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I have finished a first draft of the first half of my first assignment for my management and leadership award. I looked into how performance is measured, or not, in my current organisation and in education ion general. This gave me an opportunity to mention the paper by Dr Ben Goldacre, who argues that education should take a scientific approach to assessing the value of interventions, like the use of technologies, in a similar way to the medical profession assessing new drugs. I remember discussing this idea with some of my colleagues when the paper came out, and I was surprised at how the idea was immediately dismissed by one colleague in particular. Ok it was my manager. His dismissal was based around the idea that education was too important to experiment on with things like blind trials and control groups. As much as I think education is important, I would struggle to argue that it is more important than health, where this model is the cornerstone of development.
In terms of developing Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) I liked the idea of using a balanced scorecard approach. This involves setting KPIs across 4 areas:
- Customer Perspective
- Financial Perspective
- Internal Business Perspective
- Learning & Growth
There are criticisms about the detail of this model but I think it is a good place to start for an organisation to develop a holistic set of KPIs.
I also looked at how models of motivating teams. There were lots of interesting theories but the one that has stuck with me has been Herzberg’s motivation-hygiene theory. This argues that you start with a standard level of motivation and if some factors are negative (the demotivators/hygiene factors) they will drag your level of motivation down, while if other factors are positive (motivators) these will increase your motivation. The interesting thing was even if the hygiene factors were good, they would not increase your level of motivation beyond the standard level. This is particul;arly interesting at this time when I am looking at what future jib opportunites are available to me and would motivate me.
I completed my QTLS eportfolio during the Summer and to be honest it was a frustating experience, maily due to varius technical and admin issues. My ePortfolio wont get marked until December, by which time the IFL who run the QTLS will have closed down and its work taken over by the Education and Training Foundation (ETF).
IfL and the Education and Training Foundation are committed to maintaining the integrity of professional status of QTLS
Time will tell how useful the QTLS will be.
Anyway some quick reflections on may reflections i had to do for my ePortfolio. The main thing I got from this was the fact that although training has been a part of my current role for over 8 years, the quality of the training has never really been assessed, monitored or reviewed in that time. While no one likes beeing assesed, in the long term I dont think this has been fair on the people I have delivered training to, or to myself. Its easy for me to become complacement and not develop my own skills in this area. Also it highlight that there has been a big gap in terms of quality control for me and the organisation I work for.
Ive not posted anything on here since I compleated my MA, but this year I have started quite a few courses so I thought i’d refelct on them useing this blog rather than start a new one. So the training I have been doing, or im about to do:
- Qualified Teacher Learning and Skills (QTLS) with the Institute for Learnining (IFL)
I jave compleated my eportfolio for this and i am waiting on my result which I should get in December.
- The Institute of Leadership and Management (ILM) Level 5 award in Leadership and Management, deliverd via Results Driven Training. I have been on a 4 day residential course in Keswick, and now i need to complete 2 assignemnts to get the award
- Certified Online Learning Facilitator (COLF) with the Learnnig and Performance Institute (ILM). I start this course this afternoon.
- Basic Car maintenence with Blackpool and fylde college. I’m starting this as an evenining course tomorrow night, just to get a better understandining of how to look after my car. I probebly wont end up blogging about it, but you never know.
So theres a few reasons why im haveing this training blitz, but mainly to put me in a good position as my job is disapearing at the end of the year.
At the moment the course is covering Science museums and discovery centres, which is interesting but there appears to be lots to read, so yesterday I took a break from reading about them and drove down to see a couple myself in Manchester
The Manchester Museum.
A traditional museum in the centre of Manchester with plenty of artefacts in glass cases. The collections were an odd mix of Egyptology and natural history. The natural history section was generally quite stereotypical with big skeletons of a sperm whale, an elephant and i believe there is a dinosaur there somewhere although I couldn’t find it. What I wasn’t expecting was some of the glass cabinets to contain live animals (snakes, frogs, lizards). I was impressed. No interactive displays as far as I could see, but there were plenty of areas for kids to draw things and be creative. It seemed quite busy on this wet Sunday afternoon. There were plenty of kids who seemed really interested in what was behind the glass cases. As well as the famillys there were quite a few people in their 20s/30s walking around enjoying the place. There was a Darwin exhibition on which I found quite disappointing. A relatively small room tucked away behind the gift shop with walls full of images and text about Darwin, and a few small artifacts, mostly replicas although there was a pocket sextant there which he apparently used. Throughout the museum were guides weareing t-shirts that said ‘ask me’. The museum was free to enter with opportunities to part with your cash at the cafe and gift shop.
