Schools throughout the UK are beginning to seek – and see the benefits of – alternative tools in order to improve standards and achievements that could ultimately effect the success of their students' futures.
PDA, a training and development company based in Birmingham, has recently seen their own programme – called Fierce Conversations – make a presence in our schools. It is championed by senior staff such as Nicole Fowles, an Advisory Deputy Headteacher for 19 schools in the Borough of Solihull.
Fierce in the Schools (FITS) is already commonplace in the USA. Deli Moussavi-Bock, the Director of Training for Fierce in the Schools, tells us that transformations in schools can begin and end with the conversations that people have everyday, which is what Fierce is based upon. She said: “Taking Fierce programs to schools in sustainable, meaningful ways is integral to our unabashed vision to build a better world, one conversation at a time.”
She continued: “For students, it's about equipping them with the skills to navigate and drive the quality of their education, the success of their future careers and personal lives and the health of their families and communities. They are future stewards of our planet.”
Nicole Fowles spoke to us about implementing these changes within our own schools and how Fierce fits in with that: “The various models in Fierce cut across several strands of school improvement and directly relate to raising standards. Key aspects including curriculum, assessment for learning, professional development and leadership are all encompassed within the various programmes.”
In fact, Nicole – who is taking her Fierce Conversations Accreditation with PDA so she can bring her passion to school leaders and students – has already trialled Fierce within the classroom. What she noticed was that students quickly sought out conversations when they wanted feedback or didn't fully understand a subject within class. She noted: “This improved their learning across the curriculum because they made the connection of how important it is to have that conversation about their learning and the benefits of doing so.”
She concluded by saying: “Teachers already have the desire to move learning forward but what if we instilled this desire in future generation for themselves and gave them methods for real empowerment? [Fierce] is not more of the same. It brings innovation to fore and will require bold and courageous application.”