A blog for students on the FDLT and BALT courses at the University of Northampton

at Leicester and UN

September 24, 2020
by Jean
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Applying for the FDLT and BALT courses to start in September 2021.

The Learning Hub

The Learning Hub, Waterside Campus

We are now accepting applications for the FDLT and BALT courses starting in September 2021. If you work in a supporting role in an educational setting and are interested in studying for a degree at the University of Northampton you are most welcome to come to our Open Day on Saturday 26th September from 10am until 2pm online. 

The courses are taught on one day a week and are taught in both Northampton and Leicester venues.

You can find out more about it and book a place here

You can find out more about the FDLT course here and the BALT course here

There are some FAQs about the FDLT course here and about the BALT course here.

In September 2021 we teach the FDLT Year 1 course in Northampton on Mondays and in Leicester on Wednesdays; FDLT year 2 in Northampton on Thursdays and in Leicester on Tuesdays and the BALT course in Northampton on Wednesdays and Leicester on Mondays (subject to numbers).

Do come along to talk with our tutors at the upcoming Open Days or email me, jean.edwards@northampton.ac.uk if you would like to talk about the courses further.

September 18, 2020
by Jean
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New resources from the National Literacy Trust.

This week the National Literacy trust launched two new online resources to support families and educators.

authors of the week

NLT, 2020c

The first is called Virtual School Library. You can access it here

Each week the Virtual School Library will introduce a children’s author or illustrator and share books, videos and recommended reads.

Here’s an example from this week (w/b September 14th 2020).

Words for Life resources

NLT, 2020b

The second is called Words for Life. You can access it here. Words for Life provides resources “for parents, children and young people to improve their language, literacy and communication skills from home” (NLT, 2020a, lines 3-5).

The resources can be accessed by age group and are practical and engaging. 

 

 

References

National Literacy Trust. (2020a) Words for Life. [online] Available from: https://wordsforlife.org.uk/ [Accessed: 18/09/2020].

National Literacy Trust. (2020b) Happiness and wellbeing. Words for life. [online] Available from: https://wordsforlife.org.uk/ [Accessed: 18/09/2020].

National Literacy Trust. (2020c) Current authors of the week. Virtual library. [online] Available from: https://wordsforlife.org.uk/virtual-school-library/authors/ [Accessed: 18/09/2020].

 

 

 

 

September 7, 2020
by Jean
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Your first day (FDLT)

We are looking forward to welcoming students to the FDLT course next week (week beginning September 14th). You will have been receiving emails from us and from the university about starting the course.

What should I do before I come to the first day?

Make sure that you have completed pre-enrolment. You can find out more about this here.

Make sure you have introduced yourself to the group on your group’s getting to know you padlet. The information about this was emailed to you last week. Go back to this padlet a few times to read new posts and comment on some to start getting to know each other. You will meet each other face to face next week.

You should contact ASSIST if you have any additional needs relating to disability, medical condition, autism, specific learning differences (like dyslexia) or a mental health difficulty including if you will need assistance during arrival.

What should I bring on the first day?

When you come please make sure that you have everything you need to complete your enrolment. There is information about this here.

Bring a bag as we will be giving you things and you are likely to collect your laptop if you are enrolling as a full time student (ie with no exemptions from modules).

You should make sure that you bring a mask to wear. Information about our Covid19 precautions can be read here

You should also bring a pen and something to make notes in.

You might like to bring a drink and snacks although there are refreshments available to buy on campus. 

Where should I come to on the first day?

the atrium in the learning hubBoth groups will be coming to the Waterside campus for the first day. The Leicester group will be based at Devonshire Place thereafter. You can find out more about the location and parking at Waterside here.

We will be meeting in the large open space on the ground floor of the Learning Hub. Look out for Abbie and Jean and email Jean if you get lost or need help.

Look out for students whose posts you have read on the getting to know you padlet as well.

There is a map of the Waterside Campus here.

What will happen on the first day?

On your first day you will meet the course leader, Abbie Deeming and another of the course tutors, Jean Edwards. You might already have met or talked with us at an open day or interview. We will guide you through the day. 

We will first take you to enrol and you will also collect your welcome package laptop at some point in the day. 

After that we will have an induction session in one of the large classrooms so we can be together as a group and still appropriately socially distanced. Abbie and I will talk you through key information about the FDLT course and you will have a chance to ask us questions.

