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

at Leicester and UN

March 31, 2017
by Jean
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Recruiting for HLTA

Do you or a colleague want to join our next cohort preparing for assessment of HLTA standards?

We are currently recruiting for the summer cohort in Northampton which starts on 28th April. Contact hlta@northampton.ac.uk  or call the HLTA office on 01604 893527 for more information and an application pack.

We look forward to hearing from you – please pass this message on to anyone who may not follow the blog or print the flier out for your staff board. HLTA factsheet Dec 16 v2-1pf6zmb

February 3, 2017
by Jean
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Thinking about teaching to the test.

You might be interested to here this short radio piece broadcast as part of ‘A Point of View’ on BBC Radio 4.

Teaching to the test

It asks you to consider some important larger issues that come from the current focus on testing in schools.

November 28, 2016
by Jean
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Teaching Assistants and School Inspection Update.

Last week the latest issue of the School Inspection Update was issues by OFSTED. It referred to the deployment and use of Teaching Assistants (TAs) and this information may be of interest to you. It draws on newer research published by the Education Endowment Fund (EEF) published since their guidance report Making Best Use of Teaching Assistants

It reports on seven projects where “TAs delivering structured interventions to
pupils who are struggling with literacy and numeracy. All seven projects have shown
a marked positive impact on pupil’s learning, typically adding around three to four
additional months’ progress, and creating a compelling case for action in schools” (OFSTED, 2016, p12). You can read about the projects here. You can download a pack of free practical resources here. The resources may be of interest to you as students, TAs and HLTAs although they aimed at schools.

In the OFSTED update it is suggested that these areas should be considered by OFSTED inspectors as they inspect schools:

  • How do senior leaders ensure that TAs are deployed effectively in line with
    this evidence?
  • Are TAs supplementing the work of teachers or replacing them?
  • Is there a well-planned programme of training and support for TAs who
    deliver out-of-class interventions?

These are questions you might like to consider in relation to your own roles.

Reference:

OFSTED (2016) School Inspection Update. Issue 8. [online] Available from: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/school-inspection-newsletter-2015-to-2016 [Accessed: 28th November 2016]

November 21, 2016
by Jean
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Considering the data!

molOn BBC Radio 4 ‘More or Less’ examines the data behind the headlines. Tim Harford responds to listener questions, seeking experts to deconstruct the research and statistics that underpin what we read in the media.

As students you often hear us say “return to the primary sources” and this is what happens on ‘More or less’.  

Last week one of the items referred to  headlines in the popular media about teacher retention. You may have seen these yourself. In particular the listener refers to this page on the BBC news website linked here. . In the edition broadcast on 11th November 2016 the issue was discussed. You can listen to it here and it begins at 11.00 minutes in. It also refers to an earlier investigation of the same sort of question from 2015 which you can listen to here. I’m not going to tell you here what the verdict is – you can listen for yourself. I will just say that you might be surprised!

This confirms that it is important for all of us to consider what we read and hear in the news critically. For you as students it reinforces that need to track down and evaluate primary sources for yourself.

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September 21, 2016
by Jean
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Teachers’ Media

tmYou might remember Teachers TV – many of the videos and resources and more are now available through the website teachers’ Media. You can access it here: Teachers’ Media

You will need to create a username and password to access all the materials.

There are a number of videos of interest to Teaching Assistants which you can find by searching for ‘teaching assistant’ in the search box in the top right.

We will sometimes suggest that you watch a Teachers’ Media video as background to a taught session so it is useful for you to be able to access it from now on.

 

 

September 15, 2016
by Jean
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How important are teaching assistants?

Yesterday (September 14th) on the BBC Radio 4 Today programme there was an item about the importance of teaching assistants.

You can hear it at this link:

Clip from Today 14 Sept at 2:48:30.

I have also made a clip of this on Box of Broadcasts called ‘The importance of teaching assistants’ so you can access it through Bob via the library website.

There are number of interesting points made by Sir Kevan Collins, the Chief Executive of the Education Endowment Foundation and Ross McMullen, a former headteacher.

 

 

August 26, 2016
by Jean
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Back to School!

14114870_1565966197042266_1174246251766030347_oI hope you are all enjoying the last few days of the summer break before returning to school. As well as going back to school you will also be thinking about either starting or continuing your university course.

If you are starting the FDLT course in year 1 your sessions begin in week beginning 12th September. The course leader, Abbie Deeming and I (Jean Edwards, Admissions Tutor) will be in touch by email soon and you will also be receiving emails from the University. Please note that FDLT students are not involved in Welcome Weekend – that is for students who are coming from further afield to begin university life in Northampton.

If you are coming into year 2 your course starts in week beginning 19th September.

Reference:

Pobble. (2016) Teachers’ back to school training. [online] Available from: https://www.facebook.com/PobbleEducation/photos/a.1442637632708457.1073741829.1434540943518126/1565966197042266/?type=3&theater [Accessed: 25/08/16]

January 29, 2016
by Jean
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Tim Peake – Principia Mission

On the 15th December 2015 Tim Peake left the earth in the Soyuz rocket for a six month stay on the International Space Station. You can see some highlights of the launch day in this video:

The name of this mission is Principia and during his mission Tim Peake will be undertaking science experiments and research on the space station. There are school activities based around science and technology running alongside this mission that could be interesting and inspiring to follow and join in with. These resources can accessed here.

timpeakeTim Peake has a website which can be accessed here.

