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In Conversation with... David Hodgson

This month we speak to David Hodgson, a Master Practitioner and Trainer of NLP to find out more about his work, how education varies accross the world and how he applies his work to everyday life. David will be presenting sessions across the three days at GEF.

What is your area of expertise?

My background is supporting people through change in education and in companies. I became fascinated in why some people cope really well with change and others struggle. I studied the psychology of learning and resilience and shared my findings with teachers and students. I have also studied the best school teachers and leaders across the world to distill their expertise in to practical and relevant ideas that boost school performance. I like helping teachers develop their skills so they can inspire students achieve more in school and in life. 
‘The mediocre teacher tells.
The good teacher explains.
The great teacher Inspires.’
William Arthur Ward 

Where do you work?

I work mostly in schools and Universities with students, teachers and with school leaders. We can all learn from each other to reach our true potential. When schools get things right they are inspirational places to be. I try out all my ideas in the classroom to make sure they are effective. Children and teachers help improve the techniques and strategies. I’ve worked all over Europe, Middle East and in Malaysia. Personality type is big in USA and now growing in influence this side of the Atlantic. Discovering techniques that work across different cultures is exciting and illustrates that the underlying skills teachers have are the same everywhere. 

What are the sessions about?

My sessions offer practical ideas that can be easily introduced in to the classroom the next day. They help teachers better motivate their students. A school recently brought me in to work with all staff because two teachers had attended a training event I delivered and it had, according to the School Head, positively transformed their classroom performance. Giving teachers confidence and techniques is the best way to improve student performance.

What will your audience learn?

I hope the audience will be reminded of the real pleasure and purpose of teaching. We are helping children become good people and not just help them pass exams. Children need to be confident, creative and resilient to succeed in their lives and become good parents and people. The quote from an unknown source ‘Teaching is the profession that teaches all other professions.’ reminds us of the unique role all teachers have across the globe. 

How are the sessions practical and relevant to classroom practice?

There are some very practical sessions. One session looks at ways to teach maths and spelling by applying some of the latest research from neuro-science. The research results often surprise teachers because once we teach children how to learn they can apply this across all of the curriculum.  Another looks at applying Howard Gardner’s multiple intelligences and ways they can be used to energise and motivate students. There is also a session on bringing Myers-Briggs and personality type in to schools which is making a big impact in schools all over the world. There is also a summary of the research on what the best school leaders are doing to build successful schools.

How does education vary across the world?

In working with teachers across the world l have realized there are far more similarities than differences for school leaders, teachers and students. All countries know their future success is linked to the quality of their education. Balancing academic success with personal development and growth is an area teachers have to address on an annual basis. Only by understanding, applying the delivering best practice and theory can teachers rise to this huge challenge. I hope to support them at the Conference to meet this challenge. 

How do you apply what you teach to other areas of your life?

My work is about being curious and developing a love of learning about oneself, the people and world around us. I practice this by researching and writing books, learning from the students and teachers I meet and travelling to different countries. Alvin Toffler said the real skill of the Twenty-First Century is learning how to learn. This is the purpose of education. The best schools avoid teaching the need to be taught. Researcher and author Carol Dweck calls it the growth mindset and I recommend her work to all educators. An easy way to ensure we embrace this attitude is to regularly ask ‘Why?’ Bertrand Russell sums it up perfectly: ‘In all affairs it’s a healthy thing now and then to hang a question mark on the things you have long taken for granted.’ 

How important is GEF to supporting educational improvement in the Gulf?

Research suggests the quality of teaching has the biggest impact on educational performance and that teacher quality can vary more within schools than between schools. Therefore, the best way to improve education is to develop teaching quality. Sharing and spreading good practice is central to this process. The Gulf has really embraced this concept in recent years and GESS is playing a vital role by providing opportunities for educational professionals to share ideas between teachers, schools and continents.