In my work I get to hear children discuss subjects like gender identity, vegetarianism, doping in sport and free speech. On the one hand, controversial topics like these can stir up, provoke, and engage. On the other hand, they can trigger a defensiveness in students that stifles thoughtful inquiry. Is there a way to keep the benefits without the downsides? Is there a way to support honest inquiry where children can reevaluate their ideas and avoid intellectual stasis?
As a school leader, I know that the key to any student’s success is often their teacher. If this is true, would having two teachers mean double the chance of success? We decided to test this idea in a reorganization of the Business Studies programme at VRG. Working from our strategic vision, we began to brainstorm, prioritize and plan.
A couple of weeks back, I went to the first meeting of a new book group. I’d been thinking for ages that I wanted to join one and then, while my little lad Arthur and I sat waiting for our Saturday morning haircuts in the barber’s, one just sort of presented itself to me in a poster stuck to the antique dresser they use as a reception desk. It was for men only, it was to be held in a pub and the first book was a cracker, ‘The Road’ by Cormac McCarthy, a shatteringly bleak post-apocalyptic vision I’d taught to some dream Year 9s about 4 years previously – how could I not go?
Introduction: Why get out of bed in the morning?
I do not think there is such thing as a ‘motivated person’ or a ‘lazy person’ - we are just motivated by different things. Motivation is not linear. I was, and remain, motivated by learning. I love reading widely and learning more about the world in which I live. I am really not motivated by team sports, singing or marking books. There are some things that I really want to do (and see value in) but have to be persuaded to do; I want to be good at the piano and I want to run half marathons in a vaguely respectable time. I REALLY want to do these things. I have all of the equipment needed. I have peers who will practice with me and I have access to people who will give me expert feedback and teach me.
Effective teacher CPD improves teaching and learning and has one of the largest impact on student outcomes (Hargreaves 1994, Craft 2000). This means that getting it right is crucial. However, when it comes to CPD, how do we know we are getting it right? It’s a topic I discuss regularly, and it’s often the case that the answer I get tallies with research that states that CPD evaluation is often a neglected step and that many school leaders struggle to carry out any sophisticated, in-depth analysis (Porritt 2005, Goodall 2005).
In addition to academic development, the classroom is the perfect place for children to develop their characters. Character development helps children to build key social and personal components, such as a sense of morality, self-belief, and integrity; valuable traits that will continue to help students throughout the rest of their lives. This article outlines the best activities for inspiring character development in the classroom.
Architectural Design is not a subject normally taught in schools. Because it presents something of a novelty to children, it often produces some very creative and exciting results. Furzedown Primary School in South West London regularly hold a sequence of lessons in its summer term focusing on this with a Year 5 class. The process starts looking at structure and continues with spacial design, materials, drawing techniques followed by model making. The children are normally given a brief and asked to design a pavilion. To conclude the sequence of lessons, a selection of projects is chosen to build full scale.
Whatever education setting you work in, the word “marking” will have a different meaning for you. For a lot of people reading this article, “marking” is the albatross of their teaching career; the one thing which can really impact upon a person’s well-being and, no matter how much we might loathe it, a fundamental part of our jobs.