MA Education at last!

This blog has taken a back seat and it shouldn’t have really. Even though it was started as part of my PGCE study and I guess was meant to fizzle out after that I have kept it going with updates now and then and it still attracts a good few views. I’ve decided to officially revive this blog now though and use it to share and reflect on my current educational education. It seems a better place to do that than my personal blog.

So what’s happened since last year when I updated? In a nutshell …

My businesses have begun to thrive. I have a handmade outlet which keeps me sane – nothing like creativity to absorb stress and I delivery training and consultancy on a variety of business (particularly small business) areas on a recommendation basis only which keeps things manageable and personal which I prefer. I’ve also branched into the world of demonstrations on online tutorial which is quite an interesting adventure where I’m learning a lot of new skills.

I finally got around to signing up for that MA in Education which I’m part way through now. When I thought the time was right for it I signed up and then at the beginning of semester one devastating things stuck my little family and we had some major adjustments to make and a new way of living to get used to and it kind of took it’s toll big time. In semester two now everything is under control I have some catch up to do but I’m confident that I’ll get there with the support of the uni and my family and friends.

I’ll talk about how I got onto the course, the requirements and details of the course as well as fees in due course but for this semester I have one module to study and I chose Digital Technologies in Education which already is proving to be really interesting and we have a great small group of students with lots of diversity to add richness to discussions, so it’s pretty much the perfect set up. I’ll talk more about the assessment for this module in due course too but let’s just say it’s very different to anything I’ve done before and is very much in keeping with the subject material.

So if any of this might interest you as a mature student, a prospective MA student or somebody who specifically wants to study further in the education discipline check back and have a read of anything relevant to you over the next few months.

As always happy to answer any questions.




Happy Birthday

This blog has been ‘alive’ for a  year now. So much has happened in that year it is pretty incredible.

I keep noticing spikes in viewers and wonder if this year’s cohorts are not finding it out and if they are well then I hope they are finding it useful.

After all of that I didn’t stay in teaching very long. I wasn’t really teaching in the sector I wanted to teach nor the subject I wanted to teach and so as we were unable to relocate right now I was happily treading water and signed up for MEd. But then someone planted a seed in my mind and now I’m heading down a different road, where I’m the boss and that is a good place to be.

It’s caused all kinds of chaos but I’ve had some really good advice and support through my switches and changes and at the moment it’s good to have that bit more time to spend honing up skills as I do my share to help in a family crisis. Things all just worked out right in the end and once we’re through this period of uncertainty with family health issues we shall be good to pick up and run with the fledgling projects which are currently underway.

The best thing is I get to do some training and that’s always good, so teaching and all I learned about it has not been fully abandoned and it is something I hope to step back into in the future when the time is right for me… or rather when the place is right for me.

People keep telling me that it’s a shame I’m not a teacher because I was good at it and I reminisce and nod but then I reflect on the many opportunities we have to be teachers in our lives and know that I am, was and will ever be a teacher in one form or another and all that I learned and continue to learn will stay with me and is being put to use and will always be put to use. Nothing I do is ever wasted, if I thought it was going to be I would never do it.

All the best of wishes to those of you coming to the close of semester one of your study. Next semester will be a tough test as your teaching steps up and all of that theory begins to come in thick and fast. Top tips – plan your observations well, keep up to date with your paperwork and mentor meetings, keep your blog up to date unlike many on my course who just slapped a couple of entries in at the beginning of June and take every opportunity to learn as much as you can now especially about the curriculum and about other qualifications which you might teach at the same level. For instance if you are teaching BTEC level 2 or 3, at FE or in a school, do a bit of research into GCSE, AS and A level too and look at some NVQ’s if they are relevant in your subjects and also look at apprenticeships and what is taught in them. You might find as I did that you become familiar with one type of qualification, the type your placement offers and then when you get to looking for jobs you find you have no knowledge or experience of any of the others in the wide range of options available at levels 1, 2 and 3. Having some knowledge and insight if not experience can make the difference when you are looking for work. Also keep on top of changes to age of participation and to the GCSE as we know it to prepare yourself for interviews.

