Monthly Archives: September 2016

23 Things: Thing 5 Diversity⤴

from

“A lot of communication online is now via the mode of emoji/emoticon images. Traditionally these have been displayed as a yellow standard, but recent releases of more diverse emoji choices have raised a number of conversations. Read the two articles on reactions to the Apple and Facebook release of diverse emoji/emoticons in 2015 and 2016. Now consider the emoji alternative Bitmoji
Thing 5 

To be honest I’m not big on avatars and emjois.  I used the same twitter avatar (a rather fetching picture of the back of my head) for nine years and only got round to changing it a couple of months ago :}  I also don’t use emojis very often so I’ve never really given much thought to who they may or may not represent.  Now I stop and think about it though, that lack of regard is a clear reflection of my own position of privilege.  I may not use emojis, but if I ever wanted to, it wouldn’t be difficult to find plenty that would broadly represent me.  So the article about the furore surrounding Apple’s multicultural icons certainly gave me pause for thought.  It also made me think of the recent news articles about Rayouf Alhumedhi, a Saudi teenager living in Germany who has submitted a proposal to the Unicode Consortium’s emoji subcommittee for the inclusion of hijab and keffiyeh wearing emojis. Motherboard Alhumedhi as saying

“Emojis can seem like a trivial topic but people use emojis to represent themselves and their lives. When the different couples and different skin tone emojis were added there was a huge buzz, and this was because people finally felt represented and acknowledged, which is the same case with the headscarf emoji.”

Rayouf Alhumedhi

Rayouf Alhumedhi

There are several things I find really inspiring about this story. Firstly it’s about choice and empowerment.  Here is a young woman who felt she lacked representation online and took it upon herself to change that.  And secondly it’s about diversity and engagement with standards bodies.  The way that Alhumedhi went about creating an icon that represented herself was by submitting a proposal directly to the formal standards body that governs unicode emojis.  That takes some doing.  I worked with technology standards bodies for many years, though admittedly not the Unicode Consortium, and to say that women are underrepresented in these bodies would be something of an understatement. I got so used to being the only woman in the room that I stopped even noticing and I don’t think I ever encountered a woman of colour in any of the standards working groups I was involved with over a period of about fifteen years.  So more power to Alhumedhi for taking her campaign for representation straight to the body that governs the standard.  If we had more people like Alhumedhi involved in the the development of standards and software perhaps the web would be a more diverse and inclusive place and companies like Apple wouldn’t find themselves in such a mess when it comes to dealing with issues of race, representation and diversity.

Links
The Hijab Emoji Project
The Unicode Consortium
Unicode Emoji Subcommittee

 

What are the steps in carrying out a practitioner enquiry?⤴

from @ School Leadership - A Scottish Perspective

My last two posts looked at what school leaders could expect in terms of benefits from the adoption of practitioner enquiry by teachers, and some of the issues they needed to consider when using this approach. One of the most common questions I get asked is, 'how do you go about carrying out an enquiry?' This is often asked by people who have no real understanding of the process or its complexity, but who are wanting to start somewhere. I always give lots of cautions and health warnings, and the strongest is that this approach is not a simple linear, step by step approach. Yes, there are key aspects to any successful enquiry, but none are guaranteed to lead to the next, or even to each other. Teachers and schools need to develop adaptive expertise and be able to change and adjust their actions according to changing circumstances and conditions.

Having said that, I do think it is possible, and desirable, to identify the key characteristics. What follows are those we have identified, following seven years of engagement with practitioner enquiry.

Identify the issue
What is it that is causing you concern in your classroom? We have always focused on learning issues. We ask teachers to identify an issue, to do with learning, that they are unhappy or dissatisfied with. This could be in any area of the curriculum but, given that we are working in primary schools, this is often an aspect of literacy and numeracy learning as these are such key areas for us all. We have had teachers look at things like learning in reading, writing, number, spelling, writing, problem solving, mental maths strategies, and so on. All have led to significant insights for teachers and improved learning and attainment for learners.

