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Atomi Brainwaves Podcast S1 E1: Gavin McCormack on Montessori Education

By Thomas O'Donahoo on 6 February 2020Atomi Brainwaves PodcastUKstaffroomNSWstaffroom

Gavin McCormack, principal of Farmhouse Montessori School, acclaimed children’s author, education blogger, and activist behind the construction of several schools in the Himalayas joins us to discuss the planes of development philosophy behind Montessori education and share some of his unique and eye-opening stories from his travels in education throughout the world.

Atomi Brainwaves Podcast: Gavin McCormack on Montessori Education

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Simon Hennessy:     00:15          

Hello and welcome to Atomi brainwaves, a podcast about education for educators where we tackle a variety of issues in the world of pedagogy. We're recording here in the studio at Atomi, an online resource for second level learning used by students and teachers alike to help make education awesome and engaging. We provide content for schools and students in Australia and the UK in the form of short, digestible syllabus specific videos and classroom activities. I'm your host Simon, and today I'm joined by our very special guest, Gavin McCormack, Principal of Farmhouse Montessori School here in Sydney. Welcome Gavin!

Gavin McCormack:    00:51          

Hello, nice to be here. Thanks so much.

New Speaker:        00:53          

Good to have you, managed to beat the traffic.

Gavin McCormack:    00:55          

Only just, you know what Sydney traffic is like.

New Speaker:        00:57        

Wow, that's a tough one but we got you in here in the end. So Gavin, I think it's safe to say your journey in education has been not the conventional route.

Gavin McCormack:    01:09        

You've, over 20 years worked in several countries around the world. You're a published children's author, you've been involved in some grade school building initiatives in underprivileged areas and countries such as Nepal. I guess we'll start at the beginning - what got you into teaching?

Gavin McCormack:    01:29          

So thank you. Interesting question. I've been asked a lot of times. I always feel very flattered, sounds like I'm really rich in your introduction, but I'm actually really poor...

New Speaker:        01:38          

Rich in spirit, rich in soul, rich in heart.

Gavin McCormack:    01:40          

Rich in spirit, yep, rich in heart. It's interesting question and I've thought about it a lot and you know, the fact is that I did my A levels in the UK and I had a few choices. I could have been an economist, could have been a computer scientist, sat down with my mum one evening with the EUCAST booklet open, which is, uh, the booklet, you know, where you choose your university direction. And uh, said, mom, look what do I do? And she said, "Why don't you be a teacher?" and I hadn't thought about it at all before that point. And, uh, I said, "Why?" and she said, "look, A you're good with kids. And B you'll never work for the man, and every day you'll be making a difference in the world". So we thought about it, had a conversation, and then I filled it in and I just, you have four or five choices of what you want to do. I just filled in one and there it was, it was sealed. I did a teaching degree at Sheffield Hallam University and that's all I know now. Never looked back.

New Speaker:        02:33          

There you go, sage advice.

Gavin McCormack:    02:35          

Very good advice. I was with my mom last week in the UK and she said, remember, I put you where you are today.

Simon Hennessy:     02:41        

Imagine if she said, "Be an economist."

Simon Hennessy:     02:43          

You could be sitting in on an economics podcast right now.

Gavin McCormack:    02:46        

I could have been, but actually you know, being a teacher she was right. And a lot of kids at school, being Principal, say, "What am I going to be when I'm older? What do you recommend?" And I always say, be a teacher because you know, you open up the entire world to yourself. And it's true what my mom said, you will never work a day in your life and you'll never work for the man. Because essentially you've got these 20-30 kids in front of you and your goal is to send them all out into the world to be wonderful people. Academics will come. It's not a problem. You know, that's, that's the easy bit. The hard bit is how to get them to be good people and if you can do that, then you're winning. And you're lucky now, you read the news, you look at the world today, you see all you get fed is problems and you look at your children and think, how can I send these guys out to solve those problems?

Simon Hennessy:     03:34          

Very fair. And, you spoke there about how being a teacher opens up the world and in a very literal sense that's true for you because there's a real international element to your teaching having taught in a number of different countries. I was wondering if you could tell us a little bit about that, what it's been like working in different countries, what you picked up along the way and how you've infused that into your teaching.

Gavin McCormack:    03:55          

Yeah. So look, just to go back a step, being a school principal, you get parents saying to you, "Oh look, I really want to take my son to Japan for two weeks and it's in the middle of term time. Can I have permission?" So without hesitation, I said, yes, go. Because you'll get way more there than you will sitting in our classroom. You know, our job as teachers is to try hard as we can to bring the environment into the room, but our environment is outside, you know, it's not in your classroom.

Simon Hennessy:     04:22          

There's no substitute for experience.

New Speaker:        04:23          

Exactly right. And so, you're quite right. You know, the greatest education you can get is travel, and teaching facilitates that. So I'm from a really small village up in Yorkshire, Holsworth and uh, sounds lovely, but it's an awful place. Sorry if you're from Holsworth...

Simon Hennessy:     04:40          

Of course, to our Holdsworth fans - apologies.

Gavin McCormack:    04:42        

Yes - apologies. I couldn't wait to get out of there as quick as I could. You know from a school of a thousand kids where I was just lost in the crowd. I had one friend and I thought, just get me out, get me through this and get me out of here.

Gavin McCormack:    04:56          

And uh, went to university and then finished university and thought right let's go now. You know, like this, it was a time when the internet had kind of just started. I remember having a laptop at uni and in my room in my house and opening it and typing in countries like, Oh look at Japan, look at Indonesia, look I'm so far away. I only ever go to Europe. It's just, you know, Europe, when you live in the UK just seems like that's the only place you go. You go to Spain or you go to Greece. It just seems so distant and looking at pictures thinking god I want to see that with my eyes. And then off you go. You just start on this crazy journey.

Gavin McCormack:    05:30        

So I was working in the UK and I started working for a primary school in Sheffield. It was a school dominated by Pakistani children from India. So I've got this rich history, you know, of Indian parents would bring me food and say, here's a pakora, here's a lamb Buena. And I'd be like, wow, what is this? This tastes amazing. I really want to go to where this is from.

Gavin McCormack:    05:48          

I used to play football, so I moved to France and played football there, but did some teaching along the way. Then I moved to Spain, lived in Gibraltar for awhile and then off I went traveling around the world. I was in China for a long time, was in Seoul in Korea for a long time, ended up in Australia.

