Latest articles from the Innovate My School community.

All throughout February, our content will be centred around the theme of The Disruptors. These are the visionaries, stories, tactics and resources that will ensure your school stays ahead of the curve.

“Engaging students of any age is hard,” says George Hammond-Hagan, CEO of Studytracks. “From the start of anyone’s educational journey all the way to the end, there’s a battle - internal and external - for their mind’s attention.

“This is why disruptive teaching methods are important. The educators included in this month’s theme are ones who have shown that they will do things a little differently to get the result. Personally, my own path has led me to using music to power teaching and learning. Music creates an environment that we’re instinctively attuned to, as it modifies our mood, opens our mind, demands attention and transforms anywhere into a focussed sphere of influence. The brain is ‘hacked’ by music."

Don't let your teaching and learning grow stale.

Jim Baker

Jim Baker

Jim Baker, a self-identifying maverick, is a teacher of over 40 years who doesn’t take himself too seriously. He has written for the Guardian, and prides himself on finding the best teaching methods for each student. The majority of his career was spent as a chemistry teacher at Lincoln Christ's Hospital School; during his time there, he reached the final 13 in the Salter's ‘Chemistry Teacher of the Year’ award. He is a freelance educational consultant, and acted as Chemistry Expert for The Chemistry Journey Project’s Virtual School Initiative. He is a contributory author of Teaching Secondary Science, Constructing Meaning and Developing Understanding, 4th Edition BlogFacebook | YouTube |

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First of all, for those unfamiliar with ‘flipped learning’, my presentation will help explain. Flipping is not new, as back in the 80s, before the days of the World Wide Web, I would give my students handouts to study in preparation for the next lesson (hence the term ‘prep’, as opposed to ‘homework’). This then freed up the lesson for learning where the content of the handouts could be discussed, questions on the handouts answered and practical work done to reinforce the handouts.

To solve this problem of enthusing the unenthusiastic pupil we must first ask ‘Why is the pupil unenthusiastic? Two reasons for this lack of enthusiasm are:

I must begin by giving my definition of ‘learning’. Learning is not remembering facts in order to pass an examination: learning is understanding. By understanding, the learning is not forgotten. The times I have heard it said “you must learn this” is countless when, in fact, what should be said is “you must understand this”.

Despite the frequent, outstanding advances in edtech we see daily, there are still certain areas of education that have stayed mostly unchanged for some time. Here, veteran teacher Jim Baker discusses the problem that he sees with the traditional lesson format, and how it can easily be changed for the better.

From my biography, you’ll see I’ve been in the classroom for 43 years so am speaking from first-hand experience, not to court votes or to agree with what is ‘flavour of the day’. My presentation ‘The Way Forward’ will give you an idea of what my passion is: to educate students into becoming independent learners. I don’t like the word ‘teach’ so I avoid it whenever possible. When asked my profession I say I’m an entertainer. Check out comment #42 in my guestbook by a former colleague back in 2005, who was pleased to see I was “still blurring the boundaries between teaching and entertaining”.

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