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
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.
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.
The following information outlines the core essentials around DYW, in order to provide a quick overview and introduction to support planning and implementation. It includes the following sections:
What DYW is? – Introduction
What are the key priorities? – DYW essentials
What is Developing the Young Workforce?
Developing the Young Workforce is a seven year programme to reduce youth unemployment by 40% by 2021.
The national milestones are set out in Scotland’s Youth Employment Strategy. The programme is built on the CfE entitlements for children and young people set out in 2008 in Building the Curriculum 3. DYW is a key education policy, as highlighted by John Swinney at consecutive SLF addresses : “Our education policy is enshrined by three major policies, Getting it Right for Every Child, Curriculum for Excellence and Developing Scotland’s Young Workforce.” (SLF 2017) A focus on STEM sits at the heart of DYW. The Digital Learning and Teaching Strategy, Making Maths Count report and STEM Strategy for Scotland will contribute useful and relevant insights. DYW has a particular and significant contribution to make in realising the Scottish Attainment Challenge outcomes, in particular priority 4: Improvement in employability skills and sustained, positive school-leaver destinations for all young people.
DYW Essentials: What are the key DYW priorities ?
1. The Career Education Standard (CES 3-18): Read the Career Education Scotland (3-18). This document contains the key entitlements and expectations around DYW in education and provides guidance for planning and progression.
To what extent am I familiar with the entitlements and expectations outlined within the CES 3-18?
To what extent do I use the CES 3-18 to plan relevant and coherent learning experiences?
What type of education-employer partnerships do I currently have in place?
How do I ensure that these partnerships are effective and sustainable?
To what extent do the partnerships contribute to the curriculum design and delivery?
3. Curriculum design:Embed DYW consistently across all that is planned for children and young people throughout education, ie. within thecurriculum, through interdisciplinary Learning, Personal Learning and Achievement and the life and ethos of the school as a community. For more information see Scotland’s Curriculum Refresh Narrative. Resources for teachers and practitioners can be access on My World of Work.
In secondary schools learner pathwaysshould be planned to reflect the needs and aspirations of young people and offer a diverse range of tailored learning programmes from BGE into the senior phase. This should draw on a wide range of work-related courses such as Foundation Apprenticeships, Skills for Work modules, HNCs etc delivered in collaboration with colleges, training provides and employers alongside traditional subject choices.
How effectively do you plan for career education opportunities and progression pathways for learners in your school?
In what ways does the curriculum provision and timetabling in your establishment incorporate career education for all learners?
4. Connect learning with the world of work: Whenever relevant learning should be linked to careers, the labour market, employability both theoretically as well as practically. Education establishments should therefore creatework-related learning opportunities for all learners from early years to senior phase. This may include career insight, work inspiration, enterprise, simulated work environments connections. Work-based learning should be provide to all learners aqs and when required, particularly however in the senior phase. The implementation of the Work Placement Standard should be an integral element of this.
To what extent do I plan and incorporate work-related learning opportunities across the curriculum
To what extent are partners involved in delivering meaningful, work-related experiences for learners, the delivery of skills and qualifications and highlighting prospective career opportunities?
To what extent do all learners our have access to relevant work-based learning experiences and palcements.
5. Improvement Planning: DYW should be included within the establishment improvement plan and the targets should be realistic and manageable and able to be overtaken in one school year. External partners, such as employers, community learning and development and colleges, and parents should be part of the improvement planning process. However the voice of young people should be clear in the establishment improvement plan. All DYW activity and targets should be clearly focussed on outcomes for learners.
What impact are improvement measures having on learning, success, achievement, confidence, positive destinations and so on?
How effective are profiling processes across the school/establishment?
To what extent do I provide opportunities to engage in profiling that supports learning and the development of skills for work and future career choices?
How well do I engage children and young people in meaningful discussion about their achievement within and outwith school, the development of their skills and assist them in profiling these to support their career journeys?
7. Equalities and Inclusion: Planning for DYW should address issues of equity, equality and inclusion. This includes: addressing parity of esteem across all types of learning and future destinations; challenging gender stereotyping; and meeting the specific needs of young people with additional support needs, from black and minority ethnic communities and those with experience of living in care.