Frame the issue into a question that you can research 
Once we have identified a particular learning issue, we then have to frame this into a research question. This is something a lot of teachers find difficult at first but, with practice, they get better at it. Getting the question right helps shape the whole enquiry, keep it on track and stop it from becoming too big by growing arms and legs of further questions. So we often have questions that start with 'what happens when....?' Or 'what if....?' Examples of questions teachers have asked include: 'What happens when I hear children read?' 'What if I spent time each day developing metacognition in children when working mentally with number?' 'What happens when I systematically teach spelling strategies for learners to use?' 'What happens when I immerse learners in different genre of writing?' Such questions lead to enquiry and insights that can help all. The most common early mistake is to make your enquiry too big. e.g. 'How do I improve maths attainment?'

Identify the pupils or group for focus
The key to a successful enquiry, especially when starting, is to keep it manageable and focused. Don't try to cover too much, or too many pupils. We have found that a focus on no more than six pupils in a class works. It keeps the process manageable, remembering that teachers are very busy and the enquiry needs to be built into what they would normally be doing in the classrooms. If it is seen as an 'add on' it is more likely to stall or fail, especially if it adds too much to workload. What we have found, as have others, is that, though your focus may be on a small group of learners, enquiry quickly scales up, so that their are benefits for all learners. 

Gather data
Having data is key in enquiry. You need data to inform your actions and to assess your impact for learners. Once you have identified your small focus group of learners, you need to gather data from them about the issue you have identified and the question you want to answer. There are many ways to do this. Some of the ways we use regularly are pupil interviews, questionaires, concept cartoons, tape recordings, filming, teacher observation and testing. What you need is data to show if the question you wish to ask, relating to the issue you have identified, chimes with what the learners say, do and think. This data collection forms the baseline for your enquiry.

Professional reading and engaging with research
Once you are clear about the issue and you have your research question you then need to be spending some development time reading and engaging with research around the issue. This too can be problematic for some. In Scotland we are lucky in that all teachers have free access to the EBSCO research base through the GTCS. This gives us all acces to a vast range of research papers and professional reading that can support enquiry. Of course, there are lots of other ways we can access research and professional reading, and these can be utilised too. One of the first skills teachers need to develop is the ability to engage critically with such research and reading, so that they are able to identify reputable sources of such research. It is also useful if you put aside time to engage with and discuss with colleagues as this helps develop and deepen understandings. 

Identify changes, strategies or interventions you are going to use
Having looked at the issue, formulated your question from your reading and research, you should now be in a position to identify a new strategy or intervention that you wish to employ. Remembering that you are trying to improve learning for your learners, the interventions or change you look to implement should be designed to have positive impacts on that learning. Don't try to introduce too many changes too quickly. The more changes you make the harder it will be to identify which, if any have had positive impacts. I would suggest no more than two changes.

Implement the change
Now you need to make the change you have identified. For this to be meaningful, you need to implement the change for at least a term, to give this the best opportunity to have demonstratable impact. If you are making changes to pedagogy implement these for all pupils, but your aim is to measure impact for your focus group only. This keeps data gathering focused and manageable, but also scales up impacts.

Re-gather data to measure impact of change
After a least a term of change you should then revisit your data gathering exercises used at the outset. What has changed? Has learning improved? How do you know? These are all important questions to ask and consider now. Hopefully, you will have a mix of summative and formative assessment, data and evidence that demonstrates the impact of your intervention or change. There should be positive impacts for learners. If there haven't been any, you need to consider why, adjust your intervention and go again. Most often, you will find there have been positive impacts and you will have ample evidence and data to show this. This is not about 'proving' anything, but is to provide you with information about the success or otherwise of your intervention.

Report your findings and share
Next, you need to report your findings in some way and to share your insights with colleagues. This can be done in many ways. You could write up a report on your enquiry. You could produce a mind-map or poster showing the elements of your enquiry and your conclusions. You could produce a PowerPoint, or something similar, to share, or you could just talk through your enquiry with colleagues. The important point is that you do share. This helps develop and deepen your understanding about what has happened and also helps and supports colleagues as part of the professional dialogue and collaboration that is the life-blood of sustainable school development.

