Giving Students the Tools for Autonomy, Empowering Parents to Understand their Child and Changing the Fabric of Mainstream Education: A Chat with Founder of the Young Fire Academy, Henry Dingle: Podcast Transcript

Ludo Millar
Hello, and welcome to the Qualified Tutor Podcast, the podcast that brings you the latest in the world of tutoring EdTech and education and hopefully inspires in us a big change that each and every one of us is capable of.

Qualified Tutor is an industry-leading tutor training organisation and an online tutoring community for 1000s of tutors around the world. This podcast is the voice of this community, where we aim to hear from tutors, teachers, entrepreneurs, coaches, business experts, students, tutor printers, and more from the world of tutoring about what inspires them every day, how they can help tutors like you and what they’ve learned about tutoring along the way.

The question is, what will you learn today?

***

Ludo Millar 1:46
Hello, and welcome to the 111th episode of the Qualified Tutor Podcast. As ever, my name is Ludo Millar, the host of this podcast and welcome back to regular listeners. Welcome to any of you for whom this is your first time listening to the Qualified Tutor Podcast. And of course, a huge welcome to today’s guest, Henry Dingle. Welcome to the podcast, Henry.

Henry Dingle 3:02
Thanks, Ludo. Hi, everyone. It’s great to be here.

Ludo Millar 3:06
It’s a real pleasure to have you on and you recently joined our community and it’s been a bit of a whirlwind already. You’ve changed the lives, you’ve changed the perspectives of many of our members already with your wonderful thoughts and comments. And really, being a guest on this podcast is the natural progression of that. But, you know, having looked back through the work you’ve done in the tutoring industry over the past 15 years, Henry, it’s really quite extraordinary. And you’ve been there doing online tutoring and running webinars longer than most people, so we owe a huge amount I think in this industry to the work that you and also Atul Rana have been doing over the past kind of 10-15 years. Just as a brief introduction, so you our listeners can can can contextualise Henry a little bit and why we brought him on. Henry is the founder of Young Fire Academy and as I just mentioned there he co-founded the Indie Tutors Network alongside past podcast guest, Atul Rana and through this offers a very refreshing and innovative take on how an educator can approach the learning relationship with their students and also crucially, the parents of their students.

So, Henry has a pretty wonderful knack of combining practical and experience led understanding of what makes children and parents tick with a deep, methodical philosophy to back it up, as you will no doubt find out he’s an eloquent intelligent speaker and writes about the craft of education in a very thoughtful way, which as I mentioned is not surprising perhaps given entries many years in the tutoring field. So Henry, we are are very, very glad to have you on. And any listeners of the podcast over the few recent episodes will have worked out that we are starting episodes in a new way of late. And that is by me asking guests if they have any old school reports that they can locate in the treasure chest of their homes or more recently, the homes of their parents. So, Henry, over to you for the next few minutes or so to read through some old school reports that you found.

Henry Dingle 5:36
Well, first of all, thank you for your amazing introduction. While I’m very flattered by by that way of contextualising me and introducing me, it’s not clear to me in some ways that I’ve been contributing to the industry, but I can see myself also further through those eyes, it’s a really lovely perspective. And I’ve always felt like quite an outlier, I suppose in the education industry, probably similar to many other tutors, you know, you feel like you do a lot of your work on your own. And increasingly, I have done a lot more collaborative work with others. So, yes, it’s really fun to look at cultural change and industry change. And that way that we’re all contributing with everything that we do, especially when we show up in forums like yours. It was amazing to join the Festival and to be aware of this tutoring community. You know, we tried at all and I tried to start a tutoring community way back, I don’t know when that was maybe five, six years ago. And so yeah, kudos to you. And just it’s so great to see it happening. You know, we just wanted it to exist, to be honest, we didn’t really necessarily want to be running it. But we really wanted it for ourselves. And we knew it was what was needed for the community and for the industry. So yeah, it’s just great that this is all coming about. And thank you for your very flattering intro.