Gavin McCormack:    06:07          

When I got to Australia, I thought, what can I do? I know I want to be a teacher. Where do I go? Where do I start? And I picked up loads of Arabic along my journey. So watching this Muslim school for quite a long time. So I just opened a newspaper, there was a school that was looking for a teacher over in Lakemba, Western Sydney. So I went along to the interview and, they were all Muslim staff and Muslim children. I said, {Arabic saying} [and the laydy said, "You speak Arabic!" And I said, {Arabic saying} [I speak a little bit] and she said, "You've got the job!" So without even interviewing me, she said, "You got the job, you're a year three teacher",

Simon Hennessy:     06:41          

Wow so you went straight in the door?

Gavin McCormack:    06:43        

Yeah, it was amazing. Really. I worked there for 10 years in that Islamic school, and, it was absolutely life changing. It was amazing. The parents were unbelievable, the students were fantastic, but they were [academically speaking] the bottom of the barrel. They were refugees coming off of boats with these horrifying stories.

Gavin McCormack:    07:01          

And that was when it really hit home, what my mom had said, "You can make a difference." And really there you are making the biggest difference you could ever make. I'd send those children home at the end of the day feeling extremely proud, I'd drive home with a big smile on my face. The stories that they came in to tell me about what happened on their journey and how they got here... wow. They [My students] were on a boat from Indonesia on the way to Australia with Mom, Dad, and their two brothers, and the boat went down, and they watched their brother go under and they didn't ever see him again on that day. They were rescued and taken back to Indonesia, and dad put them back on a boat, because to go home was going to be absolutely horrifying, and they'd do anything to get away from it.

Gavin McCormack:    07:41          

And then they're in your class telling you this story and you think, "I've got to help you." I've got to do something to empower you to make sure that you succeed. So anyway, 10 years went down the track and I became a Montessori teacher and now a Montessori principal. But about three months ago, it was Eid, Eid al-Fitr, which is the big Eid festival. And I went out to Bankstown with my wife and we went for a little walk around and, this girl came over to me wearing a hijab, about 25 years old. She said, "Mr McCormack". And I said, "Yeah, that's me. Who are you?". She said, "You don't remember me, but I used to be in your class." And I said, "Wow, what's your name?" She said, "My name is Fatima."

Gavin McCormack:    08:17          

And I said "Wow! What are you doing?" And she said, before I tell you what I'm doing, I was the worst kid in school and before I was in your class in year six, I'd been expelled, I'd been suspended twice. And when I came into your class, you knew my reputation and you made me school captain. I said, "I remember you now!" I made you school captain, because I thought, you know, if I gave you responsibility, you'd step up. She goes, "I'm a lawyer now, and I always hold it thanks to you making me school captain. I felt like crying. Oh, it was crazy. And uh, I put it on my Facebook page. I took a photo and I stuck it on my Facebook page and it went crazy. Like 100,000 shares. Thousands of people sharing it because that is the true essence of why you become a teacher.

Gavin McCormack:    08:53        

If you find that child, you give them the chance, you make the difference. You send them off, you never see them again. It's really sad because you say, off you go go and swim, they never swim back to you, they go, but you hope that they're out there as the big fish, you know, making a difference. And then when you get that feedback that it actually worked, then you realize it's actually worthwhile. And that's the, I guess that's the crux of it. And any teachers listening, I mean that's the, that's the, that's the ultimate. In fact, the ultimate goal. You know, you look at your, you're doing your lesson plan, you go, Oh, here's my objective and my teaching, my learning objective. I'm going to teach these kids how to learn fractions. Great. And then you assess, did they learn how to add two fractions together?

Gavin McCormack:    09:33          

Yes. That's great. But take it big, big, big, big, big go big. What's your ultimate goal? The ultimate goal is world peace. Sounds crazy. But if you educate enough kids to be good people and we all do it as teachers, and everyone's sending those kids out that are humble and have empathy and compassion. Yeah. You know, all those wonderful things you want that aren't facts, they're skills, we'll get it, we'll get that. But it'll take time and it takes enough, you need enough teachers singing the same tune as you to make that happen.

Simon Hennessy:     10:01          

And it is something that we can lose perspective on in the kind of humdrum of everyday life. For a lot of teachers it can be very easy and understandable to lose sight of that. You know, you give the example of teaching fractions or whatever it is that you're teaching, but I suppose having gone through those experiences, having kind of such a broad worldview, you kind of just, do you feel like that helps you maintain that perspective within your classroom?

Gavin McCormack:    10:27          

Yeah, yeah. Oh, there's no question about that. And, and you look and you see, you know what you're doing. You know that every, you know, what's the analogy? Throw enough pedals into enough ponds on you'll make a wave, and then you can ride that wave wherever you like. Um, and that's the case. You've got 30 kids in front of you, you've got 30 kids that'll go out there and if they're change makers and leaders they change the words themselves. All you've got to do is make sure that you allow them to have the skills to do that. So I think that, you know, school leaders and school teachers alike, they need to have a, you know, a time to reflect. It's not having staff meetings where you talk about here's the timetable, here's what we're going to teach and here's what the government said, here's what I need you to do.

Gavin McCormack:    11:04          

It's why are you actually here? Why are you coming to school everyday teaching? Like what's the, what's your aim? And if they lose perspective, your job is to say, Hey guys, this is why you're here. And you find that your teachers suddenly go, you know what, I'm actually making a difference here. This is my job.

Simon Hennessy:     11:19          

And everything else follows from that. I mean it's not that putting a focus on that, the human element I suppose for want of a better word, it's not that putting the focus on that means you, you lose everything else in terms of syllabus and content that that follows on. And I suppose you could even say is heightened and improved by making, having that human compassion at the core of what your classroom is about.

Gavin McCormack:    11:45          

So there's, and this is part of my, you know, I have this following online and you know, this year I've been named on LinkedIn, as like the 2019 Top Voice of Education in the world and the, anyway not that I care about that, but the reason probably that it's been named on those because these are the kinds of things I write about and teachers, they don't want to teach the facts. They don't want to follow that script anymore or they want to do is they want to teach what makes their heart sing. And it's very easy to entwine those syllabus outcomes, you know? Yes, you're teaching fractions. Great. What are going to teach fractions about? Well, find something that's actually appropriate that will, your children will feel empowered about learning and then teach that and, but then just incorporate fractions into that. If you're teaching history, teaching Romans, you're teaching, you know, writing for example, at school we had this, um, you know, it says in the syllabus, write a persuasive text, right? So, you know, in schools I've worked in before, the principal said, yeah, we're writing persuasive text. So what I want you to do everyone, we're all going to write a letter to the principal about changing the school uniform. And you probably did that when you're at schools as well.