What if I have any worries or questions?

It is natural to feel nervous when you are embarking on a new part of your life. Starting at university is a big step but you have all applied for and been offered a place on the course because it is the appropriate next step for you right now. There will be lots of people supporting you at home and at school and you will find that there are lots of people here at university to help you too, both as part of the course and in the wider organisation. 

If you have any immediate concerns or questions email the Admissions Tutor, Jean Edwards, jean.edwards@northampton.ac.uk 

We are looking forward to meeting you next week.

children's cook covers

June 3, 2020
by Jean
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How can we work for a better world?

As you keep up to date with the news you will no doubt be considering how we in education can work for a more fair and equal society. In classrooms using children’s literature as the basis for conversations is a good way in.

children's cook coversThe list of children’s books linked here is curated by critical literacy organizations, The Conscious Kid and American Indians in Children’s Literature and it is called “31 Children’s Books to Support Conversations on Race, racism and Resistance. 

This author notes that: “Beyond addressing issues of race and racism, this children’s reading list focuses on taking action. It highlights resistance, resilience and activism; and seeks to empower youth to participate in the ongoing movement for racial justice. Children not only need to know what individual, institutional, and internalized racism looks like, they need to know what they can do about it.” (The Conscious Kid, 2019, lines 22-270).

Another great source of book recommendations in this field is from classroom teachers. Year 4 teacher, Miss Newton (@MissNewton91 on twitter) has shared this presentation of her recommended picture books. You can access it here.Going beyond sharing and talking about stories it is also vital to integrate the black experience across all the subjects that we teach. Miss Newton shared her planning for a Year 4 history unit which you can access here

From children themselves as readers we can begin to understand how it feels to find oneself represented in the books that are around. Ananya Ganesh, a fifteen year old, had written about this in her blog post ‘We need more #ownvoices books’ which you can read here

As well working in our individual classrooms in stories and the curriculum there are also organisations to support and develop diversity in education. One of these is BAMed:

“BAMEed is a movement initiated in response to the continual call for intersectionality and diversity in the education sector. All members are volunteers and have committed their time and efforts into creating a tangible support network to equip teachers and leaders with the tools to progress into and through the workforce.

BAMEed connects, enables and showcases the talent of diverse educators so they may inspire future generations and open up the possibilities within education careers.” (BAMed, 2020, lines 3-5).

BAMed is developing regional networks, resources and and a network of speakers. They have collected a useful book list which you can see here. This was curated by Darren Chetty (@rapclassroom), Kaen Sands O’Connor (@ksandsoconnor) and Books for keeps (ABooksforKeeps).

Letterbox Library logoThey also recommend exploring Letter Box Library which specialises in selecting and recommending books “in which all children can see themselves and which reflect our world community in all of its diversity” (Letterbox Library, 2020, lines 9-10).

Now is the time to use the amazing stories, resources and networks that we have around us to educate ourselves and the children we support to take action to grow up in a more just and fair world. 

If you are interested in exploring the representation of black and ethnic minorities in children’s literature this CLPE survey was published in 2018.

References:

BAMed. (2020) About us. website [online] Available from: https://www.bameednetwork.com/about-us/ [Accessed; 03/06/2020].

Ganesh, A. (2020) We need more #ownvoices books. website. [online] Available from: https://www.ananyaganesh.com/post/we-need-more-ownvoices-books [Accessed; 3rd June 2020].

Letterbox Library (2020) Letterbox Library. website. [online] Available from: https://www.letterboxlibrary.com/ [Accessed 3rd June 2020].

The Conscious Kid. (2019) 31 Children’s Books to Support Conversations on Race, racism and Resistance. Notew0rthy. [online] Available from: https://blog.usejournal.com/31-childrens-books-to-support-conversations-on-race-racism-and-resistance-9dbabc28360e [Accessed: 03/06/2020].

The Conscious Kid. (2019) A children’s book list for anti-racist activism (image). Notew0rthy. [online] Available from: https://blog.usejournal.com/31-childrens-books-to-support-conversations-on-race-racism-and-resistance-9dbabc28360e [Accessed: 03/06/2020].

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

April 30, 2020
by Jean
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Keeping in touch with friends and school

There are lots of creative and inspiring ways for pupils and schools to show that they are together, even when not in the same physical location.