Yes, school reports. All right. Yeah, I mean, we talked a little bit before we started rolling the recording here. And, for me, it’s very interesting to read school reports, because it feels like I’m reading them for the first time that they kind of- it’s interesting that they’re not really, they’re mostly a communication between the teachers and the parents. And in that I pick up on a lot of the languaging in these reports, that is to do with the old ways of doing things, you know, probably by the time we finish this podcast, that’ll be kind of clear on my perspective there on our current institutions and systems, and ways of relating to young people and each other. So yeah, you know, my reports aren’t like, funny in that kind of way. To me, I read them and I’m like, wow, it brings up a lot, you know, it brings up quite a lot from a very happy childhood, a very happy schooling, in many ways, you know, I was a good fit, I could do everything that I needed to do. Academics, sports, music, whatever, you know, I just, I was into it all. And yet, when I read these reports, it just, it reminds me why I’m doing the work I’m doing now. So yeah, you know, I mean, this this thing’s like, you know, it’s all just basically just reports to just say, ‘[He] needs to knuckle down, you know, or he needs someone to knuckle him down’. You know, ‘he needs controlling, he needs like-‘, let me see if I can pick out an actual sentence that says, yeah, ‘He has the opportunity to redeem himself in the examinations’. I mean, like that to me is just like a red rag to a bull like that I have the opportunity, through harder work to redeem myself, if I were deeming myself to a teacher, you know, this kind of quiet, ‘I’m pleased to see your face’ leader, that’s shocking to you as well.

But you know, teachers can often have that sense of like being in that position of power, and that communication between the parent I think, and often fly like that. ‘A strict morning regime in Putney would not go amiss’, you know, like that kind of thing for revision, you know, old school, I mean, I’m in my mid-40s, and I’m speaking to someone who’s like, nearly half my age [LAUGHS], you know, 20 years younger than me, so and maybe many others listening, but that was very typical, I would say in that day, and I know it’s still goes on now. One other report was from an art teacher and I wasn’t a great artist in terms of like, visual art, but this is a great snapshot of how I feel my whole life has been, ‘Henry’s work steadily throughout the half experiencing periods of euphoria and despair. His intelligent and creative approach to his work is producing good things with considerable potential’. It’s mostly the euphoria and despair in some ways from that and obviously my great excitement about what I feel I can do in the world. And that’s what’s really coming about now, just these last five years or so, really evolving a bit away from tutoring.

So you know, I’ve had my foundations and more than 15 years of tutoring, and I’ve been a musician for a long time. And so the tutoring and music went hand in hand for a long time. And now, the considerable potential, and I feel like something is really bubbling up for me.

And yeah, like you say, it really relates to the whole family, it relates especially to parenting culture. I’m a father myself with a nine year old and an eight year old. And yeah, my whole offer has changed from tutoring to mentorship coaching, certainly parent coaching alongside working with teens. And the academic side is there still, I’m still a specialist Maths and English tutor due to GCSE level. But it’s often not even on the table, I run a 12-week programme. And for many people, it’s not even in the list of goals to do anything there. So I’m also more and more finding myself in the coaching, straight coaching, maybe you could even call it ‘life coaching’ role, I don’t really associate with that label either. I’m not trained in life coaching. But you know, I feel some sort of gap there for young people where they don’t want to see a therapist, that they want to see a counsellor. I do feel like I get great results with some of those, you know, very specifically who don’t need a professional, I have to say that first of all, I know when it’s not me, and I know when they need to see someone who is trained. But yes, somewhere along the line there. It’s just marrying academic pressures. I basically try and get the parents to back off and to enable the teens to step up and take more ownership of their lives through the schooling years.

Ludo Millar 12:01
Yeah. So Henry, can I jump in? I’d love to ask, where does that come from? Why tutoring? Why did you start doing what you do now?