Repeat
The next stage is that you keep repeating this process, so that it becomes a disposition and part of your identity as a professional and reflective practitioner. If you achieve this you will have what Marilyn Cochran-Smith has called 'inquiry as stance' and you will have a career long disposition towards professional and personal development that has impact.

Remember you are not a researcher. Your research is for one purpose and that is to improve the learning of your students. You are not aiming to publish your work in academic or professional journals and you are not bound by all the rules and conventions that pertain for those who do. You have to be ethical in your enquiry and you have to be aware of bias and the impact of other factors. But, you are enquiring into your impact on learning, so that you can improve. Your enquiry is professionally valid and can add to the profession's knowledge base in some small way. Don't beat yourself up when things go wrong, or you get deflected by competing demands, accept these when they happen then get back on track as soon as circumstances allow.

In my opinion, this approach allows you to have a truly meaningful and sustainable disposition to professional development. It also puts you front and centre in charge of your own professional development, something done by you, not to you. The alternative is you keep looking for lots of other 'things' to do. You will find plenty of them, but you might not have time to see if they have any sustainable or positive impacts on student learning. I know which approach I prefer.

What are the steps in carrying out a practitioner enquiry?⤴

from @ School Leadership - A Scottish Perspective

My last two posts looked at what school leaders could expect in terms of benefits from the adoption of practitioner enquiry by teachers, and some of the issues they needed to consider when using this approach. One of the most common questions I get asked is, 'how do you go about carrying out an enquiry?' This is often asked by people who have no real understanding of the process or its complexity, but who are wanting to start somewhere. I always give lots of cautions and health warnings, and the strongest is that this approach is not a simple linear, step by step approach. Yes, there are key aspects to any successful enquiry, but none are guaranteed to lead to the next, or even to each other. Teachers and schools need to develop adaptive expertise and be able to change and adjust their actions according to changing circumstances and conditions.

Having said that, I do think it is possible, and desirable, to identify the key characteristics. What follows are those we have identified, following seven years of engagement with practitioner enquiry.

Identify the issue
What is it that is causing you concern in your classroom? We have always focused on learning issues. We ask teachers to identify an issue, to do with learning, that they are unhappy or dissatisfied with. This could be in any area of the curriculum but, given that we are working in primary schools, this is often an aspect of literacy and numeracy learning as these are such key areas for us all. We have had teachers look at things like learning in reading, writing, number, spelling, writing, problem solving, mental maths strategies, and so on. All have led to significant insights for teachers and improved learning and attainment for learners.

Frame the issue into a question that you can research 
Once we have identified a particular learning issue, we then have to frame this into a research question. This is something a lot of teachers find difficult at first but, with practice, they get better at it. Getting the question right helps shape the whole enquiry, keep it on track and stop it from becoming too big by growing arms and legs of further questions. So we often have questions that start with 'what happens when....?' Or 'what if....?' Examples of questions teachers have asked include: 'What happens when I hear children read?' 'What if I spent time each day developing metacognition in children when working mentally with number?' 'What happens when I systematically teach spelling strategies for learners to use?' 'What happens when I immerse learners in different genre of writing?' Such questions lead to enquiry and insights that can help all. The most common early mistake is to make your enquiry too big. e.g. 'How do I improve maths attainment?'

Identify the pupils or group for focus
The key to a successful enquiry, especially when starting, is to keep it manageable and focused. Don't try to cover too much, or too many pupils. We have found that a focus on no more than six pupils in a class works. It keeps the process manageable, remembering that teachers are very busy and the enquiry needs to be built into what they would normally be doing in the classrooms. If it is seen as an 'add on' it is more likely to stall or fail, especially if it adds too much to workload. What we have found, as have others, is that, though your focus may be on a small group of learners, enquiry quickly scales up, so that their are benefits for all learners. 

