Monthly Archives: January 2021

Blog of the Week: 29 January 2021 – Teaching, sympathy and the art of Kintsugi

lobworth

I discovered that a ceramic pot had been broken yesterday. The pot was less than 5 months old. A year ago, I would have been very annoyed with this broken pot. The broken pot would have been taken to the tip.

This year, I didn’t see a broken pot. I saw an opportunity for something called ‘kintsugi’. And I think ‘kintsugi’ is an excellent way of reminding us to appreciate imperfection in our teaching. As a trainee teacher and, indeed, as a PGCE lecturer last year, I wish I had used the idea of kintsugi in my teaching and mentoring. Instead of feeling upset about broken relationships with students, or faulty teaching transitions, or lessons that smashed on impact, I might have embraced each imperfection. I might have encouraged my trainees to do the same.

Let me explain.

We tend deep down to be rather hopeful that we will –…

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Blog of the Week – 22 January 2021 – Principles for Remote Instruction: Notes from a #TLAC Masterclass.

teacherhead

Earlier this week I was thrilled to be invited by Doug Lemov to take part in one of the online workshops run by his brilliant Uncommon Schools organisation. (You can find out more about the workshops here. ) It was such a great experience to engage with training that completely walked the talk: a workshop about excellent remote instruction, delivered via excellent remote instruction. The webinar was superb in every respect, with thanks to the enthusiastic, knowledgeable trainers Hannah Solomon and Brittany Hargrove and the great material.

The session was set up with a class-sized cohort of attendees so that trainers could model securing full participation and engagement. I enjoyed meeting Destiny from Texas, Melissa from Chicago and Marzia from Bangladesh in our break-out sessions. The use of video examples – a Teach Like A Champion trademark – certainly brought the whole scenario alive. The whole approach made…

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Blog of the Week: 15 January 2021 – Some top tips for making teaching videos

A Chemical Orthodoxy

As a school, we’ve decided to spend time this term making teaching videos. There are two reasons for this:

  1. it will help our students who aren’t in school and generally prepare everyone in the event of a school closer
  2. it’s a great way to improve our modelling

It’s difficult to know what “worst case scenario” means, but if we never need to shut or lockdown or whatever, reason 2 is still incredibly powerful.

Over the last lockdown, I made 44 videos for Oak National Academy and close to 20 for Boxer’s Shorts. I made a lot of mistakes, got some great feedback and also had to work out a whole bunch of things for myself. This is inefficient, so I wrote the list below to help out my colleagues if they were interested. You might be interested too, so hopefully it will help you as well. Please note that I…

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Blog of the Week: 8 January 2020 – Certainties

Teachers don’t do well with uncertainty. There’s something about the reassuring ring of the bell that tells us everything is in its place. The comforting hug of routine keeps us safe and secure. The tidal rhythms of each half-term are calming in their familiarity.

So there’s nothing quite like the ‘unprecedented times’ of global pandemic to whip the rug from our feet and make us feel lost.

I’ve found it particularly hard to shift gears between normality and extraordinary times. From March to July, everything was different. But September lulled us into a false sense of security. Exams were firmly on. The R-Rate where I work was mercifully low. We had established our bubbles and new systems and things were relatively calm. So back to business as usual: reading ages, coaching, culture and feedback. Wonderful, I thought. Back to what I’m good at. Back to what I know. Back to…

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