Showing posts from October, 2010

Seriously, I really hate inclusion.

This is from my second book, Not Quite a Teacher, out in a few months; it's a training guide for new teachers that uses my tragi-comic rookie experiences as a kind of a lighthouse, warning off new recruits from the reefs and rocks that scuttled me. It's packed with the kind of earthy, homespun wisdom about the actual, dirty-handed practise of teaching that regular readers will recognise from the Forums. I hope it offers a more realistic take than the in-at-the-deep-end philosophy of contemporary teacher training.

I normally blog more on Saturday, but after the TES session running to two and a half hours, I actually seem to have sprained my typing muscles. Still, it was great fun, and thanks to everyone who contributed. And apologies to anyone who didn't get their queries answered due to time; post it on the TES Behaviour forum (link to the right) and I'll reply as soon as I can.

TES Behaviour forum- the Live Tour

TES On-line Behaviour Clinic

I'll be doing a live, on-line advice session on Friday between 1 and 3pm for anyone who wants to post a question (behaviour management specifically. I mean, feel free to ask about what kind of drill bit you need for MDF or something, but I can't guarantee a superior answer. Besides, it's moderated, so anyone trying to hijack the session like Fathers for Justice will be sorely disappointed.)

It's a bit like the regular TES Behaviour Management forum, only with more spelling mistakes. And the excitement that only a live show can bring. Possibly.

Here's the link.

Clinic. Interesting. I was going to call it a workshop, but as I have an instinctive revulsion against any workshop that doesn't feature spanners and men with pencils behind their ears, I demurred.

UPDATE: I'll be doing some training sessions with the TES on the 29th January 2011: click here to go to the link.

Inclusion: ruining education since 1978

Sir Alan Steer has been poking his oar in again. From the genius that brought us gems like "Only 2% of UK schools have unsatisfactory behaviour" and "behaviour is no worse than it's ever been" comes a new report: 'Excluded teenagers who receive a minimal amount of home tuition are falling into a life of crime and drugs'. Who would have thought? This just in: Fire Is Hot.

Now Surallun seems like a very nice man indeed; I warm to him; I embrace his beardy jowls. But I suspect that if you were to unscrew his skull cap, fill the brain cavity with hard sweets, and somehow mount his lower mandible onto a spring mechanism, you would have a reasonable impression of a Pez Dispenser. Tony Blair's Behaviour Tsar (I had to settle for Guru. It's like a number plate: you have to put your name down on a list, and hope you don't get 'Behaviour Monkey' or 'Behaviour Fairy') has told a cross-party commons committee that children that get thems…

Auschwitz: Life, death and the Anti-Life


Low Standards: How Journalism Works


Why teaching is still one of the best jobs in the world

Most of the time it's very easy to dwell on the flaws in the education system- and oh my deary, but it's a compelling place to dwell. But it would be mean minded, and evident of profound self-loathing, if we didn't occasionally recall (I nearly said 'touch base' there, and then I would have had to ritually purify myself) why we endure the flack, the angst and the frustration. I had two experiences in the last 24 hours that gave me what alcoholics would call 'a moment of clarity'.

First of all: yesterday I and two of my finest A-level students attended a seminar organised by the Lessons from Auschwitz project, in preparation for a day-visit to the death camp of Auschwitz- Birkenau in Poland(and I do mean a day visit; leave at 5am, back by midnight. The Scarlet Pimpernel spends more time when he comes to town). At four hours, it promised to be a difficult, if entirely necessary experience. Afterwards, I felt I would have paid to attend. The reason was the elec…

Weird Science: superstition, spoon bending and spurious research

I was hugging myself with glee to read this article in the TES this week: Sydenham High School, where parents drop £12K a year to have their girls turned, out have introduced scented oils with the 'pungent aromas of lavender, grapefruit and mint' into their classrooms. Which sounds very lovely, actually. Nothing wrong with making your class smell of something other than Lynx, desperation and paper mould.

At this point, the article bicycles off the cliff of 'fair enough' into the abyss of 'you're kidding me on, right?' The school claims it has adopted these oils in order to 'aid students' recall of key facts in exams'. Let me check that I'm on the right page: having a nice smell in the classroom will help students remember things? I'm not saying that a nicer, more pleasant classroom doesn't have a general beneficial influence on how people feel- and it's fairly uncontroversial to claim that people will enjoy lessons more if the roo…

This is going to Hurt me more than it hurts you...

Gladiators ready! Michael Gove continues to surprise with his reasonableness, by declaring that from now on, teachers will be allowed to use reasonable force in classrooms, and encourages schools to abandon well-meaning but self-defeating 'no contact' policies, which were designed to safe guard children (and quite right too) but ended up with teachers standing by as kids got pulverised. Read the BBC report here.
So; another week, another teacher friendly policy. If he's not careful, the Unions won't know who to protest against*, given that he's promised to practically abandon the school Self-Evaluation Form (SEF) and now, streamline the diktats from The Department of Silly Teaching to something digestible.
Hang on, though; this isn't a new initiative. In April 2010 the DCSF (as the Laughter Factory was known then) issued guidelines that advised teachers they had these powers and rights already; to use 'reasonable force' to prevent harm, damage to property…