Gather data
Having data is key in enquiry. You need data to inform your actions and to assess your impact for learners. Once you have identified your small focus group of learners, you need to gather data from them about the issue you have identified and the question you want to answer. There are many ways to do this. Some of the ways we use regularly are pupil interviews, questionaires, concept cartoons, tape recordings, filming, teacher observation and testing. What you need is data to show if the question you wish to ask, relating to the issue you have identified, chimes with what the learners say, do and think. This data collection forms the baseline for your enquiry.

Professional reading and engaging with research
Once you are clear about the issue and you have your research question you then need to be spending some development time reading and engaging with research around the issue. This too can be problematic for some. In Scotland we are lucky in that all teachers have free access to the EBSCO research base through the GTCS. This gives us all acces to a vast range of research papers and professional reading that can support enquiry. Of course, there are lots of other ways we can access research and professional reading, and these can be utilised too. One of the first skills teachers need to develop is the ability to engage critically with such research and reading, so that they are able to identify reputable sources of such research. It is also useful if you put aside time to engage with and discuss with colleagues as this helps develop and deepen understandings. 

Identify changes, strategies or interventions you are going to use
Having looked at the issue, formulated your question from your reading and research, you should now be in a position to identify a new strategy or intervention that you wish to employ. Remembering that you are trying to improve learning for your learners, the interventions or change you look to implement should be designed to have positive impacts on that learning. Don't try to introduce too many changes too quickly. The more changes you make the harder it will be to identify which, if any have had positive impacts. I would suggest no more than two changes.

Implement the change
Now you need to make the change you have identified. For this to be meaningful, you need to implement the change for at least a term, to give this the best opportunity to have demonstratable impact. If you are making changes to pedagogy implement these for all pupils, but your aim is to measure impact for your focus group only. This keeps data gathering focused and manageable, but also scales up impacts.

Re-gather data to measure impact of change
After a least a term of change you should then revisit your data gathering exercises used at the outset. What has changed? Has learning improved? How do you know? These are all important questions to ask and consider now. Hopefully, you will have a mix of summative and formative assessment, data and evidence that demonstrates the impact of your intervention or change. There should be positive impacts for learners. If there haven't been any, you need to consider why, adjust your intervention and go again. Most often, you will find there have been positive impacts and you will have ample evidence and data to show this. This is not about 'proving' anything, but is to provide you with information about the success or otherwise of your intervention.

Report your findings and share
Next, you need to report your findings in some way and to share your insights with colleagues. This can be done in many ways. You could write up a report on your enquiry. You could produce a mind-map or poster showing the elements of your enquiry and your conclusions. You could produce a PowerPoint, or something similar, to share, or you could just talk through your enquiry with colleagues. The important point is that you do share. This helps develop and deepen your understanding about what has happened and also helps and supports colleagues as part of the professional dialogue and collaboration that is the life-blood of sustainable school development.

Repeat
The next stage is that you keep repeating this process, so that it becomes a disposition and part of your identity as a professional and reflective practitioner. If you achieve this you will have what Marilyn Cochran-Smith has called 'inquiry as stance' and you will have a career long disposition towards professional and personal development that has impact.

Remember you are not a researcher. Your research is for one purpose and that is to improve the learning of your students. You are not aiming to publish your work in academic or professional journals and you are not bound by all the rules and conventions that pertain for those who do. You have to be ethical in your enquiry and you have to be aware of bias and the impact of other factors. But, you are enquiring into your impact on learning, so that you can improve. Your enquiry is professionally valid and can add to the profession's knowledge base in some small way. Don't beat yourself up when things go wrong, or you get deflected by competing demands, accept these when they happen then get back on track as soon as circumstances allow.

In my opinion, this approach allows you to have a truly meaningful and sustainable disposition to professional development. It also puts you front and centre in charge of your own professional development, something done by you, not to you. The alternative is you keep looking for lots of other 'things' to do. You will find plenty of them, but you might not have time to see if they have any sustainable or positive impacts on student learning. I know which approach I prefer.

