Teaching and Learning


Feb

03

2017
Experiments with pace: slow teaching and slow marking.

Experiments with pace: slow teaching and slow marking.

“Society is all but rude, To this delicious solitude.” Andrew Marvell ‘The Garden.’ What makes effective teaching? The ultimate question and “slowness” is certainly not high up on the list of quick fire responses. In fact I think most of us would recoil in disgust if we were dubbed a “slow” teacher. I know I would: energy, drive, enthusiasm, passion are the hall marks for me...

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Jan

20

2017
Tackling Transition: lessons from the research.

Tackling Transition: lessons from the research.

  “I want to emphasise to you, Mr President-elect, that we now are going to do everything we can to help you succeed because if you succeed, then the country succeeds,” Barack Obama “Doing my best to disregard the many inflammatory President O statements and roadblocks. Thought it was going to be a smooth transition – NOT!” Donald Trump This has been a week of...

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Dec

09

2016
Stoical serenity: behaviour management from Ancient Rome.

Stoical serenity: behaviour management from Ancient Rome.

  “It is the power of the mind to be unconquerable.” Seneca I realise to post about behaviour management at this stage in the year is gloriously lacking in festive cheer. Let me for a brief moment fully embrace, in fact exalt the philosophy of the “squeezing, wrenching, grasping, scraping, clutching, covetous old sinner,” Scrooge. This time of year is rather difficult, inordinately challenging to remain calm...

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Nov

18

2016
Seventastic Speaking: experiments with speech.

Seventastic Speaking: experiments with speech.

One cannot change this all in a moment, but one can at least change one’s own habits, and from time to time one can even, if one jeers loudly enough, send some worn-out and useless phrase — some jackboot, Achilles’ heel, hotbed, melting pot, acid test, veritable inferno, or other lump of verbal refuse — into the dustbin where it belongs… ‘Politics and the English...

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Oct

14

2016
The (tough) Empathy Gap: beyond the data.

The (tough) Empathy Gap: beyond the data.

“I’ve learned that everyone has a rucksack. The world is full of of people carrying around a toxic narrative, pulled down by a sadness or a grief that they don’t know how to share, and all of us are hiding it from each other.” Cathy Rentzenbrink ‘The Last Act of Love’ I set myself a lofty target at the start of the year: to read...

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Oct

07

2016
The curse of PowerPoint: time to teach naked.

The curse of PowerPoint: time to teach naked.

  “Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting results.” Albert Einstein. A confession: PowerPoint has become the clothing of my teaching. It is there, draped over every lesson, always present. It exists in different manifestations: sometimes it is an ostentatious outfit, a three piece suit if you will. Sometimes it is a little more skimpy – the shorts and t-shirt variation....

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Sep

23

2016
A week of experimenting with praise.

A week of experimenting with praise.

  “Sweet words are like honey, a little may refresh, but too much gluts the stomach.” ― Anne Bradstreet In a week of an Ofsted inspection and with a half marathon looming ominously on Sunday (cue timely donation plea: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Jamie-Thom) ending the week ruminating about praise in the classroom offers some much needed nurturing for the soul. As an NQT I suffered from a tragic and...

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Sep

17

2016
Getting the priorities right: Pupil Premium and Closing the gap.

Getting the priorities right: Pupil Premium and Closing the gap.

“I dislike the ethos of so many of our comprehensives, where the imperative is to drag up the bovine thickos to some agreeably semi-literate level while the bright kids can go hang. It is all there in their epic disdain for competition and academic rigour, their indulgency of stupidity, the emphasis on the self-esteem of the students, as if they didn’t have enough of that...

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Sep

10

2016
Building positive relationships: mutual respect.

Building positive relationships: mutual respect.

“No significant learning occurs without a significant relationship.” James Come The new classroom:                           If I may be so bold as to offer a humble and wholeheartedly objective assessment: delightful, vibrant, organised, engaging, motivational. Subliminal messages of care, commitment and passion abound. Students have literally fainted upon entry, swooning with instant and new found...

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Aug

30

2016
September Starts: Renewal and Marginal gains

September Starts: Renewal and Marginal gains

“One of the most difficult things is not to change society, but to change yourself.” — Nelson Mandela One of the amazing things about teaching is its capacity for renewal. Each September brings with it a new start: an opportunity for reinvention, however large or small.  A new and eager brand of customers sit poised and ready, their minds empty vessels awaiting inspiration. That endless and sleepless...

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