How many circles?

Let’s start with the facts – the Oxford English Dictionary tells us:

circle (noun)

a round plane figure whose boundary (the circumference) consists of points equidistant from a fixed point (the centre).

Apparently it’s pronounced ˈsəːk(ə)l.

With this definition in mind, it’s clear the answer to the question could easily be ‘there are two circles…’. Saying so though overlooks a margin for error as, of course, the diameter of the shape is not actually equal at every angle. Yes, it’s nearly a perfect circle. But perhaps this means it isn’t ACTUALLY a true circle.

It means by saying there are two, you’re ignoring an imperfection. You’re allowing the ‘nearly a circle’ to get away with being not quite as it should be. Luckily, in this example, it doesn’t actually matter – no one loses out by you saying there are two.

Whether you have an irritating squeak in your car though, or one of your bathroom bulbs has blown, there are parallels in our lives – and also in our schools.

  • A teacher may have a pile of marking and overlook some lazy letter formation on a pupil’s work
  • Perhaps every time they walk in front of their interactive whiteboard, they cast a shadow over their carefully-crafted lesson.
  • A school business manager may not budget for the £200 cost of a projector lamp
  • One-to-one support may not flag up their pupil with English as a second language can’t understand every word the teacher is saying
  • A school receptionist doesn’t get around to logging a late pupil into the school’s MIS
  • The headteacher overlooks that the interactivity on the whiteboard isn’t working on one of the school’s classrooms. Then in two of the classrooms, and by summer term, it’s three

The list continues…

The above comparatively small imperfections are easy to overlook. It’s easy to say they don’t affect the bigger picture, and that everything is still as it should be.

Halogen spotlights for the bathroom are low cost though, and even the latest LED bulbs are more affordable than we think. They also last a lot longer than standard technology.

Interactive touchscreens avoid projector shadowing, never need a lamp replacement and the interactivity never fails. A soundfield system will support the EASL pupil and a sign-in system will ensure all late pupils are registered to MIS.

These little imperfections are very easy to solve. With some initial planning and commitment, every circle, and every piece of education technology, can be exactly as it should be – no compromises.

So the answer? 1.

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