What a wonderful day we had! MANY MANY thanks for all the parent helpers, you guys really ROCK!!!
Mr Graham Watts who has taught in a diverse range of schools; from the league table topping St. Cuthbert’s College in New Zealand to one of the most improved schools in the UK.
His Webinar was based on published research by the Sutton Trust in March this year. It investigated different approaches to improving learning in schools, identified the strength of their effectiveness based on research and looked at the estimated costs associated with each approach.
Below is a basic summary of the top 6 approaches to improve learning.
A teacher is someone who gives you something to take home to think about besides homework
– Lily Tomlin
Let us redefine the word “Teacher”.
Teaching is not a job; it is an art. An art hidden behind a load of responsibilities. It lays the foundation of discovering mysteries, solving problems, and training our minds to question, explore, and investigate. To a world where knowledge is a treasure, teaching is a mirror that reflects future generations.
You can see that teaching is not an easy task. It is, in fact, a multi-task where a teacher has to combine creativity, intelligence, and passion when teaching productively, because after all, everything is a product of teaching. Teachers are the agents of the future fueling students with lifelong passion for learning.
But it is a matter of how we define the word “Teacher” in today’s society. Some think of a 50 year-old teaching materials than no one can digest, a 14 year-old teaching students her age, or a guy changing the world one video at a time. Others imagine the wisdom of Confucius, Socrates, and Anne Sullivan.
As I come to define the word “teacher”, I often look up how it’s perceived by societies, countries, and dictionaries. For centuries, we have thought of teachers as pots of knowledge pouring information in the brains of students. To Merriam Webster dictionary: A teacher is one that teaches; especially: one whose occupation is to instruct. Interestingly, in the Chinese language, a teacher is called 劳师, or old master. But to a fallow mind, a teacher is a planter of seeds, a precious thought that flourishes our path. To a wanderer with lost hope, a teacher is guide. To a creative mind, a teacher is a Muse, an inspiration, an idea. Put simply by the words of Gerlad Grow: “To a mind of flint, the teacher must be iron that strike sparks.”
All around the world, nations are trying to improve the performance of their education system and schools, but with creating more standardized tests, the future doesn’t look bright. To boost the performance of our schools, we need to invest in teachers. According to an article written in 2009, Invest in teachers to raise achievement, “Children in classes taught by the best teachers learn four times faster than those in classes taught by the poorest ones.” Professor Dylan William of the Institute of Education, London says “Children in the most
effective classrooms will learn in six months what students in an average classroom learn in a year, and students in the least effective classrooms will take two years to learn it.” A bad teacher can leave a student like a wrinkled paper.
A popular motto in Finland is “We trust our teachers”. While teachers have specific curricula to follow and compulsory subjects to teach, they are also given freedom to design their own lesson plans and interpret subjects as they see fit making sure they maintain learn-through play childhood philosophy. The country’s liberal approach to curriculum proves that teachers are experts in their fields. The curriculum makes sure freedom and flexibility is given to every teacher and student in every classroom as it ensures that the knowledge gained is applied, not only remembered. On exams, students are expected not just to give the correct answer but also to explain why. Little homework, and hardly any standardized tests, leaves Finland on top.
In Hong Kong, teachers are encouraged to “Teach less, learn more”. A simple motto will shift the focus from “quantity” to “quality” in education. The idea is to transform learning from reading heavy textbooks to learning by doing. Fewer lectures and more ideas coming to life flicker excitement in students. This method aims to engage the mind of students and change the perspective on why we teach and how we teach. It intends to keep natural learning in the DNA of our students. We all learn without necessarily being taught. It is only when we nurture students’ talents and interests in a welcoming environment and flexible teaching methods that we prepare them for lifelong learning. Providing questions, doesn’t mean giving answers. Teach less, learn more allows students to explore potential answers and builds the skills of lifelong learning, wonderment, curiosity and problem solving.
Cruising through the Web trying to find a great idea for art, I came upon this site, Crafty Soccer Mum. I thought I would give it a try as it looked really easy!
It took my Year 5 and 6s around two blocks of 1 and half hours each, to complete. It was easy and the children loved it.
Have since found a more ‘sophisticated’ version of 3D art.
Give it a go it gets a great feedback from students and parents.
The site is organised into 24 different ‘sheds”, each providing a selection of quality visual texts (mainly 3D animations) accompanied by very useful teaching notes outlining how you can use the clips in exploring themes, characterisation, narrative, plot, mood, use of audio, body language, inferences,deductions, predictions – the notes cover just about everything.
It’s equally useful for reading comprehension and writing development. The use of the resources also go beyond just Literacy. Many of the resources are also useful for Humanities subjects as well and Smith points these links out in detail.