Weekly Digital Newsletter, Monday 11 November 2013 – Time to Remember


In this newsletter

Summary links from the ISA ASC

ISANet unconference Saturday 23 November 2013

Digital snippits

ISA Conference update

The ISA Autumn Study conference attracted a record 110 delegates; ISA PDO Maggie Turner writes “ I’m sure you’ll be as delighted as I am that 69% of the delegates rated the conference overall as excellent, 28% as very good and 3% good.  This is the third highest rating in seven years and a great endorsement from the growing number of delegates – compared with 82 in 2013 and 2012.”.

The various conference Presentations used will be on the ISA schools website shortly, and where I am able, I’ll join them to the ISANet website too. Colleagues tweeted using the #ISAASC13 tag, and you can still see some interesting comments there.

• Developing teachers for the new curriculum – David Weston, Chief Executive of the Teacher Development Trust

Above all, David reminded us of the very real value of home-grown INSET, that one-off CPD courses rarely impact upon the school, and that the most powerful evidence now exists in the value of Lesson Study, a proactive approach to planned Lesson observations that have wrought sifnificant benefit wherever they have been implemented in the world.

“A one-off training event rarely changes habits effectively, you need to actively pursue a new idea or skill for at least two terms, or more than 50 hours if you want to see a long-lasting change. Sustained experimentation and refinement is the best way of embedding a theoretical idea in everyday classroom practice.”

For more on the Teacher Development Trust – http://www.teacherdevelopmenttrust.org/

For more on their Good CPD guide – http://goodcpdguide.com/

• Providing challenge through subjects in the context of a new national Curriculum – with an example from science – Annette Smith, CEO of the Association for Science Education and Director of Council for Subject Associations

Put simply, schools that do not make use of the various subject-based associations are missing out on some of the most amazing support and resources. Find out more here – http://www.subjectassociation.org.uk/

• Improving classroom practice – Professor Pete Dudley, Department of Education, University of Leicester

Building on David Weston’s advice, Pete Dudley asked delegates to work in pairs to write a set of ‘ride a bicycle instructions’.  We worked valiantly, and then after 5 minutes, he asked us how well we had done. Moreover, he asked us ‘would they be of any use? Would they help us learn to ride a bicycle?”

A telling experience, because of course we are forever pushing our teachers to write lesson plans, which by and large embed the wrong practice in our teaching. Here’s his take on what we should switch to – “Lesson Study” – http://lessonstudy.co.uk/

• Raising the status of the teaching profession – Charlotte Leslie MP

In an impassioned plea to the Association to join a national push to develop a Royal College of Teaching. “Royal Colleges and other professional bodies have promoted and protected the status of professions like medicine for hundreds of years – and yet teachers have no equivalent body. For too many years teaching has lagged behind in professional status.  A Royal College would finally put teaching on a more even footing with other careers – so that gaining Qualified Teacher Status is not the end of training but the beginning.” You can find her booklet, supported by all the main unions and exam boadies here – http://goo.gl/tkdX23

The conference also received great support from the following small seminar providers:

1. Making Shakespeare accessible and relevant to Primary pupils by Fi Ross, Associate Artist, RSC.

Fi Ross looked at how to engage younger pupils by ‘doing it on your feet’. She demonstrated methods of introducing both text and narrative using rehearsal room techniques.

2. Excellent teaching – not using a text book: by me, James Wilding

Educationalists around the world rail at the failure of modern printed teaching materials to inspire and energise. Textbooks and sets of worksheets are published with increasing frequency, to best capture the latest change in syllabus or examination. Yet when children leave school, they’ll probably never use a textbook again. James Wilding argues that it is not just a shift to use technology that’s needed, but a refocusing of the profession on to ‘how learning happens’. My presentation here: http://goo.gl/X9SpiL

3. The IB: Primary Years Programme (PYP) and Middle Years Programme (MYP): Karen Rayner and Caroline Hazel, ACS Egham School

How can a school curriculum best fit the ever-changing needs of students?

Karen Rayner and Caroline Hazel introduced the International Baccalaureate Primary Years and Middle Years Programmes and their curriculum framework structures.

4. Social media – do you know what you are missing? Chris Knight, Barley House

An introduction to the term social media: what it is, the platforms that are used and how your school can use them effectively to communicate with your key stakeholders. This seminar looked at the typical fears and concerns schools face when considering the unknown leap into the social media world and the benefits they will discover on the other side. Most who attended were won over – it’s time for schools to get ‘social’.

ISANet Unconference Saturday 23 November

Final reminder to sign up for the forthcoming do-it-yourself free conference at Claires Court – here’s the website, please join us… https://sites.google.com/a/clairescourt.net/isa-unconf/

All sorts of demonstrations and examples from the various digital arms of the ISANet will be on show.

Digital snippits

Wheeldecide is a remarkable spinning wheel, editable to include your own ideas – here’s an obvious choice – http://wheeldecide.com/beer-decision-maker/

http://www.schoolscience.co.uk/ takes you to an amazing number of science resources.  Personally I love the idea of school-based epidemic scenarios, and the Deadinburgh project looks well structured. Maths meets Biology at GCSE level.

Ways to use technology to support questioning in the classroom – great article in the ICT evengelist’s blog that might help…http://goo.gl/ROcWoh

The Invisible Gorilla – Highlight the selective nature of attention with this Test – I am trying it assembly on Thursday – can’t wait! http://goo.gl/Jvkq

That’s me in the corner – simple summary on Brain plasticity and neuro-myths in modern education that’s puts us right – read it now and lose the nonsense of learning styles overnight! http://goo.gl/TpEjFD

Thanks for reading and see you soon.

James Wilding



About jameswilding

Academic Principal Claires Court Schools Long term member & advocate of the Independent Schools Association
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