Ticked Off

Checklists for teachers, students, school leaders

By: Harry Fletcher-Wood


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Ebook


Size: 210 x 148mm

Pages : 184

ISBN : 9781785830105

Format: Paperback

Published: February 2016


Ticked Off by Harry Fletcher-Wood introduces teachers to the checklist, but not as they’ve seen it before. Discover the rationale for using checklists, the key design principles behind them and the effect they can have. Checklists are already used in medicine, aeronautics and construction and they can help teachers too. Learn a deceptively simple way of completing critical actions well, particularly when under pressure. Ticked Off contains checklists which offer teachers and leaders a calmer, more organised life and a healthy approach to workload and well-being. These checklists can be adopted or adapted: they are ready to use, but offer guidance, examples and suggestions so teachers can personalise them for their needs. Free downloadable versions make this easy for busy teachers.

Checklists: free us to devote our time, energy and attention to focusing on the tasks that matter most; improve communication with colleagues and students; remind us of important steps which even highly skilled professionals may miss; offer us reassurance that, when going home at the end of the day, we’ve done everything that matters and can relax; and can make you a better and a happier teacher.

There are checklists to simplify procedural tasks for students, including essay planning, setting up experiments and quality checking work, which will free up teacher time. There are checklists for teaching including: planning lessons, time management, giving feedback and assessing student needs and exam readiness. Checklists for teachers include: processes for reading research, preparing for job interviews, having productive meetings with parents, protecting well-being, and managing the daily and weekly demands of the role. Checklists for leaders cover: inducting middle leaders, making meetings work, designing effective CPD, using data and giving feedback. Additional checklists for living include: making decisions, what to do if you’ve made a mistake and making each school day a good one.

Many things prevent teachers from achieving all that they would like, but most come down to a single cause: while students’ needs are infinite, our time and resources are not. Some teachers seem intimidatingly organised in all they do. This book is for everyone else. Whether you’re a teacher, teacher-trainer or school leader, everyone can benefit from the checklist approach.


Picture for author Harry Fletcher-Wood

Harry Fletcher-Wood

Harry Fletcher-Wood taught in Japan and India before training with Teach First and spending six years in London schools. During this time he taught history, organised university applications and was a head of department. Most recently, his increasing interest in the fine detail of teacher improvement led to him taking responsibility for continuing professional development within his school and teacher-training with Teach for Sweden. His current role involves researching teaching to help improve Teach First's effectiveness. He blogs regularly at improvingteaching.co.uk and tweets sporadically as @hfletcherwood.


Reviews

  1. The book:

    Where educational guides are concerned the market is swamped with books claiming to be helpful and suitable for experienced and new teachers as well as middle managers and senior leaders. When you then take a closer look they cannot keep these promises. Here is a book that really works for all levels and keeps this promise.

    Ticked Off takes its approach from Gawande's Checklist Manifesto, which demonstrates how checklists help to improve standards and avoid errors. Following the examples from the fields of sciences and medicine Harry Fletcher-Wood shows how aspects of teaching and organisation can be managed more easily by using checklists.

    Structure:

    The book is divided into several chapters to cover checklists on all levels for teachers' work and organisation in and around the classroom, to help middle managers and senior teams with their tasks of leading others, but also to help students with their learning by introducing writing frames and guidance for peer assessment in the form of checklists. The book's structure makes it easy to read from the beginning to the end, to dip in and out of sections or to look up specific examples.

    The checklists:

    Each checklist is presented as an example with some food for thought and ideas of how these can be adapted to suit individual purposes.

    Whilst there are some checklists that may look like they are superfluous, they are actually not. For example, most teachers and schools have got lesson plan proformas to use, so they would not need a checklist as such. However, in Higher Education this could be a great resource for those that start seminar teaching and have not had teacher training.

    In line with recent research-based activities and continuous professional development strategies checklists also help practitioners within education become more research literate and reflect strategically on their work. Teacher trainers will find this book an invaluable resource for the trainees in their charge. Whilst focussing on so many aspects of teaching trainees may forget the obvious and experienced staff would probably not remind them of routines they carry out automatically and possibly even subconsciously. In addition to helping with aspects of work and time-management Harry Fletcher-Wood does not forget teachers' well-being and introduces checklists to ensure better work-life balance.

