Train the Brain

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

Remembering Ebbinghaus

Among the speakers at researchED‘s lead network day in Haninge on Saturday was Pedro de Bruyckere, educational scientist and author of Urban Myths About Learning and Education.

His presentation on the basic ingredients of education highlighted seven principles of learning for educators to keep in mind. Continue reading

Know Thy Impact

Visible Learning

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

Engaging Students with Engaging Video: EdPuzzle

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

YouTube your lessons 

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

Making IT work

Last month I received a copy of Vi får det att funka! (We get it to work!) from Lärarnas Riksförbund (The National Union of Teachers in Sweden) which outlines successful teaching practice using information and communication technology (ICT). In this book, a variety of teachers from a wide range of subjects share their experiences and practical tips of using IT in school. Continue reading

Managing the marking

A few weeks ago as the school year was coming to an end I was tearing my hair out. The National Tests in English had just finished and my organised desk was now hidden under a pile of marking.

In Sweden there is no external examination board so, while end of year exams are compiled and distributed by a central authority (Skolverket), they are administered and assessed by the schools.

This mountain of marking needed a quick turnaround in order to work with calibration of the tests and then the entering of test results on our School Soft system. What should have been a time to socialise more with students during sports day and other school related activity days became a bit of a struggle. Continue reading