A boarding school pupil from Berkshire has become a star in China after appearing on the popular Super Brain 2016 memory challenge show in front of over 100m viewers late last month. 13-year old Henry Bole, a year 9 pupil at LVS (Licensed Victuallers' School) Ascot, narrowly lost out to a 21-year-old Chinese university student in a China vs United Kingdom edition of the programme. Henry had been trained by way of extra tuition from his mentor James Paterson, a teacher at leading independent all-ability school.
What is digital citizenship? If you asked ten people to define it, you’d most likely receive ten different answers. Why is this term so difficult to define? It’s complicated, and the terms “digital” and “citizenship” are broad. Perhaps it’s because we are constantly evolving with upgrades and new ways to consume and produce electronic media? Or maybe we just don’t know enough about digital citizenship and our fear dictates our decisions to block and ban what we don’t understand? Whatever the reason may be, digital citizenship is everyone’s responsibility.
Everyone loves a good double act: Morecambe and Wise, Laurel and Hardy, French and Saunders, Wallace and Gromit. Now Ant and Dec are the ‘nation’s favourites’. They recently scooped the National Television Presenter Award prize for the 15th year in a row, so they must be doing something right! The opening show of their latest 2016 series of Saturday Night Takeaway attracted 7.3 million viewers.
We know that successful students are those who are resilient, and there has been increasing amounts written about how to develop resilience in our students. There is lots of excellent advice, lots of good strategies, lots of excellent applications of Dweck’s growth mindset or Claxton’s building learning power. But I think there is one simple thing that we can do in class every day that will go a long way to helping students become more resilient, or at least giving them permission to build the confidence and perseverance needed.
What is the main ingredient that makes a great lesson? I’m not talking in the realms of inspectorate rhetoric. We all know as professionals that we need our pupils to make progress in each lesson, and we are not oblivious to this fact. I mean those lessons that you regale other teachers with because you have a real sense of pride in what occurred. The ones where all the pupils were switched on, and the learning flowed as smooth as Frank Sinatra-branded honey!
Spontaneity and risk-taking are qualities that we actively encourage students to develop when learning. It’s a meme that can be an exciting element in the classroom, and can heighten engagement. It enables students to think differently and instantly, altering pre-conceived perceptions about how to tackle a challenge and develops thinking skills. However, as one of the key influencers in the classroom, do we always practice what we preach? If we want students to be savvy in spur-of-the-moment situations, we should try to explore opportunities which dare us to do the same and model this trait.
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.
Education charity Into Film, in partnership with its main funder the British Film Institute (BFI), have launched Teaching Literacy Through Film, a new, free online course running from 25th January 2016. The MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) is the first of its kind in teaching literacy through film. Running over four weeks, the flexible course led by film education experts from the BFI and Into Film, and will examine the debate surrounding film as a vehicle for teaching literacy, alongside recent evidence demonstrating significant improvements in children’s reading and writing through use of film texts.