I, you know, I love to see if I thinking about curriculum, thinking about what we're trying to do and achieve in schools. Then that that quotation, it would be something to really try and explore in depth. Why the classics then? But why the classics important?
That's a very interesting question. And I would say, first of all, that there are five books in the opening door. Siris on DH. They are all different on the first book was much more focused on what you could call Heritage works on classic. So that's called Opening Doors. The famous poetry and prose the next to have more of an Anglo writing opening doors to quality writing books four or five are still very much about at times what people would call classics but Muchmore, including works from the present as well. So we're thinking about modern classics like The Blue Planet on DH, making the link reading suggestions really powerful on DH on global. We've taken ideas from wherever we could find them. Um, so I think the only door Siri's has started with classics and has really become about challenging quality texts, including the classics to get back to why they're so important. Having established that there, there is, Ah, think a greater variety of greater range. Now that we're recommending. Perhaps an analogy with our is useful. If you wanted to find out about art, you'd learn a lot from going to an art gallery and you would very quickly become engaged with the past. And that would be important. And whether you were looking at a particular style of art or a particular artists you know, Renoir, Van Gough, Constable, I don't think it would be questioned that that past wass very important, very important to learn a context. And then you would link that with modern art. And really, that's the same principle with the classics is finding what's valuable, interesting, quirky about text from the past on DH feeding everybody's learning so that there is a context for books that we read today. We're waiting for the latest book to come out by Catherine Randall Say we would probably be aware that there would be a context for her adventure storeys Storey set like Wolf Wilder, A different country, different place, different time and that's really important. So we think the classics are important because they're rich and deep, but also because they are heritage texts on DH. They are going to give people much more of a context from which they can develop their own reading. But we also think the links with the present are important, too. So Samos, the analogies with art it's Do you know what it is? Just an adventure on the best teachers sell it that way. The Adventure of Discovering David Copperfield in Charles Dickins The day may come when the 1000 pages maybe read in its entirety, but by offering slivers by giving little snippets of characterisation that scene in Peg a Tease boat. Great Yarmuth, Where for a frightens David Copperfield arrives and finds comfort on DH on a home, a temporary home from his worries. The descriptions of tremendous on the settings and the characters all link up. There's just a huge amount to learn, but gradually, as that links together with other reading it, Khun linked together with other adventures, journey to the centre of the earth. Fantastic poems. The call by Charlotte Mu gets ah, great response from schools. We got poem called Prince Carnot by Edward Lowe, Berry we've got the wind by the own brand, someone still writing today. Everything should start to link up. Now. That may not happen till secondary. But can you imagine if you've gone to a primary school who've really flooded and immersed you with fascinating, quirky, wonderful texts, and you can make those links in secondary school now? Without that, you might be in year 78 or nine. You might be offered the ancient Mariner, and it might look like a foreign language because you haven't read the narrative poems that might be a bit more accessible that come before it's about knowledge steps on DH. They are a big part of the access that we work upon, so the word classic is probably a word. We're probably using quality texts more than classics because of the range that we've now got on. Do you know we use text that well that I've discovered? Absolutely. I'm learning as much as anybody. Bail Brow by E. And H. Harun is a text where I think we encounter the first ghost detective. He's called Mr Flaxman Low. Well, that was new to me, and I put that in the books on. I'm now getting responses from people because we encourage teachers to go beyond the norm beyond their comfort zone. Andi used new texts. The highwayman is fantastic, but I call it going beyond the high woman on DH. This CPD for teachers is every day in the classroom. Please look at my website where there's Ah block on that. You can learn mohr through your own teaching every day in the classroom by using challenging texts. Sometimes you need to be brave. You certainly need to be a school that wants ambition for every pupil. Hence, I'm influenced by Debra's Room at the top firm or on excellence ethos needed across the school. But when it happens, the classics Khun take their place amidst picture books, Children's literature and a whole range of reading. So
we often talking primary about trying to prepare the Children for their next steps and for the future. And it's also from that Bob the I think what I'm getting is this sense that no, only we looking at quality textiles, building blocks of empathy for Children but also just as building blocks for their learning their later life secondary school on what comes next. Definitely
Carl. I think that is really important. I was for 23 years a secondary school teacher after that eye up to my learning going into primary schools. And as you know, Carl, I ran for seven years on Enrichment Centre where we talked. Lots of subjects, not just English on Saturdays, um, and ah, I've had a huge range of experiences, maybe been in 500 schools. Now they're all school improvement experiences I'm always keen on saying is about. It's the life chances of the kids. And actually the Mohr they can experience classics, challenging texts, quality text quality picture books. Well, you know, they are ready tow to argue the case to debate, to do well and some of the things you've covered in your previous questions there about thinking. I would like to mention that we get an awful lot of comments from moderators, um, about the effect off the more challenging reading on the quality. Writing on DH, I've got just a comment here from one comment from Hampshire moderator. This is from last summer. They that is books from schools using opening doors approaches stood out hugely compared to other approaches and strategies by an absolute mile where people were using heritage texts as drivers for writing. The work, especially at the greater depth standard, was superb. I enjoyed reading pieces in the style of Frankenstein, Jekyll and Hyde got to read about. Miss Havisham is room as well as units inspired by Robert Louis Stevenson and J. M. Barrie. What thrilled me the most was that a number of those texts are not in the opening Doors books, and that is such a thrill because we are now finding Maura Mohr that school's use opening doors to sign post to get started to build a rich curriculum. Then the teachers invent their own units on. That's the way it should be. That's why the teachers are learning the most by getting going with quality tax. But it leads toe genuine individualised personalised curriculum development, and that is the biggest thrill of all. Receiving power points videos, podcasts might even had a silent movie from teachers who use the scope of the text to go their own way. Onda actually go further. They go further than any of our ideas on. We're absolutely delighted about that, but it does no harm to know that a moderate and moderation level. The resources are having an influence on standards.
