M J Bromley introduces us to his new book…
There’s a famous and possibly apocryphal story that Alan Bennett was asked to rename the film adaptation of his stage play The Madness of George III to The Madness of King George for fear American audiences wouldn’t go see it because they’d assume they’d missed the first two films in the trilogy. Teach 2 is a sequel of sorts but it’s not essential you’ve read the first book. You won’t find any exciting cliff-hangers being resolved in the pages of this book, or unravel any twisted plot-lines within the well-worn folds of its dust-jacket. Instead, Teach 2 says some of the things I forgot to say in Teach as well as some of the things I’ve learnt since writing the first book because – and isn’t this just the best thing about life – every day is a school day. If I ever need proof of that, I need only watch an episode of University Challenge. Just when I think I know it all, I sit through half an hour of Jeremy Paxman – seemingly speaking a foreign language – and I realise that I’m a complete and utter moron. Teach was about the science of learning whereas Teach 2 takes us right back to basics, to the building blocks that make great teachers and great teaching. Read more here.
Teaching is a collaborative enterprise that relies on professionals working together to help each other to improve; it is not a commercial enterprise that thrives on competition. Therefore, you should approach the thorny issue of performance-related pay carefully. You do not want to create division; you do not want to sow disharmony. Performance-related pay, if badly administered, has the potential to stem the flow of professional development and collaborative practice. So proceed cautiously and in full and frank consultation with your staff. Read more here.
Jeff Bearden – a former professional wrestler known as the Giant Warrier – outlines what ‘character’ means and how to teach it in schools…
The dictionary defines character as the mental and moral qualities distinctive to an individual, the aggregate of features and traits that form the individual nature of a person. It can also refer to one’s moral or ethical quality, honesty, courage, or integrity.
But a person is not born with good character; it is something that is developed over time. It isn’t something that happens overnight. So how can we help young people to develop good character and when is the best time to start working on developing it? Read more here.
Matt Bromley explains why a bedtime story is vital for children’s development…
Reading my daughter’s bedtime story is an innocent act that knits up the ravelled sleeve of care, it is my sore labour’s bath, the balm of my hurt mind, and the chief nourisher in my life’s feast. Our bedtime story makes the world seem a better place, it is an oasis of calm and order in an otherwise cold, cruel world. After a stressful day of work, it reminds me what life is really about, and how precious is our time on earth.
Jackie Onassis once said that “There are many little ways to enlarge your child’s world. Love of books is the best of all.” Alan Bennet said, “A book is a device to ignite the imagination”.
A book at bedtime is not just a literacy lesson – or indeed a literary one – it’s a way of learning about the world around us, as well as a way of discovering new worlds and, with them, new hopes and dreams, and endless new possibilities. To climb inside the pages of a good book is to take a journey to paradise which – rather aptly – Jorge Luis Borges once described as being like “a kind of library.”
Reading allows us to live a thousand different lives in a thousand different times, rather than just the one we’re given. As Dr Seuss said, “The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more you learn, the more places you’ll go.” Read more here.
Apprentice finalist Claire Young and education leader Matt Bromley share their thoughts…
Claire argues that leadership starts with two big ears – great leaders have the patience to take some time to listen with an open unbiased mind. She says great leaders also have passion for the purpose – they take people with them and, instead of saying “we need to do this”, say “let’s do this”. They have vision, too, and a clear sense of direction and strategy, making sure everyone knows the tasks along the way.
Matt believes that great leaders are able to care about and respond to people’s needs, are consistent, fair and honest, and transparent and above reproach. He adds that great leaders are sensitive and able to show warmth and to empathise with people’s concerns and worries, able to give quality time to people, be available and approachable, and are able to show assertiveness, determination and strength of response, yet able to be kind and calm and courageous. He says that great leaders are able to communicate – through a variety of means and in an appropriate manner – with enthusiasm, passion and drive. Read more here
English teacher and Autus author, Matilda Rose, shares her thoughts…
The case for promoting literacy is particularly urgent at the moment because too many students leave school without the confident and secure literacy skills they need in order to survive – let alone thrive – as adults.
Teachers and schools are not to blame for the situation I am about to describe, but they are responsible for doing something to address it and so they need to be aware of and act on these somewhat damning figures… In January 2012, the National Literacy Trust found that one in every six adults struggles with literacy and has a literacy level below that expected of an eleven-year-old. Seven million adults in England cannot locate the page reference for plumbers in the Yellow Pages and 1 in 16 adults cannot identify a concert venue on a poster that contains the name of the band, the price, the date and time, and – one would imagine rather helpfully – the venue. More than half of British motorists, meanwhile, cannot interpret road signs properly. In 2009 a Department for Education (then known as the Department of Children, Schools, and Families) survey found that only 33% of students who were known to be eligible for free school meals (FSM) achieved a C grade or higher in English, as compared with 62% of non-FSM students. The same DfE survey also found that there was a 32% gap between the proportion of students from areas of greatest deprivation who achieved a Level 5 at the end of Key Stage 3 and the proportion of students from areas of least deprivation.
Teachers are not to blame, or at least not entirely. The All Party Parliamentary Group on Education reported in 2012 that literacy was a huge issue for the nation, our society and our economy, not just for schools. Read more here