Henry Dingle 12:18
Yeah, I mean, well, I was a musician. And I was looking for a job in a call centre because I didn’t have any money. And I ran into a friend, a guy at a party. And he just said, ‘Oh wow, yeah, well, you know, good luck with the call centre job’, which was starting the next day. You know, it was a terrible fit for me, I think he could probably tell that and I just didn’t have a way of making income whilst I was writing songs, which I did for, you know, 15 years or something. I was a songwriter. And he said, ‘I’m tutoring and I earn £25 an hour. You know, pretty sure you could interview with my-‘ it was an agency and I just couldn’t believe it, I actually couldn’t believe that you could work with a child one-on-one and teach them and make that kind of money when you could wipe like cafe tables down for £5-6 an hour at the time as it probably was. So I was like, wow, okay, that was just immediately obviously very appealing, not just for the money, but the nature of the work. But Ludo, I downplayed my love of teaching for a long time, because I was a full powered musician. I was 100% committed to that career and that craft, so it just was there, that was my bread. No, that was how I made my money. I was greatly relieved to step away from the abstract nature of music making and you know, time in the studio, and just the endless designs of things and whatever. And into just right, here’s an hour, here’s a kid who needs to know trigonometry. And at the end of it, you get 25 quid or 50 quid or whatever it is. And I love that. Yeah, I mean, not for that. Again, it was useful money, but it was mostly the concrete nature of it as well. It was a job that needed to be done. And I think it just kept me sane whilst I was fumbling around in the music business, you know, to just go in and do a job for someone else. There’s something about service in that, that it wasn’t so focused on me, it wasn’t a tool focused on me. That was a great relief. And so I really, I don’t think I would have managed to be a musician for that long without without the real good work of of being with young people and trying to help in that family set up as well.

Ludo Millar 14:38
So where did the focus on parents and parental support come from then? From with the student to more focusing on the entire family education? Where did that transition come from?

Henry Dingle 14:55
Yeah, I mean, it all came from- all the way through my music career as well, I just presumed I wouldn’t be tutoring the next year, for example, I was always like, I won’t be doing this anymore next year. And that went on for 15 years or something. And I was still still very much tutoring and the music was not, you know, it wasn’t replacing the tutoring. So I just carried on for years and years and years doing that. But I wasn’t really putting any great thought into, you know, the tutoring evolved, it still nourished me somehow still excited me to be doing it and never became a burden, which surprised me. But it evolved steadily, until I then completely stopped being interested in music anymore, I just was done with it. And once I was just putting all my attention and love and interest into education, which was kind of what I wanted to do with music. As an aside, I wanted to write that kind of music that educated, I wanted to write that kind of lyric that moved things along, for everyone, me included, changed things. Yeah, once all the energy went there, I just was responding to what what was needed. So for example, I could see that I didn’t want to tutor anyone without them having choice.

Choice on all levels, really a choice as to whether they wanted to work with me. So this is the young people’s choice as to whether they wanted to even improve their grades at all, or do any of this. So, I eventually just started drawing these lines in the sand where I just would not work with anyone who couldn’t meet me in my way of offering my offer. So that was one thing, the students had to be up for it, they had to want to do it. And I also just had to start imposing myself as an authority on the parents as well, you know, not wanting to become the controller that I’ve referred to from my past [LAUGHS], but more just that I knew so much about this area, I’d spent so much time in family settings. And with listening to parents and listening to teenagers and younger, I just knew what I was doing. I just knew what I thought was needed. And it was really against the grain often for what I was being hired for. So the parents would often come in, and they would have an idea, but I just knew I knew better than them, I knew I knew that they actually needed to sometimes do the opposite of what they were thinking was going to be the solution. And so often parents would come in and the solution is, say, loads of extra hours of tutoring this tutor to tutor my kid, like get the grades, get the grades, just tutor him or her, you know, you know what we need here is like knuckling down, you know, we need like harder work, we need whatever you know, and I need to hire someone who’s just going to make them work harder. So I knew at that point that actually some of these parents really needed to be told that that was a disastrous approach to educating someone for the long-term or the short-term, that motivation would never come like that.

And yeah, so you know, my offer now the parents really come in and I pitch it as a leap of faith into trust, you know, that they really need to, if they’re having these issues with confidence, motivation, those are the typical areas that are working with the child. The high likelihood, in my experience is that they’ve just had far too much being told what to do at home and at school. These are the systems we have in place. That’s the parental culture of our times. The helicoptering sort of approach more or less, even if it’s very sugar-coated still, that’s what we’re doing. And same at school. So I offer the young people a complete break from that. So that’s why I offer a relationship where they come in, and I’m not going to tell them what to do. It’s up to them. They have to say, ‘Yeah, I want to do this’. And this is what we’re going to do, they have to do that with me, build that with me. But it’s what’s interesting, Ludo, to answer your question and wrap this answer up, is that the parents don’t know that they really need someone in their life to just go like some of them. They just need to be told, actually, you’ve got to go the opposite direction. This is a transitional change for you, not just for your child. This is a moment when you need to really go, I actually can’t control. I literally can’t, because they’ll tell me that they won’t do it. But also, when I do control, I just get worse and worse and worse results. You know, we’re trying to set people up for life, not just for the next set of exams, we’re trying to build their confidence and their platform for self direction, which is the big shift I think needs to happen in education. And if we keep just pushing them up, each mountain and through each hoop and whatever, they come up with nothing, they come up with no self-leadership, no maturity, no ownership, no responsibility. I don’t think the grades mean a lot in the wake of that. So this has been my great kind of obsession the last five years or so. Yeah, long answer.