Simon Hennessy:     12:50          

I knew you were going to say that.

Gavin McCormack:    12:53          

Every kid knows, you know what, the principal's not gonna read them A and B, We're not going to be able to not wear a uniform. So what's the point? So I mean, it's very simple. All you have to do is say to children, you know what, we're going to write a letter and we did this. So at school, I had my stage two class, six to nine years on. I said, you know, we're going to write to the local member, James Griffin of Manly and we're going to, we're going to ask him to come to school. I've got his address here. Here's a picture of him and you tell them why? Because actually we need him to come and see what Montessori schools are like so that then when we want to go out there and tell everyone about it, he can be an advocate. So I said, we're going to write to him and you're going to tell him about what Montessori is like.

Gavin McCormack:    13:31          

I'm not going to tell you what to write. You're here, you're students, you try and persuade him to come. Now I'm not going to mark these letters. In fact, I'm not going to read them at all. The assessment is if James Griffin is sitting in your classroom, if he's sitting in this chair, then you've succeeded. And if he doesn't come, well we failed and we're going to have to think about why. So all the children write their letters. I don't know what's in them. Some of them, you know, there could be anything in there. We seal them, but go to the post office. We post them and then we sit and wait. Then the phone rings and who is it, it's James Griffin and he's like, I'd like to come to school, I got your letters. So sitting in front of the children, all the children are there in group and he doesn't know our objective.

Gavin McCormack:    14:10          

He doesn't know that. When I explained to him, I explained to the children, look, you know, your assessment was that if he's here, um, you know that you've achieved your goal and here he is. And he's like, is that true? Did you really do that? I said, of course you've got to make it real. And the assessment in real life is that you know that if you steal something, you are going to be in trouble. If you don't work hard enough, you're not going to achieve your goals. It doesn't mean you get an E or an A or a B regardless, it doesn't really matter. You know, every action has a consequence. The consequence of you writing to him is that he is here. And the fact is that after that the children said, can we write to Tony Abbott, can we write to the prime minister, can we write to the queen?

Gavin McCormack:    14:50          

You say, why?

Simon Hennessy:     14:51          

Hungry for more?

Gavin McCormack:    14:52          

Yeah. And you say why? They said it's because I want to do X or I because I don't agree with that or because I don't like this. And you say they're, the kids would go out and change the world because they know that their voice means something. It's real, it's tangible and it's, you know, it's real life. It's not writing to the principal to change your uniform, real world experience. And when you do that every single day and every single lesson and you'll love your job, you know you're making a difference, and the children love coming to school.

Simon Hennessy:     15:20          

That's awesome. I really want to read those letters now I'm really keen,

Gavin McCormack:    15:23          

I'm afraid you can't because they've gone, they've gone very well. But I mean you don't need to cause you know, they were good. They did the job. That's the important thing.

Gavin McCormack:    15:32          

I, you know, I, in the syllabus he says you must use persuasive devices and emotive language. So you teach those skills and then you hand them over to the children. It's like saying, here's loads of tools. Fix this engine or here's an engine with no tools. Fix it. That's impossible. You know, you might as well give them the tools, give them the objective and then they'll go and succeed. Awesome. So yeah.

Simon Hennessy:     15:53        

So just bring it back for a second. You were talking a little bit about you know, how you do quite a bit of writing, workshops, lectures that kind of thing. I was hoping we could maybe dive a little bit into the kind of the philosophy behind that and first base to start I suppose is to unpack what you might call the plains of development in a child's maturity. So I was hoping, if you could talk those through us, talk us through those rather a little bit and explain what they mean.

Gavin McCormack:    16:18          

Yeah, so look, Montessori, when I was first introduced to it, uh, Bill McKeith, who's a, a world renowned principal, especially in Australia, he used to run a Presbyterian Ladies College for 25 years. Good friend of mine, my mentor for quite a long time. He introduced me to a Montessori. He said, I think you might be a Montessori teacher without knowing. And I hadn't done the training and I thought it was a religion. Actually, I thought it was a cult. And I said, is it a cult? He said certainly not, you know, you should come and see one. So I went along,

Simon Hennessy:     16:49          

which is exactly what someone would say if it was a cult.

Gavin McCormack:    16:50          

Exactly come along wear this gown, no I didn't, there's no gown. Um, and I went along and had a look and I was like, you know, this is unbelievable. This is actually right up my street. And um, then I got into what it's all about and I started reading about it. Then I did a degree in Montessori and then I really understood it. And you know, she was, um, the first lady, Maria Montessori was the first lady to graduate from Italian university ever. And she was a child psychologist. And what she did was she observed children for a very long period of time. Part of being a Montessori teacher is observation. You do a lot of your assessment by just watching and you can take a lot away from just watching. And I think teachers lose perspective of that. They're just teaching the whole time and they don't get a chance to sit back and just watch what's happening, who's talking to, who's playing with who, who's you know, bullying, who's being mean, who's having trouble, who's looking out the window, who's asleep, you know, who's struggling?

Gavin McCormack:    17:44          

And when you sit back and watch, you have a really good perspective. And what she, when she did her observations was she, she segregated or separated the children into these kind of age brackets. So she put them into 0-3 and then 3-6, 6-9 and 9-12. And she put them into those age groups for specific reasons. Um, she had something called the absorbent mind, and I don't know if you know this, but 90% or 80 between 80 and 90% of everything you will ever learn is in by eight by the time you're eight years old. Fact, you can look up online if you want. 80%. I trust you. 80% of everything you're ever going to get into your brain is there before you're eight. So that's a crucial time. So in that time, she made sure that between 0-3 and then 3-6 in the classroom, that everything was hands on.

Gavin McCormack:    18:36          

Everything was tactile, it was sensory. You can touch it, feel it, smell it, do it, pick it up. Um, and that sets the children up for huge amounts of success later. Because, you know, when I was a child at primary school, I am, and even through high school, I never knew what a million looked like. You know, I knew it was a big number. And you ask a kindergarten child, you know, what's the biggest number? They go hundreds. So the biggest thing in the world is a hundred. Um, but in the Montessori you can, you can not only touch a unit, you can pick up a unit cube and you, you know, we had these at school then as a 10 cube as a 100 cube, then there might be a 1000 and it stops. Well, Montessori goes up to a million cube. So you go to the child, go and get me a unit, and they go, there's a unit, you go and get with a million cube.

