Showing posts with label Schools work. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Schools work. Show all posts

SEAL (Social and Emotional Aspects of Learning)

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Schoolswork.co.uk has a great post by Martin Watson on SEAL - What is it and how can it help me? As I have mentioned before I work as a Learning Mentor in a primary school and have been involved in pastoral care in secondary schools so this is something I have been trying to get my head around more.

Here are a few quotes from his post:

Research has shown that well designed programmes that promote social and emotional skills have shown to have a positive impact on pupil’s attitudes and behaviour (Weare and Gray, 2003; Zins et al., 2004) For example:

• Pupils have higher self esteem and confidence
• Pupils are happier and get on better with each other
• Pupils are more engaged in learning so fewer disengage with school
• Quieter pupils become more assertive and confident

• There is better behaviour in the classroom and improved attendance
• There is less bullying
• There are lower rates of truancy, offending and drug misuse

SEAL is not supposed to be taught for 1 hour each week and then be forgotten. The only way it will be completely effective is if it is used across the school with everybody involved.

SEAL aims to develop five main areas; self-awareness; empathy; social skills;
motivation and managing feelings.


Check out the Behaviour and Attendance website which has more detailed information.

I am excited about the opportunities this brings in school to develop young people as people and not just a factory line trying to get results in public exams such as SATs, GCSEs or A' levels. I think it also provides a great opening for churches to be involved in supporting schools in this. The topics that SEAL concentrates on, are ones that link with a holistic ministry to young people.
Are you involved in SEAL work in your schools work? Tell me about it if you are.

How to tie a tie perfectly!

This is going to be a slightly bizarre post - How to Tie a Tie: The Pursuit of the Perfect Knot. As part of my learning mentor work in a local primary school I am spending a good portion of time helping create a smooth transition between primary and secondary school.

For a couple of the pupils I work with one of their big fears is being able to tie their tie as they don't have to wear one at present. Now that doesn't need to be a big issue with clip-on and elastic ties, but we might have a go at tying some ties for fun!

Teen pregnancy trends

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Youth Specialties links highlights Seventeen Tackles New Teen (Pregnancy) Trend in their weekly email. Go read the article, very interesting and thought provoking. Here are a few clips:

I've definitely had my issues with Seventeen magazine in the past, and as a young sex educator am always a little leery of studies like this one, mostly because they allow adult readers to generalize from the statistics without being exposed to the intricate, convoluted reasons why things are the way they are. But this time, Seventeen got it right: the issue, out on newsstands, talks respectfully and frankly to young women, in a space where they are all eyes, about sex and the real world -- and allows us to learn a few things in the process.

Which famous person would make a good teacher?

Monday, February 04, 2008

Children across the UK chose David Tennant - TV's Dr. Who - as their ideal celebrity teacher in a poll conducted by CBBC Newsround and the Children's Society. More than a quarter of those asked 'Which famous person would make a good teacher?' chose the doctor believing he would be a great teacher for science, history and geography because of his travels through time and space.
Newsround invited children to answer questions about how they learn. Their comments will form part of the Children's Society's Good Childhood Inquiry.
Other stars scoring highly were JK Rowling, followed by Dr. Who's former assistant Billie Piper, and David Beckham.

Movie posters

Check out Imp Awards. It is a brilliant collection of movie posters, ideal for thinking about the power of the image in advertising. You can even compare how the same film is marketed in different countries.

Books I have read: Information for parents - Speech and language difficulties

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Continuing my reading around my Learning Mentor role I had a flick through Information for parents - Speech and language difficulties. This was a fantastic resource - speech and language difficulties in young children are not unusual. Research suggests that as many as one child in 10 under the age of five suffers some problems.
Possibly the most helpful section was where it explains how children normally develop communication, language and speech and how adults can help in these processes. There is a fantastic table on pages 11-12 which shows the normal stage a 1 year, 18 month, 2 year, 36 month, 3 year, 4 year, and 5 year old child should be at in term of social and play, understanding, and talking.
The booklet also touches on how to start getting professional help; speech and language therapy – what it is, who provides it, how to get it and what to do with it, once you have it; and as usual for this series of guides it has a large extensive list of contacts at the back for further information.

Books I have read: Information for parents - Autistic spectrum disorders (ASDs) and related conditions

As part of my new role as a Learning Mentor in a local primary schools I have been trying to read more of the guides from the government on topics linked to young people. This guide - Information for parents - Autistic spectrum disorders (ASDs) and related conditions is great for parents who are worried about their child. The booklet was written by the National Autistic Society and TreeHouse in response to requests from families, professional agencies and voluntary organisations for better information.
It highlights what parents of autistic children wished they had known in the early days of finding out about their child’s situation. Parents have been involved in the producing of the booklet, and it is full of quotes from them which give great insight in to the issues vthey face.
The booklet describes the support that is available and answer the questions that many parents have at this time. The back of the booklet contains loads of places for further support, including websites and phone numbers.
If you are working with families who have children on the autistic spectrum this booklet would well be worth a read.

