One of the main aims of 3D Eye is to bring to the attention of parents, teachers and policy-makers some current ideas, issues and opinions within the world of education and beyond. Progressive change takes place as a result of dialogue and discussion, and the clarification of opinions. Today’s post consists of a number of links to worthwhile pages on the Internet for readers who want to stay in touch with contemporary issues. We don’t necessarily agree with every opinion expressed in these pieces, but we believe that all of them contain stimulating and well-written thoughts on some key topics.
10 things I know about pupil-led learning
Twitter has provided some fascinating CPD in areas I was often least interested. The new challenges it has provided are evolving all the time and still taking shape. From new tech I was unaware of to the abandonment of strategies I never liked in the first place; it has been a game changer.
I turned to thinking about the student experience and how different they are to the kids I taught 10 years ago. They have new tools and in some ways different attitudes. Today’s students are media savvy and need equipped for a different kind of world.
So, here are 10 things I think I know about pupil-led learning :
1) You can never replace a teacher. Our expertise is vital in creating the conditions for learning. Yes, there still is a role for Teacher talk, explanation, challenge and direct instruction.
2) The facilitator role is important in pupil-led learning but without the teacher’s narrative a lot of pupil-led learning can be aimless.It may look good but like a glossy door you need to be able to walk through it as well as look at it.
3) Students can make independent choices and be empowered but we need to keep our eyes on the menu.
4) Independent learning projects should run along side other structured learning activities.
5) If students are free to take charge of the materials;topics and themes must provoke curiosity and provide necessary challenge.
10 things we need to do to save our schools
I have nothing but respect for teachers that will return to the schools with the same attitude and passion that they have maintained over the years. Teaching is an incredible job but it carries with it a weight which we all carry. The burden of our own expectations and of others can sometimes confound us so that we don’t see our daily achievements.
Well, what you do tomorrow is worth more than many will achieve in a lifetime.
It’s worth more than a politician’s career or an Ofsted judgement.
Feel worthy. Because if we do not credit ourselves with the great task in hand we will not recognise our own value and contribution we make.
Here are 10 things we must do to save our schools:
1) Convince and insist that our school leaders set the agenda. If a school is operating just to achieve an Ofsted judgement it is wrong. Every school puts their own students and staff first in everything it attempts to achieve.
2) Make your schools an Ofsted free zone: Of course each school need to focus on progress;attainment and student outcomes but seize the initiative from Government and Inspection teams. You are better qualified to understand the needs of your students.
3) Innovate. It’s your curriculum and schools should not jump through the hoops of Education policy. Dance; sing; make Art; engineer and think! Do not let them impose the narrow and politically motivated Ebacc. Our schools are richer in creativity and all students are not the same.
10 ways to keep Michael Gove out of your classroom
5) Education secretaries will come and go.You have more influence on your school than politicians who would not last 5 minutes with Year 9 on Wednesday afternoon.
6) Take control of the curriculum.In the absence of a National curriculum and the freedoms Michael has bestowed; turn those freedoms against the politicians. All schools decide what is in the best interests of their students and what should be taught.
7) Collaborate with the schools around you. Michael believes that competition and choice will drive up standards. We all know it is expertise,cooperation and what happens in the classroom that will transform education.
Geoff Barton’s Pick ‘n’ Mix
Many school leaders will be feeling quiet fury at the way the GCSE fiasco has played out so far. Several tell me how they cannot come to terms with injustice of the situation and the paralysing lack of leadership that has ensued from those who could have put things right.
And there’s more to come.
The annual publication of the RaiseOnline each December frames a school’s public reputation in the January performance tables and shapes Ofsted’s hypothesis about whether a school is any good before their inspectors visit. It’s data that matters.
This autumn, many terrific schools with effective leaders and successful teaching teams have seen their public examination performance punctured by the injustice of the summer’s marking. Top-performing schools have slumped to supposedly mediocre.
Here’s one anonymous correspondent, headteacher at an outstanding school, explaining the implications of this. I publish it with his permission.
