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03 Dec 13

Terry Freedman from the UK makes some great points about expertise in Computing. This is particularly relevant in the UK where every student age 5 and up is expected to be taught programming in school. (Wake up world.)

Terry says:

"Some Principals and Headteachers think that a good way around the problem of teaching computing is to not worry about whether teachers have subject knowledge at all. “All we need are facilitators”, they say, “while the kids can teach themselves and each other.” This is, as any teacher knows (or should know), easy to say, less easy to do, and not altogether the most desirable thing to do even if you can do it. However, just in case your school happens to be “led” by one of the aforementioned Headteachers, here are some arguments you may want to use. I think that any one of them should suffice, and all of them together make for a cast-iron case."

Read more... this is a topic that will be increasingly discussed in other countries.

30 Nov 13

These heartbreaking words from a teacher in the UK. As the world tries to improve education by the numbers, the world has forgotten kids aren't numbers. They are precious, individual and unique and deserve education systems that celebrate and encourage that. OK, teachers, it is time to man the media - you are the media now! Are you fed up yet? It might not be you right now, but if you don't speak, it will be, wherever you teach, such stories impact us all and the profession we care for so much.

"As a teacher, I vowed that I would work hard to nurture my students, to make each and every student feel valued and for them to know that they have a voice, and a place in the world.

However the last two years have made me feel like that insecure 14-year-old again: I have lost my confidence because of the overly-rigid current education system. We are constantly being told we are not good enough and that we are not doing enough: enough intervention, enough rigorous marking, enough sustained and rapid progress.

What excited me the most about becoming a teacher was discovering the hidden talents and sparks of genius in my students. However, it breaks my heart to say this, but I feel that I no longer have time, nor am I encouraged to make these discoveries.

We are so caught up with data and so many progress checks that we don't give our students the time to shine. I wonder what would happen if the greats of the world like Einstein, Gaudi, Picasso and Martin Luther King were to attend school in 2013, would they be able to cultivate their talents and thrive?"

23 Dec 12

Teachmeets around the world are great opportunities for teachers to get together and share ideas. In the UK, they are having a teachmeet as well - sadly the tickets are already "sold out" which shows how many teachers really love these events. Informal ways for teachers to talk to teachers - these are great. There's one in Georgia in January - I'm working on my schedule to be there. Look for a teachmeet in your area.

08 Jun 12

Sports often reflect the politics of the day. If you're delving into Euro 2012, have students discuss why Princes William and Harry are boycotting games against the Ukraine. Because of human rights violations, specifically the treatment of opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko, has others in Europe upset at the Ukraine over their perceived oppression. This is an article to get to started.

17 May 12

I find this research from the UK hard to believe since my children were reading by age 5. My children test as being gifted (although 2 have learning differences). I guess it depends on the kind of "lessons" they are exposed to. We use a marvelous multisensory approach to teaching children at our school that I'd hardly call boring "lessons." This research was done in the US. What do you think?

08 May 12

Controversy in the Uk as they move to performance based pay (which - if you watch the Dan Pink Ted Talk about this topic, you'll find DOESN'T WORK). It seems some discussions move from country to country without understanding if they really work.

21 Apr 12

St. George's day is April 23 where people around the world celebrate English heritage and patriotism. For those of you who are integrating holidays from around the world as part of your global competency, this is a great lesson to study about Britain. This is a collection of lesson plans on the topic.

17 Apr 12

Resources on studying and understanding England and English heritage. These resources include a lovely Stonehenge Timeline and other historical. topics. These are some great resources for those studying world cultures as part of their global competency program.

07 Apr 12

Many want to regulate surveillance technology just like we regulate firearms. It makes sense. Now the outcry is against the UK but I remember not too long a go when US companies were criticized in their role in tracking down Chinese dissidents. Cyberwarfare is a fact and intelligence gathered through the web that surrounds us strips away privacy of communication. 

"Britain is exporting surveillance technology to countries run by repressive regimes, sparking fears it is being used to track political dissidents and activists.

The UK's enthusiastic role in the burgeoning but unregulated surveillance market is becoming an urgent concern for human rights groups, who want the government to ensure that exports are regulated in a similar way to arms."

18 Jan 12

The UK announces a streamlined procedure that allows principals to remove a teacher in less than a year (one term) and also is wanting to keep teachers from being "recycled" in the education system. The sad thing about this is that there are times that teachers do not sit well with administrators. Just because one administrator fires a teacher does not mean that a teacher is not a good teacher - if the administrator is a "bad" administrator it could mean that the teacher is a bit of a rebel - which isn't all bad. These problems rarely have black and white answers. 

"Underperformance in the classroom has been a political football since long before the coalition was formed. Consequently, a major - and controversial - reform of how failing teachers are defined, managed and removed from the profession has long been trailed by ministers."

This week, it landed. Among the structural changes will be a streamlined process for sacking weak teachers, which will take a term instead of more than a year.

16 Jan 12

This helpful page from the British Council explains the differences between the UK and US educational systems. They have had a national curriculum since 1992.

12 Jan 12

UK teachers are excited about how ICT will be taught in schools but concerned that their teachers won't be trained. Good point.

"Teachers whom Computerworld UK spoke to today at education technology show BETT and via email, have expressed concern about the training needed to make Gove's proposals a success.

"It's [Gove's proposals] really good but the one thing missing is training for teachers," said Mark Hellen, a lecturer responsible for ICT in the educational studies department at Goldsmiths' College, London.

"Computing in schools is going to be expensive and it means training teachers to do it."

10 Jan 12

The UK controversy over school choice. Somehow these same arguments are raging across the globe.

The government is not sure that "free schools" (charter -type schools) are going to boost access to good schools because they will be too expensive.

31 Dec 11

The US is not the only country in government educational induced turmoil. Here is an overview of what is happening in England right now.

"Make teachers redundant or have them teach subjects they are not trained in - that is the stark choice cash-strapped secondaries will face if national curriculum changes proposed this week are introduced, ministers are being warned.

The bleak scenario is predicted by heads’ leaders and teacher recruitment experts if the Government follows the recommendation of its national curriculum review expert panel to make history, geography and modern foreign languages compulsory for all 11 to 16-year-olds from 2014."

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