Literacy Matters

I loved this article published in TES magazine and online last week by Sarah Simons entitled A Closed Book.

In it Sarah talks about being well read as in having a library full of classics. It got me thinking, as I’ve thought and blogged about before, that maybe it is time to go back to the way they taught English ‘in my day’ – Oh gosh can’t believe I say that more and more.

When we had CSE’s and GCE O’Levels it worked like this – CSE students studied English which we would now call literacy, they had to do some spoken communication assessment and written work which was more about understanding things which are written down and being able to write things down themselves. Students left with CSE’s in English (unless they were dyslexic which nobody had discovered at my school back then). This certificate evidenced that they were literate, they could read, write, regurgitate and comprehend information from a variety of sources including books, magazines, newspaper articles and letters.

The higher level GCE O’Level students studied English and English Literature as two separate qualifications. English required no spoken communication but required a higher level of literacy, higher levels of grammar, better use of descriptive language an ability to precis or summarise factual information and an ability to understand what they had read. The literature qualification called for them to be able to read whole books (yes in our day we read the whole thing not a shortened version and we didn’t get ‘easy’ translated Shakespeare either, we had the olde English versions or nothing), understand and discuss poems, understand symbolism, imagery, plot and character development. Most of my O’Level English class I am still in touch with and most of them have a high level of literacy to date and all have a deep love of literature, especially the classics and fond memories of classes. We had an awesome teacher and we had the capacity to be stretched in that way, maybe that impacted on us.

The CSE students didn’t. Maybe if we’d researched our class we’d have found that the O’level kids had more access to literature at home, had parents who loved to read (certainly true in my case), had parents who enjoyed listening to them read and that was the reason they enjoyed and excelled at literature. Literature undoubtedly demonstrated perfect English which was then backing up what had been taught in the English Language class. Language took priority with 4 lessons a week and Literature had only 2 but we got through some content in 2 years.

It worked. If standards of literacy have declined since the changes, then it worked. Why did we change it? It wasn’t perfect and maybe that’s why but then as I’ve already mentioned we didn’t have dyslexia diagnosis back then, kids who were going hungry or being abused didn’t have the support they have now, how many of those kids who struggled at CSE level were dyslexic, un-diagnosed, unsupported academically through unidentified need or socially and bound to fail? So many of the peripheral obstacles to learning have since been addressed which may have skewed the stats back in the 80’s when the changes were made. Maybe it’s time for a revisit.

Instead what we have now is the GCSE, a watered down mix of the three, the CSE, English Language O’Level and English Literature O’Level and some kids fly with it and others struggle and it is a battle ground because so much hinges on it, along with Maths of course but then arguably being able to read and write and understand what you have read and written is of more importance in every day living than being able to perform algebraic functions (maths is another story).

I agree with what Sarah says in the article and believe our reading should be relevant. Some of us love to read novels, we find it easy to sustain long periods of reading, we retain what we’ve read, we find it easy to sink into a world created for us in the pages of a book. Other’s like Sarah herself said in a tweeted conversation have withdrawal symptoms if they can’t read The Guardian every day yet haven’t read any of the great classics and don’t have a huge literary repertoire to call on but she hasn’t needed one. She writes, she reads, she absorbs information, she comprehends it and regurgitates it, people read it, she’s published by one of the most respected teaching publications in the world. Would reading James Joyce’s Dubliners make that much of a difference to her life? Other than being able to quote it when a kind of literary snobbishness required it?

I know this is very simplified, I know as an avid reader of classics, trashy beach novels and other forms of media including shampoo bottles and as a writer myself that I have had my life enriched by what I’ve read BUT I don’t think everyone has to have that experience if that’s not what they want, if it doesn’t suit them or they don’t need it.

