Tag Archives: education

Self improvement: Where teachers fear to tread…

Self improvement? Moi? Ce n’est pas possible!*

But if you really think that I do have some slight scope for enhancement (and please, no spam emails about, er, that kind of enhancement) then I’d better start watching more short clips like this one.

It’s one of the many enlightening, inspirational and entertaining TED talks. This one is about how to improve teaching in places that good teachers don’t want to go – or in ways that teachers cannot do themselves. The speaker is Indian educationalist Sugata Mitra. It’s his “hole in the wall” experiment.

What do you think? Can teachers be replaced so easily?

Futurist Arthur C Clarke is reported to have said: “A teacher who can be replaced by a machine, should be.”

If you have any teaching experience, does the impact of this experiment ring true to you?

This self-improvement idea came in a roundabout way from Helen and Adventures of an Unfit Mother. She’s funny. You should read her stuff.  (This made me laugh.) That’s Continue reading

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Filed under D - Loose Bloggers Consortium

Back to school (resistance is useless)

Okay - the date's two days early, but still...

Terrible day coming up tomorrow. (Snigger)

Very sad indeed. (Giggle.)

My poor children go back to school. The summer holidays are over. (I’m crying tears of… Continue reading

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Filed under life

Don’t answer the phone! It might be school calling…

Do you get calls from school like this?

SCHOOL: Is it ok for your son to hold a duck egg, while wearing gloves?

I’ve lived in shared houses where the phone only received calls – a precaution by the landlord to prevent large bills being run up. Sometimes I wish my own home phone only made outgoing calls and couldn’t receive them. It would mean the end of phone spam, courtesy calls, “we’re doing a survey in your area” and… calls from the children’s school.

I’m not talking about the call every parent dreads – serious accident or injury or worse. I’m talking about the call every parent resents – the call that masquerades as serious. This phone call came just after a school trip, before the parent’s son had reached home.

TEACHER: Mrs Morrow, this is Mr E, I have some very grave news about your son.
MUM (panicking): What? What? Is he ok?
TEACHER: Oh yes, but on the school trip at the weekend I lent him 50p and he has not as yet paid me back.
MUM (trying to recover heart rate): Oh you stupid man. <hangs up>

It seems like life or death summons. The truth is teasingly delayed until you race to the rescue. Like with the mother who was told over the phone that her child was “doing as well as can be expected” after being hit in the face with a brick Continue reading

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Filed under In the village, life

Banned adverts (Warning: May contain zombies)

Tom Ridgewell aka TomSka - Lincoln's Zombie Killer

With tuition fees rocketing, universities need to offer something special to attract prospective students.
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If you dig dinosaurs, pride yourself on pyromania or wish for close encounters with the walking dead – then the Zombie University of Lincoln is definitely for you. Just make sure you’re prepared.
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Pens? Check

Notebook? Check

Textbooks? Check

Sawn-off shotgun? Continue reading

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Filed under media

When no one locked their doors on my street

This is a history of my street, from 1931-2011. It’s a firsthand account. So it’s not written by me. Guess that makes it a guest post.

One of my neighbours, Pam, wrote it to share with the rest of us on the street. I typed it up and printed off copies to hand out at our recent royal wedding street party (here, here and here).

I’ve slightly edited it for this blog. And I’ll give you a little context too.

The street is on the edge of a village in the south of England. Population less than five thousand people. Used to be mainly farm workers. Now a lot of people commute to the nearest city.

Pam was born on the street and has lived here most of her life.  She has some good tales. One of them features an odd woman in a beret. (Apologies. In the previous post I promised you a flat cap. Turns out it’s a beret.)

So here’s Pam’s story.

I was born at no.22, lived there for a year, then moved to no.18 for a year, then to no.17 for the next thirty years, until my husband and I bought an allotment and orchard from the owners at no.19 and built our own bungalow no.21.

Many of the houses were built in the late 1920s and 1930s by two local builders. They were mostly rented. It was only after World War II that people began to buy homes outright. Most houses have altered almost out of recognition with rooms added up and out.

I do not know if our home came with gas at first, but I do remember the excitement of just touching a switch and the light coming on when electricity was installed. Before then, one had a bracket with two gas mantles which had a chain to operate the gas flow. One then lit the mantles carefully with a match. That was only downstairs. Electricity came to the street around 1937 I think. Before then we went to bed by candlelight.

Everyone had a flower garden, a vegetable patch and a few greenhouses – fruit trees and bushes and strawberries. Everyone in those days grew most of their vegetables and shared them with neighbours.

A few chickens at the bottom of the garden and rabbits in hutches provided extra meat – especially during the war years and eggs were precious. During the war we had a retriever who when told to “catch a rabbit” over the fields, did just that and made the meat ration go further. The large oak tree (now listed) at the rear of no.17 was home to a family of red squirrels until the grey squirrels moved in.

1. It's not a woman in a beret. 2. It's the wrong type of rabbit. 3. It's a pipe not a cigarette. 4. Who cares.

Also to the rear of no.17 in the corner of the field was a reclusive lady who Continue reading

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Filed under Guest Posts, In the village

The era of the heavy schoolbag is almost at an end

The era of the heavy schoolbag is almost at an end. That’s according to one of my neighbourhood primary schools. In a letter home to parents, the headteacher noted that more and more pupils were bringing kindles and other electronic readers into class. Continue reading

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Filed under life, media

I had no dreams before I went to prison

Archbishop of York, John Sentamu

This week the Anglican Archbishop of York John Sentamu spoke out on prison conditions in the UK. The part that made headlines was when he criticised how some offenders are rewarded in jail by being provided with computer games or cable TV. Continue reading

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Filed under art