Archive for the ‘Of Interest’ Category

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Labour Teachers – Under New Management

March 15, 2015

I’m already managing to spend half my life reading blogs and interacting with bloggers, but I recently volunteered to take on something else. The following is from the Labour Teachers website:

Last year, when we decided that we wished to step down as editors of Labour Teachers, we were keen that the site should continue: as a discussion space for Labour-supporting teachers (and those who want to talk to them) that operated without policy motions and activist-centred conferences, we believed and continue to believe the site has something to offer to the process of debating education within the Labour Party and amongst teachers. In an age in which social media has become increasingly important in the wider political discussion of schools policy, Labour Teachers retains significant potential to build support for Labour amongst educators as well as challenging and shaping the consensus on education within the party.

For that reason, we are delighted to say that prominent education blogger Old Andrew has agreed to take on the mantle of Editor of Labour Teachers. Andrew has a long pedigree in education blogging: his Scenes From The Battleground is required reading for anyone interested in the education debate, from the Secretary of State on down. He is a powerful and passionate advocate for traditional ideas of teaching in education, but has always made clear his commitment is drawn from his own left-wing beliefs. As a member of the Labour Party and the NUT, Andrew is well-placed to share and examine ideas for education emanating from the labour movement.

But more than just sharing his own ideas, Andrew has shown a consistent commitment to amplifying the voice of other teachers on social media (including many with whom he has crossed Tweeted swords) via the Education Echo Chamber blog (and it’s even more comprehensive “Uncut” sibling) and his creation and curation of the most definitive lists of UK education bloggers available. Andrew has also written for Schools Week, highlighting excellent education blogging. As we have always been, Andrew is committed to offering a platform to the diversity of views on education, and under his editorship, Labour Teachers will continue to seek out differing perspectives from the chalkface amongst Labour supporters.

We will both continue to be involved with Labour Teachers, writing and helping out in other ways, but as we approach what may be a defining election for Labour, now is an excellent time for a new editor to take charge.

Andrew’s combination of firm Labour values, well-considered policy positions and desire for intense but open debate makes him the ideal person to take Labour Teachers forward, and we both wish him well.

John Blake & John Taylor
Editors of Labour Teachers 2011-2015 

I’ll give more details on the Labour Teachers website as soon as I get a moment, but my plan is to organise regular blogging, at least a couple of posts a week, on the Labour Teachers blog from the start of April. However, first I need to recruit a range of teacher bloggers who are either Labour Party members or Labour supporters. I’m not planning to push an editorial line, I want a range of views and lots of debate. Anything on policy, Labour or being a teacher is fine. If you are interested, please email me using the “Contact Me” details on the sidebar of this blog or on Twitter @oldandrewuk. Happy to hear from both experienced bloggers (who are Labour members) wanting a regular slot (every month or every two months) and from new bloggers, or people who are Labour supporters, wanting to write something on a one-off basis.

Thanks to John & John for the work they’ve done and for giving me this opportunity.

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Introducing… The Echo Chamber Uncut

March 11, 2015

If you follow me on Twitter you may have already seen it, but this will be an introduction for many readers. I have set up a new website, Echo Chamber Uncut. This is a companion site to The Echo Chamber where my team of volunteers and I have been blogging links to the best blogposts we could find.

The Uncut site is different in that it is largely automated (occasionally some blogs that do not have RSS feeds are reblogged manually), and that it is intended to reblog everything from the UK education blogosphere regardless of whether I think it is good or not. This is likely to be substantially more than 100 posts every day, so this is not really a convenient site to follow to read every post. However, you may find it useful for a number of things:

  1. Discovering blog posts you weren’t familiar with. A short time browsing through the posts is likely to give you a chance to find plenty of content you weren’t familiar with. You can also watch out for new posts by following @EchoChamberUncu on Twitter.
  2. Searching for blogs on a particular topic. While it is uncategorised and only has a basic WordPress search, that should be enough to find posts related to any keyword you search for. As it builds up it will be a good way to find out what the denizens of the blogosphere are saying about any given topic, whether that’s an issue in school, a news story or advice about something to do with teaching.
  3. Finding blogs to follow. Browsing the posts should give you a chance to look out for writers you weren’t familiar with and it also has a Blog Roll (which I will update from time to time) listing all the UK education blogs I know of (more than 1200  of them).

So please, take time to have a look.

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A Couple of Items of Interest

March 2, 2015

Two things you should probably be aware of:

1) Blogger Of The Year

The TES awards now have an award for “Blogger Of The Year”. The voting is all done by a panel of judges, so don’t worry, I’m not begging for support. Any practising teacher who blogs (please remember this, don’t waste time nominating those who are who not eligible) could be nominated and I’m trying to ensure that all the best blogs are put forward for consideration. Fortunately, you can nominate yourself, and I’m led to believe this won’t count against you. However, there is a real risk that some great blogs could be missed, so please, please help with nominating. The deadline is tomorrow at midnight, Sunday 8th March, so time is short.

