Talks and activities in your school or college – University of Bath #Bath #University

We can offer talks, workshops and activities for year 11, 12 and 13 students to help prepare them for the transition to university.

Talks and workshops

You can arrange a talk or workshop for your year 11, 12 and 13 students to help support their journey to university. We can tailor talks to meet your specific needs, and can offer them during school hours, or at parents’ evenings.

Depending on demand, we may be able to offer talks in the following areas:

  • choosing A level subjects (Year 11)
  • choosing a course (Year 12)
  • applying for competitive courses (Year 12/13 and parents)
  • UCAS applications and personal statements (Year 12/13)
  • getting ready for university: arriving and surviving (Year 13)
  • why choose the University of Bath? (Year 12/13)
  • student life (Year 12/13)
  • student finance (Year 12/13 and parents)

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Why School INSET persistently fails to raise teaching and learning standards. #Education #Books #Schools #INEST

I would preface my remarks here by saying that the basis for my observations in this article come from practice in the UK. However, conversations with colleagues in Australia, Canada and the United States suggest the same features appear in their systems.

In the UK 1988 was a decisive turning point in education history. The Education Reform Act introduced by Kenneth Baker introduced many new features to the learning and teaching landscape and has shaped development for the last thirty years.

The first and possibly most negative aspect was the introduction of the National Curriculum.  This attempted to codify WHAT was to be taught to every student across their student career. It set the education direction as being primarily concerned with curriculum content.

The world, his wife and all their relations were invited to contribute to the National Curriculum and the result was an overly bloated curriculum, often lacking relevance or coherence. The mantra of the time was that the curriculum should be ‘broad and balanced’, which it was. Unfortunately everyone knew what they wanted in the curriculum, but no-one could agree what should be dropped to accommodate it!

The second great innovation was the advent of five days per school year set aside for the In Service Training of Teachers (INSET). Initially, this was a very popular innovation with teachers, as it recognised their requirement to have days of professional study, development an interaction (this was less popular with parents who had to find five extra days of childcare!).

Having previously had no statutory professional development days, school leadership teams were free to invent their own professional development programme and some were very innovative. Initially there was some funding called TVEI (Technical and Vocational Educational Initiative) designed to encourage collaborations and some schools coordinated their INSET days to enable staff to attend events in a number of schools.

Within that sentence was the major issue with INSET days. They became a stage-managed EVENT which, for the most part still holds true today.  Rather than addressing issues at a fundamental cultural level, the pattern of the day fragmented around what came to be a familiar pattern. The school, apart from those staff on externally accredited external courses, would have their professional development opportunities constrained to this five day model.

The first element, usually occupying the early part of the day was an inspirational visiting speaker, the content of whose talk may, or may not have had any bearing on the development priorities of the school. The talk element meant that the teachers for the most part were passive participants in the process.  Many would describe the experience of the guest speaker as seeing their favourite comedian live… intensely engaging, compelling, humorous and insightful. But the next day, they could not recall what they had heard and it certainly was not going to impact on their practice on a daily basis.

Following the talk there would be some pressing whole school based business such as the implications of new national initiatives on school processes, or some urgent training related to pupil welfare or health.

The afternoon session, when most people were soporific after a good lunch, tended to be devoted to curriculum/departmental time when rather than moving the school forward, teachers were engaged in preparing for the term starting the next day, or closing down the term just past. Important administrative work indeed, but not work designed to professionally challenge and develop teachers.

There was no PROCESS in these events, no reflection and development, little sharing of practice, good, developing or bad and no centrality of the learner in planning.

I’ve observed this as a trainer, guest speaker, school leader and departmental head across the country. The same meagre developmental diet served up repeatedly despite the lack of impact.

Given these experiences I began working on a different approach to teacher professional development. You will notice I avoid the word training from this point, as I believe training has unfortunate connotations and impacts.

Over several years I pulled a template together for a model of Continuous Professional Development that any school could adopt and adapt to suit their development purposes.

The model works irrespective of context, cultural, national or sector.

I’ve been able to condense over a decade work of development work into a coherent whole in a book to be published in March 2019.

Please contact me if you would like to know more, including some sample templates for how to implement the model to address the quality of teaching and learning in your school.

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New approach to personalised learning helps to close gap for disadvantaged pupils #sparx #learning #schools #education #homework

A new approach to personalised learning could be the solution to halting the increasing educational gap between under-privileged and privileged children, according to one of the country’s leading education business experts.  

