I often hear and read that being a teacher requires passion (plus a thick skin, a love of paperwork and a longing for constant change while living without sleep or having a social life – only joking!). I also hear that teaching is more of a vocation than a job. After nearly four decades, I would have to agree. Passion for teaching and learning is certainly what provides the energy, the drive to overcome challenges but is that how it starts? For me, it was almost by accident.
Gamification is essentially about turning all manner of activities into games or competitive activities. Teachers routinely make learning into a game to motivate and interest their students, and so I thought that it might be interesting to take this to the next step and use it with members of staff.
On Saturday 5th March, Berkhamsted School in Hertfordshire will host TLAB16, a not-for-profit education conference run for teachers, by teachers. This year’s TLA (teaching, learning and assessment) conference will centre around exploring the importance of imagination and performing at the highest level. Running from 9.00am to 4.00pm, TLAB16’s theme is “Imagine, Believe, Achieve”. The event is now in its fourth year, and welcomes educators from all types of schools. Tickets, including lunch and refreshments, are priced at £50 per person via the TLAB16 Eventbrite page.
Withington Girls School in Manchester have addressed ambitions of improving their pupils’ written work by undertaking a bespoke inset day. The session, based around the theme of Supporting the Needs of Advanced Learners of EAL, was run by Beaumont Training & Consultancy Ltd and concentrated on how inferences constitute a problem for EAL (English as an additional language) pupils. It also addressed the question of whether or not the school’s teachers should think that it is only the EAL pupils who struggle with texts in this way.
Teacher-focused grassroots organisation WomenEd has started 2016 by recruiting 60 volunteers, who are being trained as regional leaders this term, to spread their enthusiastic message. The popular movement is currently in consultation with the DfE and working in conjunction with ASCL, the Future Leaders Trust and The Leading Women’s Alliance. They will be presenting at an Inside Government event in April, which will review the barriers inhibiting gender equality and the progression of female leaders across the public sector.
An engaged student will demonstrate four traits when learning: they’ll stick with a problem, they engage fully, they experiment on their own, they return to the problem if necessary. So how do you make classrooms come alive with thriving, engaged learners? Perhaps look to the world of popular rap and icons like Jay Z, Kanye West and Pharrell Williams.
“We are skilled mathematicians... this year we will become more skilled…” This message has helped me to drive home some messages that I hold dear to my educational philosophy and use in my everyday teaching and learning. It has helped develop growth mindsets, positive self-images and, most of all, developed an attitude which helps children to learn.
Here we are in a new academic year. For those in leadership last year, analysis will be done regarding the success of the initiatives under their remit in bringing about positive changes in staff and student performance. Inevitably, there will be room for improvement somewhere, and so we start the vital process of listing our existing initiatives, programmes and tools in order to sort the wheat from the chaff.