Category: Teaching

Environmental awareness, just like mathematics, can’t be learned in a day

“A new generation of civically and scientifically minded environmental population and experts will need to address environmental issues”

California wildfires emitted more carbon dioxide last year than in any other summer in nearly two decades, devastating both animal habitats and human dwellings. With this year’s Earth Day taking place during the American Education Research Association annual meeting, it is important to reflect on how investing in environmental education can help to “Invest In Our Planet”.

“Have you not observed that opinions divorced from knowledge are ugly things? The best of them are blind,” observed Plato more than two millennia ago in The Republic. The same holds true today, for how can we discuss environmental issues without knowing the science behind them?

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Why we must champion innovation and invention-based learning

“Providing students with the opportunity to step outside the comfort zone of a classroom and work on inventions with a trial-and-error approach encourages them to take risks”

Providing students with engaging opportunities to explore, discover and grow is something all educators aspire to achieve. Yet, this is often difficult when the majority of teaching is done in traditional classroom environments, says Aysha Al-Mudahka from Qatar Foundation.

For STEM learning in particular, it cannot be neglected. It is essential that schools equip the next generations with engaging experiences that teach practical STEM skills if we are to encourage and prepare students to pursue careers in science and engineering-led industries.

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The new international university aiming to promote women in STEM

“Through my work, I hope I can create opportunities for women”

Like many countries in the Caucasus, Central Asia and Europe, Georgia has conservative socio-cultural norms and gender stereotypes. Change comes slowly in this environment, but we have made significant progress in creating a more enabling environment for gender integration and equality in recent years.

There are no longer any legislative barriers to gender equality in Georgia, but the statistics for school enrolment reveal cultural mindsets that maintain the status quo.

There is parity in enrolment rates among boys and girls at primary and secondary school levels but gender norms and prejudices kick in strongly after school. Kutaisi International University (KIU) Chancellor Magda Magradze explains.

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Will online education outlast the Covid pandemic?

“Workplaces are changing, and the classroom is starting to catch up.”

Whisper it quietly, “there might be an end in sight”.

Increasingly, as I walk along the streets of London, I can see a sense of relief, even happiness, on the faces of those I encounter. It might be that the UK vaccination campaign, that was as ambitious as it has been impressive, is finally bringing the Covid pandemic towards its conclusion. In the summer months Boris Johnson has indicated that we might be able to return to pubs, clubs and hairdressers.

But if Zoom socials are on the way out, what does that mean for online education? Libra Education CEO Oscar Hardy explains.

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The campaign trying to make subtitles the default for kids’ TV

“If you suddenly found subtitles on your children’s Netflix account last year – that wasn’t a coincidence”

This story starts back in 2019, when Henry Warren had a conversation with Oli Barrett over coffee about a news article that Oli had read on how turning on subtitles on children’s TV content had a dramatic positive impact on their reading proficiency, writes Nina Hale from the Turn On The Subtitles campaign. 

Slightly sceptical but intrigued, the two sought out the academic who had conducted the study and took his research, along with a mountain of similar studies, to The National Literacy Trust to review.

Once validated, they set off on a quest to make sure this information reached every household with young children.

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Motivation: urgent for both students and teachers

“It is so important to develop strategies to increase both students’ and teachers’ motivation”

As someone who has worked in educational publishing for most of my career, I believe I have a good understanding of the challenges that teachers and learners face in the classroom. However, when, like millions of others, my children suddenly started remote lessons from home, I found myself confronting some of those challenges first hand.

One issue that stood out was the importance of maintaining engagement amidst the disruption of a pandemic and having to balance work, teaching, and domestic life under one roof.

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Resilient teaching in times of change

“Minimise the dependency on specific tools or activities so that if we lost those features, the classes would still work”

Resilience is the ability to spring back to your original shape, and that applies to teaching in a big way.

As highlighted in a recent Coursera white paper, resilient teaching is the ability to facilitate learning, designed to be adaptable, to fluctuating conditions and disruptions.

It is a teaching ability that can be seen as an outcome of a design approach that attends to the relationship between learning goals and activities and the environment in which they are situated.

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The importance of social engagement in the online class

“I can’t tell who is more frustrated, the teacher or the student”

How do you show friendliness in an online classroom? Now that we’re past the survival stage of virtual learning, we can think about what’s missing in how we teach and what we can do to achieve better quality communication.

I remember those moments, before the pandemic, when a student would walk into my classroom and I’d say, “hey, how’s it going today?” And that student could feel the impact of personal attention, that a teacher is actually “seeing” them. Those kinds of socially intuitive interactions are lost in the online teaching we are doing today.

What’s also missing are the little things that indicate friendliness, like someone getting closer to you when you’re saying something. In fact, students indicate that they miss the tactile aspects of face-to-face classes, like the feeling of having a physical classmate sitting close to them in class.

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Covid-19 impact: engaging international students with institutional responses

“Institutions know they need to ensure that teaching is delivering value”

Changes to teaching and learning as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic have raised serious questions around how the student voice can be captured effectively, especially given the sector’s reliance on face-to-face approaches, and ultimately around student satisfaction, writes John Atherton of Explorance.

With the majority of universities subsequently advocating blended approaches to teaching and learning for the 2020/21 academic year, they have done so after reflecting long and hard on their initial responses to Covid-19 and developing plans for engaging students.

However, with Coronavirus outbreaks hitting campuses worldwide, the sector has faced a bumpy ride and at times harsh criticism throughout this first semester.

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