For starters, I think that there are a number of people who are write really great blogs who are far too modest to realise how great they are. They are probably not even thinking about getting themselves nominated. So, if you can nominate any of the following, or talk them into nominating themselves, please do so and let everyone know in the comments below once they are nominated (or if you have already nominated them):

I’m also told that, because those nominating have to give their name and school, it is difficult for anonymous bloggers to sort out their nominations. Therefore, please consider nominating:

Finally, if you write a blog but I haven’t mentioned you above, please don’t take it personally, I have probably just assumed that you can get yourself nominated without my help. If you are having difficulties, please ask for help in the comments below and I’ll see what I can do.

2) Battle Of Ideas Panel discussion.

I’m in this:

 

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Top Blogs of the Week : Academies Week (December 2014)

December 12, 2014

Academies Week have published my review of the best blogs of the week.

Week commencing 8 December, 2014

Damned if I do, damned if I don’t

By @ImSporticus

A PE teacher recounts the grim tale of his poor relationship with a parent. He describes unreasonable behaviour on the part of the parent; ill-judged and unsupportive actions by senior managers, and his own mistakes. He concludes that he is in a no-win situation…

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Some links that may be of interest

November 23, 2014

Just a quick note to tell you about some bits and pieces you might have missed (and some things you probably haven’t missed but I feel obliged to publicise anyway).

  1. I was among the contributers to an article about grammar schools on the Prospect website. It can be found here.
  2. There is an OFSTED consultation going on. The form can be found here. I hadn’t really been paying much attention, until I heard a rumour on Twitter that FE colleges had been replying to say they want to keep graded observations. I doubt this is the view of many teachers in FE, so I thought I’d do my bit to publicise it. Some FE bloggers have done the same here and here.
  3. My ridiculous attempts to catalogue the UK education blogosphere are still going on. Details of the latest spreadsheet are here and there are several lists of different types of bloggers also to be found on the Echo Chamber blog if you look for them. Any time you can spare to fill in details about yourself (if you’re a blogger) or others will be appreciated.
  4. I haven’t forgotten about my Wellington petition. Details here and the petition here. It’s proved the point that more than 5 teachers prefer events at weekends, but it’s not really got enough to show how common that view is, so please help and promote.

And finally, I thought I’d publicise some of my favourite blogs. These are all ones that seem to be posting great arguments on a fairly regular basis. I’m slightly wary about doing this as bloggers I’ve recommended in the past have a habit of giving up, but I suspect that, if you like my blog, you are very likely to like these ones:

  • Webs of Substance An experienced maths teacher, now overseas, writing about teaching with a particular emphasis on research.
  • Esse Quam Videri  Another experienced teacher, this time a teacher of history and politics, who consistently writes well-argued posts about a range of educational issues.
  • The Quirky Teacher  A new primary teacher, and new blogger, but so far very prolific. They seem to have a knack for describing what goes on in their school in a way that (unintentionally) winds up a certain type of primary teacher, and entertains everyone else.

Hopefully, some of this will be of interest.

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Top Blogs of the Week : Academies Week (November 2014)

November 14, 2014

Academies Week have published my review of the best blogs of the week.

What I learned from ungraded lesson observations

By @frogphilp

A deputy headteacher in a primary school describes lesson observations in which no grades are given. While some teachers still want to be graded, he notes several advantages to observing without giving grades.

Continued in Top Blogs of the Week: Week commencing 10 November, 2014

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3 things you may have missed if you don’t follow me on Twitter

November 11, 2014

It’s a bad habit of bloggers to assume that everyone who reads their blog also follows them on Twitter and is aware of everything that goes on there. I may have fallen into that trap with my Witch-hunt post, although I’m hoping it made some points that were relevant to the education debate in general rather than just the world of education Twitter. Anyway, for the benefit of those of you who don’t follow me on Twitter,  I will provide here a list of things you may have missed me (or others, but mainly me) going on about.

1) I was interviewed by Carl Hendrick after the Battle Of Ideas Conference. You can listen to that interview here.

2) I have been compiling and promoting a spreadsheet of education bloggers. If you are a blogger ,can you, please, add your details? Or if you just know how to use a spreadsheet and have some time to spare, please chip in. The full explanation and how to contribute are here.

3) Okay, I have already blogged about this, but I think it may take many reminders before it reaches even a fraction of the people affected. If you would have attended the Wellington Festival of Education at the weekend, and wish it hadn’t moved to two weekdays, can you sign the petition here, please?

Thank you all. And there’ll be a proper blogpost next time.

Probably.

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