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Showing posts from August, 2016

Why teaching is like ultra distance running

I've been running since 2012 when I decided that I was a fat git and needed to get fitter. Almost four years later and I'm a convert and wonder why I never got in to running in the first place. I'm no Olympian but this year has been frustrating with only three races and just over 630 miles in the legs. Due to injury I was gutted not to make the start line at the Lakeland 100. But I will next year! Anyway, teaching is a lot like long distance running and, in the spirit of a light hearted summer blurb vaguely linked to the Olympic Games, here they are: Mantras Many have found that I have a stubborn streak. Indeed, the reason that I strive for longer distances over the mountains is that I haven't found the challenge that has broken me yet. The human body is capable far more than anyone realises. One thing that gets me through the long miles is having a few mantras that I repeat to myself. In school, a handful of simple mantras are very powerful in getting messages

Textbooks: everyone's guilty pleasure and a workload saver

Disclaimer: I was provided two copies of the GA's KS3 geography Teachers' Toolkit for free in return for an honest review. I've wrote back in 2009 that textbooks are everyone's guilty pleasure. The fashion at the time was for textbook bashing, especially amongst members of the Geographical Association  (The GA) which was a bit strange as they are also a publisher. Now I have a confession to make: I write textbooks. There, get over it. The problem with the discourse around textbooks is that they focus on the artefact and publisher rather than their use in the classroom. In my view, the appropriate use of textbooks is just like using an anemometer, a bunsen burner or a computer: a tool in the shed of the great teacher. Yes, textbooks have limitations and the department I led even used textbooks to create bunting, but used well they are a timesaver. I'm also neither in the progressive nor traditional camp (not that I'm entirely sure what each one actually is