I was looking for a new book to read and was recommended this by a friend. It is excellent value, only £3 on kindle! A really good book and I loved reading it – the kind that you just want more and that motivates you to pick it up each time.
The book is structured into three main sections as outlined below in the sketchnote. For those interested in pedagogy, this book is for you. I particularly enjoyed the section called ‘Why?’ which delved into the research and theory behind high quality learning and teaching.
There are many many books out there all promoting high quality learning and teaching and at times it is difficult to know which one you are actually looking for or going to benefit from. This one is the one for me. It has handy top tips that are broken down into smaller ‘how to’ sections. I can easily see this being the focus of a faculty or whole school meeting.
Also, trying to engage all teachers should be an easy prospect, however not all teachers have the time or know where to begin. The focus on short sharp overviews if research really helps everyone to engage in research without become too overwhelmed.
If you have a spare few minutes this summer, purchase this book for the kindle.
In this episode of EduBlether, we welcome Patrice Bain, co-author of the book ‘Powerful Teaching – Unleash the science of learning’. We discuss knowledge, critical thinking, assessment, curriculum and lots more.
It was a fascinating discussion with some great practical ideas for how to begin using these research-informed strategies or ‘power tools’ in your classroom.
In this Episode we have a discussion about retrieval practice and developments in cognitive science. We look at the implications for teaching and learning, as well as what this means for the role of Education in a wider debate. We have many tangents in this episode discussing hegemony, knowledge, politics and much more. I hope you enjoy as much as we did.
Education Scotland CLD officers have collated a range of websites and specific online courses that may be relevant to those working in the Community Learning and Development sector. We hope you find these useful – please get in touch with Susan.Epsworth@educationscotland.gov.scot if you know of an opportunity worth sharing
Learn 100% online with world-class universities and industry experts – Browse Future Learn’s free online courses in subjects ranging from Psychology and Mental Health to Creative Arts and Media https://www.futurelearn.com/courses
This week when creating an early level resource on people who help us in the medical field I put some clip art in. I searched for doctor and chose one of the first images. Then the same for nurse.
‘So what?’ you say.All I did was pick the first images returned in a search. But when I looked at the search results mostly they return a stereotype.
On reflection I started thinking, as I am potentially influencing pupils ideasof what a doctor or nurse is. Perhaps even influencing what pupils feel they can or cannot aspire to. Should I have thought more carefully about the images I chose?
To help us think about the influence we may be having on pupils and therefore who thinks STEM is right for them, this weeks CLPL is from the Improving Gender Balance and Equalities (IGBE) team at Education Scotland. Fiona Shaw is the IGBE officer who covers Falkirk and her contact details are in the presentation.
I’ll begin by showing my hand. I am white, male, middle-aged, protestant, heterosexual and read history at Oxford University. I have the exact same profile as many of the people who led us to this moment in time. It is now past the time for a paradigm shift in race relations, and education is how we will do this.
I am also married to an Asian muslim (who spent her early childood in a war zone and her teenage years as a refugee). We will let our daughters decide which, if any, religion to follow. I’m a board member of the charity Remembering Srebrenica Scotland and our aim is to tackle prejudice and intolerance in society. I’ve been a teacher for close to two decades and am currently a school leader. I hope, if you are profiling me now, it looks a little different.
The fires of protest are burning brightly just now; there is no doubt that millions of people are angry. I hope this cycle will be broken; that action will follow this tragedy which will change direction and give hope. If schools are going to be in the vanguard of this change, we need to take positive steps. Here are some thoughts on how to do this.
Step 1: Reinvent Protest
I subscribe to the view that teaching is a subversive activity. I am idealistic, but not ideological, and it is vital to teach pupils how to think for themselves without teaching them what to think. This is a fine line and I know I get it wrong when I teach topics like slavery – I don’t want pupil to think it is ok. I am happy with the dissonance in my head on this. I do want pupils to be active, or even activists, in shaping their world. I have adapted Edmund Burke’s maxim that all it takes for evil to prosper is for good people to do nothing (I dropped the gender specific part of that quotation). I totally support the right to protest, but in the midst of a pandemic I am concerned that the people who will pay a price are the NHS frontline staff, and the BAME community who suffer disproportionately from COVID. Can we reinvent ways to protest? The picture at the head of this blog is one I designed myself (hence the totally amateur nature of it), and it speaks to the idea of all colours in one heart. My call is for people to use their homes as a protest tool until they can safely get back on the streets. Put this heart up next to your rainbow, and add #blacklivesmatter or any other slogan you think expresses your feelings. Let’s keep them up until we have broken the cycle. Our pupils can start this today if we encourage them.