You can follow him on Twitter @ASTRO_TIMPEAKE If you scroll through his twitter feed you can that there are so many children and schools being inspired by his mission to the ISS.

You can follow his blog for posts about life and work on the ISS here: Tim’s blog.

There’s lots of possibilities for using this event to inspire and support learning in school. If you want to have a go at growing seeds that have been into space you can find details here

 

January 5, 2016
by Jean
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Teaching with Tablets

Screen-Shot-2015-12-13-at-16.10.15-21mnlzdDuring February and March our online course ‘Teaching with Tablets‘ will be running. This course is free to anyone to sign up for and take part in. Below are some details:

Welcome to our 5-week Teaching with Tablets course. This is an interactive and participatory online course on how to make effective use of iPads and tablets for teaching and learning.  Our course is aimed at educators across all levels, from Primary to Higher Education, from NQTs to experienced practitioners. Anyone with an interest in the field is very welcome.

It is  a flexible online course that you can join in with at a pace and depth that suits you. We will suggest activities and ideas and encourage you to try them within your teaching. We would like you to leave each session with a new idea to try out in practice and then share your experiences on the Google+ community. In turn you can learn from the experiences and gain ideas from fellow professionals.

Weekly overview:
Course opens – 8th February 2016
Week 1 – 29th February – Manipulating Media
Week 2 – 7th March – Visible Learning
Week 3 – 14th March – Technology Outdoors
Week 4 – 21st March – Digital Storytelling
Week 5  – 28th March – Talk and Collaboration

There will be a new theme and suggested activities each week. You’ll be able to earn digital badges for joining in with these and there will be an option to purchase a verified certificate.

We will begin each week by sharing readings and browsing from our book, ‘Teaching with Tablets’. Then we will suggest some activities that help you plan to put some of the ideas into practice with your own learners.

One of the most exciting aspects of the course is the chance to share and reflect upon these co-created resources with our community of fellow practitioners. Real life examples, photos, videos and comments within the community will give the course a truly practical focus.

You can also follow us on Twitter and use the hashtag #TWT16 to see what others are posting. We will be hosting a weekly Tweetchat during the course.

The idea is to take a few risks, try some new things, share our developing practice in teaching with tablets and learn together as we go.

We hope that our course will inspire you to explore strategies to integrate tablets in a meaningful way. It offers guidance on:

how to use tablets to devise authentic and meaningful learning activities
how to embed tablets in genuine curriculum contexts
how to evaluate which educational apps might be appropriate for your learners

Teaching with Tablets - InfographicIn order to get some ideas before the course starts, you might like to take a look at this infographic.

You can sign up for the course here and this is the link if you want to share it with anyone – http://bit.ly/TWT16

If you are a Teaching Assistant and / or an aspiring teacher this course will support your understanding and practical application of digital technology in the classroom – a useful thing to have on your CV for future applications for jobs and courses.

Please note – if you are an existing or past student at the university of Northampton you will need to create a separate account for Open Blackboard as it is not the same the Blackboard NILE that you are / have used.

December 1, 2015
by Jean
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The Educators

theedSome more episodes of the BBC Radio 4 series The Educators are currently being broadcast.

The episodes in this series listed so far are:

1.Character Lessons

The episode is about the Knowledge is Power Program (KIPP). This is an American program to support pupils in disadvantaged circumstances. “They work in the most disadvantaged districts of New York, Houston and Los Angeles, where children have less than a 1 in 10 chance of completing a college degree, but their focus on character skills like grit, empathy and determination, is seen as the reason why half of KIPP students will graduate from college.”

(BBC, 2015a, lines 5 -10)

2. What Finland did next.

This episode examines the Finnish education system: “Since the first international comparisons in 2000, Finland has been at or near the top of league tables for the abilities of its teenagers in reading, maths and science. Experts and politicians flocked to its schools to discover what was leading to its success, and came away with a picture of autonomous schools, children starting school much later than in the UK, and having no tests until their final year. What developed was seen by many as a myth surrounding Finnish education success, while the reality could be attributed to extensive teacher training, high quality lessons and a culture of literacy. But now, Finland is overhauling the way it teaches through ‘phenomenon learning’ – periods of the school year where learning isn’t confined to single subjects, but students take on a broad topic and decide what, and how, they will learn. From 2016, it will be compulsory for all schools to teach with phenomenon projects, but Helsinki has already adopted it in the capital’s schools.” (BBC, 2015b, lines 1 – 17)

The programmes are available online at this link and they are saved on Box of Broadcasts.

References:

BBC (2015a) The Educators Character Lessons. [online] Available from: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b06ptw79 [Accessed:26/11/15]

BBC (2015b) The Educators What Finland did next. [online] Available from: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b06qjyrr [Accessed: 26/11/15]

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