To what extent is our DYW offer inclusive of all learners and challenges stereotypes and bias with regard to gender, race/ethnicity, disability and learners with additional support needs ?
In order to support your development work and thinking around DYW we would like to provide you with the opportunity for professional dialogue with colleagues over the coming months. We have therefore set up the following 3 virtual workshop sessions (interactive webinars) for you:
1, DYW – Virtual Drop in session – 4 May (11.00 – 12.30)
This session will allow teachers and practitioners involved in the delivery of DYW to link up with colleagues and share their current development work, discuss challenges and questions and explore ideas. Register for the event here: (Eventbrite link)
This session will enable teachers and practitioners to explore key DYW themes collectively. The workshops will introduce main aspects around selected themes and allow for professional dialogue and enquiry. This will be practical and interactive in nature and include exemplification. Materials used on the day will be shared with registered practitioners in advance.
Please indicated in the application form topics you would be most interested in discussion on the day:
Introduction to the Career Education Standard 3-18
Work placements and work-related learning
Embedding skills across learning
Developing effective DYW School Partnerships
Data driven dialogue: A process guide to reviewing school/education data
Curriculum design: Providing diverse learning pathways
Career, Information, Advice and Guidance – My World of Work: This is Skills Development Scotland’s online support hub for teachers and practitioners as well as learners . It contains classroom resources, Labour Market Information, guidance on Meta – and Career Management Skills amongst a range of other interactive and engaging resources
It’s not so much a case of ‘Love in the Time of Cholera’ but ‘Teaching in the Time of COVID’. Schools around the world have been moving to online learning and this has been a massive culture shock. Faced with the likelihood of having to teach entirely online, I put out a tweetasking for teachers who have already started this process for their advice, and the response from the edutwitter cavalry was impressive. Rather than write a piece giving advice when I haven’t yet moved to online learning (I start next week), I thought it would be best to share a collection of very useful blogs and resources that can help, wherever you are.
A good place to start is always something by @teacherhead Tom Sherrington, and his blog ‘Setting Work for a Long-Haul Shutdown’ is based on his experience of two previous shutdowns. It contains a lot of excellent advice on what is achievable, and what to be wary of. I also thought that this article by Sam Phillips (teaching in China) via @GovernorHub on primary teaching was particularly useful because that poses a very different set of challenges compared to secondary or tertiary teaching. Indeed, the problems faced and the need for low-tech approaches are emphasised in this blog by Solomon Kingsnorth (@solomon_teach).
When my school started discussions about a continuity policy, this documentproved incredibly helpful. It was written by Head of Dubai College Mike Lambert, @DCol_head, and was based on a similar policy by Kellett School in Hong Kong. The Principal at Kellett is @independenthead Mark Steed, and he contributed to this really useful page by the ISC working group for digital strategy during the shutdown. I also really liked this blog ‘Planning for the Gathering Storm’ by @Southgloshead for its clear approach to developing a whole-school strategy.
A lot of teachers are rapidly up-skilling in ed tech right now, so my go-to person on this is @ICTEvangelist Mark Anderson. He wrote an excellent two-part blog for the website Independent Thinking on effective T&L:
One of the most useful things I received was a great image which was created by Alison Yang of KIS International School in Bangkok. It sets things out very clearly so all teachers, pupils and parents can understand the school’s policy.
I was also sent a large number of useful videos, websites, links to apps and other suggested material that look good, but too many to condense down here. If you go through the full thread and subsequent RTs on my timeline you will find them all. The good news is that many apps are currently being offered for free (a selection can be found here), so this is a good opportunity to take them for a test drive. My thanks to everyone who shared their ideas and resources – I really appreciate this, and so will teachers all around the world.
And finally, if you’re wondering why I used a picture of the iconic ZX Spectrum for this blog, it’s because it’s useful to remember that ed tech is not a new thing. There is no such thing as a digital native. If you suddenly need to teach using it when you have never really engaged, shed your fear. It’s not as tough, or as bad, as you might think.
So keep going, keep sharing, and keep your head up. School might be closed, but learning never stops.