Guest reviewer Iesha Small shares her top picks from the edu-blogosphere this week
Look up! The outdoors and mental health
“This could easily be a blog about how embarrassingly underequipped and uninformed [my] sector is about mental health in its workforce,” writes Anita Kerwin-Nye, an experienced charity leader. This could equally be applied to education. I regretfully remember the times when I hid my own struggles with mental health as a school leader.
The blog goes in a beautiful and unexpected direction, outlining the importance of spending time outdoors for children and adults. By now, most major assessments are over and there is scope for the school curriculum to be more flexible. This blog is a reminder of the power of nature and being outside in order to promote learning and positive mental wellbeing.
Leadership: the good, the bad and the ugly
“If we spend less time pretending we can cover over our weaknesses and more time being at one with them and harnessing the strengths of others, we all win.” Penny Rabiger’s thought-provoking post on good and poor leadership practices will resonate with anybody who is, or has been, in any managerial position.
She starts with the type of political leadership that resulted in the recent unexpected general election result and then covers individuals in organizations. Penny also briefly considers wider movements such as BAMEed and WomenEd, which challenge assumptions about who leaders should be. It’s a good reality check.
“The curriculum samples from a very narrow field and suffers from confirmation bias over time.” Jeffery Boakye writes eloquently about some of the topics covered at a recent #HipHopEd seminar he attended. The range and depth of topics described made me wish I was there: how rapid ITT routes reduce trainee teachers’ time to think, the role of collective memory and accountability and the effect of neoliberal forces in education.
#HipHopEd is an educational community that uses the lens of hip-hop and related music to ask challenging questions of themselves and education in general. Jeffrey’s final question is pertinent for all of us: “How can we have integrity if we don’t interrogate the roots or our ideals, values and assumptions?”
“Sooner or later we’ll have almost all the factual knowledge in the world available to us, not just at our fingertips, but at the level of neurons inside our brains,” writes George Duoblys in this simultaneously exciting and terrifying post. He explores the world of extended intelligence, what it could mean for education and how it relates to educators on various points of the knowledge-skills spectrum.
Often as educators we may feel we are forced to be reactive. Here, George encourages us to consider “what if?” – a useful exercise whatever your current beliefs. We are asked to consider what education is for, not just how it’s transmitted. This is a timeless question for our individual and collective past, present and future.
What keeps you up at night?
“Across all sectors [leaders] just cannot get our minds to be quiet,” says David McQueen in his leadership podcast.
Insomnia was a periodic feature of my life as a school leader. David provides advice for anyone who can’t sleep because of thoughts looping or giving birth to unruly mini thoughts in their heads. This could be due to new initiatives, staff concerns or simply not enough time in the day to reflect and switch off before bed.