Step 2: Recruitment
I heard Prof Rowena Arshad speak several times this year on race, at researchED, at the Into Headship conference, and at EduMod. Her work on research in race in Scottish education is groundbreaking. There is definitely a perception gap around appointment and promotion in education between white and non-white. Why is this? Having an equal opportunities policy does not mean ‘job done’. What are your stats about numbers of non-white applications, appointments and promotions? I’m going to go out on a limb and say that most employers don’t track this. At the Into Headship conference I was in a room with about 300 fellow trainee headteachers, and it was a very white room. The most important thing for career progression is to have someone who is a mentor/sponsor. Hashi Mohammed has written brilliantly about this, so what can we do to put this kind of support in place?
Step 3: Tackle Micro-Aggression
The overt, blatant aggression that exists on the far right is a huge problem, but the micro-aggressions that exist everywhere are just as challenging and we can do something about them. An example is not calling on a child in the class because you don’t know how to pronounce their name. Learn their name: it is vital to showing them respect. Again Rowena Arshad is very good on this. Talk about race with colleagues and pupils to find out what micro-aggressions they face on a daily basis. Most of them come from subconscious behaviour. What can be done to eradicate them?
Step 4: Professional Learning
Most teachers are scared to talk about race because they are not confident enough to do so. They fear saying something wrong, something that will get them in trouble. All teachers need to be able to talk about race. What professional learning have you done to enhance your confidence and understanding on this? There is no shortage of organisations willing to help and support. Connect Futures is a good starting place, and I’ve already mentioned Remembering Srebrenica which has organisations in all UK countries. At EduMod at the Fringe (an event that I run with Louise Hunter of Summerhouse Media) we had a session with members of the Scottish Youth Parliament, one of whom challenged her headteacher on the school’s LGBTQ+ track record. The solution? She gave a talk at INSET to her teachers on how to speak to gay pupils like herself. Impressive.
Step 5: Decolonizing the Curriculum
Last summer Pran Patel gave a TED talk on this subject, and he spoke at EduMod. We need, at both a national level and school level, to ask searching questions about the curriculum. In each area of the curriculum, what proportion of key individuals being taught about are non-white? Are the examples of artists, authors, leaders, scientists and musicians representative of the whole world? Is the southern hemisphere just as prominent as the northern?
On the back of this, what are you going to do about it? Something? Nothing? Why? How can you create the conditions for curriculum reform that will challenge the structural racism that exists in society? The curriculum is perhaps the most powerful weapon that we have to change society. Recalibrate it for this purpose.
“Be our voice when we’re not there: Structural inequalities and underrepresentation mean that often minorities are not in the room when discriminatory decisions have been taken. We need individuals and allies who are able to stand for justice in whatever sphere of life they find themselves in. People who are able to use their platforms and positions of influence to ensure justice for those who can’t be seen, who can’t speak and who can’t breathe.”
Please put that into practice.
Step 7: Read, Think, Act
My thanks to Connect Futures for this reading list. Order these titles and more and get them up in a display in your school library. Have conversations around them. It’s ok to disagree. The only thing that’s not ok is staying silent.
I titled this blog a provocation, because I want to provoke thought, discussion and action. What you do matters. This is the slogan of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and I use it frequently in talks and lessons. I absolutely believe it is true. What you do to make things better matters. What you fail to do is critical. There are no more excuses.
This week’s CLPL is on the STEM Self Evaluation and Improvement Framework. This framework has been provided by Education Scotland to support schools with developing their STEM practice by evaluating their current work and giving focus for next steps. We are very aware that we are in an ever changing and somewhat uncertain times. The last thing we want to do is to create more work for practitioners or place importance on tasks which may not seem pressing. The current situation is far from ideal and has pushed us down paths in providing education we may not have chosen. However it is apparent that some excellent work is being done and as enthusiasts for STEM, multiple opportunities to engage our pupils and colleagues in STEM have presented themselves.
Family learning has been the status quo for most pupils for the last 3 months and this may continue to be the case for some in part at least. Are we making the most of this family learning to engage parents in STEM? Are we providing equity for our families with the provisions we are making? If so can we continue to build on this?
Outdoor learning lends itself so well to covering STEM Es and Os, as outdoor learning seems to be being encouraged as we return to school can we capitalise on this to support STEM work in our school? Could we lead the outdoor learning through STEM?
We have been engaging with technology in ways we probably never imagined. Pupils and practitioners alike are up skilled, can we continue to build on this? Are we going to change the way we teach?
Pupils are working in a very different way at home with different timescales, is this increasing their higher order thinking and creativity? How do we continue to support this in school? Could this be through STEM?
