Years ago, when I still owned my educational theatre company – Hooked on Books – I included a poem by Jack Prelutsky in the Senior Primary show. I had my actors sing the poem, with accompanying choreography, to the tune of George Michael’s Faith (which will give you a clearer indication of how many years ago I’m talking about 😉 )
Go on, sing it (you’ll need to extend some words and add in a few “oh-ohs” to make it scan – but you can do it): Continue reading Homework! Oh, Homework!
When I was living and teaching in California, in the early 2000’s, I was lucky enough to attend some wonderful teaching conferences and seminars. A particularly inspirational speaker (whose name I wish I’d written down, or committed to memory) said something that made a huge impression on me:
“Never deny a student their right to fail.”
Continue reading Failing to let them fail
If I had to narrow down the one thing that I’m best at, it would probably be the ability to spot potential and talent in people. Running my own education theatre company years ago, I managed to nab the “pick of the litter” each year. Now our TV screens, stages and award ceremonies are littered with stars who landed their first acting jobs with me, back in the day.
When I was teaching in schools, I managed to spot talent in my students, too. Continue reading Spotting Talent
Careful the things you say
Children will listen
Careful the things you do
Children will see and learn
Children may not obey, but children will listen
Children will look to you for which way to turn
Steven Sondheim, Into the Woods
The Witch in the famous Sondheim musical was singing her cautionary song to parents, but the message is just as important for teachers. Continue reading Careful the Things You Say
Erin’s mom phoned me at the start of Term Two: “Erin’s failing Geography. She just can’t understand it – can you help?”
Can’t understand Geography? Surely any applied science at high school level is quite easy to grasp. So I dug a little deeper: Continue reading Case Study: Drowning in the Stream
Imagine if schools issued school uniforms in the same way that they issue education? Imagine if they decided on an average shoe size that students in that grade ought to be wearing and issued each child with a pair of shoes in that size?
It doesn’t take much effort to extend the metaphor to envisage the struggle of students for whom the shoe doesn’t fit. Students whose feet haven’t quite yet grown to the expected “norm” would swim about in their shoes, tripping and stumbling, not managing to keep up with the others; no matter how hard they tried. Those who happened to have larger feet would be in a different kind of discomfort; feet squished into a painful, blistering space that hobbled and injured them. It sounds cruel, doesn’t it? Of course schools would never do that – and parents would never allow it. So why do we allow a “one size fits all” approach to curriculum design, teaching and testing?
Continue reading One Size DOES NOT Fit All