This is a great PicCollage made by the teachers of a local school where one of our graduates works.

 

 

This wonderful collection of miniature dolls was made by a teacher in the Netherlands, Ingleborg Meinster-Van der Duin, and represents the pupils in her class.

A school in England has made made a huge circle of pupils holding hands (shared by @AdrianBethune on Twitter).

 

These lovely videos were made at the school of another of our graduates.

Finally in this school in Wales has created a wonderful ThingLink set in the school and allowing all the staff to send messages.

You can view it here.

What has your school done to keep in touch? If you want to share ideas let us know by commenting below.

 

 

April 19, 2020
by Jean
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Support for learning at home

Tomorrow two new national support resources for learning at home are being launched. If you are providing learning for your pupils at home or supporting your own children you might find these useful. 

The first is by BBC Bitesize. This consists of daily lessons on the BBC Bitesize website along with special programmes on BBC iPlayer and the BBC red button. There will be a new daily English and mathematics lesson for all ages, supported by videos, practice tests, games and articles. There will also be lessons for science, history, geography, music and art. There will be programmes each evening to support learning at GCSE and A level for older students. Daily podcasts for primary and secondary pupils and an app are also part of this resource along with interaction on Facebook and Twitter for parents and Instagram for teenage students. 

Facebook page

Twitter

Instagram

 

(BBC, 2020)

The other resource is from a new organisation called the oak national academy, a group of schools and teachers who have been commissioned by the DfE to provide a sequenced series of video lessons and resources. It is providing resources for pupils from reception age to year 6 in the subjects of English , mathematics and a range of other subjects and areas including science, humanities, creative and Spanish and for pupils in years 7 to 9 the subjects of English, mathematics, science, history, geography, Spanish, French, Latin, RE and art. The Oak National Academy can be followed on twitter here.

(Oak National Academy, 2020)

References.

BBC (2020) Daily lessons start Monday. BBC. [online] Available from: https://www.bbc.co.uk/bitesize [Accessed 19/04/2020].

Oak National Academy (2020) Web home page. Oak National Academy. [online] Available from: https://www.thenational.academy/ [Accessed 19/04/2020].

February 20, 2020
by Jean
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Congratulations to our graduates, 2020!

Congratulations to all of our graduates!

Last Sunday we were delighted to see so many of our FDLT and BALT students graduate from their studies, along with some former BALT graduates completing their journey to QTS and being presented with their PGCEs. 

It was wonderful for us as staff that one of our students, Grace Murphy, made the student vote of thanks.

Despite wild and wintry weather it was a lovely ceremony for graduates and their families. 

October 21, 2019
by Jean
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The Good Childhood Report 2019

Each year since 2005 the Children’s Society have surveyed children’s views about the issues they face. They say:

“Our well-being research was initiated in 2005 to fill the gap in research regarding young people’s views of their own well-being. The research focuses on positive rather than negative indicators, and on well-being in the present rather than ‘well-becoming’.

Our research aims to:

  • Develop a better understanding of the concept of well-being as it relates to young people, taking full account of the perspectives of young people themselves
  • Establish self-report measures of young people’s well-being and use these to identify the reasons for variations in well-being and to monitor changes in well-being over time.”

(Children’s Society, 2019a, lines 16-24)

You can read this year’s report here.

As people who work in schools it is interesting and informative for you to know more about what your pupils’ views and hopes are. 

This year’s key findings are that:

  • An estimated quarter of a million 10-15 year olds in the UK may be unhappy with their lives
  • Boys are becoming less happy with their appearance
  • Happiness with friendships is in decline
  • Any experience of financial strain or poverty in childhood is linked to lower well-being by age 14.

The Children’s Society note that:

“We are calling on the Government to introduce national measurement of well-being for all children aged 11-18 to be undertaken through schools and colleges once a year. This would enable the experiences of young people to be recorded and issues acted upon for future generations.”

(Children’s Society, 2019b, lines 4-7)

 

Reference:

Children’s Society (2019a) Well-being. [online] Available from: https://www.childrenssociety.org.uk/what-we-do/research/well-being [Accessed: 17/10/19].

Children’s Society (2019b) The Good Childhood Report 2019. [online] Available from: https://www.childrenssociety.org.uk/what-we-do/resources-and-publications/the-good-childhood-report-2019 [Accessed: 17/10/19].

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