    Some checklists are quite personalised. “How will I get the students into the room?” for example suggests that a teacher stands by the door to oversee what happens outside and inside the classroom. This may work very well for some. Personally, I never stand by the door, but either inside or outside the classroom and so send the message that I trust my pupils, which helps foster a great relationship. A wider range of different approaches or more critical views could have been presented to engage new teachers specifically in more in-depth reflections, but the final pages in the book demonstrate how teachers can create their own checklists and thereby appreciate the deeper thoughts going into what they do.

    Who is it really for?

    Irrespective of the ultimate complexity of the task on hand a checklist simplifies the task by breaking it down into manageable entities. But the real beauty of this book is that the checklists are easy to use and can be adapted for all aspects of teaching and working within education, from nursery and primary school levels through to higher education. All educational practitioners will find practical resources to improve their own practice, to lead and train others, to introduce and implement sustainable changes, to deal with difficult conversations, to lead meetings effectively, to gauge student voice and feedback and more generally to involve students by making them responsible for their own learning.

    What did I think?

    It is a great book offering an interesting and practical approach to time-management. Having read this book I am now implementing checklists in my own work. If you only have time to read one educational book this year, make sure it is this one because this is a fantastic resource for all of us working in education.

    You can view the review in full on page 18 of the magazine here.
  2. In a busy work environment -˜checklists' can be handy for anyone working to keep lots of different plates spinning.

    Many professionals carry the technique into their private lives to manage personal commitments away from the school, or office. Harry Fletcher-Wood's book,Ticked Off, offers something tailored to the field of education - checklists, for teachers, students and school leaders. The resources aim to set educators free, so they can devote more time, energy and attention to focusing on the tasks that matter most. As well as supporting teachers the book offers help to students in completing tasks on time.



    Ticked Off is for anyone who has ever gone cap in hand to colleagues or managers to apologise that the data, seating plans, or replies they expected have slipped their mind. There are checklists to simplify procedural tasks for students, including help to plan an essay, draw a graph, and how to write a brilliant paragraph!

    For teachers the checklists explore -˜How I can convey my vision', -˜Am I ready to start the lesson?' and -˜Am I meeting all my students' needs?'. The book is simply set out and consequently very quick to dip into, providing useful tips and inspiration. Especially it is a useful prompt to the detail which it is sometimes easy to overlook when pushed for time.

    School leaders today are facing increasing pressure with a vital role in schools. They often have to make difficult decisions in limited time and the book offers a number of checklists for leaders which could prove to be very useful - both to leaders with lots of experience and those new to the role.

    The leaders' checklists include -˜How can I keep staff happy?', -˜How do I design a powerful CPD session?' and -˜How can I make a difficult conversation manageable?'.

    The book is a very up-to-date, forward thinking read. Even for those who are not huge fans of checklists there's lots of useful guidance notes to help teachers and others be more effective, which is particularly useful when the workload for many means there never seem to be enough hours in the day.

    The review can be read in full here on page 10.
  3. Checklists imposed on teachers in order to meet bureaucratic and/or political requirements are a persistent irritant for today's classroom professionals - but, as Harry Fletcher-Wood makes clear in this practical and immensely satisfying book, those we create for ourselves can have a hugely positive effect on our personal and professional lives. By distilling various aspects of teaching and learning into succinct manageable lists he demonstrates a simple and effective way to take the pressure off and ensure that none of the essential minutiae are missed as we strive to achieve our goals, even - and perhaps especially - if we are not by nature an 'organised' person. 

    From planning an essay to preparing for difficult conversations, there are ready-made lists here for an impressive range of situations; plus sensible advice to help you devise your own.
  4. About halfway through Fletcher-Wood's new book Ticked Off: Checklists for Teachers, Students, School Leaders, I stopped reading. I flicked through to the end and noticed that the conclusion was half a page. This concerned me. The author had just spent just eight pages in his introduction explaining what the book's premise was, the rationale behind using checklists in school and how to use the checklists that were to follow. The rest of the book contained the lists.

    He did mention Atul Gawande's The Checklist Manifesto, which I'd read a few years ago, and I was looking forward to a good read about how checklists had been used, tried, and tested in schools. When I thought that this wasn't on offer, I re-read Gawande's book to remind myself about the reasoning behind using checklists.

    Once that need was satiated, I continued with Fletcher-Wood's book and felt happier for it. For this book contains a goldmine of ideas that will help me day to day.

