Blog reviewer Jill Berry shares her top edu-blogs of the week


Oracy in the curriculum and how technology can help

In this comprehensive post, Mark Anderson explores how we can support the development of oracy using technology.

Mark is good at pointing those less confident with technology than he is (which I suspect is most of us) towards useful (sometimes free, or low-cost) tools which can energise teaching and learning.

He explains what is covered by the current computing curriculum, but stresses that the range of technology out there offers “a great opportunity to develop digital skills across the curriculum and not just in specific computing sessions”.


Gender imbalances in schools – changing the conversation

Mike Hodgkiss contributes to the @WomenEd blog, giving his perspective on the importance of addressing the gender imbalance in school leadership and showing how the #WomenEd initiative is not simply about women supporting women. He discusses the “complex and interconnected” reasons for the shortage of women in educational leadership and how young people need to see female role-models in positions of power.

“Gender equality does not mean that men and women should become the same, but rather that a person’s opportunities should not depend on whether they are born female or male,” he stresses.

“Education can, and should, play a role in shaping attitudes and transforming behaviours to improve gender equity.”


The difficulty is the point: Teaching spoon-fed students how to really read
Tegan Bennett Daylight

In this recent piece for The Guardian, Australian writer and academic Daylight discusses the importance of students developing sophisticated reading skills, and ensuring that we set sufficiently challenging and stimulating reading tasks rather than always trying to make things easier and more accessible for learners: “keeping students happy by not failing them.”

This is a feisty and impassioned piece which offers some insight into the world of higher education in Australia from the perspective of an outspoken critic, but which has wider repercussions for all of us with respect to high aspirations and expectations where reading capability is concerned.


10 tips for surviving the second 100 days as the head of a school in challenging circumstances

We often see advice for surviving the first 100 days of a new role, perhaps especially in leadership, but Simon Botten considers here some strategies for making it through the second 100 days as a head in a challenging school.

“If the first 100 days was about big ideas and a few quick wins, then the second 10 days is when the real work starts,” he writes. I found this post amusing, illuminating, practical and potentially reassuring – it’s for all those who take on a fresh professional identity and find the second 100 days rather more challenging than the first.


Reflecting on powerful pauses

This post, from a colleague at John Mason School in Abingdon, focuses on the use of pauses – not just after the teacher asks a question, but after the first response is offered.

After considering the importance of “wait time”, this teacher went one stage further and discovered that “simply restraining myself from responding immediately to students’ answers has led to an important change in the nature of dialogue and questioning in my classroom”. This thoughtful and compelling post makes an important contribution to the discussion of how we can use questioning to best effect in our teaching.


Five things I wish I’d known 15 years ago

Several bloggers have recently reflected on the advice they might give to their younger selves. It is a salutary exercise which can help us to clarify our thinking and consolidate our learning about what works best for us.

Jose Picardo considers subjects such as feedback, the use of research findings, avoiding perfectionism and time-consuming tasks, planning with learning in mind, and using technology effectively, and in each case cites useful further reading to develop our thinking further.