Gavin McCormack:    19:24          

And they go and pick up this million cube, which is exactly 1 million times heavier and bigger than the unit cube. And there you have this amazing perspective. So I was in India recently doing this talk and I asked these teachers, I said, I want you to get some perspective on what they knew, some, you know, global knowledge. And I said, what's bigger: moon or the sun? You've got three choices. The sun's bigger, the moon is bigger or they're the same size. A large majority of these teachers said same size, right? Now if you're four. And that's a misconception through lack of education and lack of exposure to it. If you're four and you already know that the earth is a unit cube and the sun is the million cube. And I can hold those up to you and you say there's some perspective. It's maths, you know, but it's tangible.

Gavin McCormack:    20:13          

You can touch, you can feel, you see a visual representation ratio is there. You can just see it and touch it and children, you're never going to forget that even though they look exactly the same size in the sky. You know what, that's a million times bigger than earth. That's absolutely gigantic. So she set it up in a way from the 3-6 that everything is, you can touch it and feel it, but she also made sure that you had this real level of independence within that plane, that first plane, that you learn how to self regulate and you learn how to be yourself because then you go into the 6-9, which is the second plane, and you get to find your way. That's when the classroom is really busy and there might be two kids having a debate over there, and there might be some kids working on their round.

Gavin McCormack:    20:54          

It could be a group of five children and one child saying, you're not the boss of me, and all this kind of stuff's happening. And that they're finding their way they're finding their place or finding who's the leader, who's the top, who's a follower. And because you've got these wonderful groupings of, when I say 3-6, I mean three year olds, four year olds, five year olds, and six year olds, all in the same room. So that your hierarchy is already set by age. You have your leaders, you have your next group who learn from your leaders and your next group had learned from the learners, from the leaders, and therefore it just flows down. So as a teacher, yes you need to teach the curriculum, but your kids will teach each other how to be, how to be good people. How do we respond, they call stuff out?

Gavin McCormack:    21:36          

So if someone leaves something on the floor they say, Hey, by the way, that's not how we do it in here. You need to pick that up. You're going to do that yourself.

Simon Hennessy:     21:43          

And it's not because of the rules, it's because of the group.

Gavin McCormack:    21:46          

It's because that's the ethos of your school. That's the pedagogy. That's what you teach. You know, the old rule is, you know, model a behaviour you wish to view in your children. So the teacher says, guys, you know, I'm going to care for you. I'm going to be really loving. I'm here when you need me. Okay. But I will call things out if they're wrong. The children just go, well that's what we're going to do also. So they do the same thing anyway. So you get into the 6-9 and they find their way and uh, you know, they get, they, they build that resilience. I think a really important point to make is that as Montessori teachers, we don't step in. So if two children are having a, the old conventional method, and you probably had the same was two children are sitting at their table and they're talking and you say, guys separate. You guys are talking. I want you over there. Tommy over there. Johnny sit here, you're not sitting together anymore. Very familiar refrain. We all went through that and I'm sure you know many people out there have been through that too. Look at us sticking to them now to ask them side by side. There you go. Yeah. Six foot five and just living it large. But what I will say is that as a Montessori teacher, we don't step in unless it gets too hairy. We let that work itself out because as I said before, the consequence of you two not getting on with it, one of them will recognize, you know what, if we don't do this, we're not actually going to get very far.

Gavin McCormack:    22:59          

We're not going to be able to finish our project and then it's not going to be able to, you know, and then they work it out or one child says, I don't want to sit next to you anymore because you're slowing me down with my work and will leave. You know, I better stop talking so much because nobody wants to sit with me. And so the environment teaches them the rules as it does with us. You know, if I'm awful to my friends, no one's going to call me and invite me to go for a beer. I'll go out, you know, do anything. If I'm nice to them, well maybe they will. And that's a life rule, a life lesson that you can instil in your room. So they learn that in stage two, the 6-9 and then you get to 9-12 and everyone just knows who they are.

Gavin McCormack:    23:38          

They're confident, they're resilient, empathetic, compassionate, and they just, they just nail it. They're just doing things that you could never imagine. You've got children who attend, they're writing books and selling 500 copies and raising money and sponsoring other kids who go to school in Wagga. You know, they're doing that. They're changing the world and they're 9, 10, 11 years old and then they leave. And you feel so proud that you're sending out into the world. I mean, we went swimming today as a school and one child was struggling to put his socks on. So without even stepping, another child's goes, Hey, can I help you put your socks on? And you look at those tiny little wins and you realize you're doing a good job because later on that's someone who has fallen down in the road or someone needs help or someone needs a helping hand and they'll be the ones who will do that.

Simon Hennessy:     24:25          

And what was really speaking to me as sort of a core premise of that is that idea of initiative and independence, which I mean if you could point out a flaw and I guess more traditional styles of teaching is if it's so prescriptive you sort of reach the end of schooling and then at that point it's almost initiative is assumed and it's probably the most valuable skill in adulthood, being able to be independent, make your own decisions, be proactive, but if it's not cultivated, if it's not given room to breathe in schooling, how can you really expect it on the other end? And it sounds like that's really at the heart,

Gavin McCormack:    25:00          

Well the linchpin is, is the independence that's top of the game. You know, you look at your, I think there's 66 essential skills that Forbes released in 2018 and they were 66 top skills that you will need to get the best jobs in the best companies in the world and top of the pile was independence. Number one. They want someone who can be independent and look, you just, I guess the situation is that you have to be creative with your curriculum, but when you are creative and you say, I mean, the rule of thumb is you say yes, just say, can I, and before they finish talking you say yes, yes of course you can, you know, within limitations obviously. Can I blow up the school? No. Okay. Kind of burn down the school? No. Can I write, you know, with, so many stories that I can tell you where a child has come forward with an innovative idea. And just by saying, yes, amazing things have happened and you've ticked off nearly the entire curriculum without even doing, you know, thinking about one day, doing one days planning or writing one learning objective down,

Simon Hennessy:     26:02          

Which sounds almost quite simple. And yet it definitely is the case where there are a lot of teachers who are, and this isn't meant as a criticism, but their default setting might be no, because we need to get through this. We need to get through that. I've got X other students in the classroom. So before even hearing what follows 'can i', it's unfortunately not. We have other things to do.

Gavin McCormack:    26:22          

Or, unfortunately not because I lose control of my 30 kids. I need them all looking at eyes on me, eyes on me. And I need you all listening and looking at me because I'm the Oracle and I know everything. And you can only be as smart as me, not smarter, because I'm going to tell you everything that I know. The fact is some children are way smarter than me in my school. You know, they know every dinosaur. One child at school knows every single type of dinosaur. He knows a full history, the weight, how many hearts they had, the lot, all their bones. I don't know any of those things. So if I want to teach him dinosaurs, I can't, I just simply can't do that.

