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.
What is the main ingredient that makes a great lesson? I’m not talking in the realms of inspectorate rhetoric. We all know as professionals that we need our pupils to make progress in each lesson, and we are not oblivious to this fact. I mean those lessons that you regale other teachers with because you have a real sense of pride in what occurred. The ones where all the pupils were switched on, and the learning flowed as smooth as Frank Sinatra-branded honey!
“I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand.” - Confucius
1. It is a fun experience!
As an Early Level teacher, I see the benefits of active learning. It is a fun way of getting the children to engage in a subject without them thinking its work. It is an organic process; not always planned and possible to be confidently led by the children themselves.
Rocket seeds that will be grown as part of Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) and UK Space Agency educational initiative, Rocket Science, have returned from the International Space Station (ISS). Half a million UK pupils have taken part in the project. The 2kg of seeds were flown to the International Space Station (ISS) in September 2015, where they have been orbiting the Earth at a speed of 17,000mph.
History resource champions Squaducation have launched a competition aimed at inspiring the historians of the future. My EPIC Era 2016 is a new History competition for schools and pupils throughout the UK, and is being spearheaded by veteran soldier, actor and educator Kevin Hicks. Pupils are being asked to name their favourite era in history and tell the competition judges all about it. Their entries can be written, drawn, crafted, performed or filmed. My EPIC Era 2016 will be open for entries until 31st March 2016.
On 29th February, over a thousand schools across the globe will race to unravel a real-life mystery that has long captivated the art world. Education startup Forensic Outreach and New York-based edu-retailer Ward’s Science have prepared a worldwide STEAM (Science, technology, engineering, Art and Mathematics) competition inspired by the 2011 hunt for the lost Leonardo da Vinci painting The Battle of Anghiari. The competition involves three subject-specific challenges: ‘cryptanalysis’, ‘geometry and probability’ and ‘materials science’.
Anyone who has worked with Early Years Foundation Stage will understand the importance of learning through play. Play-based learning is encouraged in primary schools and included on the curriculum, and parents use play as a means of teaching children when they are young. However are we missing a trick by completely eliminating play from lessons for older pupils? There will certainly be times when a traditional teaching approach is called for (when preparing for exams for example), but would our students show greater engagement, a deeper understanding of concepts, creativity and resilience if we also tried to embed new pedagogical techniques with them?
Project based learning (PBL) is perhaps the greatest resource hardly being used in UK schools. Teachers are increasingly being asked to do more with less, and there’s never been a better time to reinvent classroom learning than now. Despite the mounting pressures on schools, a huge advantage all still hold is in the freedom to deliver the National Curriculum by how they see fit. There’s also a wealth of research to support PBLs uptake in the classroom: