Its was a with some trepidation and a little fear when our head said to us about teaching Shakespeare as a topic. This was shaped by my own experience with Shakespeare at school, which basically amounted to reading from a book and having little to no understanding of his fantastic language. After a staff trip to the Globe in London for CPD and some inspiring ideas shared I was happier, even a little excited about the prospect of teaching Shakespeare to 7 and 8 year olds. My class were called The Tempest - this was primarily the play I concentrated on - but many of the ideas I used could be used and adapted with any Shakespeare play.
After spending twenty years of my life working with educational technology and seeing how people utilise it in a number of different global markets, I’ve learnt that schools across the globe are worlds apart when it comes to the application of technology in the classroom. This is most apparent when we look at schools in the UK compared with schools in the US. Teachers using IT in the classroom in the UK are likely to feel frustrated when looking across the pond where technology has become truly integrated in the classroom. So, what can we in the UK learn from our friends in America about incorporating edtech in the classroom?
Russel Tarr, aka The Mr Men Teacher, is a British expat living and working in the southern French city of Toulouse. Frequently appearing at CPD events, History teacher Russel is well known for his websites activehistory.co.uk and classtools.net. He’s also the organiser and host of the Practical Pedagogies Conference at his native International School of Toulouse.
I’m probably showing my age with this story. I was 14. It was after a sports lesson. I was tired. It was Geography. The teacher arrived at the classroom in an excited state. We were going to the A.V. room. This was indeed exciting. You must understand that this was before the days of interactive whiteboards, YouTube - using computers, indeed. Classrooms were not equipped to show moving images, so we all had to decamp to a different room set up for this very purpose. It was not even in the same block.
Teaching entrepreneurship as an academic subject has been a hot topic for years. Well-known business leaders such as Richard Branson have called for schools to “come up to date” and devote more time to entrepreneurship, and the Government has backed various initiatives and entrepreneurial competitions in schools.
For our end-of-year celebrations, we wanted to interview an educator who embodies the unstoppable, innovative spirit of the education community. Thankfully, Nathan Ashman of Blackburn-based St Wilfrid's Church of England Academy was able to fit us into his busy schedule. We’d last seen Nathan at Lead, Learn, Lancs earlier this month, and wanted to find out how his year had gone as a whole.
Online resource experts Britannica are working with schools across the UK to support students in becoming good and knowledgeable global citizens. Britannica Digital Learning’s content is all editorially checked to ensure all articles and images are age-appropriate, and teachers can be confident that students are using a reliable safe resource with full citation information included.
Everyone who knows me know that I love to teach (hence the Twitter name) and I love to travel. When the opportunity came up for me to take part in the British Council Connecting Classrooms programme, I did not hesitate!
1. Grade the teacher!
One way we can improve the learning in each lesson is to get the children to openly ‘grade’ the teaching and learning that has gone on in the lesson (pictured above). This allows children to take responsibility of their input into the lesson, and allows honest dialogue between teacher and pupil to take place. it helps to develop the teaching and learning that goes on by allowing the pupil to be in control and take ownership of their effort, something some children find challenging to understand. This method develops a pupil’s understanding of the need to engage actively with their learning opportunities and to allow active thinking to help them learn.
Whether it be individual lessons, schemes of work or curriculum, it’s very easy to focus on what is being taught in a school. But how often do you stop to consider effective ways to ensure that students remember content and are able to recall and utilise it at a later date? What strategies can be used to ensure that the teaching going on in their establishment really ‘sticks’ and in doing so, ensure long-term value to planning, quality and practice? Being aware and engaging in the science of learning and the research that surrounds it, means that practitioners not only concentrating on passing on knowledge, they’re taking steps to ensure that it isn’t lost after they do.