And that's something that we've seen it Frog Morning and the teachers here. And not just at Frogmore across the three schools that I've got the privilege off working with that teachers the engaged with texts on Bring Things which are just spring the curriculum to life on DH. It's exciting, and it's engaging in X exciting for the teachers, and it's exciting for the Children. So there's something really positive about this problem, and this links back to the initial idea that, you know, is this Is this working primary schools especially, but perhaps an Oscar. But primary stage our books and is this approach the Are these the building blocks of empathy? And then there are the building blocks of well being on DH. I think that this is helping with the positive spirit that exists across the staff teams, but just either specifically for schools or in education. More generally, how do you think we can make and keep education a positive place?
I think that being positive comes from fulfilment. That's a key word for me, obviously links with challenge. Another key word it links with doing things, which is slightly hard for you, but no impossible. That's why accesses everything. Teachers provide access strategies so that teachers are using texts like the ones in only doors like picture books, like all kinds of quality texts, which perhaps Children wouldn't read for themselves. So teachers, they're going the extra mile teachers are the sign posters. Thie inspire er's. But they're also the givers of knowledge. The tutors. Ah, the role is huge. Um, but I think above all you think back to the start of this podcast. When I talked about early influences, I talked about those teachers who got us discussing books, really making us putting in front of US books we would never have known about. So I think, you know well, being education, being positive, it comes out of getting that balance. Where everyone in the community is moving on, is engaged in some sort of pursuit towards a potential excellence. But he's doing so in a team. Ah, with belief that it's worth it on that there are stages of fulfilment. There are moments to stand back, both for the teachers and the pupils and the head curl on DH Say hi, Well done. We've We've moved on. There's things going on in our classroom that work going on before. That's great. Now those moments may come occasionally because fulfilment is something a bit deeper than saying We want to have great fun every minute of every day. Fulfilment is a deeper feeling, but that feeling is the feeling that I think fires the spirit improves. Wellbeing makes people want to come in again on Monday morning and carry on to the next stage. Success breeds success so, but it's a very difficult balance to get very difficult indeed on. So I think good schools are fighting the whole time to try to get that balance without the fulfilment. I think the spirit wave is a little bit. If people feel in a school, we're going over old ground too much. There are no new things going on. The spirit wavers a bit, so I do think it's a challenge and fulfilment two key words, and I think parents get really involved with that really like that because I mean challenge is such a positive word on at the end of the day, that's what we all do where all people. Everyone listening to this is going to be engaged in some kind of new pursuit or challenge whether it's personal life, public life. There's motion, there is mo mentum and I think that's what's important to a positive education establishment or any establishment I might add. Carla's Well, it's just springs to mind. This is we're all different people and never try toe get involved in any kind of debate about you know how people give up their time. Stay at work, don't stay at work, go to Saturday. Things don't go to sat anything. We are all utterly different. All I can say for myself is that it helps me enormously. The fact that I support Reading Football Club that may have got reaction out there. I don't know. But you know what I'm trying to say? Education takes up your mind ous fascinating is exciting. It can be really stressful. Ah, it could be frustrating. Um, I would have thought it's gotta be good. It's only helped me tto have friends who are not in education on DH. To do things, it must bear time, which are absolutely nothing to do with my job and to have discussions with people about their job, about their life, about their pleasures of what you no worries them for all educators. If they're going to continue long term to make the kind of contribution that they want to make, it may be important as well, to freshen up the mind with a completely different subjects. Whatever it is, I've given away one of mine reading Football club. Obviously, I'm a big family man on and in the summer, it's all about cricket. On those occasions the switch has gone and ah, we're in another box on da I just past that we are all utterly different. So I also know that what works for some won't work for someone else. But hobbies, interests, the standard advice. It's a still think good advice. It means that you come in as a more positive educator when you're
at work. So almost keeping education a positive places is also about keeping it real human. Definitely yet. So what next for you. But working people find out more about your work or you got any projects coming up that we can find out more about.
Well, thanks for asking, Carl at the moment We are very much happily getting lots of requests to talk about opening doors, in particularly the new books, the opening doors to a richer English curriculum. And when I say we remember I mean Verity Jones, Leah Crawford and myself, we are a team, and so, you know, I could look back since Christmas, Wales Stoke, Birmingham, York, Hampshire. A lot of Wokingham schools has been absolutely fantastic, and I can look in the diary. I can see Devon, I can see an international conference in Paris. I can see God sport and so on and so forth. But we always need new conferences to speak out on. We always need new schools to help so very much. What's next is tryingto give you the detail off some of the things that briefly, I've mentioned in the belief that it's absolutely helping the schools that long term are using the principles within that context that I've said that every school does it differently and should do. This is not a model for English. These are key principles. Mould them, adapt them as you wish. But we think that we can give these points is so I'll be off around the UK and happily doing that, And the door is always open form or queries. Of course. Basically, with you know, we'd love to give a keynote for you for sure, there will be more writing at some point. That isn't just yet, but there will certainly be more books. There will be more blog's that will come out and there's there's a fair bit on my website, which is www dot searching for excellence dot co dot UK on on Twitter. I'm at Bob Cox under school s f E. So do contact me on. It will be great to work with you. I'm expecting if I wanted to look long term too 2021 there could be set up around the UK Learning centres for opening doors. So I will be approaching regular partners to see if we can set those up. If you like the sound of that, then please contact me. And by learning centre, I mean, we would probably do a session a term for a year on. Then the teachers go away. They pioneer in their classes the heads and the English leads work on the management and leadership. Andi, we come back we track improvement, we give you more ideas. It's ongoing. I mean, that's really what we're about is impact in the classroom. So Ah, I think you can say will definitely be busy on everything to do with impact in the classroom also. I mean, I think we got to the stage where just like today at Frogmore, I'm always encountering Children who've been reading texts, texts like tennis. Is the Eagle really inspired by on writing? Well, things that their teachers are saying they've never seen anything like it before. That so thrilling. It could be that someone out there wants to do some research. Maybe it could be part of PhD. Obviously, we've got the links to schools that you might need. We'd certainly be interested in someone doing more research on what is a territory that many schools are saying. We didn't go into this before because we didn't offer them text that were challenging before and now unusual, unexpected and exciting things are happening, So being able to link together some opening doors storeys across the UK would be great. So I think those ah really some of our our next steps and we obviously hope we can open some doors for you.
Thank you so much, Bob. And thank you for coming into me today. And for sharing all your thoughts, your creativity, wisdom on DH for sharing information about the opening doors, books and programme. You know, like you also brought Oldham into the pot holder, which I'm delighted about. You did bring reading. I'll excuse you
want? Yeah, I get quite comments about that. But you know what? We're not doing badly at the moment.
I think with all the athletic a team, you know, close to the heart, and then I'll leave football there. I also thank you for on behalf of all the the staff and governors and the team at Frogmore. The impact off your work that you did with school. And it did start a number of years ago. Thie impact for me was clear to see and we tried to build on that. Hopefully do you proud? And if you look at the curriculum statement, which is available on the school website, you'll see that the school proudly says we have a Bob Cox approach to writing literature. Thanks, Carl. And thanks to all your staff really appreciate today. If you'd like to find out more about the podcast Storey that you've been covered today, please do visit the website www dot more teacher talk dot com. You'll find a block pulse, which contains thie into itself, links to some of the resources and also linked to Bob Space too. Again, thanks for Bob for spending the time and coming into school today. I really, really do appreciate it. You can find more about the podcast on Twitter, which is at more teach talk. Also, you'll be able to download from iTunes, Spotify or ANYTH e providers that are out there. It's available worldwide. I want to say a few thank so thank you to Tom McGuire in the Brussels Again favourite band in the World. If you want to find out more about their work, that's www dot tom and the breast holes dot com. Also thank you to Scott Buckley, Tio Benny to looky HD and everybody that's helped to make this podcast come to life. If you did enjoy the podcast, please leave a review. Don Fergus subscribe on DH Hope that you don't know the next episode