Ludo Millar 20:21
No, a perfect answer. I’ve got two important threads that I want to pull on from the answer there. But I just don’t know which question to ask first, because they both relate to what you said. But I’m going to go with this one a little more. A fairly blunt question, Henry. But do you think then, that the mainstream education system is more important for the parent than for the student?

Henry Dingle 20:51
Well, I would say we should be quite brutal about how education has been set up and what function it fulfils in society and always has done which is mostly to put the children somewhere so that the parents can go to work. So I think you know, our education system, just to be really brutal, we try and do a lot of good things within that structure. But children have to go to school so that parents can work in some ways. So we’re a bit stuck in that setup, because there is no choice in that. There isn’t the openness and the love and the nurturing of children that I mean, of course, we all try our best. Any teachers listening to this, I’m with you all the way this isn’t about anyone being to blame, but it’s just to look at the system as a whole. So yeah, I think schools serve the parents in that way that we all have that need, we have to go out and work we need to make our money or whatever. But yeah, I don’t know how else to answer that question. It’s a great question, I’m sure. But that’s all I really get from it as well.

I think like way back before we look at who it serves best, I certainly do meet a lot of parents who I think are just trying to get a certain result out of the education system for their child, which I don’t think serves anyone. So like I say, if anyone is a teacher, you know, this system, I don’t think it serves anyone, I actually don’t think the students are well served. I don’t think the teachers are in the right setup. I don’t think the platform’s right for anyone in a way for ultimate flourishing. Of course, lots of people are doing great work, lots of schools are getting great results in a profound way, as well as a superficial way. So I’m not denying any of everyone’s great work. But I really think everyone would be better if we could jump ship into a much more enlightened kind of era of education. And everyone had much more freedom, autonomy and could develop purpose, which is what is needed in the workplace. That’s what’s needed in employment going forward. But we’re just not there yet. We’re not doing that yet. We’re not ready for [it], the change is going to be quite slow. Which, Ludo, also is a reason why I think I’ve ended up focusing on parents. I’m not focused on schools, I’m not focused on governments. I’m interested in grassroots parental culture shift. Basically, I want the parents to know first of all, that they don’t have to grind their kids through this grade system. They don’t have to worry about all of that as much as they do, that it isn’t the be-all-and-end-all for their kids future. You know, it’s not even the be-all-and-end-all of their children’s future when they come to interview for a job, I don’t think. But when you look back to what I was talking about before, do you want your child to come out of school with confidence, self-direction, motivation, purpose? Or do you want them to come out with a load of grades that some employer that they don’t even know, you know, they don’t even know what job to go for. So it’s very interesting right now where we’re at, because we’re still a bit hooked to the old system. We’re all still a bit obsessed with the measurables and all that kind of thing, but it’s really not. It’s losing its appeal. I think to many people, I want to encourage parents to open up to a much more profound basis for their children, a much more profound result from education than what we’ve been focused on with grades and the rest of it.

Ludo Millar 24:31
So when did you realise that the areas of confidence-building and relationship tutoring might be more important than tutoring children for academic success?

