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The What, How and Why of it all

We are hypocrites, most of us. We don't mean to be, but we are. Bold words, I know, but I am not attacking us with venom or unreal expectations. This line of thought started when I went on a child protection course as part of my new role I am SDP (senior designated person) for safeguarding. It's not a role I relish, but it is vital. I realised over the day that there is an awful lot of that I am ignorant of. That got me thinking of conversations I've had with people about pedagogical practice. I've said things like, "How did you hear about the child-led learning? Was it based on anyone's work?" To which the response it, in an often patronising tone.  "You know a lot about things, don't you?" No, I really, really don't.  The worry for me is we, as teachers, follow government guidelines because we have to. We teach because we want to. We don't always learn why we do things because we haven't got time to. I recen
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Effective Behaviour Management starts with consistency.

Every classroom I've been in has rules. Some are phrased as a positive statement "we are good listeners", others are more clear cut, "Don't rock on your chair". Teachers view these are the backbone of the classroom. Their proverbial rod of iron, so to speak. In one class I went into, they had a full display board of rules. 15 of them. In my opinion that's way too many. As an NQT my main focus was to be a good teacher by ensuring my teaching happened. I needed rules that allow me to teach the lessons I'd planned. Nothing  unusual about that. But the interesting thing was, one year, I didn't put up my class rules display (I had 7 rules on my display and I think it's probably lurking on TES resources or primary resources or somewhere) and the strangest thing happened... The class did as I expected them to do without the big list of things they had to do. Instead, I invested in them. I created private spaces in class that they owned, tha

It depends where you start....

When I was fourteen, I went to Ireland with my dad. We stayed at one guest house and, while walking up a few flights of stairs to the room by the owner, he gestured left saying, "The breakfast room's there." A few more flights of stairs later and I couldn't remember which floor the breakfast room was on, so I asked him to tell me. He looked at me, thought for a moment and said, "Well, I guess it depends where you start." I never thought about this as a educational point before, but it's a thinking one. As educators we are stuck in a rigid system where numbers, levels and data indicate position, both within class and league tables, yet that can inhibit thinking. His approach to answering my question was to remove what we naturally perceive to be the obvious absolute: the building is rigid & therefore we must move around the building. He put me as the rigid element and moved the building to fit my requirement. To him, the problem wasn't c

Leaders of Learning

Today, a group of Year 9 students from Hodgson Academy, came in to run a 90 minute session with my Year 5 class. They were self-penned "Leaders of Learning". I like that. A lot of schools, mine included, have digital leaders or similar, but in a way, it restricts the good work they can do to one educational avenue - digital/technological based stuff. I think I'm going to steal the Leaders of Learning thing. I like the multi faceted nature of the title, implying that their role is to be a broad and informed tier of leaders - much like schools are trying to implement with management structures. Why not make use of children's abilities in a much more efficient way? I think digital leaders just expanded for me.

Thank You, Mr Maloney, for helping my child to fail.

From the title, I expect you think this post is all negative. That's logical, based on the failure element of it, but it's wrong. This was a magic moment that happened with a parent the other day. Her child - a bright girl - has done really well with me this year but, as I keep saying, I've not really done that much, it was all her own efforts. Her mother responded by saying something really interesting, in my opinon, which is paraphrased below: Every year we've been told how well she's doing, how she's brilliant at everything and is top of the class. You've told us how she's all of those things, but also how she can move forward and what we can do and why we should. You've put her in positions where she'll fail, where she can't rely on her academic intelligence and watched her struggle and then explained why it's okay to feel that frustration and how to overcome it. Thank you, Mr Maloney, for helping my child to fail. This comment

Being a Political Football

I wanted this to be eloquent. I wanted this post to whizz through the ether and bounce onto Michael Gove's desk and for him to smile at the clever turns of phrase and rhetoric. I haven't got the bloody energy. You'll have to make do with this: I am lucky that I am in a career that I love. That statement is one that many, many thousands of people cannot say. It is, unfortunately, increasingly difficult to believe it anymore. Teaching isn't about just, well, teaching. In the last two weeks I have cleaned cuts, dealt with arguments, healed broken hearts, acted as judge and jury, cajoled, supported, fed (yes, fed), parented, reassured, inspired and taught. The main problem is that my profession is viewed as a political football. This is historic, I know, and I should state I knew this was the case before training to become a teacher. But most recently, the analogy of a football is defunct. Teaching is not a political football. It is the tennis ball in the longest and

TeachMeet Lancs 20th March

So, another TeachMeet has been and gone in the blink of an eye. This one was particularly good for a few reasons: 1. There were teachers there from both primary & secondary education. 2. There were new presenters 3. It reinforced a lot of common ground that we all have. Oh, the presentations were pretty good too. Ben Gristlewood @mr_g_ict  kicked off proceedings talking about how he uses Twitter to engage his Year 12 pupils. It was a real insight into tackling the misnomer of social media in secondary schools and it'll be interesting to see how it develops over the next few months too. His blog is Next up we had Jasmine Renold @JRenold  who talked about how using Google Docs - specifically Google Forms had eased workload at her school tremendously and how it had helped to develop better relationships with parents. After that, David Mitchell @deputymitchell took to the stage to talk about his favourite two web tools. 1 was an app t