Gavin McCormack:    26:55          

I can teach him the brachiosaurus, that's the only one I know. And if I do that, then I, I fail. But if he says, Gavin can I write a book on dinosaurs with all of my knowledge, is that okay? Of course you can. No problem. Uh, because you know, he'll inspire so many more of the children to do exactly the same thing and you'll gain so much from that confidence, self esteem, respect. You will inspire so many others to do that. He'll have to deal with money. He'll have to make negotiations. Look if you've got time. I've got this story about this girl that wanted to run a newspape. Fire away. Okay. So I was working at a school over in Balmain and a girl said, you know, i'd like to write a school newspaper. So obviously the answer is yes, because you can. But before I say yes, tell me why.

Gavin McCormack:    27:38          

Because it's all about intention. And she said she, if she said, Gavin, I want to sell it for $5 a copy and buy myself a Ferrari would be, no, thank you. You can't do that. I'm sorry. Your intention is all wrong. Um, but her intention was, I want to sell copies of it and then give the money to the homeless in Newtown. Beause I saw a homeless truck there and I think I can help them. So of course the answer's yes. So she's 10. And uh, so I said, well, you'll need a plan. You know, you can't, you can't pull this off without a plan. J K Rowling didn't write a book without planning it first. You know, she had to plan it out. So she said, okay, no problem. And I said, what do you think you're gonna need first? And she said, I'm going to need some journalists cause I can't write it all on my own.

Gavin McCormack:    28:14          

So I said, okay, well how are you going to get them? And she said, I'm going to put some posters up around school tomorrow. I said, okay, that's great. Okay, I'll see you tomorrow. So it was the end of the day, I went home, came in the morning and she made all these posters, 'journalists required' and um on that it was sports, history, travel, fun games, quizzes, and she stuck them all up around school and she said, apply within, she put a red postbox that she'd made out of a cover box in the foyer. I said, apply within, write your letters of persuasion and stick them in the box and I will get back to you. So 500 kids at the school, about 300 kids applied from kindergarten to year six. Kindergarten letters were 'I want to be a writer' in there anyway, so she got them all and said, Gavin, what do I do?

Gavin McCormack:    28:56        

I've got 300 letters, i said I well you're gonna have to read them. And she said, what I do then, I said I don't know, what do you think you need to do? She goes, I've got an idea. Maybe I can select the top 20 and then interview them all and choose the best 10. I said, that's great. Great idea. So she read them, she came to me, I've got the top 20 they're here. I think that these are going to suit me because she said I want to interview him tomorrow at playtime. I'll put a table in the playground and I'll give them a time schedule and they can come to an interview. I'll ask him some questions. I said, great. So off she went and just sat back and watched it. There we go. Play time comes around. She's interviewing these children one at a time. She's timetabled them in and given them a timetable each. And now they've got to come and have this interview and she chooses her top 10. She then tells them, I need you to write me an article, it's got to be 300 words. It needs a picture. I need you to give it to me on a USB stick because I'm going to do a newspaper. All the kids go away and start to write their articles. Now, I did help her this point because she needed a template for newspaper, it's very tricky so I made one for her. The fact that she'd gone to this point without needing any help is incredible. It gets crazier. So then, um, at that point, um, she collects all the articles, and then she copied and paste them into this newspaper, designs a logo and says, Gavin, I'm ready. I think I've got the newspaper.

Gavin McCormack:    30:10          

I said, well look, I said, unbelievable and written, literally it was unbelievable. Two sides of a three paper folded over, you know, good as you can like called it 'The Evergreen Editorial', right? Pretty good name. Yeah. Snappy name. And alliteration beautiful. She's exactly right. So anyway, Gavin, I want to I want to print 2000 copies of it. And I said, Whoa, look, this is starting to get at bit strange because I can't go and put 2000 copies. It's not going to be worth you selling the newspaper because of the printing. I said, it's over. This newspaper is finished, you need another solution. And she said, okay. She looked a bit devastated. She went home. Next morning she comes in, Gavin can me use the telephone. And when I tell teachers that I let her use the telephone, they say, what? You let a kid use a telephone, it's a telephone.

Gavin McCormack:    30:54          

You know, of course they can. And uh, so she can, I said, yeah, of course you can. You know, why do you want it she said there's a printer on Darling street and I want to call them and tell them that if they print my newspaper for free and on recycled paper I will put their logo and their advertisement on the back page and 2000 people will read it. Isn't it savvy. I said, that is gold. So I rung the printers and just preempted the call, put the phone down, didn't tell her I said, phone's there. Go ahead. She called, he accepted the offer and then we, he shot over the logo and the ad, we put it on the back. 2000 copies arrived at the post. She sold them at the front gate, made $4,000 Hey Presto! Over to Newtown and gave it to the homeless society where she was holding a big check in the newspaper of, you know, in, in the Western suburbs newspaper of her donating and a newspaper went from strength to strength, you know, next term.

Gavin McCormack:    31:47          

The next time it was 3000 copies and she was 10 so you can imagine when she's 15-16 she's taking on the world. There's no question about that. And if you go back in the curriculum and start ticking off outcomes, well I could be here all day: speaking and listening. Nearly every kid in the school wrote a letter for a purpose. It was persuasive. No teachers said a word. They were interviewed, there were timetables, there was scheduling, there was, it was out of control and there was no teacher involved. All I did was say, yes, that is incredible. You know, a bit of scaffolding along the way, but you can do that. You know, you can do that. You can do it in so many ways. And I think teachers, they feel trapped by the syllabus, but the outcomes actually are quite broad. You just gotta look between the line to think, okay, what can I do with that?

Gavin McCormack:    32:31          

And the government, you know they want that. They want innovative practice. They come in and they say, show me how you met the outcomes. You say, well, we did this. Look, they want that change to people are a bit too scared to make that leap.

Simon Hennessy:     32:43          

Yeah. That's incredible. Why Evergreen Editorial, the only one criticism I can make is that had there been a dinosaur section, I'm sure that would've been one student who would have done a wonderful weekly column on dinosaurs. But aside from that, they may have, it may have emerged, you know, food for thought for future issues.

Gavin McCormack:    33:01          

Yeah. So look, going back to your initial question, so we got off topic, but the, yeah, the planes of development are very specific. You know, at the beginning it's all about tactile seconds about fanning away and as you get older it's about becoming independent and exploring things in a more real life like micro economics and whatnot. Um, and setting them up for success later.