The framework allows us to evaluated these exact topics. Perhaps as this is where we are for now and these are the opportunities we have been afforded we could work to take advantage of this and find ourselves in a better place at the other side?
To help you engage with the framework and provide examples of good practice we have asked Gayle Duffus, National Education Officer for Primary Science and the RAiSE program to provide this CLPL. Some of you may know Gayle from our Friday Q and A sessions. Below you will find Gayle’s video for this. The associated resources are in the teams drive in the CLPL folder.
I teach this as part of the engineering science curriculum using a mixture of software and breadboards.
It is a topic which I enjoy but always with an element of trepidation, will the kit work (blown bulbs, loose wires etc.), are the multimeters on the correct setting, will there be lost components? Pupils amaze me every time finding a creative way for things to go wrong. Last week however I started using the playdough circuits and I have never had so much fun!
There is so little to go wrong and the components are so cheap that if it breaks I could just use a different one. The circuits are very flexible having their own glue so mounting circuits onto a project is easy. There are no long wires to move about or cram into a small space. This low tech option could be good for returning to school and providing small amounts of kit for experiments. Have a look at the first level video and see what you think.
To highlight the good practice already going on in Falkirk W/C 11th May Mrs Jones from Carmuirs Primary School produced an excellent week long task on electricity for her P6 pupils using Wakelet. This could be a useful approach for STEM during blended learning. Check it out here.
The resources for all three levels for this topic are in the teams files as usual in the CLPL folder. If you are a member of the team click here for resources. This week we’ve included possible novel studies which the topic of electricity could be covered as part of.
To join our STEM – RAiSE Falkirk Team type the code is188td
We also really appreciate your feedback, if you could complete the microsoft form below we would be very grateful.
This week’s CLPL is on Tools in School. Below is the video for the course and the codes to access the resources. I would like to introduce myself before we start.
I am Barbara Hanning one of the Primary STEM development officers (PSDO) for Falkirk Council. My working days are Tuesday, Thursday and Friday and I share this post with Laura McCafferty who works a Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.
Prior to teaching I had qualified as a Product Design Engineer and I worked as a Production Engineer for a manufacturing company for 5 years. I have been a Secondary Technical teacher, teaching Design and Manufacture, Engineering Science, Graphic Communication and Practical Woodwork for 10 years now. In this time I have started and run a number of well attended and successful STEM clubs, organised Falkirk High Schools offering for STEM at the Helix and for a spell I was Acting Principal Teacher of Positive Destinations. I was really pleased and excited to take up this post in January 2020.
I think my passion for STEM has come from my Parents. When we went on family holidays there was always a saga. The holiday where everything in the apartment was broken including the washing machine and the shower curtain was too short so the bathroom flooded. My mum fixed the washing machine by removing a huge stone from the door seal and dad attached loops of string to the shower curtain to lower it. The caravan holiday we booked off season and as a result no activities were running. Dad made an obstacle course and a putting green from junk and our toys Mum taught us how to knit. Now I think about it, this is why I place importance on the value of STEM skills. I feel they are valuable life skills, the ability to solve problems in different situations, the mind-set that a barrier to success is not permanent, that learning is a constant in life. I feel very privileged now to be in a position now to help learners obtain these skills.
This week is my first online CLPL. It is an introduction to the use of woodwork tools in school. The idea is to set out what would be required to start using tools in school and demonstrate how easy it could be to achieve some simple projects. The projects all contain the vital life skill of attaching things with screws. You may have seen the pupil from Carronshore Primary School tweeting his success making a planter from the @littlelessons20 twitter tutorial https://twitter.com/Cpsmrsw/status/1257263741223211008
Perfect examples of what can be achieved with these skills and how these learners are being inspired to have an interest in STEM.
To participate in this CLPL, watch the video, have a look at the twitter links above, join our team and have a look at the ‘tools in school’ resources.
If you join the team with this code then you should gain access to the Q and A and all resources associated with this session. If you are already a member of the team click here.
I am working with PSDOs across Scotland to produce a video resource to demonstrate the best use of tools and this will be added to this drive once complete. When we return to school and it is possible I would be more than willing to run staff training on tools so please get in touch about this.
To join our STEM – RAiSE Falkirk Team type the code is188td
We would appreciate your feedback on this CLPL. Please complete the microsoft form here:
Bramble Brae School worked with all stakeholders to redesign a bespoke curriculum for the school. Creativity and employability skills are being developed within the curriculum as they engage with local employers to create an enriching and inspiring learning environment: making connections across different areas of learning and using whole school themes to encourage involvement and deepen understanding.