    I am not the most organised of people. I forget things, especially when under stress. We're not talking of life or death situations that can occur in the operating room, or the skyscraper site, or the pilot's cockpit. Just the usual things - like remembering after a full day's teaching to set the detention for the student who misbehaved in lesson one, or effectively reflecting on difficult lessons.

    These things matter in school, and when you are running on empty at the end of a term, or preparing for an Ofsted visit, or simply planning effective lessons after the witching hour (which for me is about 8pm), having a good checklist to hand can really help.

    So to the checklists themselves.

    Fletcher-Wood has collected just under 50, some designed by him and others collated from schools he has visited. These are grouped into checklists for students, teaching, teachers, school leaders and life.

    A few examples are: How to plan an essay; Am I ready to start the lesson; How should I read research; How can I keep staff happy.

    Each is accompanied by examples, some more basic than others, and a pause point. This is where you review/do/read/check your list and act upon it. It is the important anchor that makes sure the checklist is actually doing its job.

    The author summarises the findings reported in The Checklist Manifesto that explain why this is so: in the operating room a particular person (the nurse) is given responsibility for the list. In the classroom, you have to make space for following the list yourself. The pause point is that space.

    The book has a section at the end where Fletcher-Wood discusses the process and reasoning behind designing a checklist and how you can write your own effectively. For those that see checklists as a way of de-professionalising teachers, reducing all they do down to a set of things to tick off, this is where this book potentially falls short. I advise teachers who are put off the idea of referring to a checklist to read The Checklist Manifesto as an accompaniment to this book. It provides the backbone to the idea and some more weight to the lists that Fletcher-Wood has collated.

    I have just one more gripe but this is not down to the contents of the book itself, though it does impact on how the reader perceives them. The publisher has made the decision, perhaps with the author, to use a font that looks hand-written. The problem is, while this works for the lists themselves, this font is also used for every heading, except the title, which uses a different handwritten font! Perhaps I'm fussy, but I found the typesetting distracting.



    That said, this is a book that I will refer to again and again. It is full of great ideas and stimuli to help make me a more productive and organised teacher. It is well worth your time and money.

    http://schoolsweek.co.uk/reviews/ticked-off/
  5. Evidence shows that a number of teachers and managers are leaving teaching due to the increasing pressure to manage issues in addition to preparation, delivery of learning, marking, tracking of progress and engagement. This is a practical and easily read text which will support and extend the confidence of the reader to reflect on their current practice linked to examples of practice and realistic evidence which will reduce pressure on limited time. Harry Fletcher highlights the struggles faced by teachers at all levels and how checklists can be effectively used “to devote time, energy and attention to focus on the tasks that matter most”. He has based his ideas on Atul Guarande's work on the “checklist manifesto”.  From personal experience I know that without the checklists devised by my wife before camping holidays with details of what was needed and who in the family was responsible, our travels to France, Switzerland, etc would not have been so successful and harmonious. I implemented checklists at a basic level in my roles as headteacher, adviser and Ofsted inspector, but Harry's ideas take the practice to a far more effective level. 



    I would particularly recommend this book for teachers new to the profession and those who have become bogged down with, and frustrated by, the “administrative
    extras”. This book will enable the reader to gain the skills of prioritising tasks and creating time for their personal lives.
  6. Anyone familiar with Harry's writing will know very well how thorough, thoughtful and subtly profound he is. He takes the ordinary and makes us look at it sideways, upside-down and inside-out. Harry challenges us to revisit the everyday to ensure that our bread and butter is the best it can be. Harry's admiration for Atul Gawande has led him to create a book about teaching and learning, and what a treasure trove it is. In Ticked Off, Harry approaches the oft ignored parts of our day with precision and vigour to try to help us be incrementally better through effective planning and use of the simple checklist: how can students best know if they're ready for exams, or if their essays are excellent? How might teachers help their students master vocabulary, or ensure that that poor lesson never repeats itself? What about being ready for trips, observations and giving feedback?

    At each point Harry offers not only advice and suggested questions, but explains how his own experiences have shaped his thinking. Of particular interest to middle leaders might be the sections on managing difficult conversations and making sure that data is used effectively, but Harry also offers his thoughts for the NQT, senior leadership team and student-teacher. Harry's checklists for writing great paragraphs in English are as brilliant and simple as those on drawing graphs in maths.
    This is a book for everyone: student, teacher, middle leader and leader. But it's also personable, honest, thorough and important. It's Harry Fletcher-Wood all over, and every school needs a copy.
  7. The education market is swamped with books claiming to be helpful and suitable for experienced and new teachers, as well as middle managers and senior leaders. When you take a closer look they cannot keep these promises. Here is a book that really works for all levels and keeps this promise.

