The magic of teaching a history lesson with coherence direction and purpose

Photo by Vinu00edcius Vieira ft on Pexels.com There was a magical moment in a lesson I recently observed where you could almost see on pupils’ faces the relevance of the lesson collectively ‘click’.  Following a retrieval practice exercise on the Reformation and actions of Henry VIII at the beginning of the lesson, and the discussion … Continue reading The magic of teaching a history lesson with coherence direction and purpose

Avoiding the Observation Trap: Interpreting generic mentoring approaches through a subject specific lens

This blog is jointly authored by Vic Crooks and Laura London based on a presentation we gave at the Historical Association Conference in May 2022.   Back in January, this blog introduced you to Tom who was struggling to understand why things were going wrong in his teaching.  His mentor has identified ‘pace’ as an … Continue reading Avoiding the Observation Trap: Interpreting generic mentoring approaches through a subject specific lens

Feeling despondent? Why beginning teachers need to keep on climbing

Photo by Yevgeniya Fedorova on Pexels.com I am not a hill walker.  I love visiting the Lake District, but I would much rather a nice walk on the flat around a lake (perhaps with a quick stop at a tea shop) than battle up a hill which quickly turns into a mountain.  Why?  Because I … Continue reading Feeling despondent? Why beginning teachers need to keep on climbing

Teaching children about sensitive and controversial current affairs: Talking to children in schools about the situation in Ukraine

This blog has been developed from a twitter thread (27/2/2022) relating to supporting children and young people to understand the situation in Ukraine. Photo by Santiago Sauceda Gonzu00e1lez on Pexels.com The teaching of sensitive and controversial issues in school is always contentious.  Teachers are tasked with navigating the finely balanced rights of the child to … Continue reading Teaching children about sensitive and controversial current affairs: Talking to children in schools about the situation in Ukraine

Finding your way with Questioning: A practical approach for getting better at questioning

Within the pages of every teenage girls’ magazine you'll find a flow chart quiz which, if taken, will allow you to work out what your ideal pet/ band/ TV Soap character/ boyfriend would be. As a younger teenage girl who had laid her hands on a contraband 'Just 17', I would avidly pour over the … Continue reading Finding your way with Questioning: A practical approach for getting better at questioning

Showstopper Lessons: What Beginning Teachers and their Mentors can learn from GBBO.

Photo by Vojtech Okenka on Pexels.com I love baking and all things cake.  So, having recently written about what mentors might learn from Strictly, I now turn my attention to what beginning/ early career teachers and their mentors might learn from Bake Off and the nature of the three baking challenges included in each episode.  … Continue reading Showstopper Lessons: What Beginning Teachers and their Mentors can learn from GBBO.

Strictly Come Teaching: Giving feedback to novices

Photo by Marko Zirdum on Pexels.com Watching Strictly Come Dancing this past weekend I was struck by the way the judges gave feedback to the contestants in week 1 of the competition.  Unsurprisingly my mind turned to the beginning teachers just starting out on their own journey from novice to competent over the course of … Continue reading Strictly Come Teaching: Giving feedback to novices

Perfectionism and the honourable art of being good enough

Not that long ago, to my shame, I found that 15 minutes had passed as I scoured the web for the ‘perfect’ picture of an iceberg to illustrate a point about bilingualism in the classroom. Why did I do this? Did I imagine that my adult audience would struggle with the concept of an iceberg? … Continue reading Perfectionism and the honourable art of being good enough

From caveman to concepts: Making history count in the primary classroom

Back in March I wrote this blog for the UoN Primary Team's excellent Blog considering six ideas for developing primary history, along with some practical strategies. I now reproduce it here in case it is helpful to a wider audience. “Mum you’ll never guess what happened today!” These words we’re delivered by my 7-year-old with … Continue reading From caveman to concepts: Making history count in the primary classroom

Supporting your new NQT colleague to THRIVE amidst a global pandemic

Around this time last year I wrote about how beginning teachers could make the most of their final weeks as PGCE students in the classroom.  This year, they do not have classrooms, they only have the virtual PGCE programme to prepare them for NQT in the absence of critical practical experience.  I asserted previously that … Continue reading Supporting your new NQT colleague to THRIVE amidst a global pandemic