Simon Hennessy:     33:18          

Yeah. And let's talk a little into how that enacts itself in real time. There's one element in your writing, which I really spoke to me, is this idea of essential skills in the classroom. And I wanted to kind of see if we could talk a little bit about that, what they are and how they, I mean we've touched on a little bit so far, but what they are and how they get brought to life.

Gavin McCormack:    33:38          

Yeah, well you know, traditional standard classroom and we went to these classrooms as teachers, the front thirty kids looking at the teacher eyes on me and you know, you're not going to be hitting all the children there with that teaching. Some children, auditory learners, kinesthetic, auditory, you know, literal and you'll lose some of them along the way. So Montessori does it slightly differently and I call it the 20% rule.

Gavin McCormack:    34:02        

The 20% rule works a little bit like this rather than standing at the front for an hour, which is actually very tiring, you know, spinning the plates at the front of being the entertainer and the showman. The idea is that you step back a bit and go, okay, what am I actually teaching you? I'm teaching dinosaurs. So instead of standing in the front and saying, guys, I'm going to teach you about dinosaurs. Let's look at this picture on the board, which I produced earlier on by going on Google and I've just put it on the smart board and then we're going to talk a bit. You're going to read this paragraph that's in your textbook. Highlight the key words, answer these questions. Remember everything I said on Friday and you get a grade ahead, right? Yay. Well done. Yeah, that's like 1920s Victorian England, whatever those days are done.

Gavin McCormack:    34:46          

Um, and a big shift in the world, Sweden, Denmark, Switzerland, you know in Australia, lots of innovative schools, they, they're taking a different slant on these things. And I call it 20% rule. And what it is is you just teach them the 20% of the inspirational stuff and then you stop. So if you are my students now and I was teaching you about dinosaurs, I teach you about the brachiosaurus because it was the same size as two double decker buses. It had two brains. One in it's head and one in the end of its tail, which it evolved to have because its tail is so far away from its head. That when it was attacked, it didn't feel pain, got an infection and died. So in order to combat that, and I can see your eyebrows are raised, cause you're already impressed, I certainly am.

Gavin McCormack:    35:26        

It then evolved to survive because of that. And at this point children are like, are you serious? And you say, of course I'm serious. And you say it's heart was the size of a mini Metro and it would lay an egg every hour, the size of a Range Rover for 200 years. In all that time. You've got like everyone's grip and just stop talking. And then you say this key question now what would you like to know about dinosaurs? And the children say, you know, I want to know what wiped them out. Great. I could tell you, but I'm going to write that question down. And then the other hands go up. You know, how big was the tyrannosaurus rex's arms? Great question. So you're writing these questions down. They come up with them themselves and then you say to the children, now you've got a week and in week's time we're going to meet back here. You've only got four kids in your group. The rest of the kids are independently working and you'll see how this works in a second, but you've got your four kids and you're doing a little lesson with them. In a week's time. I would like you to go away, sorry, in the next week, research one of these questions, or all of them. You can use the library. You can talk to a friend, ask your grandfather, ask your dad, jump on Google, use the iPad however you want to do this, but in a week's time we're going to meet here and you're going to answer one of them or all of them. You can work with whoever you want, on your own, in pairs, in a group, and you can represent your research in however you want. It can be a report, it can be a picture, it can be a dance, a rap, a painting, a model, you name it.

Gavin McCormack:    36:52          

But in a week's time, I'll see you here. And immediately they're all up fired. Oh my, I'm working with you. Oh, let's go, let's go to the library quickly. And off they go. They're all inspired because they feel like they wrote their own curriculum, number one, which they did. You're the puppeteer in the background playing the game, you know, you've got to teach dinosaurs, well you are. You just inspired them and off they go. Now when they go and work in their groups, you're working on your own, but actually it doesn't work for you. You feel lonely actually, doing it? So you might want to go and team up with somebody else working on alone. So you'd go up and say, Hey Tommy, do you mind if I work with you? Well, there's communication, an essential skill straight away. And now Tommy doesn't want to work with you because he wants to work on his own, but he sees you're struggling.

Gavin McCormack:    37:33          

So he says, okay, you can work with me. Well, there's empathy straight away and you've got a group of five kids over there who've decided they're going to build a model of a tyrannosaurus rex and off they go. But one kid is dominating the group, just being really bossy. Another kid said, you know what, I don't like you being the boss of me. I'm leaving this group. So there's voice, someone speaking up and determination and perseverance. Another guy, the kid who loses his group because he's being too bossy. And end up working on his own, then he has to reflect, that's self reflection and evaluation. And then anyway, a week's time they all come back and you say, guys, what happened? And you're, you're sitting back and you observe. So you know what happened in actual fact, but all those skills that you want to teach, you don't need to teach.

Gavin McCormack:    38:16          

Just need to prepare an environment where they will teach themselves their skills because actions have consequences. And then you come back a bit later and you reflect upon it. And that child will say, you know what? I wanted to work in a group but, nobody wanted to work with me. And so what happened? I said, well, he was being really bossy. What will you do then? He'll say, well, next week I won't be so bossy, okay, and you point out those wonderful aspects. You say I saw that you reached out and asked Tommy to work with you. He didn't want to work. What happened next? Well, I could see it was sad, so I really wanted to help him out. So he worked with me. Okay, wonderful. And you, you know, you can see that. But a week later they come back and they present their research to you.

Gavin McCormack:    38:51          

And what's really special about that is your architect in the room who's only seven, he'll always come back with a model every time. Yeah, and later he will be an architect and the dancer in the room, he'll come back with a dance every week and he will be a dancer when he's older, but if I say to all my children, okay everybody, you're all going to write a report because it says report in my program, and the kids are all uninspired. You're not inspired because what you had to deliver was garbage and was preconceived by somebody else wrote it. You didn't write it yourself, you're not inspired, they're not inspired. You lost them straight away. And taking that angle on teaching opens up a world of wonder and you can see I've pointed out a few, those essential skills, they just teach themselves.

Gavin McCormack:    39:39          

All you've got to do is prepare the environment, ready for them to be able to do that and say yes and be able to step back when that child is lonely. Don't say you better work together because he's lonely. Let him go and find the answer himself.