Personalised learning – an approach involving tailoring education to each child’s needs – should be the answer to ensuring every child fulfills their potential. But critics say it has previously done the opposite, with overburdened teachers struggling to differentiate for each and every child and disadvantaged pupils becoming trapped by low predicted grades.

Now Dan Sandhu, CEO of socially focussed learning technology company Sparx, says a new form of personalised learning can deliver the right results: “Sparx has spent 7 years working with schools to research this new approach. The impact on pupil progress, and particularly on disadvantaged pupils, has been staggering in the schools which have adopted it. Free School Meals (FSM) pupils are now making equal progress to non-FSM. As well, a recent test showed one of our schools, with nearly 50 per cent disadvantaged pupils, had the highest rate of progress in Yr 7 and 8 maths among 16 schools across their county.*”

Sparx is working with schools across Devon including many of those in the Ted Wragg Trust and Education South West, and has just started working with Westcountry Schools Trust.

Dan explained: “Together we have developed a platform – initially for maths homework – where the best of modern technology works in harmony with the essential skill of the teacher. The system carefully assesses what level a pupil is at and sets and marks bespoke homework for each student. It adapts to ensure they are being stretched and provides insights for the teachers which help them support each pupil.”

The approach, which involves pupils completing both online tasks and bookwork, is proving extremely popular with teachers and students alike. It is saving each teacher around two hours a week on admin, planning, and marking and students are more motivated and confident in the subject. One school, which had previously reported lower than 20 per cent homework completion rates, saw that figure jump to 98 per cent after introducing Sparx Maths Homework.[1]

Dan, who was voted as one of Education Technology’s top 100 most influential leaders globally, feels confident Sparx’ rigorously tested approach can have a big impact on pupil progress across the ability range. “Our aim is to improve life opportunities for over 5 million learners by 2030. For us there are no shortcuts. We believe in supporting students for the longer term – making a real difference.”

Headteacher Stephen Farmer, whose school Cranbrook Education Campus in Exeter came top in the progress test after piloting the platform, believes it is the way forward in teaching:

“This approach to personalised learning is so much better than anything before. The live nature of it is what makes it stand out from the crowd. It adapts as the pupil uses it, making it harder or easier according to how pupils are doing. With other systems everyone gets the same questions and it doesn’t adapt to get the best out of each pupil.

“Our pupils love it. It’s really built their confidence. And the analytics side of it has been really important for the teachers. It gives them specific detailed information on how each student is doing and what they’re struggling with. We would like a Sparx for every subject!”

Invite the inspirational Hope Virgo to talk at your school about mental health #mentalhealth #anorexia #schools #education #talks

Hope is a mental health campaigner and author and an ambassador for the Shaw Mind Foundation.Hope suffered with anorexia for over 4 years, before being admitted to a Mental Health Hospital in 2007. She lived in the hospital for a year, fighting one of the hardest battles of her life. Since being discharged, she has fought to stay well.

Hope is now at the stage of ‘ongoing recovery’ and wants to use her experiences of mental health illness to champion the rights of others, inspire them to get well, and help break the stigma of mental illness.

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12 Teaching Podcasts Every Teacher In The UK Should Listen To At Least Once (And 2 To Help You Learn And Laugh Together!) #Teachers #Podcasts #Education

Teaching podcasts – UK, America or wherever you are in the world – are a great way for teachers to gather some free and fantastic teaching ideas for the classroom and for SLT to get advice and guidance from school leaders who’ve been there before them.  

However, the vast library of educational podcasts available nowadays can be a little overwhelming, and as a teacher we know that you don’t have the time to trawl through the charts to find the one you want. That’s why, to save you time, we have taken a look through all of the charts and lists that are out there, and found the 12 best UK teaching podcasts you should be listening to (and have thrown in two that you won’t be able to stop laughing at for good measure!)

Teaching Podcast 1: The Edtech Podcast

Sophie Bailey’s podcast is all about improving ‘the dialogue between ed and tech through storytelling’ with the aim of having an impact to better innovation in UK schools. This dual focus means that she roams widely in both content and guests. One week you’ll hear the thoughts of Geoff Barton, the General Secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, the next week there’ll be an in depth explainer on the implication of Blockchain technology for learners, education providers and employers. What more could you want?

Need to know

• The length of the episodes are driven by the topic and the setting, so be warned, some of them can run for well over an hour.

• As a listener you will be given the chance to eavesdrop onto round-table discussions with some of the bigger players in education or sessions from education festivals and conferences from around the world.

• It’s often the first place you’ll hear from new teachers and entrepreneurs using technology to improve educational outcomes.