Embracing the space: A journey into training to be a teacher virtually

Photo by Ingo Joseph on Pexels.com Before I begin this blog it is important to establish that I am utterly convinced of the importance of partnership in Initial Teacher Education.  Training teachers ‘outside’ the classroom environment in a purely theoretical realm is just not possible; theoretical knowledge cannot be easily interpreted by teachers into effective … Continue reading Embracing the space: A journey into training to be a teacher virtually

Moving beyond delivery: The thorny issue of competency

Photo by Ivan Bertolazzi on Pexels.com It is at around this point in the ITT year when many training teachers begin to get into their stride.  They are no longer complete novices; they have built a familiarity with their placement setting and its rules and procedures, they are understanding how to fit into the departmental … Continue reading Moving beyond delivery: The thorny issue of competency

The Power of Partnership in Initial Teacher Education

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com One of our history ITE mentors likes to talk about the way she and I often perform a ‘pincer movement’ on the beginning teachers we share.  This sounds much more aggressive than the reality!  Our ‘pincer movement’ most often involves both of us praising the student for the same achievement … Continue reading The Power of Partnership in Initial Teacher Education

Optimistic, Observant and Open: What makes a successful PGCE/ ITE student?

Photo by Nikolay Draganov on Pexels.com "Come on then, what makes someone a good PGCE student?", I was asked by a friend during the summer break. The faces of those successful beginning teachers I've supported over the past few years flashed through my mind. How do you answer that question? All of those people successful, … Continue reading Optimistic, Observant and Open: What makes a successful PGCE/ ITE student?

Galloping into the final furlong: Supporting your mentee to make the most of their final weeks as a training teacher

We are entering that often tricky period in the ITE year when most students know if they have done enough to meet the teacher standards and are very much in the final furlong with the finish line in view.  They now face a decision - do they gallop to the finish line, driving forward, attacking … Continue reading Galloping into the final furlong: Supporting your mentee to make the most of their final weeks as a training teacher

Quinton’s Questioning: Unleashing historical discussion in your mentee’s lessons

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com Quinton is a good questioner.  On one level he is able to present the pupils with a task and draw out the salient historical facts through his questioning feedback, ensuring the pupils ‘get it’.  He feels confident in his ability to do this, and yet his mentor and university tutor … Continue reading Quinton’s Questioning: Unleashing historical discussion in your mentee’s lessons

A Tale of Two Mentors: Mentoring with perspective

Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com Fernando is a new mentor.  He is enthusiastic and keen to be supportive and to work with the university based tutor.  He is also realistic, and has taken time to understand his mentee and their needs and to become the ‘critical friend’ discussed previously in another post: Matey Mentor . … Continue reading A Tale of Two Mentors: Mentoring with perspective

Matey Mentor? Creating the right environment for our beginning teachers

Photo by freestocks.org on Pexels.com What are the conditions required for a beginning teacher to thrive in their training year?  Since writing my blog on ‘Bewildered Beryl’, I have been pondering upon the idea that ‘the student teacher needs to develop quickly a feeling of friendship with, and trust in, the mentor’, the key assertion … Continue reading Matey Mentor? Creating the right environment for our beginning teachers

Pulling Priya through the plateau: supporting your mentee to continued progress

Photo by eberhard grossgasteiger on Pexels.com For Priya, whilst it didn’t feel like it at the time, Teaching Practice 1 was a time of steady progress and success.  Teaching Practice 2 started well; it’s been a long term and she’s tired, but she is also grateful that her classes are cooperative and seem to enjoy … Continue reading Pulling Priya through the plateau: supporting your mentee to continued progress

Bewildered Beryl: Helping your mentee find the end of the rope

Photo by Felix Mittermeier on Pexels.com Beryl came to the PGCE feeling confident.  Due to various experiences working with children in her past, she felt she understood what she was getting herself into and how schools worked.  Surely teaching was just a matter of telling pupils the historical stories she herself had loved as a … Continue reading Bewildered Beryl: Helping your mentee find the end of the rope

Helping a new PGCE Mentee to start well

A cup of tea and a listening ear Standing outside my son’s primary classroom this week, I observed his teacher deep in conversation over a cup of tea with a new member of staff.  When the door to the classroom opened just a few minutes later, this young woman stood (with the class teacher hovering … Continue reading Helping a new PGCE Mentee to start well