No, we are NOT all doomed!

Since an early age I have heard – and said myself innumerable times – that the biggest environmental problem faced by this planet is the huge and expanding human population. But it turns out the whole story I had on the topic was wrong. Continue reading “No, we are NOT all doomed!”

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How To Be An Optimist: Step 1

So I’ve been trying something, that has made it easier to remain an optimist.

It’s a deceptively simple action to take, and anyone can do it. Immediately, for free, with no effort. Well, you might need to change a couple of habits, but you’ve made bigger changes than this in your life. Continue reading “How To Be An Optimist: Step 1”

On food

I still think there’s an important place for a few grazing animals. On the other hand, industrial (also known as ‘cheap’) farming of animals is just unconscionable. Still deciding how this all fits together though…

I’ve been educating myself more and more about the production of food, with the aim of making the invisible visible. I’ve never seen an abattoir, I’ve never seen a dairy cow artificially inseminated, and I’ve never seen an industrial chicken/pork/beef/lamb operation in the flesh. Yet. So I’ve been gathering info and reading, listening to and watching what others have revealed behind the scenes of food production. I’m in the process of researching global stats on food production – more to follow on that front.

Bottom line: I want to talk FOOD and discuss, debate and learn all about it.

Watch this space.

 

My educational values

  1. Everyone has the right to their own ambitions
  2. Nobody has the right to define anyone else’s level of ability
  3. Everyone deserves dignity, respect and space to express themselves
  4. A teacher’s job is to teach as effectively as they can
  5. A student’s job is to learn as much as they can
  6. Hard work and grit are to be celebrated
  7. No one should be lazy or rude
  8. Language is powerful and creates our world
  9. There is only one Earth, and we all live on it. Respect it
  10. Think for yourself

If I am to maintain my integrity in my work life, my actions need to match my values.


This is a first attempt at putting those values into language and I hope to refine them and most importantly to act in line with them, without worrying about who might be upset!

What is the EU?

See below for Professor Dougan’s comments on immigration, which he emailed me today.

A friend shared a video of a talk given by Professor Michael Dougan of the University of Liverpool’s Law School. As he explains, he’s spent a lifetime studying and practising EU law, and as such has been a go-to consultant for various news outlets during the buildup to the referendum.

Continue reading “What is the EU?”

How does the mind affect health?

It is clear that we need our lives to have a purpose, to feel that our actions form part of something bigger than ourselves.

When Julia, a passionate and committed teacher, was forced to take extended leave from work, she had to find activities to fill the gap and to provide meaning to her day to day existence. Going from such an intrinsically fulfilling and gregarious job to a quieter, slower, less social existence would have come as a severe shock. It would have been easy for Julia to slip into a cycle of anxiety and stress leading to isolation and depression.

Continue reading “How does the mind affect health?”

Putting a Contract out on Teachers

Sometimes I think about moving to London. Then I read something like this, think about the walk from my door along the Cornish coast path, and come to my senses.

Also: brilliant idea about a structure for teacher’s contracted hours that puts them in control of their flexibility.

Disappointed Idealist

This is going to be about workload, and in particular, Russell Hobby’s piece about whether teacher contracts and fewer holidays might solve the workload problem. I thought this was an appropriate issue on which to return to the keyboard, not least because the reason I haven’t blogged for a while is largely due to the fact that, this year, I broke myself on the workload wheel.

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Assessment without levels – prologue

My school has produced a first draft proposal for a new assessment framework relating to the new GCSE grades, and looking to move to a system without levels.

The gist of it is: a student comes into school, and based on their prior attainment they’re set a ‘projected grade’. This is the minimum expected GCSE grade (e.g. grade 5).

Teachers will use this to set a professional target.

In each year, the same grading system will be used, so a student should in theory progress from grade 5 in Year 7 to grade 5 in Year 11, with each subject setting the standards against which these judgements will be made.

As I spent some time on my response to this first draft proposal, I thought it would be worth sharing more widely. Below is my response. I’d be interested to know what you think.

Continue reading “Assessment without levels – prologue”