I feel sad that my kids never got to study some of our literary gems and so we read them together as a family to ensure they get that experience but the one size fits all approach is letting students at both ends down. It’s too preoccupied on the one hand with things that just don’t matter as much as learning to read, write and comprehend and not occupied enough on the other hand with stretching the minds of those who are more suited to leaping into a great literary work of art.

Sad but true, the typical profile of a barely literate student does not fit with one who would be encouraged and supported at home in the same way those at the top end might typically be supported with reading of the classics that they may miss out on at school. Lower achieving students are less likely to have support networks which sit and pick up at home where school left them behind with the basics and so we need to be making sure that their teaching and the qualification they are trying to achieve is relevant to them and the language skills they leave school with are relevant to what they will be doing next.

The standard of literacy that comes through to FE is frankly shocking at times, I am sure I was doing better than that at junior school, maybe we’re just asking too much of kids and in doing so failing them rather than helping them. Rather than expecting functional skills teachers to teach GCSE perhaps we should be looking at the functional skills model as the better option, as Sarah describes it is more relevant and flexible to learners. Sometimes we move the bar up when we want to improve standards when really it needs to be moved down to achieve the same desired outcomes.

E&D – discrimination doesn’t have to be blatant to be felt

This post has took time to write or rather to make it to publication. I have given much thought to the usefulness or value of it weighed against anyone who it strikes a chord with and I decided, you know what, I’m going to take a risk with my content (see the quote from Creme 2010 above) and I’m going to put this out there. I’ve heard these things, I’ve been affected by these things and I’m going to lay them out there bare and let people have a look and a think and perhaps even comment. Maybe it will help student teachers to understand E&D issues just a tiny bit better, to avoid causing offence to others and to think twice before making assumptions about the students in front of them. These are some of the more subtle examples I’ve drawn out of the folder of unbelievably and perhaps unwittingly offensive things I have heard.

download (1)I have avoided this topic in my blog because I know that whenever it comes up and I give my view point I’m seen as being ‘over sensitive’.  I’m over sensitive because I have black children. It makes us laugh, myself, my kids and their dad, to think that people feel I’m over sensitive to issues of inequality because I have black kids. The fact that they don’t reason that I have black kids because I judge people on merit not skin colour or nationality, ability or age, gender or sexuality evades them. The kids came first and I sure as hell didn’t produce them from my lily white flesh on my own. But no, I’m sensitive because I have black children. Think about that in itself and what it says about people who think that, do you imagine that could be offensive in itself? Too right it is. It’s like saying a parent can’t really give an objective opinion on child abuse because they are parents… what so people who don’t have children find these things less emotive? If they do, shame on them, but I don’t think we believe that this is the case, yet I’ve been told to my face more times than I remember that I’m sensitive to issues of racial discrimination because of my children. Like I didn’t care about it before then. It’s rude, it’s wrong, it’s unfair and get this… it’s discriminatory in itself.

We laugh my family and I as an alternative to crying because we know that this perception speaks volumes, it’s already told us something we don’t want to believe, not still, not in 2014, surely.

We laugh because the children are also told during E&D classes and discussions that they are ‘over sensitive’ because they are black/brown/mixed or whatever they are categorised as, I’d just love to get to the day when they are simply ‘children’ but sadly we missed that boat because one of them is already an adult, we’ve got a couple of years left before the youngest is an adult too and sadly I don’t think we’ll get there before then.

We have to laugh because there isn’t much else we can do other than keep sharing our opinion and keep being good people and hoping that one day everyone believes that we feel the way we do because we do not like discrimination on any grounds. We have opinions because we have insight that we are proud and privileged to have. Our humanity extends beyond feeling pained at racist issues, believe it or not we actually care about children, old people, disabled people, mentally ill people, people of other faiths and a whole lot more too being treated fairly and justly. We protest against discrimination both on a personal and institutionalised level, not just racism because the kids are black.

I’m just putting these things out there, things I’ve heard and seen and I ask you to just think about them. What is or could be wrong about them, would you challenge them, would you be offended, would you care? I’ll leave that for you to decide.

