This week I reviewed a presentation with my mentor students on the dangers of social media. This presentation builds upon the ideas espoused by Dr Cal Newport of Georgetown University. In his blog, Study Hacks, Dr Newport writes about “how to perform productive, valuable and meaningful work in an increasingly distracted digital age”. His book, Deep Work, refers to studying for focussed chunks of time without distractions such as email and social media.
In brief, Dr Newport concludes that social media reduces our capacity for attention, leads to loneliness and isolation, and causes a state of continuous latent anxiety. Continue reading →
Teaching is not seen as an attractive career choice. Why would someone want to sign up for (and indeed stay in) a career which is often criticised for long hours, poor pay and piles of paperwork? Take a minute to think about your answer.
There is a good chance your answer goes something like this – to make a difference in young people’s lives, to have an impact.
It is easy to lose sight of why we became teachers as we go about the day-to-day job of planning lessons, creating material and marking tests not to mention the regular writing of reports on each of our students. And yet maybe, if we are to address the recruitment and retention crisis in teaching, we should encourage teachers to reflect over the impact they have on learning and the difference they can make. Continue reading →
This week spells the start of Spring break for schools in Stockholm. The week-long hiatus from school is called ‘sportlov’ in Swedish which translates as ‘sports break’. Traditionally this is a time for families to retreat to the mountains for a week of high exertion on the ski slopes. However, the long winter has had its toll on many who opt instead for warmer climes and a week of R&R on a beach. Indeed, one of my students quipped that the closest they would come to sport this week would be doing a Netflix marathon.
As we are encouraged to turn our attentions to the benefits of physical activity, we should maybe take some time to reflect on mental exercise too. Continue reading →
One of the goals of our Social Science department this year has been to encourage more peer observations of lessons. The prospect of having a colleague sit in on a lesson, armed with paper and pen to critique performance, can make a teacher uncomfortable. This is why I prefer to think of these lessons in friendlier terms as ‘classroom visits’. These visits not only offer the teacher greater insight into their teaching practice, they can serve as a source of inspiration for the visiting teacher too.
John Hattie (who introduced the concept of visible learning in his meta study on factors affecting learning outcomes) notes that teachers make the greatest difference to students’ learning. He says that as teachers, we all know what works in the classroom based on our own experience. However, what Hattie would like teachers to ask is – ‘what works better?’ Continue reading →
Last month saw Internationella Engleska Gymnasiet host the annual Regional Conference for schools within the IES organisation. The theme for this year’s conference was Educate, Engage, Inspire. The conference keynote speakers included C.J. Simister, David Didau (The Learning Spy) and researchED‘s Tom Bennett. A variety of workshops were held throughout the day exploring subjects such as formative assessment, classroom behaviour, and technology in education. My workshop, Engaging Students with Engaging Video, demonstrated how to get more out of videos through using EdPuzzle. Continue reading →
As educators, we all know that YouTube is a wonderful resource for supplementing our lessons. From the myriad videos on TEDTalks and Khan Academy to the many posts of teachers such as Derek Muller of Veritasium and those on the popular Crash Course series, YouTube has proven itself to be invaluable as an online depository of knowledge.
We have all shared and consumed clips but have you ever considered creating your own videos? Continue reading →