Simon Hennessy:     39:51          

And what's, what's incredible about that in one sense is, I'm just thinking back to my own experience in university and a lot of what you're saying here is the sort of things, this idea of setting your own questions, working in groups, determining how your report or presentation is going to look. It's the kind of thing that you'll see in university, but you won't see it before. You know, and it's, it's, it's funny because some of the problems you're talking about: somebody being bossy, somebody not working well in groups or working better alone or not working better alone. It's something that we're only finding out at that stage and it makes so much sense that it should be something they should find out far before because then by the time comes when they're at that stage, that'd be like, okay, I know what works for me. I know whether you know what type of presentation I'm going to do best, how many people I work well with, what my role in the group is. So it makes absolute sense. Look to let those skills breathe.

Gavin McCormack:    40:43          

Do you remember going to the principal's office when you were seven knocking on his door and saying, I didn't like it when you said this? I do not actually. So I have, I feel like it was a very real possibility, a few weeks a kid knocks on the door and goes Gavin i'd like to talk to you. No problem. Come and sit down. Last week you came in the library and you said something about being embarrassed. I didn't like it because I felt embarrassed and we had a conversation about how it was a miscommunication and misunderstanding, which it was. Um, but just having the knock on the door from a seven year old, having a voice to the principal. I mean, you don't get that. They're never going to get bullied in the office when they're older and never going to get pushed around by anyone because they'll say, Hey, I don't like it when you do that, can you stop doing it? Which I think I didn't have at school. You know, I had some people pushing me around. I just didn't have a, didn't have a voice to do anything about it. And I, if I could go back in time, you know, I'd go to a Montessori school or I'd go to a school that scaffolded my education where I can have the skills in place and you know, that's when my parents come on school tours.

Gavin McCormack:    41:44          

I do the talk. It's not as, it's not a sell. It's, Hey, this is what you get. Let's go look at it in action. And then you walk in the door and the parents go, I can see that right there. That's amazing. And they run to, where do I sign? Where can I get on the wait list? That's why I suppose show them as opposed to tell. Well, look, I always, there's some very, very important and key people in the world who went to Montessori schools. You know, you've got the guys who invented Google, Montessori kids, guys who invented, Wikipedia, Montessori kids. Um, Amazon Montessori, but my best one is Taylor Swift. Not that I'm a big fan of her music. I'm more of a death metal guy, but not usually in primary schools, that's not what you get, you can't really blare that out. You can't blare it out. Yeah, in your office, yes, you need Enya on when they come in.

Gavin McCormack:    42:27          

But you know, she writes her own music. She writes her own words. She speaks out against inequality and that, that resonates. You know, that's what you want. She probably learned that when she was four. She's also a terrific business woman on top of that. Yeah.

Simon Hennessy:     42:41          

She probably had a school newspaper called the Evergreen Editorial. Now without a doubt. And Hey, I'm a Montessori kid myself. So this is music to my ears.

Gavin McCormack:    42:49          

That's right. Well, I noticed you're a good communicator, so thank you very much. Yes, I'm the next Taylor Swift. You heard it here first. That's right.

Simon Hennessy:     42:55          

Yep. Well, I, I almost feel like we could keep talking about your teaching philosophy for hours, but unfortunately I have to move on. But what I wanted to ask was to bring it back to yourself for a moment and sort of talk about what's, what's next on your journey, because there's been so many wonderful experiences and stories that we've heard about so far. So what's coming up next? What's in the class?

Gavin McCormack:    43:17          

Um, so look, I'm principal over at Farmers' Montessori at Manly, got a couple of campuses there. School is a great, you know, I'm just so proud of it. You know, I walk around, I think, wow, this is just amazing. And my old mentor, Bill McKeith said, look, the best thing about being a principal is you have a whole community at your disposal to change the world. And I've got this group of parents who are, you know, they're on board, they're change makers they want to shake it up. We just had an open day and it was plastic free, no waste open day. You know, uh, you know, we had a coffee van that turned up, people brought their own mugs from their house and the children were on board with that. So we are, um, as a school we're growing, uh, people are coming to have a look.

Gavin McCormack:    43:58          

They want to see what it's like and what does Montessori really need. And because I'm such a, you know, an advocate and a big voice for it, um, they go away with really positive messages. So the school is obviously my main priority, nine to five 40 weeks a year. Uh, but I utilize my holidays in a different way than most. Um, so every holiday when the bell rings, I fly off to the Himalayas. And, uh, I built four or five schools in the Himalayas over the last five years. Montessori schools, um, some on the South on Nepal, over in, near the Indian border on the Ganges. Some are in Calvary, up near Everest and in Katmandu, a couple of teacher training centers, one in Katmandu and one in Bottle in the South. And, uh, one of the biggest libraries in the country as well.

Gavin McCormack:    44:43          

And one of my main aims is to revolutionize the Nepalese, um, education system. We've taken Montessori there and now it's going great guns. So I've got my school on board, the kids are, you know, raising money and bringing in resources. I've got other schools feeding into it too. I've got people all over the world sending boxes and books and you name it. Um, and I've kind of fallen into being a kind of a voice for Montessori now. You know, there's not many men in primary teaching in, you know, in the world anyway, I think cause only two or three of us in Australia, Montessori trained primary school teachers. Um, and I've generated this big following, 100,000 people online, whatever, you know, and they're all teachers and they're all in classrooms with 30 kids looking at them and they're, they've one at the front entertainer and the Oracle and they want to get away from that.

Gavin McCormack:    45:34          

And so, um, I've made that my goal, my aim, a lady asked me Monday, why are you doing all of this? Why are you doing it all. Like you work so hard all the time and it's not for money. You never become a teacher for money. And so anyone out there looking to get rich, being a teacher, just dream on. It's not happening. Sorry to disapoint you. Sorry guys. But you will be rich in your heart. I mean, that's the fact. So look, I just want to make a difference. Make a change. It sounds hairy fairy that I know that. Yeah, it sounds like you know Bob Geldof or something, but it's not the case. There's a change there's a revolution on the horizon and people are talking about it all over the place. And you know, I give up my evenings, my weekends, my holidays to do that, to be the voice for that.