“For God’s sake, why are all E&D speakers black?” (Trainee teacher at E&D lecture)

“Some people can’t understand English too well can they? Are you alright following what I’m saying?” the lecturer mouthed loudly to the three guys at the back, the two with the Arabic names and the Russian. The class laughed uncomfortably knowing one was English born and bred, one had lived here for more years than he’d lived anywhere else and for the other English was one of a couple of his country’s official languages. (In an HE lecture on customer communications)

“Why do black people need black role models? I’m white and I’ve got a couple of black role models, why can’t they just  have white ones?” (Trainee teacher back in class after an E&D guest speak lecture)

“Could you please stand back and wait” a delegate shouted to a hoard of other delegates as they  near trampled the imagesembarrassed lady trying to turn in her wheelchair. (Witnessed at a teaching conference following an E&D lecture)

“Don’t worry about him, leave him in the corner and ignore him, there’s a language barrier”. (Teacher to teacher about student)

“OK so how do we get the service users up to the top floor conference room? Where’s the lift?” “There isn’t one, they’ll have to walk up 8 flights of stairs”. (Conversation between chair of older people’s conference and event organisers)

“What’s he doing here? He was supposed to be on a boat back to China.” (Teacher to class about fellow student)

“Idiot FE students” (Trainee teacher on social media site)

I announced I was going to the shop for some drinks, it was a really hot day and we’d worked hard relocating the QA Department across the city and keeping it operational. The young porter who had been able to lift full filing cabinets into place had been instrumental in it happening and he had worked tirelessly. He sat sweating in a corner having  hauled how many kgs around against H&S regs I can only imagine. I came back and handed him a diet coke he thanked me. My colleague took me to one side “Don’t give him a drink, he’s only a porter, he does this donkey work because his kind can’t do anything else”. “Oh you mean his kind as in law students earning some money to get them through final year of university, or his kind as in huge black guys?” I asked. Oh and I didn’t have children at the time so couldn’t possibly have been seen as over sensitive when I reported her inappropriate and offensive comments to her manager.

“WHAT.IS.YOUR.STUDENT.NUMBER?” (receptionist yelling to British student of Asian parentage in a university)

“Well let the Nigerian die as it will save the country money on benefits” (HE student’s first thoughts when confronted with a management exercise which contained no information to indicate the guy lived anywhere other than Nigeria but did inform that he was well educated, employed and of a high social standing)

“The display is ready to go to the cultural centre” I was told by my colleague I looked at it, yards and yards of beautifully compiled work and images on 7 foot high notice boards. “Everyone on the pictures is white” I said “in fact, everyone on the pictures is white and a man” I added. “Oh it doesn’t matter now, we don’t get many foreigners at these things anyway” my colleague responded. “You’re so fussy about this stuff, do you think it’s because of your kids?”. I breathed deeply and counted to ten.

“I couldn’t complete the enrollment process because I had an argument with the administrator who said that because I noted my ethnicity as Anglo African on my form I couldn’t state my nationality as British, I tried to explain that my parents are British, I’m British, I showed her my passport, my driving licence and birth certificate but she just didn’t get it, I got so frustrated with her I left” (student trying to enrol on a university course).

“I’m giving this one a miss aren’t you? I mean, it’s bad enough having to work with him without having to have an image of him sleeping with his partner in my head” (Colleague of a gay man who had offered to host that month’s staff social event)

I’m English, I’m white, I’m not disabled, I’m young (ish), I speak English perfectly well, I’m heterosexual, I didn’t come here ‘on a boat’, but I’m sensitive to all of this, well not just sensitive but OVER sensitive to it, and why? Oh did I mention I found two black kids? Maybe that explains it.

Correction, I’m sensitive to it because it is wrong, all of it is wrong, very subtle but wrong and I could bring up hundreds more blatantly obvious comments but I want to show the subtlety, I want to show how words can cause offence and offence causes alienation and if they can do it to a hardened time served battle axe like me who understands that some people are ignorant, imagine what they can do to a child, a young impressionable person who wants to just be who they are and accepted for that and who doesn’t want to be singled out on any characteristic.