Through this, the school is developing materials and opportunities for learning in a wide variety of contexts and settings: from the local supermarket; to a nearby building site and visits from local musicians to share stories about local history and traditions throughout the school. Displays, open mornings, assemblies and local radio interviews are some of the ways in which the children share their skills and the value of their experiences with others.
The school motto: Belonging, Believing Achieving encapsulates the vision, values and aims that Bramble Brae aspire to. To support this the school embarked on a unique approach by employing a Business and Community Ambassador, more commonly known as the ‘Good Fairy’ by staff and pupils; a first for Aberdeen City. Through working collaboratively with teachers and pupils, she initiates and develops relevant links with businesses, employers and third sector partners across the city, country and even the world! This has resulted in the ‘World of Work’ being embedded across the curriculum and throughout the school, with links from Nursery through to P7. This role also provides flexibility to meet with potential partners and provides valuable and meaningful communication between all partners to share information about the particular and specific needs and aspirations of children and allows freedom to develop learning materials which can be built upon for successive year groups. The partnerships benefit pupils within school and in after school activities. The school runs entrepreneurial activities throughout all classes and has an annual showcase, celebratory event that all are invited to.
In P6 employability skills are developed with partners to provide a real insight into the skills pupils are developing: their strengths and preferences in how they make choices in different situations which leads to them analysing and then ultimately becoming mini-apprentices in real life roles within the school. This work augments the world of work ‘Animal Me’ exercises by involving a local psychologist from a business consultancy introducing personality tests to build confidence then looks at what each individual child brings to the world. The school have then built links with the University Business School and lecturers help them to understand how skills they are developing are sought for specific roles in the world of work.
Mock interviewing is a brilliant way of building resilience and communication skills and each applicant works within their chosen role either within the school, or within the local community library or secondary school if they choose to apply for a librarian position. The School’s programme has been recognised by Skills Development Scotland who shared this as good practice with other schools after meeting the children involved. They have information for a case study which they are hoping to share online in the future. By looking at familiar jobs within the school the children developed an understanding of how people help them and have become more responsible in their behaviour and approach to others. It’s also helped them identify skills they have or can acquire for the work of work and widened their horizons. They enjoyed sharing this learning with other classes and parents/carers in the showcase celebration event too. It’s encouraged them to challenge perceptions of themselves and others as well as enhancing their learning across all areas of the curriculum.
Throughout the school all pupils develop employability and creativity skills with whole school contexts for learning across the year.
– A new theme starts with all pupils identifying their BIG questions
– These are shared with the ‘Good Fairy’ looks at possible links, resources or visits
– All work collaboratively to facilitate these.
– Through this approach, there is a focus on personalisation and choice.
Promoting equity, equality, diversity and inclusion through their partnerships to develop employability and creativity. This innovative approach enables access to world of work for the children. Many of whom do not have access to family and friends to ask about this. These experiences are particularly valuable for many of our children who live within an area designated as a ‘regeneration area’ and who have many different experiences through school which increase their social capital. Some examples include:
A female engineer visiting to talk about renewable energy. They embraced the chance to ask her about what she did in the oil and gas industry. Through this link, the children were then able to explore diversity and equality further through an expansive Flat Stanley activity by writing letters to her work colleagues across the globe asking about where they lived and what it was like there.
Event where they invited 4 local schools to take part in an event to tackle gender stereotyping and perceptions about the world of work. A huge benefit in reducing gender stereotypes and inspiring pupils was reported after this highly interactive event.
Looking at the local environment and visiting new housing close to the school that pupils were interested in. They arranged a whole class visit to the building site. Being with builders, architects and site managers provided an insight into skills for future jobs.
Impacts on the learners include an increase in self-determination, self-esteem, self-belief and enthusiasm plus suggestions of whom we might engage with to enrich their learning experiences. By having and building upon partner relationships the children and teachers, feel comfortable in asking questions and there are reciprocal benefits in terms of understanding for employers about current education practice, the value of their input in making a positive difference and, often, a renewed interest in their own role within an organisation having explained what they do and what they enjoy about their job to a class of inquisitive pupils. Also, with a move towards diversity, equality and inclusion within our business partners’ corporate social responsibility values, their involvement with our school and community supports these values. The school celebrates success together and within the community.
During the summer term, each class puts together activities and materials to celebrate and share how they’ve engaged with organisations to develop their employability and creativity skills. This whole school showcase is open to all parents/carers; partners and the community and, last year, was a lively and interactive session designed and led by the children to demonstrate how they’d developed and what they’d enjoyed learning throughout the school year.
Staff find that being able to introduce a topic with a practical example, finding someone who has expertise and resources to share with the pupils brings an extra dimension into the classroom and can support and develop interdisciplinary learning.