In my opinion, amid OFSTEDs 2000s obsession with four part lessons and accelerated learning, some facets of History teaching have been undermined, underrated and castigated. One of those is storytelling. Never underestimate the power of a good story in the classroom and the impact one can have, not only on pupils learning in school, but their enduring memory of you and your subject. I recently heard from a Geography teacher who’d spent a 60 minute lesson telling his Year 9 students a story about the evolution of a rainforest. He said it was his favourite lesson (and theirs). When those same students were in Year 10 and 11 they would ask him to tell them the story again! Like 6-year-olds love their favourite nursery rhymes, students love experiences.
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.
In the first part of this series, I described how through the 11+ system I was sent to a Secondary Modern school. The glass ceiling that it represented comes into play again as I discover my options in the 4th year (Y10). “Think like a learner” is a good maxim for those involved in teaching or guiding learners. Empathy could go a long way to reducing the trauma of school.
Intellectual Property is essential for nurturing innovation and creativity, but what exactly is IP and why do pupils need to know about it? What are the consequences of downloading films illegally? Should things that are online be free? In our ever more digital and connected world, it is increasingly important for young people – many of whom may have future careers in the creative industries themselves - to consider these questions and understand that artists must be properly paid for their work in order to continue creating.
I have recently implemented a Digital Leader programme within the Primary School where I work, requiring children to complete a written application, attend interviews and complete practical challenges. I’ve tried to encourage those children who need support with social skills or behavioural issues to apply and get involved. One thing that I have long since noticed is that many of the children who gravitate to the often more solitary activities, such as Computing, are those that need this support.
We all know the importance of reading for our students’ futures and life chances. As such, we recently reviewed our literacy policy at Firth Park Academy, a Sheffield inner-city comprehensive rated as ‘Good’ by Ofsted. Our charismatic principal, Dean Jones, wanted our new system to be engaging, relevant and simple to use. This article looks at the process and the next steps, as we look to continually improve our provision.
Step 1: Build a team
Teachers across the UK are sending in their applications for the Digital Schoolhouse programme, a pioneering initiative that has been proven to improve the quality of teaching, learning and pupil attainment for Computing. The programme was recognised in the Royal Society report Shut Down or Restart and the House of Lords’ Digital Skills Select Committee report, and also won a TES Award for its innovative approach to improving computing education.
There seems to be, at the moment, a glut of superheroes on our TVs and in our films. If it isn’t Batman fighting Superman, it is a group of different heroes getting together to fight an evil alien. It might seem that the works of one playwright hundreds of years ago bares no relations to our current obsession with people wearing Lycra, swishing about with their capes and saving the world. Most, if not all children, can tell you who Iron Man, Superman or Spider-Man is. But, little do they know, that the comic book heroes owe Shakespeare a huge nod, if not a cape. So when exploring or teaching a Shakespeare play to students it is helpful to have these ideas in mind.
This is the question I have asked to teachers I am working with across the world. In Pakistan, Kenya, Europe, Australia and many more places. The answer in well over 99% of the cases is a resounding 'No'. How can this be? Are we a profession of moaners, never happy, or do we have a real cause for complaint? I decided to investigate further. I asked teachers why they wanted to be teachers.
Often, after a public show, a kind member of the audience will come up and tell me that I could be a teacher. While to them this is a compliment, this runs headfirst into one of my pet peeves. No, I could not just be a teacher. Of course I perform for (and sometimes direct) children and young people, and my shows have an educational leaning, but that doesn’t mean that I could walk into a classroom tomorrow and be a teacher. It is a basic misunderstanding, and to my mind, slight lack of respect for, the amount of time, training and on the job learning that makes for a good teacher.