An engaged student will demonstrate four traits when learning: they’ll stick with a problem, they engage fully, they experiment on their own, they return to the problem if necessary. So how do you make classrooms come alive with thriving, engaged learners? Perhaps look to the world of popular rap and icons like Jay Z, Kanye West and Pharrell Williams.
The winter season always puts me in a reflective mood. Musing the years past, present times and the future in a Dickensian fashion. There's six lessons I'd like to share from this year which mean a lot to me. Much like those three ghosts, the past, the present and the future has a lot to teach us too.
Technology and teaching are now a combination that is fast becoming the norm. We as teachers use technology so frequently that it has become routine without us even realising it. We are now dependent upon our VLE to take attendance and an interactive whiteboard is now more common than its predecessor - ‘the whiteboard’. However, despite these actions being considered the norm, there is still a stigma attached to using technology that means teachers and senior leaders are scared to bring it into the classroom or integrate it into school.
“We are skilled mathematicians... this year we will become more skilled…” This message has helped me to drive home some messages that I hold dear to my educational philosophy and use in my everyday teaching and learning. It has helped develop growth mindsets, positive self-images and, most of all, developed an attitude which helps children to learn.
I have been meaning to write this article about my thoughts after watching the BBC programme Chinese School in the summer. The documentary is about having four Chinese teachers in Bohunt School (oversubscribed mixed comprehensive school rated as ‘Outstanding’ by Ofsted) teach pupils the Chinese way. I feel that the Chinese teachers always had really high expectations of all the pupils they taught, and had sheer determination to see this through.
Nobody could ever accuse me of being tech-savvy. While to my parents I may be a whizz-kid because I know how to operate their DVD player, to my friends I am nothing short of a Neanderthal, daubing on cave walls and trying to make fire. At my last school, there was nothing to challenge my cave-dweller ways. While some teachers would use the digital learning platform, the vast majority of us taught in the same way that we had been taught when we were students: whiteboards, marker pens and photocopied worksheets.
With government funding and a wealth of shared knowledge, Eureka Online College are working with UK schools to offer teachers-in-training a wide variety of exceptional courses in shortage subjects such as Biology, Chemistry, Geography, Maths and Physics. This brings much-needed help to future educators who would normally not be eligible to commence their teacher training due to small knowledge gaps. The organisation offers subject knowledge enhancement (SKE), the government initiative fully funded by the NCTL which aims to increase the pool of potential trainees in a selection of shortage subjects.
All around the country, Secondary classrooms are peaceful and schools are going about their work as usual. Teachers are talking and students are (mostly) sitting politely, appearing to listen. Most teachers know that lecturing isn’t the most effective method of learning, so why do they default so readily to this tactic? What makes it so appealing, and what hidden messages does it give out?
When it comes to classroom design, any teacher will tell you it’s all about managing the space you’re given and adapting your teaching style to suit the room and your class size. So of course, the opportunity to completely change your classroom opens up a world of possibility, offering the chance to create a layout that’s easier to control, has better circulation and enables new, more collaborative teaching methods.