Review by Melissa Jane

Class teacher, Castle School, Cambridge

6 Feb 2021, 5:00

Blog

Melissa Jane’s blogs of the week, 01 February, 2021

Home learning in special schools, the pressures of early years teaching in lockdown, a blueprint for anti-racism and the professional benefits of Twitter for aspiring teachers are Melissa Jane’s pick of this week’s blogs

 

An Inclusive Blended Learning Strategy for SEND

@jw_teach

While many of my colleagues in mainstream schools are wrangling with Microsoft Teams and Google Classroom, the challenges of delivering lockdown learning in the SEND sector are different. This term I have delivered live lessons and made pre-recorded videos, but also sent boxes of sensory resources and equipment to students’ homes.

Joe White’s post summarises some of the challenges we are facing when delivering home learning in SEND schools, as well as some learning points and open questions. When so much of our curriculum revolves around communication and connection, how can we create that for students at home? What about speech and language therapy and occupational therapy?

As White says, nobody is an expert yet  ̶  but if we work with families and keep our minds open to creativity, we can all gain new skills which will hopefully be useful beyond the pandemic.

 

I Get Knocked Down…

@annierearlyyrs

Like the SEND sector, the early years sector can often be forgotten in the public’s imagination when they think about what teachers do. This is a particular concern at the moment when the EY sector is facing unique pressures after being required to stay open throughout the latest lockdown.

Annie Richardson’s post puts this current challenge into a wider context of a “lack of understanding, recognition and respect” for the sector which she has observed in her role as an educator of early years practitioners. I was particularly interested to read about changing approaches to early years courses in higher education as a microcosm of wider social attitudes to both the early years sector and early childhood in general.

 

Breaking the Cycle Anti-Racist Plan: Term 1

@LeadingEquality for @DiverseEd2020

After the resurgence of the Black Lives Matter movement around the world last summer, many educators agreed that the coming school year would be a time for reflection and change in our schools. Several months on, the news cycle has moved on and all that seems to remain is a background noise about statues. So how have all of last year’s good intentions translated into action in the classroom?

This post caught my eye as a very practical example of the steps a multi-academy trust has taken towards anti-racist change, and those that lie ahead on its journey. Although the post doesn’t flesh out the detail of how these steps have worked out, or the difficulties they’ve faced, the plan set out here offers a model for other schools and leaders to explore, critique and adapt for their own context. We will need many such models to help us build lasting, sustainable change in our schools and society.

 

My Experience on Twitter

@AaliyahLJK

I have to admit this blog’s title had me expecting to read about cyber-bullying, doxxing, or some sort of awful experience. In fact, it’s quite the opposite and a very welcome dose of optimism. Aaliyah Kennedy hopes to become an educator in future, and this post explains how Twitter has helped her find inspiration from current teachers.

It’s an important reminder that many of our students are on the same platforms as we are and can see what we write. Teachers don’t tweet in a vacuum, and our conduct has real impact. More than that, it’s a testament to the fact that – ignoring some of the worst aspects of edu-Twitter – teachers bring their inspirational natures to bear here too.

There’s a lot of worry about young people getting too much screen time during lockdown. Kennedy’s example of connecting with people in her chosen field reminds us social media is more than the unhealthy distraction it’s sometimes painted as.



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