What are the steps in carrying out a practitioner enquiry?⤴

from @ School Leadership - A Scottish Perspective

My last two posts looked at what school leaders could expect in terms of benefits from the adoption of practitioner enquiry by teachers, and some of the issues they needed to consider when using this approach. One of the most common questions I get asked is, 'how do you go about carrying out an enquiry?' This is often asked by people who have no real understanding of the process or its complexity, but who are wanting to start somewhere. I always give lots of cautions and health warnings, and the strongest is that this approach is not a simple linear, step by step approach. Yes, there are key aspects to any successful enquiry, but none are guaranteed to lead to the next, or even to each other. Teachers and schools need to develop adaptive expertise and be able to change and adjust their actions according to changing circumstances and conditions.

Having said that, I do think it is possible, and desirable, to identify the key characteristics. What follows are those we have identified, following seven years of engagement with practitioner enquiry.

Identify the issue
What is it that is causing you concern in your classroom? We have always focused on learning issues. We ask teachers to identify an issue, to do with learning, that they are unhappy or dissatisfied with. This could be in any area of the curriculum but, given that we are working in primary schools, this is often an aspect of literacy and numeracy learning as these are such key areas for us all. We have had teachers look at things like learning in reading, writing, number, spelling, writing, problem solving, mental maths strategies, and so on. All have led to significant insights for teachers and improved learning and attainment for learners.

Frame the issue into a question that you can research 
Once we have identified a particular learning issue, we then have to frame this into a research question. This is something a lot of teachers find difficult at first but, with practice, they get better at it. Getting the question right helps shape the whole enquiry, keep it on track and stop it from becoming too big by growing arms and legs of further questions. So we often have questions that start with 'what happens when....?' Or 'what if....?' Examples of questions teachers have asked include: 'What happens when I hear children read?' 'What if I spent time each day developing metacognition in children when working mentally with number?' 'What happens when I systematically teach spelling strategies for learners to use?' 'What happens when I immerse learners in different genre of writing?' Such questions lead to enquiry and insights that can help all. The most common early mistake is to make your enquiry too big. e.g. 'How do I improve maths attainment?'

Identify the pupils or group for focus
The key to a successful enquiry, especially when starting, is to keep it manageable and focused. Don't try to cover too much, or too many pupils. We have found that a focus on no more than six pupils in a class works. It keeps the process manageable, remembering that teachers are very busy and the enquiry needs to be built into what they would normally be doing in the classrooms. If it is seen as an 'add on' it is more likely to stall or fail, especially if it adds too much to workload. What we have found, as have others, is that, though your focus may be on a small group of learners, enquiry quickly scales up, so that their are benefits for all learners. 

Gather data
Having data is key in enquiry. You need data to inform your actions and to assess your impact for learners. Once you have identified your small focus group of learners, you need to gather data from them about the issue you have identified and the question you want to answer. There are many ways to do this. Some of the ways we use regularly are pupil interviews, questionaires, concept cartoons, tape recordings, filming, teacher observation and testing. What you need is data to show if the question you wish to ask, relating to the issue you have identified, chimes with what the learners say, do and think. This data collection forms the baseline for your enquiry.

Professional reading and engaging with research
Once you are clear about the issue and you have your research question you then need to be spending some development time reading and engaging with research around the issue. This too can be problematic for some. In Scotland we are lucky in that all teachers have free access to the EBSCO research base through the GTCS. This gives us all acces to a vast range of research papers and professional reading that can support enquiry. Of course, there are lots of other ways we can access research and professional reading, and these can be utilised too. One of the first skills teachers need to develop is the ability to engage critically with such research and reading, so that they are able to identify reputable sources of such research. It is also useful if you put aside time to engage with and discuss with colleagues as this helps develop and deepen understandings. 

Identify changes, strategies or interventions you are going to use
Having looked at the issue, formulated your question from your reading and research, you should now be in a position to identify a new strategy or intervention that you wish to employ. Remembering that you are trying to improve learning for your learners, the interventions or change you look to implement should be designed to have positive impacts on that learning. Don't try to introduce too many changes too quickly. The more changes you make the harder it will be to identify which, if any have had positive impacts. I would suggest no more than two changes.