Henry Dingle 24:45
I mean, I just couldn’t bear to be with young people where we weren’t all completely free. You know, I just wanted us all to be free. I also didn’t want- I could feel the limitations coming into my work, to my way of operating, so I present myself entirely freely to all of the young people I meet. Partly because I’ve brokered that situation for myself, you know, the parents don’t have me on a payroll, for example. Many students I’ve had over the years, a few of them, I can think of this, they’ve called me out on that. And gone, ‘Yeah, but you know, you’re on like, £50 an hour or £80 an hour, whatever. That’s why you’re doing, you know, we’ve ended up there’. I’ve had to say, you know, I’m not, you know, you can end up being a person, another person, in any young person’s life who’s just being paid like teachers, to, you know, so there isn’t that sense of like, we’re doing this together. We’re all volunteers, we all want to be here. So I’ve needed to remove all of these different ways in which the yes, somehow I just know that we need to be. We can trust young people, we don’t have to make them do anything. We don’t have to fear that they’re not, you know, this is so obvious, probably to everyone, but you know, if you look at babies, they are absolutely predisposed to learn. We are born all of us predisposed to learn. Anyone who’s listened to Sir Ken Robinson or listened to any of this kind of stuff, we know that we’re born with just like ultimate appetite for learning, including French, English, geography, history, whatever, including all that. But the more we remain in this culture, these cultures and systems, sometimes the more we can lose that, and the more that just becomes so hard to come by. And so parents were in this difficult position where they’re wondering, like, why is my child not motivated to do these 10 GCSE subjects like what’s happened, what’s gone wrong? And so I knew that the kindest thing to do with that gig was to create an environment for myself, and for my students, and for the parents, where we could be free of all of that.

When you’re hired as a tutor, a lot of people I think, would still feel like the parents are then in control of that. So they’re the ones paying. So they’re the ones that then kind of have the ultimate authority today. So that was, yeah, one of the first things that I had to remove, I just couldn’t do it like that. I knew too much. I knew too much about, you know, probably about five years ago. So I just, there’s been various things, choice was a massive thing. I was like, wow okay, they have to have choice. If we’re not giving them any choice about whether they’re going to be here, or what they’re going to do, then I knew we’d lost them, we’d lost. If we don’t give students autonomy and choice, then tutoring just becomes a lame extension of a lame system. So yeah, there’s been quite a few breakthroughs like that, for me, especially over the last five years. And the parenting one has just opened up, more and more and more. I’ve got parenting groups. Now I run parenting calls for all parents who know that the nagging, micromanaging, the coercion, the controlling is not working for them, and it’s not going to work. It’s a lifestyle that they don’t want to have as parents anymore. And it’s getting terrible results in terms of motivation for schooling for their children. So then great, they come into the Young Fire Academy. And we hang out together every week, we have a Q&A call once a week where they just share what their experiences [are] with their child. And of course, for half of them, I’m working with children as well. So then I have completely separate relationships, totally separate. I will never mix teenagers and their parents, Ludo. [LAUGHS] It’s like one in one out, you know. So on the calls, even when I first meet them, I’m like, great, I’d love to meet your son. Yeah, bring him in and then see you later, you know, sort of, you’ve got to get the parents out the room. I won’t have anyone listening in. You know, they have to jump in with trust and faith, we make sure the safeguarding and the GDPR and all the kind of you know, the DBS checks, everyone’s okay with that. And then I’ve just got to go, ‘Okay, Henry, I trust you go for it’.

Ludo Millar 29:15
And we- perhaps you’ve touched on a few of these already but I’d like to hear it straight from you. What do you see are the cornerstones of effective tutoring and mentoring?

Henry Dingle 29:31
Relationship. So, relationship-based learning is what it could be called, I suppose. So you know, fundamentally one other permission that I feel I’ve bought myself is the ability to just do anything I like with the hour that I’m with a child. There is absolutely no hammer that comes down in my sessions for like, now it’s worth time. So I don’t have a sense of guilt. If half an hour into the session, we’re still just talking, you know the story, they’re still just talking to me. And it all comes from the students. So I’m not going to fill the hour with my talk. I’m responding to whatever they want to bring into that space and into that relationship, into that session. So yeah, we do all of that first, every time. That’s how we warm up, we just kind of chat with each other, I wait to hear what’s been said. And often that’s way more important than any sort of study we could do that day sometimes. But you know, otherwise, it’s 10 or 15 minutes, we get to know each other, they know me, my kids might come in and they meet my kids. And it’s completely, you know, all of that I know is as powerful as any Maths or English I could do that we really know each other. And I’m not just a tutor for hire, I’m not someone who’s just going to do the gig whilst I’m being paid for it, and then walk away. Everyone who comes into the Young Fire Academy, they are with me for life, in some ways, you know, I want to be in touch with them down the line, I want to know what they’re doing in two years time, five years time, I want to know how it all plays out. Because we’ve made quite a profound change in the family, usually, by the time I finished with them or the time they finished with me. So I want to know, how is that self direction and responsibility and maturity? How is the self direction now? How independent are they? And that is so heartening for me to hear all of those results down the line. So yeah, relationship’s massive.