For Advice, Ideas and Support, More Educators Seek Social Networks
Social networking is hardly a new phenomenon, but teachers have come a long way in their use of sites like Facebook and Twitter. These forms of communication and collaboration have become so common, it’s easy to forget that even a social networking heavyweight like Twitter only gained popularity in the last three or four years.
“Teachers often tell us that they feel isolated in the classroom because they find it difficult during a busy day to connect with colleagues and get feedback,” explained Meell. Social networking is an easy and quick way to do both. It’s also a great way for teachers to broaden their ideas about teaching and to share new digital tools.
“It is so very important that we as teachers begin to use technology, as students are already ‘equipped’ with the mindset for technology,” wrote one teacher on the survey. Others noted that teachers need to be teaching digital citizenship and using web 2.0 tools to transform teaching and learning. And in a striking parallel to how online learning can bring out shy learners, many teachers noted how much they gain from interacting with other educators through participation on social networking sites.
Teachers global voice
Let me take Twitter. For many, Twitter is a self-absorbed platform for individuals who want to share their every waking hour with “followers” foolish enough to take an interest in them. I thought that too. However, it is clear that something quite extraordinary has happened over the last year in the world of education. Recently the Times Educational Supplement ran a piece on the rise of the educational ‘tweeter’ during 2012 (or tweachers!). Across the globe Twitter connects a broad spectrum of people who are united in their interest in learning. And Twitter is very democratic. It matters little if you are a senior member of staff or a professor in a university; what matters is that you have something to contribute to the on-going debate about the future of education in our different schools, in our different countries.
Certainly for me, Twitter has opened a window to a fantastic world of ideas and thinking which I find stimulating and challenging. Indeed at times dialogue between tweeters can take on a Socratic quality. Which is really the point. Far from “dumbing down” our thinking, Twitter has provided a vehicle for promoting genuine and meaningful debate across continents. And who would ever have anticipated this back in 2006 when the world of Twitter was born?
Part 1: 44 Smart Ways to Use Smartphones in Class
I now encourage all students to bring their cellphones or smartphones to class. Just a few years prior, my colleagues and I were struggling mightily with how to integrate the crafty handheld tools.
A blessed trip to the ISTE 2011 conference in Philadelphia helped me devise a BYOD classroom management plan and opened my eyes to the infinite educational potential of smartphones in the classroom.
Smartblog on Education
Classrooms as cages vs. classrooms as everywhere
The brain changes that underlie learning occur when experiences are active, not passive.
Environments that promote positive relationships and a sense of community promote learning.
Each student has a complex profile of strengths and limitations and learns best through experiences tailored to his or her needs and interests.
Our students need learning communities that challenge them with real problems that necessitate engaged collaborative learning in body and mind. As Judy Willis often says, “Our minds evolved as complex problem solvers seeking pleasure and patterns.” Perhaps it is time for us to step outside the cage and enable learning beyond the classroom, the textbook, and the test score.
Perhaps it is time we reconsider what we want our schools to be: Collections of classrooms that provide students with the latest “brain-based” curricula or learning communities that engage students as growth-minded co-creators in constructing understanding?
David Priestland (Testing to destruction, 3 January) is right when he ascribes Michael Gove’s educational reforms to ideology. League tables, teaching to the test and a focus on research output rather than quality of teaching are, inexorably, undermining the English education system.
What seems unfathomable is the lack of concerted opposition by Labour. Can it be that the seeds of many of these reforms were sown in the Blair years and supported by Ed Balls when he was education minister?
Gove’s reforms are systematically dismantling comprehensive education and are turning universities into profit-driven, elitist institutions. If there is no serious opposition, the effect will far more devastating than anything Mrs Thatcher ever did.
- Teacher Morale and the Architecture of Schools (3diassociates.wordpress.com)
- The Politics and Management of Education: A Wake Up Call for 2013 (3diassociates.wordpress.com)
- Michael Gove’s bullying ways are destroying our good education system | Chloe Combi (guardian.co.uk)