Too much to do and too little time. That’s what I hear from both teachers and students. Students of the new two-year A Level specifications are stressed out about having to know two years’ worth of content all at once. Teachers are trying to cram revising the whole syllabus into a few short weeks of contact time.
School trips: few question the wonderful opportunity trips offer students to enjoy a new experience, learn new skills, practice a language, get to know a different culture and so much more. In fact, many teachers, school administrators, students and parents can’t imagine school life without them. But not all trips receive enough interest to go ahead.
I know what you are thinking, yet another “expert” is taking to the internet to talk about the latest method of language learning. In all honesty, for me, the only way to truly become fluent in the language you are learning is to immerse yourself in it, go to the country, speak to and befriend native speakers, learn about what they watch and read. This will do you more good than 10 years of classes at home. My personal experience with this was heading off to Argentina for a year, where I lived with native speakers and worked in Spanish, I returned home fluent and I have been looking for a reason to go back out there ever since!
I’m a theatre practitioner with a background in inclusive practice. Finding ways to create new communities through Drama, and making diverse groups of performers central to the process, has taken me on some great journeys: making theatre with teenagers in Finland, circus artists in France, playwrights in New York City and toddlers in Tottenham.
One of my students ran into school a few years ago, one warm Summer’s morning. He came up very close to my face, staring intently at me with wide, excited eyes, and he started to speak with an attempted steadiness that tried to mask his excitement. “You’ll never believe what happened to me this morning. I. Have. Super. Powers. I can actually, really and truly, melt ice cubes just by staring at them with my eyes. It takes about thirty minutes, but it happens!”
Throughout the UK, outdoor learning is gaining a lot of popularity but there is still work to do before it becomes widespread across the country. At the moment Scotland seems to be leading the way when it comes to learning beyond the four walls of the classroom, with England, Northern Ireland and Wales currently quite far behind.
Boots UK is inspiring children to protect their skin this summer and make sun safe habits that last a lifetime with the launch of the Soltan Sun Ready programme. The free sun safety education programme contains curriculum-linked teaching resources for children aged 5 – 14. Through Soltan Sun Ready, Boots UK is providing 1,000 free Explorer Packs to the first registered Primary schools, which include sun cream samples, hats and explorer notebooks. It is also running The BIG Exploration, a nationwide competition encouraging young people to get outside and have fun by searching for the country’s "most prepared adventurous explorer".
A boarding school pupil from Berkshire has become a star in China after appearing on the popular Super Brain 2016 memory challenge show in front of over 100m viewers late last month. 13-year old Henry Bole, a year 9 pupil at LVS (Licensed Victuallers' School) Ascot, narrowly lost out to a 21-year-old Chinese university student in a China vs United Kingdom edition of the programme. Henry had been trained by way of extra tuition from his mentor James Paterson, a teacher at leading independent all-ability school.
Everyone loves a good double act: Morecambe and Wise, Laurel and Hardy, French and Saunders, Wallace and Gromit. Now Ant and Dec are the ‘nation’s favourites’. They recently scooped the National Television Presenter Award prize for the 15th year in a row, so they must be doing something right! The opening show of their latest 2016 series of Saturday Night Takeaway attracted 7.3 million viewers.
Kristy Lundström, rektor (head of school): We are always trying to find ways to create the “perfect” learning environment for our students. The challenge is that the “perfect” environment can look different from student to student, from course to course, and from time to time. I want us to stop thinking “class” and think “student”. With this in mind, the question shifts from trying to find the perfect solution to trying to find a flexible framework where teachers are empowered to make the strategic instructional decisions that would work for just their group of students. At our school, we have designated an instructional designer to explore possible methods for how this could work. We call it our BLE (Blended Learning Environment) project. Meet Hanna.