Month: January 2012

Activities, projects and the American Educator

One of the most wonderful educational resources I have found on the internet is the archive of the journal American Educator. This is the journal of the American Federation of Teachers, America’s second largest teaching union. Although the AFT is very similar to unions in England in its stance on employment rights, pension and pay,… Read more »

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Metrics to measure schools by

In my last post, I argued that we should publish as much information about schools as possible so parents can use it to create their own league tables of what they find valuable. I also argued that measuring schools by one metric only was problematic because it’s too easy to game one metric. Instead, the… Read more »

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Reforming league tables

In my last post, I blogged about how league tables are neither the problem nor the solution. They do have some value, however. Teachers will tell you they are flawed, and we are right to do so. But they do give some information. I was speaking to a friend recently who is a teacher and… Read more »

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Shirley Valentine has the answers

Shirley Valentine is one of my favourite films. I watched it a lot with my parents when I was younger; I think they liked it because it made relationships between English women and Greek men temporarily fashionable. A scene from Shirley Valentine occurred to me when I was writing this post about 21st century skills.… Read more »

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Stephen Twigg and Teach First

Stephen Twigg is quoted here in the Guardian as saying that: ‘While in government, Labour made huge efforts to raise the status and quality of teaching; introducing programmes like Teach First to attract bright graduates, linking performance to pay and giving heads greater freedom to remove under-performing teachers.’ (my emphasis) Is this the case about… Read more »

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Educational Politics Part II

In my last post, I referred to a great post by Andrew Old where he uses a quadrant to clarify a common misconception in educational debates. I have drawn up a quadrant to represent something similar. As with Andrew, my x axis represents content. But my y axis represents not entitlement, but school structures. The… Read more »

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Educational Politics – Part I

I just read an excellent post here by Andrew Old which clarifies a frequent misconception in debates about education. Put simply, there are two key debates in education – one is about the content of the curriculum, and one is about entitlement. But generally, these two ideas get conflated. Thus, if you believe in traditional… Read more »

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One thing I don’t like about blogging…

I just posted a blog about 21st century skills over here. I got some very interesting and thought-provoking responses from people in the comments and on Twitter. All good. One person, Sam Freedman, retweeted it saying ‘This is good’. So far, so good. Then Brian Lightman, General Secretary of the Association of School and College… Read more »

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Why 21st century skills are not that 21st century

Whenever I hear anyone talk about preparing students for the 21st century, I am always sceptical. Partly this is because it is never made clear exactly what is so different about the 21st century that requires such different preparation. For the American organisation Partnership for 21st Century Skills (P21), which is sponsored by a number… Read more »

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