This is how used to it I am, some people reading this will think this has all been about race, they’ve already forgotten or didn’t even notice the gender discrimination, they’ve forgotten the discrimination based on language, the disability examples, the age discrimination and the discrimination based on status and don’t even start me on the stereotyping that was going on.

An earlier post of mine contains a TED talk which says that children do not learn from people they do not like and I’d take that a step further and say they do not learn from people who do not like them. But it’s not just about offending us sensitive folk, it’s much worse than that. It’s worse because much of this comes from educators and we know what educators do, they teach people and if they don’t realise that what they are saying is wrong and offensive, or simply very narrow minded. If we all just breathe and count to ten instead of challenging that behaviour then there is a great danger that they will teach those people attitudes like theirs and it will never end.

As teachers we are responsible for so much. What we make OK, our students see as OK. We are doing them a disservice when they go out into the world and find that OK is actually not OK at all.

Educating the East End Episode 3

I loved this episode. I was struck by a couple of things and that is how this one seemed to show much better behaved, driven, involved and inspired kids who realised the importance of education and the added extras. I felt this was far more representative of young people in the main, or at least the young people I’m used to.

I loved the elections, the campaigning, the obvious camaraderie and support throughout the school, the barrier relaxing between students and teachers, all of it was inspirational. As a teacher who has shifted from FE to Secondary I was able to relate so much easier to this and I think it is true that they began the series with the difficult year 9 which consensus has it is the toughest year as mentioned in my first post on this series.

I was also interested to see how it was noticed that things going on outside of school were affecting the outgoing head girl’s performance and how it was nipped in the bud and ultimately did not affect her achievements at GCSE. I felt it was interesting to see the focus on developing her self belief and I felt educated myself by the head teacher’s comments on exam performance being largely due to a mental attitude. I’ve seen people filled with fear and negativity prior to an exam and have wondered how they can do that to themselves, believing that negative mind set can’t be productive but for some people positivity and self belief doesn’t come easy and that’s something to bear in mind now as a teacher. I don’t think I’m bigging myself up too much to say that I’m pretty good at encouraging students to have faith in themselves but I saw it more in action on the programme and feel that I understand the importance even more now of building that positivity. Some people do not have it instilled in them by parents or anyone else in their life, even society may have a low expectation or give out signs that trying is pointless and we as teachers do have to fight against that.

We were shocked that nobody seemed to know who the eventual election victor was. I guess that’s because he was under the radar, probably well behaved, always on time, good attendance and a high achiever. Nobody’s noticed him because he hasn’t given anyone reason to and in some ways I think that’s very sad. Imagine if he had never stood for election, he would possibly have passed right through secondary school with nobody ever noticing him.

I see how easy it is for deserving students to be bypassed on awards events and for opportunities to represent the school and for treats and rewards and while I get it now as a teacher that the challenging students take up the lion’s share of your time and focus, it’s really not fair. It’s made me want to make an even more concerted effort to make sure I notice the other students, not just the high achievers but the middling, average students who come in, sit down, get on with their work, achieve comfortably and leave. I know who they are in my current classes and I know who they were in my placement classes and I have to hold my hands up and admit that in my placement classes they were the ones I took longest to remember the names of, the ones I engaged with the least and the ones I should have recognised more.

As a student teacher you will soon realise that it really is the challenging students who you remember first and you will be shocked when you reflect and consider the amount of time you spent talking directly to them (another reason why reflection is important). You have to be careful of that, some ‘disruptive’ students just crave attention and they are very skilled at commanding it.  In one of my observations my university tutor advised me to ignore any behaviours which were not threatening or affecting anyone else. As an example in the observed class one of my students decided to make a paper plane and I asked why he had done that and I should have just ignored it, nobody else had noticed he had made it, it wasn’t detracting from the overall flow of the lesson and I brought everyone’s focus to the paper plane and thereby I caused the class to become distracted from the lesson and of course myself. Later on he wrapped toilet paper around himself and again I mentioned it and created the conflict situation the student wanted when again I could have just ignored it.

