Thursday, June 27, 2013

School Improvement "Gangnam Style"

I have always enjoyed the various stunts that school principals would perform in support of some worthy cause: getting the kids to read more books, sell more candy (ahem), or reach school achievement goals. In my time, I've spent the day on the roof of the school, flown away in a hot air balloon, and kissed a pig.

Incoming EKU President Michael Benson once performed the Harlem Shake at the behest of his SUU students. He was clearly being a good sport.

But we'd both have to raise our game to match Head Teacher Jeff Hughes from Warrington, Cheshire, (between Liverpool and Manchester) United Kingdom. The promise of seeing Hughes perform “Gangnam Stye” motivated the students at Penketh High School to study harder.

In December, Jeff Hughes promised to perform “Gangnam Style” for students if they reached the school’s education goals. After they held up their end of the deal, he one-upped them by making a full remake of the video, with the help of 50 teachers and the school’s media team, reports the BBC.
Mr Hughes said he had wanted to motivate pupils to work hard, but also to have fun and be part of something.

The 58-year-old head, who is due to retire at the end of the school year, said the promise to perform Psy's hit dance came very much on the spur of the moment.

"It was just before Christmas and we were trying to put together a motivational message for the pupils, and there were a lot of people saying, 'Work hard and do this and do that'. I said if you hit your targets I would stand up and do a Gangnam Style dance in the school leavers' assembly.

"And with us being a specialist media school the media team said, 'Why don't we re-create the whole music video?' "

The video – which was posted on YouTube in late May – has gone viral, attaining over 285,000 views to date. The video was filmed before and after school for four weeks, reports the Liverpool Echo.

Hughes told the BBC that he has been extremely pleased with the public’s reaction to the video.
What began with a throwaway comment took on a life of its own with the teachers practising [not sic, the Brits insist] secretly after school so the pupils did not find out.

Gagnam Style
Hughes took to the Psy role with relish
When it came to the leavers' assembly ... Mr Hughes came on to the stage dressed as the Korean star doing the dance, to the great amusement of his pupils.

Then he stopped suddenly and said: "And that's not all." The media team quickly flicked on the full version of the music video.

Mr Hughes said schools, especially ones such as his own - which is labelled as requiring improvement by Ofsted - were under a great deal of pressure to improve.

He added: "I think sometimes it's important that we develop strong relationships with young people.
"It's not just about authority. We have to get them to see that we are human, and I think a bit of fun can help relieve the stresses and the strains."

The “Gangnam Style” video may provide Hughes with future opportunities. According to the Liverpool Echo, he was recently asked to judge a junior-Gangnam Style competition.

Hat tip to HuffPo.

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