Innovation to teachers is usually something that arrives via INSET or a day jolly out to a course. If it is well done, there is nothing wrong with being introduced to new ideas in this way - but if it is done badly it can cement pedagogical inertia and make real change in schools very difficult to effect. A top down approach of ‘you must always’ very rarely sits well with a profession that can be highly (and rightly) critical of change for its own sake. Real innovation, the grass roots stuff, is much more powerful, and can have much more meaning to the children in the classrooms of the innovative teachers.
When we decided to start a regular interview feature, Ms Kingsley seemed like an ideal choice. Not only is she fun and inspirational via her @MissKingsley85 Twitter feed, she’s also written several hugely popular articles for us. With this in mind, we wanted to find out what fuels Amy to attain glory on a daily basis. Amy is a Year 1 teacher working at Russell Scott Primary School in Manchester.
It’s with a tremendous honour that we bring you the Innovate My School Guide 2015/16. Bringing together 21 none-more-enthusiastic teachers, this publication examines 10 key areas of education to inform the year ahead. It discusses the benefits, pitfalls, learning outcomes and future trends of various pedagogic areas, allowing our experienced contributors to share methods and resource beneficial to schools worldwide.
The past few years in the UK have seen a steady decline in the number of young people studying foreign languages at GCSE, A-Level and university. In other words, as soon as learning a language becomes optional, the majority of students give it up. But why, when languages offer a variety of proven benefits (see below), are they still seen as an unnecessary subject by so many? And what can teachers do to inspire their students – not only to persevere with languages, but actually to enjoy them?
I have never had an original idea of my own, but that hasn't stopped me from magpieing ideas from other people to use in my classroom. I am a millennium teacher, in that I qualified in the year 2000. I’m also lucky enough to love my job and the challenge of teaching Religious Studies… I mean, if you think about it, most people remember their schooling of RS. I certainly do, and it involved distracting the teacher as much as possible through getting them to tell inane stories about their own beliefs / children / views on (insert your own choice here!).
If you find that your children are struggling to have ideas when planning a story, try this simple and very effective technique. Show them a picture or a sentence and play the coin flip game. Invite the children to ask yes-no questions about the picture or sentence stimulus. Emphasise that the questions have to be sensible and relevant. After each question, flip a coin – heads means yes and tails means no.
The technique is more elegant and sophisticated than it appears. A yes answer means that the children have a definite piece of information that can be incorporated into the story and which can form the basis for further questions. A no answer means that the children have to come up with another idea: there is a ‘positive pressure’ for children to keep thinking.
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