Implement the change
Now you need to make the change you have identified. For this to be meaningful, you need to implement the change for at least a term, to give this the best opportunity to have demonstratable impact. If you are making changes to pedagogy implement these for all pupils, but your aim is to measure impact for your focus group only. This keeps data gathering focused and manageable, but also scales up impacts.

Re-gather data to measure impact of change
After a least a term of change you should then revisit your data gathering exercises used at the outset. What has changed? Has learning improved? How do you know? These are all important questions to ask and consider now. Hopefully, you will have a mix of summative and formative assessment, data and evidence that demonstrates the impact of your intervention or change. There should be positive impacts for learners. If there haven't been any, you need to consider why, adjust your intervention and go again. Most often, you will find there have been positive impacts and you will have ample evidence and data to show this. This is not about 'proving' anything, but is to provide you with information about the success or otherwise of your intervention.

Report your findings and share
Next, you need to report your findings in some way and to share your insights with colleagues. This can be done in many ways. You could write up a report on your enquiry. You could produce a mind-map or poster showing the elements of your enquiry and your conclusions. You could produce a PowerPoint, or something similar, to share, or you could just talk through your enquiry with colleagues. The important point is that you do share. This helps develop and deepen your understanding about what has happened and also helps and supports colleagues as part of the professional dialogue and collaboration that is the life-blood of sustainable school development.

Repeat
The next stage is that you keep repeating this process, so that it becomes a disposition and part of your identity as a professional and reflective practitioner. If you achieve this you will have what Marilyn Cochran-Smith has called 'inquiry as stance' and you will have a career long disposition towards professional and personal development that has impact.

Remember you are not a researcher. Your research is for one purpose and that is to improve the learning of your students. You are not aiming to publish your work in academic or professional journals and you are not bound by all the rules and conventions that pertain for those who do. You have to be ethical in your enquiry and you have to be aware of bias and the impact of other factors. But, you are enquiring into your impact on learning, so that you can improve. Your enquiry is professionally valid and can add to the profession's knowledge base in some small way. Don't beat yourself up when things go wrong, or you get deflected by competing demands, accept these when they happen then get back on track as soon as circumstances allow.

In my opinion, this approach allows you to have a truly meaningful and sustainable disposition to professional development. It also puts you front and centre in charge of your own professional development, something done by you, not to you. The alternative is you keep looking for lots of other 'things' to do. You will find plenty of them, but you might not have time to see if they have any sustainable or positive impacts on student learning. I know which approach I prefer.

Angry young men⤴

from

This week I have been dealing with quite a few angry young men. I put out an appeal on twitter to see what resources people might suggest using but in the end I created the following as a tool for encouraging reflection and solution focus.

Please feel free to feed back / adapt / use.

 

 

Reflecting on my anger

Think about what happened yesterday:

When, where, who else was there?(eg in history class, when the register was being done) What did I do? (eg shout, swear, lash out, punch, kick, walk out, take deep breaths and stay calm) What SPECIFICALLY triggered the way I acted? (eg something someone said, a look someone gave, something that had happened earlier but was still in my head) What happened next? (eg referral, detention, exclusion) How had I been feeling earlier in the day? (eg when I woke up, came into school, at break, at lunch)

Think back over the last few weeks and note down the times when you have felt or shown extreme anger.

Then, for each one, fill in the columns to the left.

When, where, who else was there?(eg in history class, when the register was being done) What did I do? (eg shout, swear, lash out, punch, kick, walk out, take deep breaths and stay calm) What SPECIFICALLY triggered the way I acted? (eg something someone said, a look someone gave, something that had happened earlier but was still in my head) What happened next? (eg referral, detention, exclusion)
1
2
3
4
5

Now look at the examples above and write the numbers of the ones where you controlled your anger successfully:

Now, thinking again about the situations where you have controlled your anger, write down the things that helped (eg breathing deeply, counting to ten, walking out for a break, having a friend or someone else talk to you and help you notice what was happening):

Now write down the things that you can do to help yourself from having another extreme anger outburst:

Now write down the support you need from others to help yourself from having another extreme anger outburst:


Angry young men⤴

from

This week I have been dealing with quite a few angry young men. I put out an appeal on twitter to see what resources people might suggest using but in the end I created the following as a tool for encouraging reflection and solution focus.