I mean, the four cornerstones of my own programme are relationship, mindset, coaching for the young people. So often that’s to do with, well, starting from, do you want to leave school? That might be the opening of this, like, let’s quit, why don’t we quit, you know, do something else. And none of them want to do that, you know, it’s very rare. It’s a very rare boldness for someone to just quit pre GCSEs, or whatever, become an entrepreneur. It’s possible, but I just want to open it up for them. So a lot of mindset stuff around purpose, why bother to do it for me, like, if you don’t enjoy your studies then you shouldn’t probably do it. You have to access the enjoyment, that’s the only way to be a student in any way you can is to access what could bring it to life for you, and that you have that responsibility, actually, you have that responsibility to try and find the enjoyment. You also have a responsibility to work with your teacher, like not against your teacher. When you’ve got a class that’s against the teacher, it’s a complete waste of everybody’s time. So I don’t want to play along with that. So I call them out on that kind of stuff, if they’re negative about a teacher or negative about a subject, I really work with them on that relationship, whether it’s with a thing or a person. And then the parent coaching obviously is separate and not to do with the actual tutoring. Yeah, and otherwise, of course, yes, specialist Maths and English tuition. And I’m an essay writing teacher, like I love to teach people how to think effectively, how to plan, how to write. I love the writing part, but especially, yeah, how to make- like an essay can be a horrible thing, you know, people can really all of us, I think I felt that in the past, just wow, what a challenge and what a kind of nightmare, what a burden until I’ve got it done. So what I want to help students really understand the profound value of that it’s not just an exercise in getting a grade or getting it done, you know, which is definitely a part of our system, those two rewards, just getting it out the way and getting something some reward for it. What’s the real reward? What’s the real deep reward of doing an essay? I feel like I know what that is, I know what that is for people, you know, being able to think and respond to any kind of essay question about to be complex. And in one minute, lay out your five answers. I think this that, you know, bears day like this, this, this and this, and then pad it out with some examples, some evidence and quotes, whatever. That’s the thrill is like, I read this essay, it was totally overwhelming, completely had no idea what to say to begin with. And I sat in that space for five minutes and effectively meditated and came up with five broad reaching responses to the question, and those are my paragraphs. That’s my essay, and that is going to be so much better than most other people’s essays, because you’ve actually taken the time to think about it.

So you know, I’m obsessed with these tools for students that they can take the time to think. A lot of them can’t, culturally, it’s all too fast paced. They’re not being invited even to do that, to really sit and think and to not know to be in that space of not knowing, 30 seconds or still not knowing what else to say, you know, and just hanging in there just going, ‘Okay, what else could I say?’. That’s what I’m into with the tutoring as well as Maths. Can they just settle down enough to not throw marks and make mistakes and throw marks way all over the place? Making silly mistakes galore? Poor processing? So I’m obsessed with processing. Going from all the stuff we’ve all heard for decades teachers saying, ‘Read the question. Show you’re working’, all that kind of stuff. The reason why we’re told that is because otherwise, we’re all over the place. It’s a mess. It’s unfulfilling. It’s unreliable, you know. So I’m kind of really trying to stir up for them the profound meaning of studying, I don’t think anything else is going to do it for them. I don’t bring in any sort of right, you’ve just got to do it. Because now’s the time. And, you know, if you don’t get your grades, you won’t then be able to go to this next school and you won’t get a job and bullshit in a way for a lot of people. I think I want them to really get why they would do it. And then get the grades as well. I understand we live in the UK, at least you and I do, there’s a system out there, you know, they might need those. I want them to have good self worth, I want them to think, ‘Yeah, I’m a six or a seven, I’m an eight or a nine’, I want them to be reflected in their grades. But wow, it’s a totally different route to getting there than cramming for something, for example.

