There are a huge number of wonderful blogs out there, packed full of practical advice and intriguing debates. The only issue is that they can be very ephemeral. Something wonderful is written but can be quickly forgotten. To try and combat this I thought I would try to pin down some of the blog posts I found most useful each month. Unfortunately (or not) there are so many great posts written, it quickly became overwhelming. Instead I’ll try and do a regular short run down of some of the posts that I found useful or interesting that week (or weekish).
Play as a medium for learning – Tim Taylor (@imagineinquiry)
As seems to be traditional, the half term started with a teacher twitter row. This one was triggered by an article in the Guardian by Tom Bennett called “Play is essential, but it takes work for children to succeed in the real world” in which he argued that play was not an effective way to learn academic disciplines. It is a view I’d certainly agree with but Tim’s post, amongst others, helped to highlight that, as with so much, it is a lot more complicated than that. In what quickly became a silly twitter spat, Tim’s post added some much needed clarity.
Teaching/Cementing difference – Jonny Walker (@Jonnywalker_edu)
My favourite blog post on Geography this week (with much that applies to other subjects) is this one from Jonny Walker. In it he warns about using examples of places around the world to highlight just one thing. We end up with a generation of pupils who know nothing about Bangladesh other than the fact it is poor and floods, South Africa is just apartheid, Brazil shanty towns and rainforests. I think we are starting to move beyond this and teach place in more depth. Our GCSE pupils are spending several weeks studying Nigeria and Lagos for example.
Why I love… Just another lesson – Susan Stachan (@SusanSEnglish)
Earlier in the week, I set a challenge to teacher-bloggers to write about a lesson they have taught and explain their thinking. I was hoping to see examples of people using the kind of pedagogy they tweet and write about. I really enjoyed Susan’s example of a revision lesson she had taught. It was great to get a glimpse inside someone else’s classroom like that.
Why the tail should not wag the dog – Ben Newmark (@Bennewmark)
A lot of teachers seem to be spending their half term rethinking assessments after a year of trying various ways of assessing without national curriculum levels and trying to assess progress towards ill defined GCSE targets. Ben’s post clearly outlines the problem of putting assessment at the heart of your curriculum and teaching towards it. He makes the case that we need to be putting learning first and simplify how we assess this learning.
The RSC is dead. Long live the RSC – The Primary Head (@theprimaryhead)
Finally, the blog post that made me laugh this week. This is a take on the chaotic Regional Schools Commission and their inability to keep hold of anyone to do the job; they seem to quickly jump ship to academy directorships. Something clearly needs to change, but in the meantime let’s at least have a good laugh at their expense.