Andrew Old’s blog picks 23 March 2015

How can we motivate reluctant readers?

By @katie_s_ashford

An English teacher (and director of inclusion) discusses how best to get those who don’t want to read to become motivated and successful readers. She draws an analogy with her own efforts at a cycle spinning class. The same principles for making progress apply: building good habits; experiencing success, and increasing the level of challenge.

Manners really don’t cost anything

From theclassinthemiddle.wordpress.com

This short post immediately explains its basic theme: “I was brought up very poor. Below the breadline type stuff. My mum was a single parent for most of my life and me and my brothers and sister all have different dads. The horror.”

The author describes how their deprived background never caused them to behave badly at school and expresses despair at the willingness of some teachers to excuse poor behaviour on this basis. The author explains that, at times, this reached the point where he/she felt personally insulted by the stereotype.

Damaged Children: Ross

By @TheModernMiss1

A tale with a twist from a primary teacher. Why is Ross not normal? His mother can’t cope with his strange behaviour. Why is he not like his brother, or the other children on the estate? Is it a medical problem? Can it be treated? The author explains how she came to understand exactly what was abnormal about Ross.

What are schools not responsible for?

By @mfordhamhistory

This post is a discussion of the difficulties in having too many aims for schools. The author gives the example of a document that “includes so many aims related to the intellectual, social, emotional, cultural, health and economic development of children that just about anything that someone might reasonably ask a school to do is covered in some way…” He argues for serious debate about what responsibilities towards children are held by those outside the school, such as parents. He suggests that anyone attempting to outline the purpose of schools be challenged on precisely what they don’t consider schools to be responsible for.

The 21st Century Job (A Fictional Story)

By @JamesTheo

This short story was posted the day after Tristram Hunt used his speech to ASCL to resurrect the old cliché about preparing students for “jobs that don’t exist yet”. In the story, the narrator describes their efforts to acquire one of these jobs; the sort of job that requires creativity rather than numeracy and literacy. Apparently, such jobs are not easily acquired, and even when you have a successful interview, you might still be better off being found to be suitable for job that does exist.

Ofsted preparation and workload: can teachers working in an RI school have a manageable workload with a school inspection looming?

By @TeacherTweaks

A senior manage describes what it is like to work in a school that has been graded “3” and expecting another Ofsted inspection. The preparation of paperwork becomes the overriding priority.

“It is relentless. Every day, there is something new I have been asked to do in the name of Ofsted preparation… I understand that there is going to be a fair bit of paperwork associated with this job but if I printed out every piece of paper I’ve been given or have produced myself into my special ‘Ofsted’ folder, we’d have no trees left in our borough (which is known as ‘Queen of the Suburbs’ because of its abundance of parks and greenery!)”

A guide for new teachers

By @greg_ashman

A teacher who trained in the UK, but now works in Australia, discusses the issues that he felt he didn’t know enough about when he started. Classroom management, the value of knowledge and the use of explicit instruction are all discussed and he explains likely misconceptions held by new teachers. Useful recommendations for books and for online sources are provided.