Review by Jill Berry

12 Nov 2017, 5:00

Jill Berry’s top blogs of the week 6 November 2017

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

What is a Tweacher?

This blogger’s Twitter page includes the phrase “blog like you’re Foucault”, and in this post he describes a section of his doctoral thesis where he examines how contributors to educational Twitter debates construct their online identities “through a Foucauldian lens”. I find Steve’s deliberations considerably more accessible and illuminating than I ever found Foucault’s.

He explores here the connection, or tension, between the content of the conversations and the contributors’ relationships between and opinions of one-another. “Daily on #EduTwitter, the what-said is overshadowed by responses that focus upon, or are influenced by feelings towards, the who-said,” he writes.

“We all play games of identity construction and identity presentation on Twitter,” he concludes. I found this fascinating.


Mark my words

Amjad Ali now works four days a week as a senior leader at the new Aureus School in Oxfordshire, where, as he says, “we have the challenge and privilege of establishing principles and ideologies that are not engrained, burdened and flawed by years of ‘that’s how it has always been done’.”

On the fifth day of each week he works as a trainer (a great example of flexible working), an additional opportunity to reflect on what we do in schools, why we do it that way, and how we could perhaps do it better.

Here he considers the subject of marking and feedback, and in a comprehensive post he reviews much of the discussion about the purpose and potential strength of feedback to students, alongside the traps we can fall into – particularly if leaders use marking as an accountability mechanism to check up on staff.

We have to give careful consideration to how feedback benefits learners and supports progress, or we are wasting valuable and pressured teacher time. He warns against the conclusion that no marking or less marking is automatically the answer, however, and suggests practical examples and useful references to help us to improve our feedback policy and practice.


On teaching apprenticeships

The issue of whether teaching should be a graduate profession is now being debated in relation to the introduction of teaching apprenticeships. Debra Kidd reflects on her years as an undergraduate and how she believes the experience supported and enriched her experience as a teacher. She concludes that without her university years away from home, “I’m not sure I’d have been in a position to offer to my students the world view that I now have. I’m not sure I’d have been me.” So much of what Debra says here resonated with me.


My #WomenEd pledge

At the end of the latest #WomenEd national unconference in Sheffield at the end of September, delegates were encouraged to make a personal pledge which would support and strengthen them as they continued on their journey – facing profession challenges and personal ones. Hannah Gregory writes powerfully here, for the newly established #WomenEd blog, about her determination, as she begins her maternity leave, to make the most of her time and “to learn, to develop, to try new things.” Good advice for us all.


I am the weekend

Finally, I love Craig Ennew’s writing, which is lyrical and evocative – and certainly distinctive when compared with many of the education blogs I read. This post resurfaced through Twitter recently and had such an impact that I wanted to share it.

Craig explores the idea of the weekend – how we use it and what it means to us, and how the experiences of some of our students may be very different. Similarly, he touches on teachers’ experiences of the week which follows, set against the safety and security that the school week may represent for some students. It is sharply observed and poignant, and made me reflect on the teacher’s perspective but also on the lived reality of many of the learners in our schools.

Enjoy the weekend ahead.

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