Please feel free to feed back / adapt / use.

 

 

Reflecting on my anger

Think about what happened yesterday:

When, where, who else was there?(eg in history class, when the register was being done) What did I do? (eg shout, swear, lash out, punch, kick, walk out, take deep breaths and stay calm) What SPECIFICALLY triggered the way I acted? (eg something someone said, a look someone gave, something that had happened earlier but was still in my head) What happened next? (eg referral, detention, exclusion) How had I been feeling earlier in the day? (eg when I woke up, came into school, at break, at lunch)

Think back over the last few weeks and note down the times when you have felt or shown extreme anger.

Then, for each one, fill in the columns to the left.

When, where, who else was there?(eg in history class, when the register was being done) What did I do? (eg shout, swear, lash out, punch, kick, walk out, take deep breaths and stay calm) What SPECIFICALLY triggered the way I acted? (eg something someone said, a look someone gave, something that had happened earlier but was still in my head) What happened next? (eg referral, detention, exclusion)
1
2
3
4
5

Now look at the examples above and write the numbers of the ones where you controlled your anger successfully:

Now, thinking again about the situations where you have controlled your anger, write down the things that helped (eg breathing deeply, counting to ten, walking out for a break, having a friend or someone else talk to you and help you notice what was happening):

Now write down the things that you can do to help yourself from having another extreme anger outburst:

Now write down the support you need from others to help yourself from having another extreme anger outburst:


DFM responds to EIS decision to suspend industrial action in schools⤴

from @ Engage for Education

This is welcome news from the EIS and I am delighted that they have confirmed suspending a programme of industrial action in relation to teacher workload.

Over the past few months, I have listened carefully to what teachers, parents, young people and others have had to say on workload, and have responded positively with a range of actions to help reduce workload pressures.

As part of this, I have now announced the removal of mandatory unit assessments from National 5, Higher and Advanced Higher courses. This will significantly reduce the workload for our teachers, giving them more time to focus on what is most important – teaching our young people – while maintaining the core principles of Curriculum for Excellence.

I have taken swift action in response to feedback from teachers and others, to de-clutter the curriculum guidance and review the workload demands placed on teachers by local authorities. The new measures around the qualifications, ratified by the CfE Management Board yesterday, will build on this work, reducing workload and over assessment for teachers and learners.

I am glad that the EIS have recognised these efforts and I hope that together we can move forward to ensure that teachers in Scotland have more time to teach, and contribute to closing the attainment gap.

#Edutalk at Pedagoo Muckle⤴

from @ John's World Wide Wall Display

If you going to the Pedagoo Muckle I would like to invite to contribute to EDUtalk.

EDUtalk is, among other things, an open to any contributions podcast. EDUtalk started at the Scottish learning Festival in 2009 when David Noble and myself invited any of the attendees to submit audio to a podcast SLFtalk. We were trying to provide alternate sources of information and reflections about the festival and make it as easy as possible for people to both contribute and listen to the contributions of others.

Now is even easier to contribute to EDUtalk. This only need to be a minute or two long.

Here are a couple of ways ways:

Audioboom an application for both iPhone and android, Audioboo allows you to record short segments of audio and upload then to the Audioboo site. If you tag the ‘boo’ #EDUtalk they will be brought in automatically to the EDUtalk site.

Just record some audio on anything a computer on smartphone whatever you got. Then you can email it to audio@edutalk.cc and we’ll take it from there.

You can have conversations with anyone about anything educational, at the coffee bar , in a quiet corner. it can be about whatever, educational, topic you like. Your thoughts we want them.

