The usual school grading system rewards and highlights academic success, but as educators, we have a responsibility to prepare our pupils to be responsible, active members of the community, with a moral and social responsibility to improve the world they live in and to fight discrimination and reduce inequality. As teachers, we know that theory is one thing, but to embed a thought behaviour, or an action, one must practise it regularly in a hands-on manner. So how best to go about this in 2018/19?
As we approach towards the new school year, the ongoing issue of loneliness is often far from our minds. Parents rush around buying their children new pencil cases, school bags and various other essentials for the first day back. Students are busy getting excited about seeing their friends again and sharing the adventures and experiences they had over summer. It is an exciting time of year for all. Or nearly all.
When today’s young people leave education, they are likely to face stiff competition to get to that first rung on the career ladder. The quality, rounded education that schools deliver is key to preparing their students for a world beyond the classroom. But for a high-achieving school, it can be difficult to continue to raise the bar of achievement. That’s why I was so interested in the novel approach taken by Jerudong International School (JIS) in Brunei, where students are encouraged to drive their own progress.
Loneliness is an increasingly detrimental issue that strikes the most vulnerable groups in society the hardest, with children and seniors being especially susceptible. Yet, it spares no one. 45% of British people report sometimes feeling lonely, and as many as 18% feel lonely all the time. Loneliness is not only an issue of scale; it has also been labelled as being worse for us than obesity and physical inactivity, having negative effects on both mental and physical health. So what do school communities need to know to help tackle this issue?
How can teachers and leaders take advantage of what’s beyond their schools’ walls? In the Innovate My School Guide 2018/19, an eclectic selection of educators share their own community-oriented successes - here’s a sneak peak...
When it comes to stress, anxiety and worries, our natural instinct is to protect children from them; why? It’s a natural process we need to go through, and an important life skill we need to be able to manage. If we don’t fail, we don’t learn. Part of failing is feeling sad; part of feeling sad is knowing how we can move on and be positive again. It’s important for children to experience a healthy amount of stress and anxiety. If they don’t experience it, how will they learn to manage it?
Seating plans for a classroom are even more complicated than organising who sits where at a wedding reception. Like so much else in education, you need to define your objectives. It is not just about making sure sworn enemies are not seated side-by-side. Instead, you have to think about the individual needs. Is the child with ADHD better sitting right in front of you, where you can keep an eye on them, or by a wall where they only have a child on one side of them? Is it best to have a child who experiences sensory overload in a quiet area, on a separate single table, or should you put them with a small, sympathetic group who may be able to provide support?
In an ever-changing and turbulent climate of expectations in education, the demands on educators is at a premium; a premium which is quickly becoming unsustainable. Many teachers, who are good at and passionate about their jobs, feel unable to cope with the changes and demands being placed upon them. Many schools have tried to introduce various initiatives to address teacher wellbeing, such as wellbeing-centric days, meditation activities, away days, and so on. Each of these initiatives, even with the best intentions, have no real-long term impact, and that is why the key to teacher wellbeing rests with middle leaders.