Author: Rachel Andersson

Five Reasons Why You Should Consider Joining a Teachers’ Union

Media coverage of trade unions – teaching or otherwise – might seem off-putting, but there are several important reasons why all teachers should at least consider joining one. Forget portrayals of hectoring union chiefs urging strident teachers to take industrial action that affords them (yet another) day off from the classroom while hard-pressed parents struggle (yet again) to reconcile the conflicting demands of childcare and holding down a job. Union membership isn’t just about having the right to strike if the terms and conditions of the job become untenable. Arguably for many members the right to take industrial action...

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Six Ways to Make Random Acts of Kindness Week Last the Whole Year

  It would be easy to dismiss International Random Acts of Kindness Week (9–15 February this year, leading up to Random Acts of Kindness Day on 17 February) as just another opportunity to share a few memes or schmaltzy videos on social media. After all, how can a fundamental quality like kindness seriously be given the treatment it deserves when it is squeezed in alongside days celebrating the gumdrop (15 February) and the battery (18 February)? Look around and you’ll find plenty of activities suggested for this week (inspirational posters, acrostics etc.). But what benefit can there be if...

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Homework in Disguise : Everyday Activities that Reinforce Learning

There seems to be a growing trend towards questioning the value of homework, particularly at primary level, with some schools now going as far as abolishing it altogether. Yet it is hard to find consensus on the topic. While some educators believe it is essential to have a regime of structured homework to reinforce what is learnt in class, others take a minimalist approach. Equally, parents have widely divergent views on the subject, influenced not only by how well their child is doing in school but also by how hectic the child’s life is outside school. However, irrespective of...

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Five Festive-Themed Activities with Curriculum Coverage for the Primary Classroom

This time of year can be tricky. Curriculum time is quickly eroded by a combination of sickness, end-of-term fatigue and rehearsals for the Christmas production. You still have to teach but there is an expectation that you will throw in the odd festive-themed activity as a nod towards the fact that everyone is on a countdown towards the holidays. There are many Christmas and holiday-themed activities out there, but many seem to be more time-fillers than credible learning opportunities. Here are five of my favourite suggestions for festive-themed activities with a bit more substance. Snowman sight word bingo The...

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Evaluating Teaching – Can Pupils Objectively Judge the Quality of Teaching?

With the publication of the latest version of Education Scotland’s school self-evaluation tool came the announcement that there would also be a version of the document aimed at pupils.1 The purpose, apparently, is to involve pupils in evaluating teaching. Understandably, this has caused considerable consternation amongst teaching professionals. Yet while it has been acknowledged that some teachers may feel uncomfortable about this, the official message appears to be: ‘Tough, you’re just going to have to get on with it.’ Why involve pupils in evaluating teaching? In our increasingly service-based culture, performance targets and customer evaluations are ubiquitous. Even a simple...

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