About pooroldhenry

I was a long term Northern Territory (NT) Educator, commencing my teaching career in WA in 1970. We came to the NT in July 1975 and worked in remote, town then urban communities. My tenure in the NT was at Numbulwar School (1975- 1978), Angurugu Community School on Groote Eylandt (1979-1982), Nhulunbuy Primary School (1983-1986), then Karama School (1987-1991) and lastly Leanyer School (1992 until retiring in January 2012). I filled the position of school principal from 1977 until my retirement. My career started at Warburton Ranges in WA as a teacher in 1970 then as headmaster in 1974. My major focus on and belief in education is that it develop children and students holistically, preparing them for the whole of life. Educational partnerships involving staff, students, community and department have always been important. I am a Fellow and Lifetime Member of the Council of Education Leaders, a Life Member of the Association of School Education Leaders (recently rebranded as the Northern Territory Principals Association) and was awarded the Commonwealth Centenary Medal for contribution to education. A member of Toastmasters International I am an Advanced Toastmaster Gold (ATMG). I hold a number of degrees and remain actively interested in and contributive to education. A highlight of my 'recent' life (from 2011 until 2016) was contributing to Teacher Education at Charles Darwin University. This has involved marking, tutoring and lecturing in a part time capacity. I was also involved with our Department of Education (NT) as a member of the Principals Reference Group (2012 until 2016) and have worked with others on the establishment of a Principals Coaching and Mentoring program. From 2014, I was the Education Minister's Nominee on the NT Board of Studies until its reconstitution in July 2016. Prior to retirement from full time work I represented the Education Department on the Board (2009 - 2011). I was working in support of students enrolled with the School of Education at CDU from 2012 until 2017. I enjoyed the chance to give back to the profession which over many years has done much for me. From July 2013 until the end of June 2019, I wrote a weekly column about educational matters for the Darwin/Palmerston /Litchfield 'Suns' Newspapers and then the rebranded 'Suns Newspaper' with Territory-wide circulation. This newspaper ceased publication in June 2019. I occasionally write for other papers and am a contributor to professional magazines and online discussion about educational matters. Included were regular contributions to the Australian Council of Education's 'e-Teaching' and 'e-Leading' publications, which ceased as communications organs in December 2017. I hold retired member's status with the Australian Education Union (NT), contributing occasionally to union publications. I am presently working on developing a series of vignettes, aimed at providing information that pre-service and beginning teachers may find useful. They are oriented toward assisting with an understanding of practices that may assist meet professional and teaching needs. To date, 89 of these have been completed. I contribute to general conversations and various groups on ‘Linked In’ and am also a contributor to ‘The Conversation’. I have a blog site at henrygrayblog.wordpress.com and invite you to access it at any time should you so wish. Henry Gray February 28 2020

WHEN SPEAKING … CONSIDER WHAT REALLY COUNTS

The proof of the message imparted by a good presenter is the life changing impact that can happen in and for the lives of others. Words are powerful artefacts of social and cultural expression.

WHAT MATTERS

It matters not if your audience is big or small. All those who come to hear you are paying you respect. Respect them in turn by offering the best delivery possible.

Should the development of speech and speaking programs be part of the curriculum available to children and students of all ages? Is ‘speaking and listening’ becoming an extinct form of expression?

WHEN SPEAKING

When speaking convey your RESPECT to and APPRECIATION of the audience. You commit to present and they commit to listen. Within every auditorium and lecture hall should exist a positive partnership.

It seems to me that school leaders, teachers, support staff and students are the ACTORS. The school and classrooms are stages. ‘Education’ is the plot and the future in life’s world the conclusion.

Can it happen that a speaker presenting the same content to a number of different audience groups can stereotype the presentation so those ending the speaking chain are unimpressed by the delivery?

SPEAKING ‘SUPPORTS’

Consider developing and including a MISSION STATEMENT of 25 words or less on the reverse side of your business or personal card. I did this from 1983. It can make a significant impact when shared.

When speaking to an audience be meticulous about acknowledging your sources if using quotes or referring to a particular thesis of thought. Plagiarism may not be intended but can be a speech blot.

Know your AUDIENCE CONTEXT and speak in a genre with which they are familiar and therefore feel comfortable. Talking above the heads of the audience would be unfortunate. Research audience background.

