The most superficial study of the causes of World War One illustrates that rampant nationalism played an important role in the tragedy that unfolded one hundred years ago in the summer of 1914. Schools have a particular responsibility to ensure that any study of the Great War highlights how national pride is one short step away from national prejudice, which in turn precludes empathy and predisposes countries towards military conflict. This is particularly important for my own students at the International School of Toulouse. The national mix of my current IGCSE and IB history students is British, German, Austrian, French, Indian, Canadian, Spanish, Australian, American and Russian. With this in mind I make a particular effort to ensure that my five-day school trip to the Somme and Ypres, Belgium promotes internationalism rather than a narrow sense of nationalistic pride in the involvement of one country.
Until writing this article, I had assumed that Halloween in America and in the UK were very similar. However, it has been brought to my attention by Mr. Cain, the editor of Innovate My School, that “Americans make British Halloweens look massively understated”. This fills me with a bit of pride. It is my hope to shed light on American Halloween in education by using bits of my own experiences as a student from College down to grade school, and also from my first year of teaching. This being my second year of teaching, and Halloween being upon us, I can only hope that it will be as much fun for the students.
It has been quite a time since I started to use CSI (Crime Scene Investigation) as a hook to engage students into a range of key (and often for them, boring) subjects. For me it was Science and ICT (Information Communication Technology), but it can be used to develop literacy and numeracy skills, as well as those soft skills such as collaboration and problem solving that can be difficult to plan into busy timetables.
Managing your workload is something that, in my experience, most teachers and school leaders struggle with. There’s certainly no magic bullet. Some would even say that it’s impossible to get the balance between your professional and personal lives right, but that doesn’t mean you stop trying. It may be a journey rather than a destination.
I was watching a TV show with a medical aspect the other night; in it the doctor wanted to treat a patient whom the other characters didn’t like because he was a terrorist or something. The doctor said he had to treat the patient because he had vowed to ‘Do No Harm’, and not treating a patient goes against the Hippocratic Oath. My mind wandered during the TV show, as it often does when I’m at home in the evening, and I started to think about why teachers don’t have an equivalent. What if we had something similar, that we vowed to uphold even against conventional morality? What might it look like and how would it work in practice? What if we had The Pedagogic Oath?
My to-do list during the summer holidays included preparing a number of collaborative problem-solving tasks (mysteries) for the new computing at schools (CAS) curriculum, KS2 and KS3. With my programming background, I focused on the computing science bit rather than information technology or digital literacy.
Chances are, you’ve read, listened to or seen a version of A Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. Here, teacher and author Lisa Jane Ashes applies themes and characters from Douglas Adams’ sci fi classic to look at how teachers can best create great questions.
Why 42? Douglas Adams’ classic The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy is a great demonstration of how questioning can open up the imagination. Adams questioned everything we believe and a masterpiece of creativity was born. What if mice were more intelligent than men? What if the planet was created by technicians in a large factory? Underestimated dolphins, falling whales, improbability drives and the search for the ultimate answer to life, the universe and everything; this story is creativity at its maddest and best.
In 1994 I started my teaching career. I am a modern languages teacher. I love languages, and I love inspiring my pupils to learn about other languages and cultures. When I first entered the classroom all those years ago, my main aim was to be a good teacher. I had not given much thought to how I was going to achieve my aim, or indeed what it even meant to be a good teacher. I was young, enthusiastic, full of energy and positive. Surely, with these attributes, I would achieve my goal, no matter how idealistic it may have seemed?