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Duelling Panchos

Gillian CT smallFantastic episode tonight with new Guest, the busier-than-though Language teacher, adviser and national guru, Gillian Campbell-Thow. We finally have a return visit from old-guest Jay Helbert and Matthew is just delighted!

We keep it tight in time terms and stick to only one story so that we can get in and about Gillian’s work on the National working group that has produced the Scottish 1 + 2 languages initiative.

This week, as flagged up by Bill Boyd and Steve Rogers last week the PISA results came out. We chewed them over for a little while and particularly enjoyed Gillian’s dangerously relevant thoughts on eastern nations’s performance. 

We came on to discussion of the challenge of introducing a new modern-language initiative when Scotland has never had total success with previous initiatives. Gillian gives a realistic and thoughtful analysis of what could be different. As if that isn’t enough, she (very sweetly) puts the Jayster in his Place:-)
Today’s podcast was recorded on the day of the storms that saw bridges closed all over Scotland and power lines down by the score! It is no surprise then that internet bandwidth was very poor indeed and we suffered from a lot of glitches and dropouts. We have edited it into a decent bit of audio anyway, so hopefully the glitches won’t get in the way of your enjoyment.
Finally, upon finishing the recording, we discovered that Nelson Mandela had passed away at 95 years old. An era over indeed; he will be missed.

Episode 127: Flipping Socrates

socratesTonight Steve is joined by Bill as Matthew takes a break, which means that we are short of puns on our main story (mercifully?)   We talk about The PISA’s “delivery man”, Andreas Schleicher, and the process in general.  The next PISA report is out on Tuesday and it seems to be taking on ever more significance in global policy making.  Article by Peter Wilby in the Guardian.

Pineapple toppings are a big no, no and so too should be riding rough shod over a community’s local state school as appears to be happening.  Steve picks up on a Private Eye “Rotten Boroughs” column and asks if there is a political trend appearing here?  Is OFSTED becoming an increasingly political lever of central government?  Some cynicism surfaces once again!

We then discuss ‘flipped classrooms’ and Socratic circles (Matt Copeland’s book), as featured in Bill’s latest blog.

Episode 126 Govebusters!

thWho you gonna call? Insidelearning, of course. (Sorry,  the department have told us this should read: “who are you going to call?”) .

Matthew begins the show on a very positive note following conversations with young people in a comprehensive school on his patch.  We toast them and their teachers.

It all goves downhill from then on.  Our goving reporter is out on the trail of our gove to story, and does not disappoint, goving us some ghoulish nonsense.  From the shady goves of the DfE a plan of demon govishness is hatched for new school boards, replete with chancellors seemingly designed to gove around local education authorities.  Does policy lunacy now gove rn the education asylum and are the fish markets of Aberdeen to blame?

“Michael Gove to appoint new regulators to oversee free schools and academies”,  Guardian article by Richard Adams & Warwick Mansell

“Michael Gove’s work is compromised by the limitations of his own private education”, TES opinion piece by Bernard Barker

Out ectomobile collects other stories:

Not enough practicals in science

Zombie university course

Online courses bridge skills gap

more online but spocs instead of moocs

With special thanks to Julie, tonight’s guest editor.

Episode 125: Canon, and on, and on, and on….

SpittingImageJohnMajor-125 As promised, we get stuck into Alfie Kohn’s list of points to make schools “our children deserve”.   Inevitably, we are thoroughly ill- disciplined about it and enjoy ourselves too much, which means the programme is a long one.  Stick with it, from out of the mash condense little droplets of fine drinking, or something like that.  Where else would you get to hear about the trivium and tap into Bill’s wide reading experience?

More peas dear?  Chewed over on the news tonight are interventions from  John Major and Sir Michael Wilshaw.

“Private school influence in public life ‘shocking’” says Major

“Ofsted chief: schools are undermined by teachers’ ‘resentment of all things managerial’ Stephen Exley, TES blog

“Being out and proud is easier said than done” link to a story about one teacher’s courage and the prevalence of homophobic bullying.

Parsi Sahlberg comments: “Workforce – Why high-flying ‘superstars’ won’t save the day” here



Episode 124: Much A Do About 19 things

51ETIKIAFFL._AA160_Tonight we are delighted to be joined by Bill Bill Boyd, “Literacy Adviser”, from the A-team, (stream?) who is going to be a regular contributor.  Bill’s blog is a must go to site

We try very hard tonight not to mention policy or the G word, Bill mentioned it once but he might have got away with it!  It’s more of a pedagogy, with Pi and chips type programme.

Our conversation could have gone on for a long while, and occasionally degenerated into a bad pun fest, Matthew does not need much encouragement.  Drawing upon Bill’s interests in literacy and story we went onto discuss reading development strategies (7).  In the final part of the programme Bill introduced Alfie Kohn’s work; there are so many rich themes in the ten guidelines (no, belay that, it’s 12) that we have decided to make them the core of next week’s podcast.  This will enable us to reflect on them in more depth.

The story comes from the Washington Post:  “Do we really need education policies and practices to cover everything that goes on in the classroom? Author Alfie Kohn says “no” and offers basic guidelines that can really help teachers”.  By Valerie Strauss, Washington Post  Link here

Alfie Kohn’s website If you have a thoughts or comments about his work, please contribute them and we’ll air them in the discussion.

Also mentioned:

“Students upwardly mobile with iPads” creativity and mobile technology, report in TES

Gareth Malone “Sing While You Work”, a passionate expert, provided Steve with really interesting reflection on the process of teaching. On the BBC

Students really teachers passionate about their subjects Student survey

“Thinking In Numbers: How Maths Illuminates Our Lives” Daniel Tammet



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