Friday, February 24, 2012

Education England 2015 - a warning

Here lies Freedom in Education
It's May 2015 and the General Election is upon us in the UK. The last 5 years in Education can only be described as the most destructive ever undertaken. The seismic changes that Sir Michael Gove and Lord Michael Wilshaw (ex Ofsted chief) have imposed upon schools in England from the end of 2011 are only starting to be horribly realised. 
Thousands of teachers have left the profession due to measures that have brought untold misery to millions of learners now subjected to 'teaching to the test' to keep England in the top 5 of the PISA table, and Performance Related Pay, which has failed in its promise to attract the best to the profession, has been the subject of intense scrutiny after it was alleged results were been manipulated to ensure some schools could continue offering the best salaries. Prime Minister Cameron, who survived one attempted leadership battle after his disastrous handling of the Iran crisis in 2012, now faces another as his Tory faithful realise the misjudgement of allowing two ideologues complete control over education in this country.
England may be in the top 5 performers according to PISA, which is itself facing questions over bribery allegations, but this does nothing to alleviate the crisis facing tens of thousands of recent graduates and school leavers who have no prospect of employment due to 'GoveShaw' measures during 2012 to decrease vocational qualifications to less than 20, forcing schools and universities to offer only academic subjects which present employers are no longer interested in.

It doesn't have to be like this. You are a teacher and you know your class.
You know what they require to move them on in their learning, not some government rhetoric.
You know every learner in your class, not some visiting Ofsted inspector who sees them as data.

You are the teacher.

Teach. Lead. Facilitate. Guide. Question. Reason. Listen. Learn.

Be the teacher you know you really are.


Blog ownership - Learner or Teacher?


I've been following some debate about the ownership of blogs used in classrooms. There are those that say blogs must be led by the teacher and all posts moderated for content and spelling by the teacher. Then there are those that say blogs must be owned by the learners, that they should have control over content that is posted no matter if it contains spelling mistakes but comments should be moderated by teachers.

Writing a blog is something that every class should be doing no matter what age group, there's no debating it. It's as easy or as difficult as you want to make it. It can become an essential part of the learning process throughout the school year or a noose around a teacher's neck as they deliberate over content and finding time to keep it updated. Blogging is powerful no matter way you look at it and it should not be cast aside as a fad. It's been around for quite some time and will more than likely be around for quite some time to come, so schools should embrace it. How you use your blog once it has been set up is an essential part of the decision process. On one side we have the teacher teaching from the front of the class like we always have, the other the teacher is facilitating the learning from wherever they may be.

Where do you find yourself?

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Leashes not required

Leashes not required


For the past 3 weeks I have been personalising every child’s learning in my class. I use a weekly plan which is made up of Literacy and Numeracy targets specifically chosen by me so that the child can work towards these during the week. Every child is given the opportunity to add further targets which they feel will make a difference to their learning. These targets are taken from the Year 4 EoY targets for both Literacy and Numeracy. Children also have the opportunity to create their own ‘Most Important’ target for that week and a Personal Journey (PJ) which is Project Based Learning.

I have noted distinct and measurable improvements in every child’s learning since their introduction 3 weeks ago, for example, this week every child in my class has met or surpassed their numeracy targets. Each child is now responsible for their learning and the PJ inspires them to focus on the learning that will move them forward. This personalisation allows me more time to focus on teaching specific skills to many more children than I would otherwise have taught using a centre stage approach where I would stand at the front introducing and explaining for 10-15 minutes to the whole group before allowing them to show their understanding.

The use of a PJ has become my weekly plan. I do not blindly follow units of work or prescribed schemes as these have been written as guides and not as a step by step teaching method. I use National Curriculum objectives to focus on specific learning targets for every child. In this way children in my class may end up working on various mathematical concepts during any one lesson.

My TA has found using the PJ’s more beneficial as they have helped her focus on the needs of every child as she can refer to the PJ at any time.

Lesson times are now blended into one another and there have been occasions where some children have worked on Numeracy whilst others have been focusing on improving a Literacy target. The children are more focused, their learning is improving, targets are being met and in the next few weeks I will use written assessments to measure progress against my own professional judgements. That's when many of the readers of this blog, my colleagues and other educators and parents will discover if a personalised approach is beneficial to developing, promoting and extending learning.

Many thanks to artfulscribe for use of the image