Different students have different ways of learning, and this is absolutely true for literacy. Jules Daulby, whose wheelhouse includes SEN and English teaching, discusses how a certain amount of pupils are best learning with their ears...
In order to be an effective reader, two skills are required:
Pupils have to take in and retain a huge amount of information, so it’s important to make sure that their memories are up to the job. T&L and MFL lead practitioner at Archbishop Holgate's School Robert Watson gives five great techniques for this task.
Memory is an odd thing. I teach languages, and I notice how tough students can find it to remember and retain things. I know I’m not alone and that this isn’t just confined to my subject area, as I do teaching and learning work across the curriculum. So, what weird and wacky ways can help to improve students’ memory?
So what next in my hypothetical journey as a school's digital strategist? As a school we are beginning to embrace our TeachMeets and increasingly more staff are beginning to contribute to the meetings. The time slots have been fine tuned so that everyone can attend, no one feels left out, and those staff who previously may not have felt easy about sharing ideas can now be, at least, part of the process. The staff blog is up and running and through this medium we are now reaching the majority of the staff room.
My role has changed. From being a non-descript member amongst the staff audience, it is now me who is at the front of the hall when it comes to teacher training sessions. I always try to remember my place as a guest and consider what I look like from the back of the room (who said back of a bus?!) and sound like to Mr Cynical Teacher with his arms folded and his lips pursed (and that’s before I have turned the computer on or given out leaflets). Sigh. It is hard work, but when the light-bulbs start twinkling, you really feel that you can give yourself a “self-5”. One of my favourite things is to help teachers find their passion for learning again, but they do make you work for it.
I meet with schools all over the country regularly, and one of the recurring themes is the struggle for schools to effectively keep their websites up to date. Of course I’ll say that having a system that is easy to use helps enormously, but whatever system you have in place, or whichever method you use to keep your website up-to-date, by following a few steps that are quite straightforward you can have a website for your school that is engaging and keeps users coming back time and time again.
This time last year, I had a class full of high achievers that gobbled up literature for fun; however, the reality is, most classes are not like that. The pupils I teach do not choose my subject, it is mandatory and pupils often question its purpose. My current Year 11 class are your typical challenging, huffy, childish and loud learners who generally take their free education for granted, having known nothing else. I could spend the year complaining about them and use their typicality as a mid-set group as an excuse for average results.
Every year, teachers attend professional growth events. We go, learn lots of theories and techniques and then often leave wondering if what was fed to us was really what we needed. Wouldn't it be nice to have a professional growth where you create the learning experience based on your individual needs? Edcamps are exactly this.
No matter what stage we have reached in our lives, no matter what age we are, it is never too late to have dreams and realise them. When children and young people are given the opportunity to systematically explore values, as an integral part of their education, they get fired up because the process makes so many aspects of learning meaningful and relevant, expanding individuals’ horizons while also developing and strengthening their inner qualities. The effects can be surprising!
Our mindset is key to unlocking our potential. The study of values is an engaging, holistic process that not only builds and strengthens participants’ mental capabilities but their physical and spiritual attributes as well. It appeals because the exploratory process and the activities to reinforce learning are expansive and experiential. Children and young people enjoy feeling empowered as they gradually develop essential emotional and social skills that enable them to better manage and control situations. This is particularly rewarding when, rather than being swamped by negative influences, such as fear and perceived limitations, they can draw upon diligently mastered tools that help them realise their hopes and aspirations.
Great poetry can be the kind of art that stays with you forever, be it Mid-Term Break by Seamus Heaney or Daffodils by William Wordsworth. However, given the old-school nature of poetry means that a lot of students will need a great introduction from a teacher. James Harlan discusses some cool ideas for getting students into the artform. Rereading and performing poetry are two of the most common techniques used in poetry-introductions. Others would require students to conduct their reading on topics, like meter and rhyme. These methods are effective.
How often have I heard a pupil ask “but do I need to know this for my exam?” Indeed, how often have I said to myself “time is short, do they need to know this?” No matter who says it or thinks it, it is equally frustrating. As teachers we have become slaves to league tables and all that that entails. Pupils have to get the grades because they have hopes and aspirations and there is so much competition. I do want them to get those top marks because I genuinely want them to realise their dreams. However, how can I get them to see that learning uniquely for an exam is not the best, nor the most important, approach? What matters is that they learn to love studying, that they learn to discover the art of studying and that they realise that there is always another step that can be taken, another fact that can be considered, and another equation that can be solved.