ResearchEd is becoming a regular feature on many teachers’ calendars and last month together with some colleagues, I found myself wrapping up warm to brave the Swedish winter once again as I ventured to the outskirts of Stockholm on this annual pilgrimage. The reason I keep coming back was neatly summed up by Alex Quigley (Senior Associate at the Education Endowment Foundation) in his keynote speech: attending events like ResearchEd gets us off the treadmill of classroom practice and encourages intellectual discussion. While the event may seem just as exhausting as a treadmill session at the gym it is ultimately good for us. A full day (a Saturday!) includes 6 lectures plus opening and closing speeches. There is little time to catch your breath let alone a coffee yet year after year educators flock to this event.
In past years, I have benefitted greatly from the reading tips gleamed from the sessions I’ve attended. As all busy teachers know however, finding time to keep up with the latest research is a challenge. One book recommendation I had not yet read was Graham Nuthall’s The Hidden Lives of Learners and for that reason I chose to attend Jan Tishauser’s session on this subject.Continue reading →
When the half-term holidays come around I find myself looking forward to doing some hiking and hillwalking, however far too often the only mountain I saw during a break was a mountain of marking. This was typical for me – and I suspect, most teachers. We often spend our so-called free time catching up on marking and I was doing lots of it! As most people would be thinking of what to pack in their suitcase, I was printing off screeds of essays to take with me to the countryside. It’s not a good start to a holiday.
Over the years, I have struggled to reach the goal of work-life balance and I would point to the amount of marking I had as being the biggest obstacle preventing me from reaching this eldorado.
Keen to resolve this, I have sought new approaches to marking. Last year, I took a step back to reevaluate my practice and found a new, more sustainable path more in step with the practice of formative assessment.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 →