We’re into the concluding hours of 2017. After publishing this post, I’ll be waiting in the London crowds for the famous fireworks display. For those who are interested, this will also mark the end of my “no chocolate in 2017” challenge. I made it! Now it’s time to make up for it… the biblical binge will begin at midnight.
For bloggers, this time of year is an opportunity to reflect and revisit old posts. I have once again listed my favourite five from this year, along with some honourable mentions that just missed out on the final list. The list is not based on engagement statistics. These are the blog posts that I’m most proud of and hope that you’ll revisit. Check them out, especially if you missed them the first time.
The role of technology in the PYP (guest post for EdTech 4 Beginners)
As well as sharing my advice about working overseas, this post was also an opportunity to tell my story. Exactly four years ago (New Year’s Eve 2013), I made the decision to search for a teaching position abroad. Though spontaneous, it was the best decision that I ever made. I often get asked about the pros and cons of teaching abroad, and about the application process. In this post, I answered the most frequently-asked questions in the hope that my answers will inspire others to take the plunge.
“If you bring enthusiasm, an open mind and a sense of adventure, you’ll have an amazing time!”
I wrote this post after reading Jo Boaler’s Mathematical Mindsets, a book that continues to inspire me. Jo Boaler’s important work is gaining momentum and becoming more widespread, which is fantastic news for anyone learning mathematics. However, many damaging practices are still commonplace in classrooms. This post aimed to highlight these and encourage mathematics teachers to rethink their traditional ways.
“By changing what we focus on, how we teach and (most importantly) how students learn, we can instil a lifelong love of mathematics as opposed to a lifelong dread.”
A fear or anxiety towards technology often stops teachers from integrating it, regardless of its potential as a learning tool. All teachers have their strengths and weaknesses, so technophobic teachers don’t need to be ashamed. It’s possible to take baby steps in the right direction. In this post, I outlined ten ways in which technophobic teachers can help themselves to grow in ability and confidence.
“The technology available for classrooms is vast, growing and constantly evolving. Keeping up with it is a daunting task for even the mostly tech-savvy teacher.”
In this post, I outline what co-teaching is and how to make it work. With permission from PIRATE authors Dave and Shelley Burgess, I was able to summarise my key points in the form of a new PIRATE acronym. Co-teaching can be challenging and frustrating. It can also be wonderfully positive and beneficial for both teachers and students. Hopefully, my memorable PIRATE acronym can help co-teachers to achieve the latter and make the best of it.
“PIRATE co-teachers display the necessary characteristics, enjoy working together and truly understand the value of collaboration.”
This is my number one post for 2017. I’m really proud of this post mainly because of the effort that went into it. It’s an example of a personal inquiry based on questions and concerns that I held. I suspected that screen time was not as dangerous as some people make out. It sometimes frustrates me when screen time concerns are used as reasons not to integrate powerful classroom technology. I did, however, recognise that the concerns probably had some scientific grounding. I was curious about this topic and keen to learn from various viewpoints. This post is a summary of my findings.
“As suspected, the issues around screen time are not so ‘black and white’. There are scientific reasons to be cautious and sensible, but there’s no reason to “digitally amputate” our students.”
This concludes my top five list for 2017. Did your favourite make the list? Leave a comment below and share your thoughts. Thank you for all of your support and encouragement throughout this year. I sincerely hope that we can stay connected in 2018 and beyond. If you don’t already, please follow my blog through email or social media.