• 2018 also saw the first ever Edtech podcast festival – one to watch out for in the future.

Who should listen?

Anyone who is interested in education or technology! There is a fantastic mix of topics included in these podcasts, so they are great for everyone.

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50 quick lesson ideas for substitute teachers #teaching #learning #lessonplanning #education

If you’re looking for substitute teaching inspiration, look no further! Whether you’re a seasoned sub or a total newbie, we’ve got you covered with these 50 tips, tricks and ideas from our very own WeAreTeachers HELPLINE! and around the Web.

1. Kids getting antsy with those last awkward ten minutes? Try one of these ideas from Love, Teach.

2. Stay on task, and leave a record. “Follow the lesson plans as much as humanly possible, leave detailed notes for the teacher about what got done or didn’t get done, which students were awesome and not so awesome, and leave your number if you really enjoyed the class.” —Dawn M.

3. Need a break? Try one of these quick popsicle-stick time-fillers from Journey of a Substitute Teacher.

4. If you don’t have anything nice to say… “Be pleasant in the faculty room if you eat there. Never say anything negative about the school, teachers, or students.” —Donna N.

5. Kids won’t stop texting? Put their phone in cell phone jail for the period.

Image from Buzzfeed

6. Dress in layers. “Some rooms are freezing and some are hotter than heck!” —Edith I.

7. Don’t be afraid to be picky. “I have a list of teachers I won’t sub for because no matter what, they always seem to have ‘that’ class. In other words, not very good behavior management which means subbing for them is a nightmare.” —Eric D.

8. Subbing for second? Here are some quick and free emergency substitute activity ideas from Second Grade Locker Room.

9. We love these classroom management tips especially for substitutes from The Cornerstone.

10. Bring your own supplies, either in a backpack…

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Top five qualities of effective teachers, according to students #Teaching #Learning #Education

Students are most affected by the quality of their teachers. Not only do they interact with teachers every day in the classroom, but the quality of that interaction matters for our students’ future. In fact, Stanford University economist Eric Hanushek has noted that the difference between a good and a bad teacher can be a full level of student achievement in a single school year. But students are rarely asked what they think makes a great teacher.

So, we asked. Pearson surveyed students ages 15-19 across the U.S. about what they thought made an effective teacher. Their responses highlight just how important a student-focused approach is to the learning experience. The top five qualities of a great teacher, according to students, are:

1. The ability to develop relationships with their students

The most frequent response is that a great teacher develops relationships with students. The research literature agrees with them: Teachers need to be able to build trusting relationships with students in order to create a safe, positive, and productive learning environment. For example, a student in Boston told us that great teachers are “Willing to listen to students when there is a problem.”

2. Patient, caring, and kind personality

Personality characteristics related to being a compassionate person and having a sensitivity to student differences, particularly with learners, was the second most frequently reported quality. Again, there is research to support that teacher dispositions are strongly related to student learning and development.

3. Knowledge of learners

This is a broad category that incorporates knowledge of the cognitive, social and emotional development of learners. It includes an understanding of how students learn at a given developmental level; how learning in a specific subject area typically progresses like learning progressions or trajectories; awareness that learners have individual needs and abilities; and an understanding that instruction should be tailored to meet each learner’s needs. One student eloquently described it as: “The teacher understands the pace and capacity of the student.”

4. Dedication to teaching

Dedication refers to a love of teaching or passion for the work, which includes commitment to students’ success. Responses often referred to loving the subject matter or simply being dedicated to the work. To a student, this means a teacher should be “always willing to help and give time.”

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25 Things Successful Teachers Do Differently #Teaching #Learning #Schools

If you ask a student what makes him or her successful in school, you probably won’t hear about some fantastic new book or video lecture series. Most likely you will hear something like, “It was all Mr. Jones. He just never gave up on me.”

What students take away from a successful education usually centers on a personal connection with a teacher who instilled passion and inspiration for their subject.

It’s difficult to measure success, and in the world of academia, educators are continually re-evaluating how to quantify learning—but the first and most important question to ask is: Are teachers reaching their students?

Here are 25 things successful educators do differently.

25 Things Successful Teachers Do Differently

1. Successful teachers have clear objectives

How do you know if you are driving the right way when you are traveling somewhere new? You use the road signs and a map (although nowadays it might be SIRI or a GPS). In the world of education, your objectives for your students act as road signs to your destination. Your plan is the map. Making a plan does not suggest a lack of creativity in your curriculum but rather, gives creativity a framework in which to flourish.

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