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Favourite five from 2016

Fellow bloggers have been seeing in the new year by selecting their top posts from 2016 and sharing them once again. I enjoyed revisiting the posts and even found some that I missed when they were first published. I’m a few days late, but I thought I’d jump on the bandwagon. These are not necessarily the top performing posts on my blog. This list is not compiled using any engagement statistics such as hits or shares. They are simply my favourite five that I’m most proud of.

If you haven’t already, please check these out and let me know what you think. Firstly, I’ll list a few posts that just missed out on the top five.

Honourable mentions:

Our introverts and the Extrovert Ideal

Ten strategies to manage your teacher workload

Google Certified Educator Level 2: the journey continues…

Why mindfulness?

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5. Religious Education: overlooked importance

I wrote this having just visited Dubai and Abu Dhabi on a PTA school trip. The visit to these Islamic areas got me thinking about Religious Education, its importance, and how it is often sidelined in education. ‘Islamophobia’ is as prevalent as ever due to stereotyping, generalising and negative media attention. Education is the antidote to ignorance. I put a lot of effort into this post and was keen to support my ideas with research and statistics.

“Our job is to develop internationally-minded, responsible world citizens. Ignorance towards religion is dangerous, and we need to address this very serious global issue.”

4. Data handling with Pokémon Go

This post is not really about Pokémon Go. Especially now that the hype has died down, it’s important to dig a little deeper. It’s about exploring the students’ interests and finding ways to authentically integrate them into lessons. At the time, the vast majority of my students were absolutely obsessed with this game. It perfectly lent itself to data handling in maths, and this blog post is a reflection of how my students learnt. Great fun had by all.

“Teachers should occasionally invest some time in exploring whatever their students are interested in. Whether it’s Pokémon, Minecraft, Frozen or football – show an interest as part of showing that you care.”

 3. Social Media: why thirteen?

This is another post that I wanted to put lots of effort into because the message is so important. The age minimum of social media sites is almost always thirteen. Despite this, many primary-aged students use these sites. In my experience, parents also turn a blind eye to the age restrictions or are simply unaware of them. I wanted to explain clearly why the age of thirteen is so significant and why pre-teens should be discouraged from using such sites.

“It is likely that students (the ‘digital natives’) know how to use the sites, but this does not mean that they know how to use them responsibly.”

2. GUEST POST: Are teachers as influential as they think they are?

Just missing out on the top spot is my first ever guest post, and probably the most effort that I’ve put into any blog post. After publishing Our duty as role modelsI was challenged by Dr. Yana Weinstein to support my claims with evidence. I had no idea where to start, but accepted the challenge! My research led me to four influential psychological studies. Are teachers role models? Is this proven? In a word, yes.

“We hold great responsibility beyond the formal curriculum. This responsibility is often described as the ‘hidden curriculum’.”

1. Teacher workload: why less is more

I feel very strongly about the issue of excessive teacher workload, prevalent in the UK, Australia and US in particular. My argument is that the students are actually the ones who suffer. In this post, I offer ten reasons why less is more. Although this countdown of favourite posts is not based on statistics, it just so happens that this post is by far my highest performing. Many teachers obviously feel as strongly as I do and this post struck a chord with them. If only governments and policy-makers would take note…

“The future looks bleak! Not just for UK teachers, but for UK children. If these statistics are anywhere near accurate, then it is a disgrace and shouldn’t be allowed to continue.”

Please click on the titles to be directed to the original posts. I wish all of my readers a very happy new year! Thank you for all of your ongoing support and encouragement.

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