EDUCATIONAL POINTS TO PONDER

Teachers, students and parents used to have only a one week break between term three and four. Next week used to be ‘back to school’. Thanks to the holiday reconsideration by former Education Minister Peter Chandler ( who thoroughly researched the question length of this break), a change in structure allowed an extra week at this time. Mr Chandler deserves credit for orchestrating this much appreciated change.

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One of the fallacies practised by contemporary leaders of government departments and key support organisations, is to studiously avoid appreciating departmental and organisational history. Management and leadership practice is to trash established processes, the preference being to ‘start over’ with ‘renewal’ practices ( rather than building on what has gone before). Little wonder so much mediocrity abounds within key institutions.

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Education needs a return to good, old fashioned, effective teaching and learning, especially in secondary schools both public and private. For far too many students, concepts and new learning are hampered by ‘vague’ teaching. Modern teaching methodology is about landing students with huge, (often irrelevant) assignments with a focus on self styled learning without meaningful, focussed teaching.

WHEN SPEAKING, HAVE A SUPPORT PERSON

Think of having someone as a CRITICAL COLLEAGUE offer you feedback on your presentations. Ask for recognition of your strengths and constructive criticism on things you might improve in future.

The presentation challenge is everlasting. We never reach the pinnacle. If we feel we have made it, with nothing left to learn, our slide into the area of lesser effectiveness begins immediately.

Encourage those in your workplaces, to consider speech and speaking development. So many people are frightened of dealing with the public because they lack communications confidence. Help them up.

AFTER SPEAKING … SELF REFLECT AND EVALUATE

After presenting, take a few minutes to self reflect and evaluate your delivery. Be analytical. ‘Self-praise’ – and also reflect on things you might do differently. Make a few notes on pros and cons.

Keep a notebook or a running file in which you note things being done well and mastered. Also note speech and speaking challenges that continue to confront you during your development.

Appreciate the speech efforts of others and where appropriate commend them on strong points of delivery and impact of message. Have the confidence to offer advice in a non – threatening or ‘put down’ manner. People can only improve if they know where areas of challenge exist.

SOCRATIC DISCUSSION … A SPEAKING OPTION

A SPEAKING OPTION

Consider SOCRATIC DISCUSSION. It is a method of engaging presenters and recipients in great discourse methodology. It is superior as a way of developing shared learning and understanding.

The Socratic method of discussion helps students think logically and in a problem solving way. It focuses on issues and messengers rather than messengers. It uplifts debate and brings everyone into the conversational frame. If the discussion area is appropriately set, it ensures everyone is on the same level, with all participants able to see each other’s faces. There is no talking to the back of hears, rather the opportunity to engage in meaningful visual and eye contact.

WHEN SPEAKING… IT’S YOUR MESSAGE THAT PEOPLE WANT TO HEAR

I think it important that presenters are about ENHANCING THEIR TOPIC and selling their message, rather than big-noting themselves. Self aggrandisement should not be a prime aim.

We need to work on building the speech and speaking skills of YOUNG PEOPLE. World-wide, there is an atrocious lack of speech confidence and accuracy shown by our next generation of adults.

As a leader consider SPEAKING AND LISTENING development for those working with you. Their gaining in confidence will impress and value add through perceptions held by those engaging your organisation.

WHEN SPEAKING IT’S YOUR MESSAGE THAT PEOPLE WANT TO HEAR

I think it important that presenters are about ENHANCING THEIR TOPIC and selling their message, rather than big-noting themselves. Self aggrandisement should not be a prime aim.

We need to work on building the speech and speaking skills of YOUNG PEOPLE. World-wide, there is an atrocious lack of speech confidence and accuracy shown by our next generation of adults.

As a leader consider SPEAKING AND LISTENING development for those working with you. Their gaining in confidence will impress and value add through perceptions held by those engaging your organisation.

WHEN SPEAKING … DO AS I DO

MOTIVATIONAL SPEAKERS often encourage audience members to follow particular courses of action. Don’t spruik if not prepared to do those things advocated for others. Avoid hypocrisy.

During or after presenting, aim to engage audience by INVITING QUESTIONS and responses relating to the topic. Allowing time for audience engagement helps reinforce the message that has been shared.

STORY-TELLING is a great entertaining option. Ask the audience to go into their mind’s eye, picture and visualise the story you are telling, so they too own what you are sharing. It is engaging.