Museum of science and industry
On the other side of the city centre is the Museum of science and industry. This is a massive museum spread over four or five buildings . There was even a steam train that would take you between buildings for a small fee. It has a large focus on industry, energy and transport and how they linked to the history of Manchester. There were quite a few presentations going on including a demonstration of steam power and a demonstration of how cotton gets made. Many of the exhibits were massive engines and pieces of machinery from the industrial age. There were also a number of ‘interactive’ and multimedia displays. I also spotted a couple of kiosks which allowed visitors to have a go on specific websites such as Tryscience.org. There was a visiting exhibition on Da Vinci, which is the only part I had to pay for. At the reception for this area i noticed you could buy a brochure or rent an audio guide. The group behind me were disappointed the guides were only available in English. The display included large wals of images and texts as well as several reproductions of the devices he designed. Each item had a symbol attached indicating whether it was a ‘hands on’ or hands off ‘display. The museum didn’t seem as busy as the Manchester museum , but this could be because it was spread over a far larger area. Although the majority of the museum was free there seemed to be quite a few opportunities for visitors to o part with their cash including £5 for car parking (£2.50 in the pub car park over the road) the Da Vinci exhibition (£7) the steam train (only £1) a hydraulic action ride (about £5) and of course the gift shop.
I was suppressed that young children seemed to be really interested in the ‘old fashioned’ Manchester museum, I guess it goes to show don’t underestimate the power of glass cases, im sure the live animals helped. I was impressed with the live demonstrations in MOSI which were more proactive than the ‘Ask Me’ assistants of the Manchester Museum. Both museums reminded me why i was never too keen on science museums as a child. These types of museums, understandably, always portray science as history, and as a child i was never keen on history. They gave the impression that science was something that happened a long time ago. To be fair to MOSI they did have a display of scientific discoverys over the last 100 years or so, but this wasn’t enough for me.
Issue: The banning of the drug mephedrone (also known as Miaow Miaow)
1. What scientific claims are made about this issue?
In March of this year the British Home Secretary announced that Mephedrone would be classified as a Class B drug (Home Office, 2010) following recommendations from the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD)(2010). This decision led to a number of scientists resigning from the ACMD (Doward, 2010) including Eric Carlin whose resignation letter claims the decisions made were ‘ unduly based on media and political pressure’(Carlin, 2010). This media pressure included a campaign by The Sun newspaper (Hartley, 2010). The Lancet (2010) claim that the report was still in its draft stage, included little evidence on the effects of the drug and was still being discussed by the ACMD when presented to the Home Secretary.
2. What means of communication were used in your example?
Press release on the website of the home office
Home Office (2010) ‘Home Secretary bans Mephedrone’ homeoffice.gov.uk [Online] Available from: http://drugs.homeoffice.gov.uk/news-events/latest-news/home-secretary-bans-mephedrone (Accessed: 25 April 2010)
Doward, J. (2010) ‘Mephedrone row grows as seventh member of drugs panel quits’ Guardian Online 4 April [Online] Available from: http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2010/apr/04/eric-carlin-mephedrone-classification (Accessed: 25 April 2010)
Blog Post of Eric Carlin including his letter of resignation
Carlin, E. (2010) ‘My ACMD resignation letter to the Home Secretary’ Eric Carlin’s blog [Online] Available from: http://ericcarlin.wordpress.com/2010/04/02/my-acmd-resignation-letter-to-the-home-secretary/ (Accessed: 25 April 2010)
Report by the ACMD
ACMD (2010) Consideration of the Cathinones [Online] Available from: http://drugs.homeoffice.gov.uk/publication-search/acmd/acmd-cathinodes-report-2010?view=Binary (Accessed: 25 April 2010)
The Lancet (2010) ‘A collapse in integrity of scientific advice in the UK’ The Lancet [Online] Available from: http://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(10)60556-9/fulltext (Accessed: 25 April 2010)
Hartley, C. (2010) ‘Two-week race to ban meow meow’ The Sun 30 March [Online] Available from: http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/news/2913013/Two-week-race-to-ban-killer-drug-meow-meow.html (Accessed: 25 April 2010)
3. Do you consider this scientific controversy to have been resolved?
This controversy has not been resolved as there still appears to be a lack of evidence on the effects of this drug. This incident also highlights an ongoing issue of the Government making decisions based on media pressure rather than the advice of scientists.