Is Smata Right for You?

Smata is not for everyone. There is a special type of teacher it works for.


Is that you?


The first thing you need to understand is that Smata is all about what you, the teacher, can do to deepen the connection between yourself and your learners.

Why? Well, there’s so much talk about how important teachers are and how crucial relationships are for learning.

Smata is the tool that helps them see what they can do to grow those relationships, meaningfully, so that learners feel empowered to learn.


Teachers who use Smata successfully have these four qualities.


They understand the importance of observation

At the heart of Smata sits observation – it’s how you collect data.

In our experience, this is one of the hardest things for teachers to adapt to: sitting, watching, listening, noting. It feels counterintuitive.


What observation does though is reveal the small data about what’s really going on for learners.

It’s the small data you need to reach learners and unlock powerful learning.


If you are so busy in the school day that you don’t have time to observe, that’s ok. But Smata is not the right tool for you.


They have a wide conception of what data is and what it’s for

Education is obsessed with data, but it’s all numbers and graphs.

While these tell us how much we have of things, they tell us very little about its quality.


Smata is made to help you see quality.

It’s this that helps you respond to your learners as humans, not result machines.


The point of data is not to have a meeting or to report on. It’s to help you know what to do next for your learners.

Smata teachers get that data should guide practice not be the point of it.


If your school is obsessed with graphs and having meetings about them, Smata is not the right tool for you.


They know reflection is powerful and make time for it

We’re not talking about getting students to answer a few reflection questions here.

We’re talking about reflection as a relational process, anchored in concrete evidence.


All the observation data in Smata you can review.

Sitting with a student, with an observation open and having a conversation about that learning, is one of the most powerful things you can do to build learning relationships and show you care.


That’s where the magic is.


If you’ve got so much to get through you can’t see where you’d have the time to do this, Smata isn’t the right tool for you.


They understand that what’s shared needs to be meaningful

When we share, we say something about what we value.

This form of communication goes a long way to shaping how learners see themselves.


Sharing with Smata is done with learning stories. This requires thought.

When they’re created in partnership with learners, they help develop strong internal learner narratives.


This is sharing that’s meaningful and valuable. But it takes time, and expertise.


If you think that sharing is best when it’s constant and easy to do, Smata isn’t the right tool for you.


Are you a Smata teacher?


If you are, get in touch, and let’s talk.

Bevan Holloway About the author

I'm the founder of Smata. I used to be a secondary school English teacher. When I was, I became disillusioned with what school did to kids. That led to me adopting play as a core part of my practice. Now I help teachers across all ages harness the power of play. The Smata app was born from that work.