    Ticked Off takes its approach from Atul Gawande's The Checklist Manifesto, which demonstrates how checklists help to improve standards and avoid errors. Following examples from the fields of science and medicine, Harry Fletcher-Wood shows how aspects of teaching and organisation can be managed more easily by using checklists.
    The book's structure makes it easy to read from the beginning to the end, to dip in and out of sections or to look up specific examples. Checklists are presented with examples with food for thought and ideas of how these can be adapted to suit individual purposes. Whilst there are some checklists that may look like they are superfluous, they are actually not. For example, most teachers and schools have got lesson plan pro formas to use, so they would not need a checklist as such. However, in higher education this could be a great resource for those that start seminar teaching and have not had teacher training.
    Teacher trainers will find this book an invaluable resource for the trainees in their charge. Whilst focusing on so many aspects of teaching, trainees may forget the obvious and experienced staff would probably not remind them of routines they carry out automatically, possibly even subconsciously. In addition to helping with aspects of work and time-management, Harry Fletcher-Wood does not forget teachers' well-being and introduces checklists to ensure better work-life balance. The final pages in the book demonstrate how teachers can create their own checklists and thereby appreciate the deeper thoughts going into what they do.
    Irrespective of the ultimate complexity of the task on hand, a checklist simplifies the task by breaking it down into manageable entities. The real beauty of this book is that the checklists are easy to use and can be adapted for all aspects of teaching and working within education, from nursery and primary school levels through to higher education. All education practitioners will find practical resources to improve their own practice, to lead and train others, to introduce and implement sustainable changes, to deal with difficult conversations, to lead meetings effectively, to gauge student voice and feedback and to involve students by making them responsible for their own learning.
    Ticked Off is a great book offering an interesting and practical approach to time management. Having read this book I am now implementing checklists in my own work. If you only have time to read one education book this year, make sure it is this one because this is a fantastic resource.
  8. Harry has created a book for those of us who lose worksheets, misplace pens and don't have a calm, organised person upstairs. But instead of making teachers feel bad for disorganisation he offers a solution: a simple, effective, thought-provoking aid for getting through each and every situation the classroom (and its chaos) has on offer. When I was in the classroom, I constantly wondered what the best way to organise myself was. This book does the hard-work thinking for you, but still encourages you to think some more!
  9. Harry's book acts as an empathetic guide to support efficiency, balancing the complexities of education as a whole and the role of being a teacher. This is not necessarily a how-to style book; it shares Harry's reflections on what works for him and the understandings he has, offering measured and balanced reflections for improving as students, teachers, leaders; and within teaching itself. In sharing his perceptions of his practice, and how he has subsequently developed, the reader cannot help but consider their own practice and embark upon a journey in which their own styles are audited.

    I love that this book is not written by a stereotypically organised person. For the rest of us who struggle at this, Harry isn't condescending or judgemental and has an approachable, comfortable tone; it's as if you're sat in the staffroom chatting with him!
  10. It goes without saying that teachers are incredibly busy and, in the midst of all this activity, it's all too easy for even the most accomplished teacher to overlook vital information, misplace crucial resources and forget the very thing they have promised they will remember. Harry Fletcher-Wood's timely and useful book draws on examples from the safety-critical industries like healthcare and aviation to recommend one simple, straightforward and easy-to-implement addition to ensure the best laid plans of overworked teachers do not go awry.

    Interesting, practical and accessible, this little book and its one big idea could transform the way you work. Highly recommended.
  11. I am admittedly a fan of checklists and I am now also a fan of Ticked Off. In a world stuffed full of busyness, a checklist can help bring clarity and calm. Harry Fletcher-Wood takes a systematic approach to creating usable checklists for pretty much every aspect of school life. This book is a pleasure to read and helped me think more clearly about the complexity of our daily work as teachers.

    Is Harry's book on checklists immensely valuable and worth your precious time? Tick! Is it an easy read that proves practical and useful? Tick! Should busy teachers invest in this book? Tick!

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