Ludo Millar 36:20
I think you said 10, 20, 50 things there, Henry, that have really made me think and will really be making our listeners think about how to become a more effective tutor, how to see the true value of tutoring, how to see their student being the most important part of that relationship. I think there’s obviously things that you’ve gained over your 15 years of tutoring, and probably much before that, as you said, reading out the school reports data, it’s clear that these things were in your mind perhaps even subconsciously from a very young age, even if you never felt that those reports were for you. I think that in itself is such an important thing to understand is that school reports they’re not aimed at the student. And perhaps that’s an obvious thing. Perhaps scoreboards are just for the parent, but the student doesn’t take them in. They don’t remember them. They don’t listen to them. I think the way that you read out those ones at the start was was really striking.

Henry Dingle 37:25
Can I say one thing to that? I think it’s because, you know, I’m in the world of Daniel Pink at the moment. He’s a commentator on motivation, I can see you nodding. And so yeah, extrinsic and intrinsic motivation. You know, a report is an outside reward, is something that validates you from the outside, you know. It’s like having a big house, you want to have a big house or a car or you know, you want to earn lots of money and have all these extrinsic, outside rewards, things to show for your work. Some people operate like that. That’s what motivates them. Many people aren’t motivated by that, you know, so I’m one of those people, I’ve never done any work that hasn’t interested me. I just, it’s not how I’m wired. And I know that that kind of motivation is unstoppable. If you can align with that kind of motivation, you are an unstoppable force. So that’s how I feel right now, in my work, and I do wish for everyone to have that kind of for themselves, certainly the young people I’m working with. So yeah, many of them are not and especially in this day and age, Ludo, I think something’s changing about the world, not just the pandemic, but just generally, this has been accelerating for a long time, the workplace is changing. And, you know, so those kind of outside rewards, a bigger paycheck, a better report, they’re not going to be getting better results. In fact, a lot of the science shows that they get worse results, you get worse results, the more there’s that interference of outside rewards going on, in amongst your natural drives. So yeah, that’s what I’m keen to kind of help my students with, that’s why I’m on the trip of really trying to just look at the value of an essay in and of itself, the value of doing good maths in and of itself. In our in that hour. I want every single session with a student to be the kind of session that they want to come back back to, you know. I have crazy visions of like how schools could look in the future. The teachers should earn the attention of their students, you know, that you will have just a teacher and it’s optional, you know, and in democratic schooling, that’s the case. Students can choose to take it or leave it and I love that they can just like go actually, ‘What is more interesting? To go into see like Mr. Millar and do Maths or to see Ludo (as it would probably be in a democratic schooling setup). It’s more interesting to go and do Maths with Ludo than it is to just lie around and whatever just be on my own. That’s where everyone is, or whatever it is. I love that idea. Game changing.

Ludo Millar 40:21
There is a wonderful organisation called Progressive Education who are writing about and advocating for free and democratic schooling, Henry, I love that you’ve mentioned that because we’re hoping to get a member of their team onto the podcast soon. So that’s a great segue.

***

Ludo Millar 40:39
And to help you find out more about the Qualified Tutor Podcast, here’s a word from last week’s guest, Pablo Buey, about what he enjoyed about being a guest on the Qualified Tutor Podcast, and a word that he’d have for any future guests.

Pablo Buey 40:59
The Qualified Tutor Podcast has given me valuable insight of what I do and how it can impact on others. It has brought me an exciting new experience, which is recording a podcast. I had also looked back on my teenage years from a funny perspective. Upcoming guests: do not hold anything and let it all out.

***

Ludo Millar 41:23
Henry, we’re just coming to a close here. But I’ve got time for one more question for you, if your answer is brief [LAUGHS] which is, what is next for Henry Dingle?

