Next up, EBE Director and recently prolific bloggist, Jack Deverson…
What’s your name?
Where are you from?
Generically, the north-east of England. I’ve moved between Sunderland, Newcastle, (China) and the education powerhouse that is Durham…
What do you do?
I’m Managing Director here at evidencebased.education. I’ve always been a bit of a jack of all trades (no pun intended), but here, I manage all of the daily running of the business, conduct some training, as well as still doing some bits and bobs of proofreading and translation work – a legacy of my company I set up to fund me through university.
How did you get into this job?
I fell into it by accident! See this post for more detail; but basically, I came to a crossroads at the same time as Stuart did, and we thought that it might be a good idea to set up a business!
What motivates you when things get tough?
There are good days and bad days… Basically, when I’m on a good day, I’m unstoppable; and when it’s a bit of a bad day, I generally keep myself in solitary confinement and work until I feel better about stuff. I love distance running, so that’s a big one when I’m struggling, and I tend to think of the approach to life adopted by my late friend Brent, whom I met in China and who sadly passed away last December. Having him as a neighbour for a year changed me massively, and I still regret not making it out to San Diego to visit him.
How would your colleagues describe you?
Probably as a massive pain in the backside, when I’m nagging them about deadlines!! No, I’d like to think they see me as a bit of an inspiration – someone who gets up every morning and has a serious work ethic and some degree of creativity and inspiration.
When you’re not working, how do you switch off?
As mentioned before, I love distance running, and I’m currently in the process of building my distance up again after a few quiet months. Otherwise, I play the guitar and sing, and enjoy a bit of slacklining from time to time. Basically, sport – either playing or watching – or music.
What’s been the highlight of your education career so far?
Probably would have to be winning a province-wide Chinese speaking and talent competition – against some native speakers… – while I was away in Hainan. That was also the first time I’d ever stood up on a stage and performed. I got the bug.
If you could change one thing in your career, what would it be?
Hmmm. This is a tricky one, as it’s not been a long career so far. Everything I’ve done has been the right decision at the time, and I’ve learned a huge amount on each step of the way.
What do you see as the role of evidence in education now, and in ten years’ time?
I feel more and more passionately about this, the more we work on our projects here. I feel that, if, say, in medicine, we made a decision that went totally against what the evidence suggested, it would put people’s lives at risk and there’d be uproar. I see a growing trend of evidence in education, and I hope we’re at the forefront of it. We’re doing a lot of US-based work (this exciting project, for one) where the concept seems to be taking hold, and with the rise of Research Schools here in the UK, it can only grow and grow. Now, there are a few isolated teachers and school leaders who look at the best available evidence when making a decision; in ten years, I think this will be standard best practice. It has to trickle down from the relatively closed world of university academia; it’s got to start there and spread organically – with a bit of help from us!!
Up with the larks, or burning the midnight oil?
Relaxing beach break or activity holiday?
Activity, any day of the week. Give me climbing over a sun lounger!
Tea or coffee?
City or country?
City – I thought I was more of a country lad, but I’m not. I need to be within reach of countryside though!
Board game or movie?
Board game. I can’t sit still for long enough. There’s a time and place for a good movie though.
What song would be the soundtrack to your life?
Arctic Monkeys’ Mardy Bum…
And finally, tell us one interesting fact about yourself.
I’ve got a few things up my sleeve. I’ve kind of said yes to everything and ended up doing all sorts of bizarre stuff as a result. Probably that I’ve presented the English-language news on Chinese provincial TV!!