Review by Harry Fletcher-Wood

1 Oct 2017, 5:00

Harry Fletcher Wood’s top blogs of the week 25 September 2017

Reviewer Harry Fletcher-Wood shares his top picks from the education blogosphere

 

Spinning plates
@AndyLewis_RE

Andy Lewis likens teachers to plate-spinners: his challenge this year is to be more intentional about which plates we drop. He takes a series of common sources of work and asks us to consider what would happen if we just stopped doing it: who would notice? What would the consequences be? Could you justify your actions?

“Some plates will get dropped by colleagues this year, you will drop a plate or two!” he writes. “Which ones will they be? Ones that you picked to drop? Or ones that you had no control over dropping?”

 

How to reduce workload in primary schools
@solomon_teach

Solomon Kingsnorth takes a ruthless approach to workload, axing many traditional priorities: out go displays, marking and email, in come shared units, constant feedback to school leaders, and a “big red button” which staff “can press when they feel that everything has got the better of them”.

This is more than an idealistic wishlist, however, as Kingsnorth shows why each suggestion matters and how it can be realistically achieved.

 

Shiny New Term
@shadylady222

Becky Wood writes an honest, thoughtful review of everything she tried to improve last year, and how it went. She attempted strategies to help students recall key quotes, and elegantly shows how this may have influenced students’ results; she shows how she built upon and adapted the changes she made last year for this year. She is clear about her position: “I’m not an academic. I’m a teacher who reads and trials ideas and strategies within the context of my classroom, the place where I’m happiest to be.” By sharing what she is doing, and how she is doing it, along with numerous examples, she offers a useful model of teacher enquiry.

 

‘Which Edward was that again, Miss? Was he a Stark or a Lancastrian?’ Helping year 8 to navigate the Wars of the Roses by focusing on change
@PaulaLoboWorth

Paula Lobo Worth models teacher enquiry too, in this case looking in meticulous detail at what she hopes students will learn about the Wars of the Roses from her unit. Through careful planning and design of activities, Lobo Worth is able to draw out the subtleties and nuances of the era, and avoid students reaching simple conclusions. “Messy and uneven – that, for me, characterises the wars of the Roses. Not a uniformly dark journey into a big, black, murderous hole from which Henry Tudor rescued England. The past is never a rabbit hole – it is a warren.”

 

From Prison to Ph.D.: The Redemption and Rejection of Michelle Jones
Eli Hager

After two decades in prison for murdering her four-year old son, Michelle Jones stepped free. She had been released a few weeks early to take up her PhD, which began the next day at New York University. After imprisonment, Jones first certified as a paralegal; then, encouraged by a former history professor who volunteered at the prison, she led a team of inmates researching the prison’s history: their discoveries were published, presented at conferences via videolink, and won the Indiana Historical Society annual prize.

Jones was accepted by Harvard – but her place was rescinded by administrators, concerned about the impression it gave. This is complex story of redemption and rehabilitation is well worth your time.

 

Boys Are Not Defective
@amandaripley

This superb long read by Amanda Ripley investigates why boys are outperforming girls at almost every level in schools across the Middle East. Ripley digs beyond superficial answers she receives focusing on girls’ good behaviour and hard work. Her journey incorporates career prospects, teacher effectiveness and the differential effectiveness of bad schools on boys and girls.



More Reviews

My secret #edtech diary by Al Kingsley

Too late by some 18 months and never quite sure of its intended audience, this diary nonetheless reveals interesting...

Find out more

Jon Hutchinson’s blogs of the week, 13 September 2021

This week’s top blogs look at leadership and strategy, curriculum and generative learning, and the frameworks for early careers...

Find out more

The magic in the space between by Ian and Hilary Wigston

Just like the best mentoring, this book is less a how-to manual than a thought-provoking catalyst for change, writes...

Find out more

Gerry Robinson’s blogs of the week, 6 September 2021

Gerry Robinson’s top blogs look at welcoming students back, taking nothing for granted, leading with honesty, and spreading the...

Find out more

12 books to look forward to this summer and beyond

JL Dutaut ends the academic year with a look ahead at the books on education publishers’ slates that are...

Find out more

Blogs of the year, 2020/21

Each of our blog reviewers selects one blog that has particularly impacted them this year and explains why  ...

Find out more

Your thoughts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *