Review by Iesha Small

26 Nov 2017, 5:00

Iesha Small’s top blogs of the week 20 November 2017

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


How Facebook figures out everyone you’ve ever met
Kadmir Hill,

“Behind the Facebook profile you’ve built for yourself is another one, a shadow profile, built from the inboxes and smartphones of other Facebook users.”

Like over 650 million others, I have a Facebook profile. However, I’ve stopped using it regularly as I was starting to get irritated by colleagues friending me and then receiving what I considered inappropriate friend requests from pupils or parents who were part of their wider Facebook network.

This article outlines the extent to which Facebook makes connections between even the briefest of acquaintances. It also reveals how little control you have over this process. Reading it, I immediately thought of the ramifications for teachers. Most teachers wouldn’t use their personal mobile or email address to contact parents, but how many of us check our work email on our phones? This article is a thought-provoking read for educators in considering who has our personal and professional data, how we may unwittingly share it and how it’s used.


Breaking heads – how far is too far?

“To become the Headteacher I am today I have had to be allowed to fail.”

This post outlines many of the reasons that as an assistant head I decided that headship wasn’t an attractive destination for me and that ultimately I needed a change of direction. The author, a headteacher with 16 years’ experience, speaks honestly about the stress of the job and the increased demands from parents and external agencies, as well as the impact of the teacher recruitment crisis and declining teacher wellbeing.

He discusses the time that he was so unaware of his own stress that his body informed him, via impotence. I wish this head luck, and the many others like him who are working hard in schools across the country to find solutions, while wondering if it’s only really a matter of time before their luck runs out.


The real way to instill a love of learning

“We will stop at nothing to ensure that your child is a fluent reader.”

Whoever the Quirky Teacher is, they have my vote with this blog. As a secondary maths teacher my life is made much easier with the pupils who come in at year 7 who can read extremely well. It unlocks the keys for learning in all subjects. As a parent of a seven-year-old who loves to read, I can see that it has given him the freedom to learn and teach himself things that will never be on the school syllabus.

The Quirky Teacher argues that we should be aiming for a love of learning beyond school, which can only happen if children can access learning themselves by reading without a teacher. They also remind us that it takes hard work and nothing worthwhile is ever easy.


Disagreements don’t have to be disagreeable

“I welcome those who disagree with me. I purposefully seek them out.”

In our increasingly partisan and tribal online age this is a refreshing view from Kate Bowen-Viner. It can be easy to stay in our real-life and online siloes and then to be shocked or even rude when others disagree with us.

This could be the reason why so many centrist or left-leaning southerners (a group to which I probably belong) were so shocked by the leave result at Brexit. Kate makes the case for widening the pool of voices we listen to and discuss educational (and wider) ideas with. She also suggests that any disagreements that do arise can be done with good grace and that status, real or perceived, should not put anybody beyond challenge.

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