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TEACHERS

Twitter is not just for the teacher, or even the school department. Schools can gain lots from having their own whole school account. There are many ways in which you can use it too. From reporting on whole school issues, passing out messages about snow days and much more, there are very compelling reasons as to why you would want to be a ‘tweeting school’. There are a fair amount of tweeting headteachers too, but this article will be looking solely at schools.

Teachers, parents and students alike have some apprehension and comments for debate on this vital document, which may be one of the first yet most important written pieces our children will have to produce. Schools and students nowadays have access to mountains of excellent advice and guidelines. Some of which is spot on for the majority of courses a student may wish to take.

Anyone who comes into contact with young people regularly will be well accustomed to their subversive use of the English language. To them, ‘sick’ no longer means feeling ill; ‘sound’ has nothing to do with what you can hear; to be ‘wicked’ does not mean you are bad. Then there is the derogatory use of the word ‘gay’ in the ‘banter’ they so like to indulge in. This is, of course, not a recent phenomenon. Since the beginning of time each new generation has developed its own use of slang to promote and develop its own individual identity.

Different students have different needs, but how do you go about catering to these requirements? Essex-based teacher and tech-entrepreneur Richard Canning discusses how each student is unique and constantly evolving.

As teachers we’re fully aware that each child has different strengths and weaknesses. In our classrooms we employ every trick we know to try to meet each of their needs and move them forward in their understanding. We’re familiar with the term ‘differentiation’ and know that it should be included within our planning for every lesson. But we’re also aware that effective differentiation in every lesson is often a difficult task, given we need to vary our approach and resources in order to ensure that we cater for what is often a diverse group of around 30 individuals. We don’t attempt this in isolation of course; today’s teacher has a myriad of data, information sources and professional networks to help them.

As a sequel to her original piece on handling newly qualified teachers at the beginning of the year, Jane Basnett's former pastoral colleague, now an NQT, returns with thoughts on how we might support such teachers at this time of year

This post has to begin with a huge thank you to everyone who has supported an NQT in their first few weeks of Proper Teaching. You might have given someone a warm welcome, made timely cups of tea, given advice, asked probing questions, shared resources, sympathised with teacherly woes, or invited an NQT to observe a lesson. Or you might be one of the wonderful people who offer your time and patience to mentor a new teacher. Whoever you are, thank you!

Schools want to get CPD right, but when you take into account personnel, timing and funds, this can be an area of difficulty. Here, BlueSky MD Denise Inwood answers some frequently-asked questions on the topic of teacher CPD.

1. Is continuing professional development (CPD) in schools becoming more important? If so, why?

CPD has always been an important and central part of the development of any good teacher, precipitated by reflective practice. Teaching is a learning profession; for an educator to develop the resources and strategies to which they need to respond (with an infinite number of variables) on a daily basis, professional learning needs to be part of their daily practice. Professional learning ranges from the more structured and generic to the ‘on the job’ learning that is internalised through reflective practice.

I hope you will have read my previous article on colour-blind students and are keen to know more! If heads and members of SLTs have been wondering ‘how do colour-blind teachers cope in our school?’, here’s where you’ll find the answer.

Like SPECTRE in James Bond, those who identify as being geeks are now beginning to infiltrate the highest and most influential positions in society. Given that the role of an educator is about as influential as you can get, many teachers consider themselves as such. Teacher Rachel Jones, herself a huge advocate of geekiness, examines how this mindset and identity affects education.

Let us look to the glorious Urban Dictionary for our definition of geek:

“Geeks are superior to all other people because they have the knowledge and social ability to get to where they want to be.”

Most modern professionals have a Twitter account. The social network can offer belly laughs out-of-nowhere, factoids that can raise a smile or an eyebrow (see Andy Nyman’s account for excellent facts-of-the-day) and often real insight. Indeed, Twitter can be a superb place for getting output from superb innovators of education…

Here are thirty education specialists, mostly recommended by followers of Innovate My School. This isn’t meant to be seen as a conclusive / top list, or a ‘best of'; these are just 30 people from whom you can gather wonderfully innovative ideas.

[Given the huge amount of suggestions from our followers, this article will be the first of several. Please do keep suggestions coming, British or not!]

As a teacher of Modern Foreign Languages at Surbiton High School, Kingston Upon Thames, Assistant Principal José Picardo is an important part of the teaching community. As head of Digital Strategy at the school, he’s very keen to make sure that technology is implemented correctly in the classroom. He gives his thoughts on the latest Network.Ed piece.

Last September I started a new role as Assistant Principal at Surbiton High School. My brief is the school’s digital strategy. Now, I’m not the first to be appointed to lead a school’s digital strategy – there have been Directors of E-Learning or Directors of ICT elsewhere for some years, but I am one of the first to be appointed directly to the Senior Leadership Team with the specific purpose of devising and implementing a digital strategy to support teaching and learning. And I won’t be the last. Here’s why…


Technology supports teaching

Research shows that lessons are most effective when they are structured thus:

  • An initial review of prior knowledge
  • A formal presentation
  • Guided practice
  • Initial feedback
  • Independent practice
  • A follow-up review
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