Globally competent students have knowledge of the world they live in and a sense of responsibility for taking care of it and each other. How can this sense of global citizenship be fostered in the classroom? Continue reading
Among the wealth of resources that can be found on the Harvard Graduate School of Education’s website is the Thinking Routine Toolbox. This is a collection of simple tasks that can be practiced with students to help develop a culture of thinking in the classroom – and beyond. The key word here is ‘routine’ and it is recommended that teachers use these tools regularly and in different contexts – after all ‘practice makes permanent’.
So what are they and how do they work?
It’s autumn again and you’ll often find me spending my weekends unwinding from a week in the classroom by going for long walks in the forest with my dog. Over the years I have taught him a number of tricks. Some took longer to learn than others. It took a concerted effort on both our parts before he mastered the adorable ‘high five’ but fetch is a game he learned very quickly and he delights in bringing back a ball or stick for me to throw again. It has become part of our weekend routine and a morning walk is not complete without a quick game of fetch. This is not dissimilar to how I work with my students during the week – though they are not quite as effusive in showing delight when I play fetch with them. 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
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
This year I wanted to breathe some new life into student presentations. Students have become adept at using PowerPoint or Google Slides and I wanted to add variety and challenge their creativity by using some old tech in the classroom- the classic poster presentation. My aim was to create visually appealing poster presentations that would engage viewers and be educational but not loaded with text. Continue reading