How to WINN in the new school year

Part of my vacation time is usually spent doing personal learning and preparing for the new year for both my students and for how I can impact teaching and learning for teachers. Last year was my first in a new environment – both in terms of level (middle school rather than primary) and country/school (Beijing, China). This year I’m preparing with somewhat more hindsight and the fact that we have 12 new teachers starting. This post I’m going to focus more on how I hope to support teachers.

Last year, my predecessor very kindly typed up a long list of answers to my 100s of questions to help guide me in the new position. It’s something I refer to from time to time even further into the year. This year I compiled a “newbies” guide with the help and input of all my fellow (last year) new teachers, and the rest of the staff on the nitty-gritty things that we wish we’d known before starting. We sent it out into the world and based on the feedback added additional information. It seems to have had some success with 1,282 views since it was created in May. But it’s a lot of information to digest.

Today I stumbled on the videos (and book) of Nick Shackleton Jones via a tweet on a blogpost of his (yes, rabbit hole – but this time a good one). This has definitely changed my whole view on how to approach supporting teachers, and perhaps even how to work with students.

A brief summary of the takeaways of the videos

Part 1 – distinguish between content dumping (my newbie Libguide – and other Libguides) and performance support. In order to give performance support you need to understand / analyse what people are trying to do and provide resources that have DESIGN & UTILITY.

Find out from your audience WHAT I NEED NOW (WINN).

Part 2 – this session is particularly interesting for on-boarding and knowledge sharing. The basic elements are things that people need immediately (how to use the computer); advice from peers, understanding how things connect together; factsheets; one page guides; checklists.

Part 3 – discusses the affective (emotional) context of learning and how to alternate between providing resources (when the audience has a strong emotional response to the information) and experiences (when the emotional response / interest is lower). The 5Di design process is introduced (define, discover, design, develop, deploy & iterate). Of particular use in my context was the CONCERN-TASK-RESOURCES model. I think that is a great way of deciding what resources to focus on by working out the concerns of the audience, relating them to tasks and then providing the resources that can help with the tasks.

I can see this working really well for designing learning experiences for our Day 9s to ensure that they are student need rather than teacher driven.

So, what I thought I’ll do is during the newbie week and first week of teachers back have daily debrief sessions on a pop-in or digital basis called WINN where teachers can quickly and briefly address what their concerns or tasks are that they need immediate help with and to build up the resources they need. Pop in is easy enough, for the digital I’m thinking of using our “ask” function of Libguides that I just started populating at the end of last year, so that the questions can accumulate into a knowledge database.


Here is a longer video on “how people learn” worth the 29 minute investment – and a link to the book “How People Learn : Designing Education and Training that Works to Improve Employee Performance” I have a small gripe on the “employee performance” part of the subtitle – as I think it’s pretty universally applicable – but I guess that’s his background.

Header Photo by Felix Staffler from Pexels

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