Review by Iesha Small

24 Sep 2017, 5:00

Iesha Small’s top blogs of the week 18 September 2017

Blog reviewer Iesha Small shares her top picks from the edu-blogosphere this week


Humiliating children: just because it’s your tribe doing it, doesn’t make it ok

This is a short and powerful blog which will divide many teachers and school leaders. Disappointed Idealist outlines some practices that they strongly believe to be wrong in schools. In their view, there are some things which are unacceptable wherever you identify yourself on the left-right, permissive-authoritarian ideological spectrum.

I imagine it was prompted by recent reports coming out about strict behaviour policies at some secondary schools, which are linked to in the article.

I do not agree with humiliating children; I do not agree with humiliating anyone. I have, however, taught in schools where it was hard to recruit teachers and where behaviour was not only a barrier to learning but – on too many occasions – completely unsafe for staff and children.

It is difficult to speak about schools that you haven’t visited and comment on teachers that you haven’t seen teach. I am also wary of anything that has the whiff of a witch hunt – possibly stirred up by journalists or parents with an axe to grind – because I can empathize with how I would feel as teacher or leader at a school receiving a barrage of negative press that detracted from the job of actually trying to improve the school.

However, I do whole heartedly agree with Disappointed Idealist’s point that if we see something we feel or know to be wrong we should act. For me, this action should be in the real world not only as a social media activist. Silence or looking the other way is not a solution “otherwise, by our inaction, we do not just tolerate it, but foster it”.


Red17 blogs, presentations, video links

ResearchEd is becoming one of the biggest dates on the educational conference calendar. I have never attended one – it’s rare for me to go to educational events at the weekend due to personal commitments – but I know that for many teachers and people involved in education it has become a must-visit event.

Saturday 9 September was the date of the 2017 conference. Naureen Afzal, one of the attendees, has helpfully curated a list of blogs written about the event as well as videos and streams of talks. If, like me, you have never been to a ResearchEd, her list is a useful starting point. For example, I watched a video of Alex Quigley talking about subject-specific language which I found interesting.


Youth Homelessness: It’s people that need a place to call home

“At times, it was challenging. I came away from the workshops feeling physically and emotionally drained.” This could be the description of any teacher’s full teaching day: as I sit here writing this article on a Friday afternoon, trying to meet my deadline having taught all day, I can empathize with the sentiment. However, it’s not about teaching. In this blog, Kate Bowen-Viner is writing about a research project, ‘A place to call home’, that she has been working on to explore youth homelessness and its links to education.

Kate reflects in a very personal nature about what she has learned now that this phase of the project is over. Organisations like ResearchEd and the newly formed College of Teaching are keen to make teaching a more evidence-informed profession. Kate reminds us that some more qualitative research can be used to “step into a world that is otherwise hidden”. I had the pleasure of project-managing this research for LKMco and I loved reading Kate’s blog because she articulates so well that research can be used to improve things for young people, either in our classrooms or wider society, and that it should be a tool that makes us start to listen rather than close off debate.


Orchestrated leadership… consistent vs coherent

Relentless Optimism is a pleasure to interact with on Twitter and is always full of interesting takes on school leadership adapted from a variety of fields. Here they consider leadership via the prism of conducting an orchestra; it’s well worth a read.

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