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Episode 131: Some like it warm

vivienne-brown-2012-wTonight we are delighted to be joined by Vivienne Brown who has a distinguished CV in the field of careers education and advice.  A field that Matthew and I are rather ignorant about, but are now much more enlightened after this interesting conversation!  You can read more about Vivienne’s work and experience on her websites (and connect to her via Linkedin) through these links:

Vivienne Brown Associates, My Career Club, Linkedin page

Apologies for some sound glitches, the digital gremlins were at play again but they should not detract from the value and interest of the conversation.

Resisting the temptation to be Baldricks, we prefaced the conversation withe two news items:

“Brain scientists to work with schools on how to learn” by Sean Coughlan on the BBC site

“Qualifications – Training for Nationals remains ‘a shambles’ ” by Henry Hepburn. Published in TESS on 3 January, 2014

Ep 130: Six of the Best!

InvernessWell, here we are at the end of 2013 and it has been a good, if short year for Inside Learning. The education stories have been plentiful between Michael Gove’s continued dominance of the English scene and the constant dominance of the Curriculum for Excellence agenda North of the Tweed! Steve and I have continued to enjoy working/playing together on the podcast and we are looking forward to an exciting year of political and pedagogical challenge and excitement.We expect the Free Schools and Academies Agenda to come under increased scrutiny through the year and we expect the Scottish independence referendum to bring the implications for learning to the forefront. We also expect pedagogy and particularly the use of technology to come more into focus as we pick up the challenge of PISA and the march of Massive Open Online Courses continues with its inexorable challenge to schools and universities.

Christmas tree

This year saw a very long summer break as I had  changed my day job resulting in a break of service as I settled into weekdays without internet access. That was eventually resolved and we are hopeful that there should be no such  hassles next year. We are really keen to widen our core team of panelists, and are delighted that Bill Boyd has been a more regular, (and very welcome), panelist at the end of this year. If you would like to get more involved, then let us know.

Merry midwinter break and a happy new year!



1st image under wikimedia under CC licence, 2nd from my camera-phone taken at my kind Christmas hosts’ house; their tree would rival any domestic tree and is a fitting nod to the season. I am posting on their bandwidth too and I am very grateful! 


129: Nel Noddings and the Right Direction

51C8KJ0A7JL._AA160_Tonight we are joined by Louisa Hussey, acting Head of School of a Nottinghamshire primary school. Louisa is a passionate and committed teacher with a lot of insight and makes a wonderful guest.  Although the technology did its best to ruin the conversation, we have hopefully pieced together a really interesting programme.

We start with some further reflections on last weeks PISA given that commentators are looking at it from different angles.  For example, The Primary Review, “PISA 2012: Time To Grow Up?” by The Cambridge Primary Review Trust.  Plus, education journalist Warwick Mansell on the NAHT site.  “Pisa: Debunking some of the more questionable claims”

See also A Charter for Primary Education.

Matthew scares us with a story about the advocacy of beating your child: Child ‘training’ book triggers backlashon the BBC site, journalist Aidan Lewis.

Steve introduces Louisa and Matthew to Nel Noddings and the ethic of care approach.  An article reviewing the pedagogy of care:

Andrea Velasquez, Richard West, Charles Graham,Richard Osguthorpe “Developing caring relationships in schools: a review of the research on caring and nurturing pedagogies” Review of Education 1, (2) 162 – 190

Can be downloaded free up to the end of this year – so hurry!

Louisa talks about the rather depressed mood in schools given the perverse incentives and binds of the inspection system in England.  However, Lousia finishes on a bright note talking about pedagogical developments that are exciting her, involving a  network of schools ,with the theme of “Talk less teaching”.  The focus is on better questioning skills and seems to parallel the flipped classroom ideas we have discussed previously.

Matthew gives a plug to Strathclyde students who are leading their CPD; they will be appearing on a future podcast to talk about their work.


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.

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