So lesson learned, less time on the attention seekers and more of acknowledgement of the under the radar, safe kids, they might not crave attention but everyone likes to be noticed for something they’re doing well and to have some attention now and again, I’d hate to think a student of mine would put himself up for an election and I wouldn’t know who he was but am aware of how easily it could happen.

Looking forward to the  next episode.

Socratic Questioning – Thinking Driven By Questions Not Answers

Some of the things you study on your PGCE might feel like they go right over your head. All of the theory, the new words and phrases and terms might all start to confuse you and make you wonder what language you’re studying in. For people who have been out of formal education for a while or who have never undertaken formal education it must be a nightmare.434211-Royalty-Free-RF-Clipart-Illustration-Of-A-Flexible-Cartoon-Man-Doing-Yoga

Sometimes things sound so much more complex than they are and I think Socratic learning, teaching or questioning is one of those things. Really Socratic teaching  is just what it says in the title, you don’t give your students answers you give them questions and when they give you answers you give them more questions and you welcome their questions, the more challenging they are to you the better for them and for you. It’s a win win.

I’ve included lots of resources at the end so you can find the answers to your own questions and deepen your understanding and knowledge of this topic if you want to.

So, what is it? Simply (you can make it more complex if you wish but why do that?) it’s a discussional type of learning and it can either be planned or can be a seize the moment method of teaching. The more experienced and confident you become the easier this will come to you. Some people recommend it for certain subjects, particularly those which include ethics or ethical codes and standards but it can be used to teach anything.  I definitely use it in business.

download (2)The roots of this method are in the teachings of Greek philosopher Socrates. There’s not much known about the guy other than through the notes of his students who perhaps most famously included philosopher Plato.  ‘Socratic’ is not some mystery word you should have known or heard before it’s just a method based on a teacher’s name, that’s it.

When studying Socratic methods I didn’t really appreciate that I was already more than familiar with them. It’s how I’ve learned my whole life and it’s how I’ve taught my own children to learn. It was good to realise that I already employ Socratic methods and teach in a Socratic style.

If you were one of those children (and who wasn’t?) who constantly asked “Why?” you were inquisitive and eager to learn. If your parents or teachers simply answered you they were giving you a piece of information for you to store and maybe retrieve one day or not. If they ignored you… well that’s for another day.

Alternatively if you had a parent or teacher who answered with “What do you think?” and allowed you to respond and then challenged you with “Why do you think that?” and allowed you to respond and then asked “Can you see why that would be that way?” and allowed you to respond and then said “Does that remind you of anything else?” and allowed you to respond, images (2)they were using Socratic questioning. They were using a Socratic method to assist you in expanding your knowledge and tapping into your own mind, conscious, brain, memory whatever, to find the answer to your question for yourself, to compare, expand and connect concepts, words, themes and ideas to arrive at a logical answer to your original question. Furthermore, they were teaching you how to gather knowledge and some would argue that they were teaching you to be what might be broadly termed intelligent, considering intelligence as the ability to comprehend, to reason, to analyse, to apply logic rather than the ability to store and retrieve information which it is often wrongly described as… unsurprisingly by those who are not able to apply Socratic theory to their own understanding of the world.

My dad would never give me an answer to my many questions as a kid and it frustrated me but now I’m glad he didn’t because he taught me to not always trust what I was told but rather to find out for myself; to rely on my knowledge, to be confident in my knowledge, to broaden and deepen that knowledge and to use the same methods unwittingly with my own inquisitive children. I and they have been taught to question and to either ask questions of others who have knowledge and insight or ask ourselves questions.

images (4)One of my recommendations following earlier observations on my PGCE was to push some students to a higher level with questioning, I did this at times but not consistently during observations and I believe that I did it more when I was not being observed because I was less concerned with the lesson plan going over time and more relaxed and willing to have longer discussions. I like to learn and definitely prefer discussional teaching over didactic teaching and this perhaps explains why I have elements of a humanistic approach in my teaching.

