This post is by a maths teacher who was told that “no student ever takes too much” when he suggested that some students’ behaviour could be so extreme that the rest of the class would lose out. He describes one student who, while not being the worst he’d ever taught, behaved in a way that prevented a whole class from learning.
In this teacher’s school, awards are given to members of staff at the year 11 leavers’ assembly. He noticed that every award was for the contribution to the pastoral life of the school. He argues that while these were deserved, there were teachers who had contributed as much effort and made as much difference just through their teaching.
Social media debates about discipline and special educational needs can get very heated, so perhaps it’s no wonder that this teacher feels unfairly treated after debating the connection between SEN and behaviour. He makes one very profound point: if a student is diagnosed as having SEN on the basis of their behaviour, how can we then say that they are behaving badly because of their SEN?
I have to declare an interest here as I am the editor of the blog in which this post appeared. Summer Turner discusses the extent to which teachers should let their emotions affect their behaviour and their views on education. “As individuals we have to learn to own our emotional responses and to know that a criticism of our practice does not equate to a criticism of our care. Equally, we have to try to be aware that our emotional response is not always the same as others, including our pupils.”
This post from the world of primary education discusses the attitudes of some of the people running schools. Examples are given of things the author has heard from headteachers about what academic standards can be expected from their students, and what really matters to them. She also asks why teachers with such attitudes might be getting the top jobs in primary schools.
Testing 11-year-olds on grammar has not been the most popular proposal in the history of education. However, secondary English teacher Chris Curtis runs through why he does not agree with most of the objections, arguing: “When students don’t read enough to learn the rules, we need to be more explicit with the rules.”
This post is by Jean Mercer, a professor of psychology, who has been campaigning against pseudoscientific therapies used to treat children. Here she agrees with another psychologist who has spoken about the fad of claiming behaviour problems in children are a result of attachment problems. She clarifies what attachment is, what attachment disorders are recognised by the experts, and explains why we should not assume attachment is important in other cases.
Jonathan Porter, a humanities teacher, went to hear policy wonk Charles Leadbetter speak about the future of education and explains how “as a teacher, it always sticks in the craw when someone – who either has never or who no longer teaches – lectures you about not lecturing”. Not surprisingly, even in the middle of half-term, most of those who turned up to hear that teachers were doing it all wrong were not actually teachers.