Take It Outside

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John Dabell

I trained as a primary school teacher 25 years ago, starting my career in London and then I taught in a range of schools in the Midlands. In between teaching jobs, I worked as an Ofsted inspector (no hate mail please!), national in-service provider, project...
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Must we always meet indoors?

I’m not a fan of meetings. Never have been. Most of them are pretty pointless and are notorious time-stealers that add to teacher workload. They can be a real hike.

Obviously we have to have meetings but held on a routine basis they can be counter-productive, especially when held in the same place. This isn’t just me having a moan either. The ATL’s Managing Teacher Workload book devotes a chapter to meaningless meetings.

Walk And Talk

But some meetings are great and can be hugely productive. If there are only a few people that actually need to be in the meeting then there is no reason why it has to be held in an office, classroom or staffroom. Certainly one-to-one meetings can be held outside.

A quirky option is to have walking meetings instead. This is an idea that Ian MacRae and Adrian Furnham suggest in their new book Motivation and Performance: A Guide To Motivating A Diverse Workforce.

Walking meetings make a lot of sense for just a couple or a handful of people. It isn’t really an option for a large group – imagine having 30+ staff trudging round the school field (if you have one).

Okay, walking meetings hit a few practical barriers such as weather and geography but a walk and talk can be far more beneficial than being physically inactive sat in a hot stuffy room getting nowhere fast.

As MacRae and Furnham say,

…it can brighten up a day, inspire new creativity, and even if it ends up being another useless meeting rehashing the same old problems, it has done a little to improve health.

Walking meetings might be more suited to those that work in corporate offices but it can work for teachers too depending on your school site and location. Obviously the purpose and content will dictate whether you venture out or not but certainly for some meetings they don’t always have to be held inside.


There is little doubt that fresh air can drive fresh thinking and many successful people swear by taking a walk or holding walking meetings to inspire them. Research has shown that talking a walk can really give your ideas some legs.

Image result for walking meetings steve jobs

Image: TEDBlog

Today is Outside Classroom Day so hopefully you will have taken your class outside and seen the benefits. Obviously this isn’t restricted to just once a year!

Being outside does us all good and so as staff we could all benefit from a change of scene. Far too much of our time is spent inside so if you can meet outside then go ahead and do it!

You never know, people might just start enjoying meetings and even asking for them!

It’s time to walk the talk.

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