Gavin McCormack:    46:12          

So I, I go to India, I do, you know, big talks to thousands of teachers and they all walk away thinking, God, I've got to go to my class. I'm gonna change it. I'm going to change it. I'm going to teach four kids at once and the other guys are going to be independent. I'm going to let them write their own curriculum. I'm going to observe them and then, you know, if you can train your teachers, wow. Then that's it. You're really changing the world. Changing the kids is great. Changing the teachers is big time. Yeah. Uh, so I've got into that, you know, I'm not letting my school down. I never taken a time out of that. That's my main focus. I've got, you know, I've taken on a job there. My children, I'd take them under my wing. I want them to be successful, but you know, maybe I've got ADHD, maybe I've got overactive something or other, but I've got too much energy. My wife always tells me, why don't you just sit down for a minute, have a cup of tea. But I always think, it does not strike me as your style. No, no. I just want to, you know, you can do it. I'm busy. I was in Bankstown on Tuesday night with a hundred teachers all working in different Muslim schools and they want to make a change too. So I'm out there, you know, going, this is how you do it guys. And I'm all about giving it all the way. So I've, you know, 25 years been a teacher, I've gathered so many resources, like a terabyte. So I made this Google drive, you know, with a terabyte of resources and I just flick it to people. I'll say, here you go. Everything you could possibly ever need is in this drive. And I go, why are you giving, why giving this away?

Gavin McCormack:    47:30          

Well, what else am i going to do with it. I don't want to sell it, you know, feel like it was a crime trying to sell it. So I just give it away. And, uh, you know, some of the best experiences I've had in my life are when people have given me stuff for free. So yeah, I've made that my focus, my aim being a being a school principal is an amazing one, I always want it to be one, you don't get to teach as much, but you get to, you know, do the big stuff, like come here and talk to you.

Simon Hennessy:     47:55          

Awesome. Well, it sounds like some really wonderful initiatives in there. Um, and you know, any, anybody who's listening, anybody who is interested in this can find you on your website and, um, get in touch with you through there. We'll include that obviously in the links in the messaging going in around this. Um, last thing, I suppose I was going to ask for like a crazy story, uh, from your years. I feel like we've got a few already, but if there's one more story or even piece of advice,

Gavin McCormack:    48:22          

I mean, is it, can it be funny? Can it be slightly risque? Can be slightly risque.

Simon Hennessy:     48:26          

Yes. Okay. And I will edit anything out that's, too far, yeah, you will. Okay. Well, that's what we'll tell you anyway before you start.

Gavin McCormack:    48:32          

I don't want to lose my job. Um, so yeah, I was working over in Sheffield in England, just become a teacher. Wanted to be, you know, that innovative guy, 20 years old, just graduated, got some, got some eggs, you know, in the classroom to hatch, for the kids. Incubator. Thought guys, we're going to hatch these eggs, these kids little kids, were six and I made one little boy gave him responsibility. He said, look, you're in charge of the temperature. You just keep your eye on it can't be below 80 or above a hundred. No problem. You know, three or four days in and three of the chicks had hatched: Sunny, Sunshine and Fluffy kids named them. Beautiful. Everything's going really well. And um, I was having lunch in the staff room and suddenly the door burst open. Little Benjamin, his name was, I know you'll never just burst into the Stafford. We never know what's going to be behind that door. Bold move. It's risky. But I knew something was up at that point. He's red in the face. He's like Mr McCormack, you've got to come the incubator's on 150 degrees. So I just threw my, you know, salad down, ran out the door, ran to the incubator. Sure enough, Fluff, Sunshine and a whatever, Honey, whatever it's called, dead, dead as a door nail.

Gavin McCormack:    49:42          

So he's crying and I said, look, don't worry about it. It's not your fault. Someone's knocked into the temperature gauge, you know, off you go on the playground. I'll sort this out. So I'll figure this out. And in my, you know, stupidity or lack of experience or whatever it was, there was a little flip lid bin in the classroom, you know, that you've used, I just picked them up and throw them in there. No, no. Horrible. And um, kids came in and I said, look guys, something terrible has happened, all the kids on the carept. They're like, what is it Mr McCormack? And I said, look, I'm afraid we haven't been careful enough. And somebody has knocked into the temperature cage and it's been up on 150, and I'm afraid Fluffy, Sunshine and Honey, have all been fried. I don't think I use fried – pretty graphic choice of words.

Gavin McCormack:    50:27          

Yes, they've passed away. They've gone, moved on. They've got up to chick heaven. Yeah, that's true. I think I did use chick heaven and uh, they were like, well, what have you done? I said i buried them in the garden. Yeah the Pinocchio nose growing out, yeah it's growing right out there. You know, buried in the garden. So the kids, uh, you know, they're crying and hugging each other. I said, look, you know, let's just be careful and hopefully some of them, the eggs will hatch tomorrow. And uh, we got on with our afternoon. I remember we were painting and I was on one table painting with some children and little boys over at the bin sharpening his pencils. And he's like this Mr McCormack and I've stopped. Yes. It's like I can hear a noice coming out of the bin. And uh, I know.

Gavin McCormack:    51:10          

And I said, and I suddenly had this, I just remembered what I'd done. I was like, please don't be the chicks. And then he, he popped his hand in and pulls it out with this chick alive with pencil sharpenings all on his head, like a little hat. And I was like, Oh my God. I mean, he pulled them all out and had them all in his hand and is like, uh, they're alive. It's Fluffy, and Sunshine and Honey. So all the kids started cheering and dancing - they're alive. And I was like, it's a miracle. Anyway, one girl's just a little bit too smart, isn't she? And she turns around and shouts out, you're a liar, you're a liar. This and all the kids turned on me then and they all started turning on me from those smiles turn to frowns and their fingers are pointing at me, you know from the most popular guy in the class.

Gavin McCormack:    51:54          

Because like they all thought I was the devil, saying you're a liar and they were going home. I remember them leaving the room saying Mr McCormack's a liar to their moms and dads as they walked down the path, I was like, I feel so ashamed. Anyway I have to write an email out to parents saying look, I made a huge mistake but thank God I did. Because if I'd have buried them in the garden I would've buried them alive. So I made a mistake. But actually you know it was the universe telling me not to do it and there you go. Anyway, tenuous logic. But I learnt from very early that you do not lie to primary school children because they will find out. You lose their trust. You've lost.

Simon Hennessy:     52:27          

Two morals of the story for me. Number one, don't lie to primary school children, number two, do not put chicks in the bin.

Gavin McCormack:    52:35          

Don't put them in the bin. Yep. And don't put a six year old in charge of the temperature gauge.

Simon Hennessy:     52:39          

Yes. Well three morals then I suppose, yeah, exactly right. Wonderful. Well listen Gavin, it's been an absolute pleasure and best of luck with everything to come with the Montessori and the initiatives over in Nepal. All sounds amazing. Until next time guys, enjoy yourself. We will see you back for whatever weird or wonderful corner of the education world we find ourselves in. Then in the meantime, you can check us out at It's goodbye from Gavin and goodbye from me. See you.

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