So it’s not that difficult a concept at all and the beauty of it is that you can use it at all levels of ability so it can be factored into a lesson and still allow for differentiation.

Below are some useful resources, a couple of which outline specific questions you can use and what the purpose of that type of question is. One contains a useful table of questions. If you have a classroom to yourself I’d consider making this into an interesting poster and sticking it on a wall, not only so you can see it but so the students can see it. It may encourage them to not only understand your methods but also to use the method for self-questioning and to question you as their teacher.  Wouldn’t it be great if we had classes full of students who wanted to know more?

I came close to that in a few sessions, where we abandoned the lesson plan and had a Socratic discussion. It is amazing how much of what was on the lesson plan was covered in a different way. I was able to write on the board to emphasise (much as I’d planned ) and I was able to quickly press a button and bring up a slide that I had prepared for the lesson to support what we were discussing. The end result? We covered everything I’d wanted to cover but we’d done it in a very different way. A better way which gave the students some control and ownership of their learning and really broadened their knowledge. I saw individuals and groups of individuals come to life and really engage when we learned in this way and I say say ‘we’ because of course I was learning too, this was Socratic teaching at its best.

Useful Resources

This is just an easy read, plain and simple explanation of Socratic Questions Changing Minds – Socratic Questions

This piece from Critical Thinking on The Role of Socratic Questioning in Thinking, Teaching and Learning is interesting and marries up with some of my thoughts. It also contains a simple but interesting classroom dialogue which demonstrates Socratic questioning in action. one to read and role play perhaps with a fellow student or even in your class if you factored in your relevant subject and wanted to plan a Socratic discussion as part of a lesson.

There is another dialogue in this piece from Intel and this is the one with the table I mentioned earlier which could be made into a class poster.

This is an interesting easy read conference paper  Socratic Questioning: Changing Minds or Guiding Discovery, Padesky, 1993 which deals with the topic simply but also takes it on to another level

The following are links to some ebooks available for Kindle via Amazon. I have read all of these and found them very useful. I’ve simplified the concept here to illustrate how easy it can be to use but you can dig as deep into it as you like. These books are not full of jargon and overly academic language. Remember if you have Amazon Prime to check the Kindle Lending Library lots of books are free to borrow including books on educational topics. Also some Kindle books are free and whilst they may not be suitable for academic referencing it’s always good to read what other people think even if you don’t agree with it. It’s all part of broadening your own knowledge and developing your own ideas.

The Thinker’s Guide to the Art of Socratic Questioning is available on Kindle for around £3

Only the Curious Shall Thrive: Strategies for Lifelong Learners to Formulate Insightful Questions is also available on Kindle for less than £2

How to Use Questioning in the Classroom is one of a series of really useful little books by Mike Gershon all available for Kindle at around £3. I have the entire series and found them invaluable when studying and teaching and probably will cleave to them for a long time. These were recommended to me by my programme leader on placement and served to remind me that even those who have been teaching for years are still finding new material to help them in their role. Being a teacher is about constant development and part of that is to keep on reading as well as learning through practice in the classroom.

Ask Don’t Tell. Powerful Questioning in the Classroom is a paper back which I found really useful and is available on Amazon at the moment for around £10

Next a couple of videos. Here’s one  of a series which are all pretty short, sharp and useful to help you embed a concept in your own mind. It’s from a user called Teach Like This which is worth subscribing to. This is Video number 11 and is entitled How to do the Socratic Method

Finally here’s a TED talk. This one goes more deeply into the philosophical root of Socratic thinking and has some good references and illustrative examples of what can happen when people are not taught to think for themselves which will give you some insight as to why you may wish to apply Socratic theory to your own learning and development and the potential you unlock in students who you encourage to learn in this way.

Tips on using social media for teachers

I saw this a few days ago and thought it shared some useful advice. So in the interests of information sharing here’s the link: social media tips for teachers link