Henry Dingle 41:41
Great. That’s probably less interesting in some ways than the theory because of my wiring. Yeah, I don’t think so much about myself like that. But of course, I have plans. I work very closely with my wife. So on the Young Fire Academy, she’s also Montessori trained, we’re both you know, our kids are going to Montessori School in Cardiff when we move there. So yeah, we’re both in education and excited for expanding the Young Fire Academy to be a vehicle for shifting culture for parents. So like I said, I’m interested in grassroots change, I think that’s where the change is gonna happen. I think that kind of force could really change schooling culture and government policy, faster than most things. So yeah, what’s next is expanding the Young Fire Academy. We have currently 15 or 20 families on our books, and I work one-to-one with the students and in group settings with the parents, and a bit one-to-one with the parents as well. And we’d like to really open that up so that it’s more like 100 people this year, going more into kind of group. Group coaching, both for the young guys, both for the teens and for the parents. And what’s exciting about that is that it’s not like group maths for the teens, it will be as well, it’ll be exactly like the one-to-one sessions, but it’ll be also a real cultural hub. So it’s an empowerment hub. It’s a culture, it’s a community, it’s going to be a culture and community of young people. And I know, despite my yeah, actually, it’s not 15 years, it’s probably more like 25. I say 15 so that people think I’m younger [LAUGHS]. But yeah, despite all that, despite my age, I still feel able to hold that space with teens and allow them to just be with each other. There are two reasons why I was hesitant to send my own children to school. One was the pedagogy, the educational style and the other was just the culture in general, the culture of our children when they’re all put into a schooling setting and it’s not held and not guided well enough. So I’m excited to also hold that space with teens where we can really speak up and step up and empower a much more positive way of relating to themselves and each other. So yeah, it’s going to be the expansion of Young Fire Academy and maybe writing a book …

Ludo Millar 44:15
That’s is, there it is. Inviting yourself back for a second appearance on the podcast [LAUGHS].

Henry Dingle 44:23
Gosh if I ever write a book, Ludo, obvious so again, it will be one of those pinch myself moments. I will do it but it’s going to feel surreal, because I know that’s a huge undertaking. And yeah, I’d love to come back for the book launch episode. Thank you for the invitation.

Ludo Millar 44:40
Listeners, don’t wait until the book launch to get in touch with Henry if you are interested in what he’s been saying: youngfireacademy.com is the place to go to find out more about about Henry and the Young Fire Academy and to read through through that website to find out more about Henry, to read his his musings and writings on tutoring and education and the education system. He has also been on recently been on the Modern Education Movement podcast. There are many more links to his Masterclass video, to his Facebook group. There’s so much that Henry Dingle has done. And you can find out more just by looking in the description of this podcast. Henry, thank you so much for coming on. And you said that we wouldn’t be able to do all of this in 25 minutes and you were absolutely right. Not a problem with that at all. I’m sure people don’t mind an extra 10-15 minutes to what you’re saying. I hope you enjoyed talking about what you do.

Henry Dingle 45:43
I’ve absolutely loved it and yeah, my aim right from the beginning was to be the longest episode so yeah, bring it on that’s great. No Ludo, thank you so much and for all of you in the community. It really is. Having been a part of Indie Tutors, it’s really really special to see it done really well and properly and by the right people and I mean that completely. It’s not what I- actually we just wanted it, we wanted this so much for professional development for tutors and just literally, Atul and I, we were one-on-one for a long time and then we invited a few other people in, it kind of went from there but it’s extremely beneficial for tutors to have these ways of communicating with each other and developing each other and upping the game and just, yeah, it’s very exciting what you’re doing. So thanks to all of you.

Ludo Millar 46:40
Raising standards and tutoring together. If you haven’t heard that line, then you don’t know enough about Qualified Tutor. Thank you so much listeners. I hope you enjoyed hearing about what Henry does and what he thinks about tutoring. We will see you all next time. Cheerio Henry.

***

Ludo Millar

Thank you for listening to this episode of the Qualified Tutor Podcast. Whether you’re a regular listener of this podcast, or you’ve just stumbled across it, join the Qualified Tutor Podcast Group within the Qualified Tutor Community. To stay up to date with our latest news offers workshops and of course, simply to meet other tutors like you, whatever your level is as a tutor, our training courses will be the next step in your professional development. Visit qualified tutor.org/training to find out more about our CPD-Accredited and Ofqual-recognised courses: the first of their kind in the tutoring industry.

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on email

Related Posts

How to Incorporate Spaced Learning...

Cindy Palmer, Founder of STEM Tutoring based in Washington State, has a handy tip to help you embed spaced practice…

Why the Time to Focus...

Quite why it's taking us this long to get Sean McCormick onto the podcast, we will never know. But now…

Getting to Know the Platform...

Pablo is a Brand Ambassador of the hugely popular tutoring platform, Superprof. Pablo is also a veritable polyglot (a speaker…
About Us
group photo of
Qualified Tutor is a grassroots movement led by tutors and school-leaders to raise standards in the tutoring profession with the QT, a flexible yet comprehensive qualification and quality mark designed to enable and empower motivated tutors.

Let’s Socialize

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on email
Popular Posts