If you can’t make it to Pedagoo Muckle this could be one way to join in the fun.

My World of Work Ambassadors Programme⤴

from @ Education Scotland's Learning Blog

Ambassadors act as champions for Skills Development Scotland’s award-winning career information and advice web service My World of Work, helping spread the word of the support it offers to their friends, fellow pupils, teachers, parents and carers.

Background:  My World of Work

My World of Work’ is a free, easy-to-run programme with ready-made resources that provides career education benefits for pupils, teachers, parents, carers and the wider school community.

If you haven’t used My World of Work before, it’s a fantastic resource, packed with tools, advice and information empowering users to make informed, confident career decisions.    My World of Work complements the Career Management Skills framework and Career Education Standard. There are also dedicated partner and parent sections equipping teachers, parents and carers with resources, information and advice to support young people with career decisions.

Initially trialled with a number of schools as a pilot project in 2014, the programme has developed in collaboration with teachers and pupils and is now available to all secondary schools.

The Ambassadors programme: 

This is an initiative open to learners  who want to share their knowledge and expertise on My World of Work with others.

The benefits for pupils

By volunteering to be an Ambassador, pupils gain valuable experience and skills that are transferable to the world of work.

They’ll improve at problem solving, taking the lead, planning and organising, working as part of a team, communicating with people and of course, gaining a deeper understanding of their own career management skills.

Their experiences can be used to contribute to wider achievement awards, such as the Duke of Edinburgh Awards as well as adding weight to profiles, CVs and UCAS applications.

We all know how important that real life experience can be, and the advantage it offers young people.

You only have to read the story of one of our first Ambassadors Michael Clark, whose experiences as part of the programme helped him to land a Digital Marketing Modern Apprenticeship.

He was told during his interview for the job that the experience he gained as an Ambassador ‘stuck out’ giving him ‘amazing’ additions to his CV.

The benefits of this programme aren’t restricted to pupils though; teachers and the wider school community also stand to gain.

The benefits for your schooljosh-handel-beth-campbell

Ambassadors are in-house experts on My World of Work.

They’re a resource for teachers, other pupils, parents, carers and support staff to get help making the most of the web service.

By promoting My World of Work and career management skills across the whole school, Ambassadors also contribute towards the delivery of national frameworks Developing the Young Workforce, the Career Education Standard, How Good is Our School 4 and of course, Curriculum for Excellence.

It also offers schools the chance to showcase pupil achievements in newsletters, on social media, in local media and at awards ceremonies.

The benefits for teachers

The programme also supports the continuing professional development of teachers.

The lead teacher or teachers can raise their profile inside and outside of school, as well as improve their networks, depending on the types of events that are organised.

It also offers the opportunity to gain experience outside of subject area expertise, particularly in leadership, project management, communication and the delivery of events.

Getting started

Teachers can find all the resources for the My World of Work Ambassadors programme in their My World of Work account as long as they are registered as a partner.

The scale of the programme can be adapted to suit individual schools and resources, and we’re already seeing some great examples of best practice.

At St Paul’s RC Academy in Dundee, Ambassadors are supporting S1 pupils after their move from primary school to create their own My World of Work accounts, and promoting the career education tools for primary 5 to 7 pupils with cluster primary schools.

The principle teacher responsible for Developing the Young Workforce (DYW) at St Andrews & St Brides High School in South Lanarkshire is ensuring succession management by running small groups of Ambassadors across the senior phase, ensuring expertise is retained as part of the culture of learning.

At Alva Academy in Clackmannanshire, the intention is to have one ‘lead’ Ambassador and up to 20 ‘subject’ Ambassadors to help link faculties and subjects directly to the extensive resources within My World of Work.

We also have a number of schools who prefer to start off ‘small’ with just a couple of Ambassadors to promote My World of Work at parents’ events. The important thing is that the programme works for the school and its pupils.

shirley-davison-pdiIf you have questions about getting started or want to find out more please don’t hesitate to get in touch with me on shirley.davison@sds.co.uk