The best summer of your life

Isn’t it wonderful to be in Year 11 now that the exams have finished? A long summer to enjoy, no homework, no exam preparation. Just enjoy the long hot summer days. We wish all Year 11s a relaxing and happy two months. You have deserved it.

Turn off that mobile phone!

Getting to sleep is often a problem for teenagers and consequently getting enough sleep is a challenge. One reason for this is the use of mobile phones during the evening. My advice is turn them off after 9pm, it will help a great deal.

There may be trouble ahead

It is well known that the number of teachers entering training is falling. I hear anecdotal evidence of a shortage of maths teachers in our schools. We also hear about the numbers of European professionals coming to this country declining. Recruiting and training enough teachers may take years to redress the balance. In the meantime our children may well be taught subjects such as maths by teachers who are trained in other subjects. With more “rigorous GCSE exams” who is going to teach these?

I’m rubbish at maths!

I hear this a lot from parents whose children struggle with maths.

Ask yourself these questions:
1. By saying this am I helping myself?
2. Am I helping my child?
3. How can I best help them?

It may be that helping yourself is the best way. We are available for free support to parents. You only have to ask.

Free maths resources

The internet has opened the door to hundreds of free resource websites which can be of great benefit to the maths student. One I would like to highlight is Corbett maths. It has a rich variety of resources from the excellent 5 a day at different levels (from primary to higher GCSE) to videos and worksheets covering most topics. Mr Corbett has an engaging manner and explains maths concepts in a very understandable way. Highly recommended.

SATs – don’t get in a tizz

Some of the parents who come into our centre are very worried about SATs and how important they are. Well, they are important to the school especially for its OFSTED rating and ultimately funding. They can be good for a child’s self esteem, but they are not the most important thing about a child’s education.

 

My advice is: do your best, support your child but ease back on the pressure. It’s not the end of the world. In my experience most secondary schools don’t put too much weight on the results. So enjoy Year 6, it’s a great time!

Maths for parents

I am often asked by parents how they can support their child when doing maths exams especially when it is beyond their own level of maths. I wonder if it might be better to teach parents rather than children how to add fractions or solve quadratic equations. In that way they can support them when their homework is very difficult.

 

How many of you would like to do some maths classes for parents? It would be free and in very small groups. Any takers?

The school run

Saturday blog

 

Once a week I take my grandson to school which involves a 10 minute walk.

 

Along the way we are overtaken by scooters, parents talking to each other and parents often on their phones. I always try to make the walk of some interest, there is always something happening around you. It could be the weather, a plane in the sky, the moon still out in the early morning, birds, trees coming into blossom, catkins, leaves falling (depending on the season). It may even be an interesting vehicle on the road. There is always something to learn and it is continually changing.

 

Many people walk around with no awareness of what is going on in the world. Life is happening all around and we need to be observant otherwise it will pass us by.

 

Ken Robinson says schools kill creativity – Video on TED.com

Ken Robinson makes the point that we are stifling creativity in our children.

Ken Robinson says schools kill creativity Video on TED.com

Creativity is something I very much admire in people. Those who can write beautiful poetry, create stunning works of art or even those who can go into the kitchen without a cookbook and emerge with a meal which is delightful to the eye as well as the tongue.

I consider myself to be very practical and to have very little creativity but I wonder if there is a creative person waiting inside to come out when I really need it. Am I the product of a pragmatic education system which is only looking for more people to fuel the economy? We need to look at our education system and radically review what we are doing to the potential of the thousands of children who are being let down and failed by our current system.

What a responsibility we have for the next generation.

Personalised Learning

Sir Ken Robinson: Bring on the learning revolution! Video on TED.com

Tread softly because you tread on my dreams

I loved the speech given by Ken Robinson so much, pity we had to wait four years for the follow up. He makes the case for personalised education as opposed to the industrial model of one size fits all which we have at the moment. I believe we should recognise the individual talents of the children in our care, as educators or as parents. For example children ask questions, as a parent you know that you will be bombarded with questions all day some (or maybe many) of which you will not know the answer to. Bu setting ourselves up as founts of knowledge we will surely be found out. Teachers are in a much worse position and are expected to know the answers to everything related to their subject. We cannot possibly know the answer to everything but we have a duty to our children to find out. So teaching becomes learning and we must not feel uncomfortable about that. As educators all we can do is guide the people in our charge to a better understanding of the world around them.

I hear this video is now used on training courses for teachers.