Give a presentation like Steve Jobs

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Business Week have provided a communication coach to analyse a Steve Jobs presentation and pull out 10 tips that we can all think about. Given that we are trying to share something even more important take a look at it:
3. Provide an outline. Jobs outlined the presentation by saying, "There are four things I want to talk about today. So let's get started…" Jobs followed his outline by verbally opening and closing each of the four sections and making clear transitions in between. For example, after revealing several new iPhone features, he said, "The iPhone is not standing still. We keep making it better and better and better. That was the second thing I wanted to talk about today. No. 3 is about iTunes." Make lists and provide your audience with guideposts along the way.
4. Make numbers meaningful. When Jobs announced that Apple had sold 4 million iPhones to date, he didn't simply leave the number out of context. Instead, he put it in perspective by adding, "That's 20,000 iPhones every day, on average." Jobs went on to say, "What does that mean to the overall market?" Jobs detailed the breakdown of the U.S smartphone market and Apple's share of it to demonstrate just how impressive the number actually is. Jobs also pointed out that Apple's market share equals the share of its top three competitors combined. Numbers don't mean much unless they are placed in context. Connect the dots for your listeners.
6. Create visual slides. While most speakers fill their slides with data, text, and charts, Jobs does the opposite. There is very little text on a Steve Jobs slide. Most of the slides simply show one image. For example, his phrase "The first thing I want to talk to you about today…" was accompanied by a slide with the numeral 1. That's it. Just the number. When Jobs discussed a specific product like the iPhone, the audience saw a slide with an image of the product. When text was introduced, it was often revealed as short sentences (three or four words) to the right of the image. Sometimes, there were no images at all on the slide but a sentence that Jobs had delivered such as "There is something in the air." There is a trend in public speaking to paint a picture for audiences by creating more visual graphics. Inspiring presenters are short on bullet points and big on graphics.

Nine classroom nightmares

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Children Matter drew attention to this article:

Recently, the editors of Children's Ministry Magazine spied on an actual classroom. After seeing several discipline problems, we asked the experts what they would've done with each challenge.


Our experts were the 1992 Sunday School Teacher of the Year-Sarah Smith-and the two finalists-Caroline Bianchi and Susan Hambright.

Ex-warlord confesses to 20,000 deaths

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Scot points out that General Butt Naked is born again and confesses to 20,000 deaths, what a great news story. Certainly one that must be usable in the church context.

Children ages 4 to 16 dislike clown images

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Clowns have been used in children's ministry for years. But recent research has discovered that most children ages 4 to 16 dislike clown images. The research was an effort to find ways to improve healthcare environments for children and young people.

"As adults we make assumptions about what works for children. We found that clowns are universally disliked by children. Some found them quite frightening and unknowable." Dr. Penny Curtis, Researcher, Centre for the Study of Childhood and Youth.


"Very few children like clowns. They are unfamiliar and come from a different era. They don’t look funny, they just look odd. Children are much more happy with things stuck on the wall that have some sort of personal relevance for them, not some images that are foisted upon them by adults." Patricia Doorbar, Child Psychologist.

I thought this was an interesting bit of research. For more I can see the way in which Patricia Doorbar is right, clowns are from a completely different era. But at the same time I have been at events where children and young people have loved clowns. It would be interesting to explore the opportunity to change some of their image without changing the techniques and skills linked to clowning.

Jackson Pollack Painting Simulator

Youth Specialties flagged up The Jackson Pollack Painting Simulator it is great fun. Certainly something I might try and bring into a Sunday morning session at church with our 11-14 year olds. Have a go.

Government loses faith in growth of religious schools

Friday, January 18, 2008

The Government has decided against backing more faith schools, the Children, Schools and Families Secretary, Ed Balls, told MPs.

In what is being seen as one of the most significant policy shifts of the post-Tony Blair era in education, he told a Commons select committee: "It is not the policy of the Government nor my department to expand the number of faith schools. We're not leading a drive for more faith schools."
His comments are seen as a major departure from the stance taken by Mr Blair and one of Mr Balls' predecessors, the staunchly Catholic Ruth Kelly. Mr Blair made it plain that he wanted to see faith groups coming forward to sponsor his flagship academies – set up to replace struggling inner-city schools – on the grounds that faith schools had better exam results than the national average and could pass on their expertise.

Muslim Fear Behind Faith Schools Reverse?

The spread of faith schools across the country has been shelved because ministers fear they could help create a new generation of Muslim extremists, it was claimed last night.
A favourite project of Tony Blair, the schools have previously been seen as a success, with good academic results and satisfied parents.
But in a Commons committee on Wednesday, Ed Balls, the Schools Secretary, appeared to take a step back from plans to create more. He said ministers had no ideological commitment to faith schools, in which children are admitted on the basis of their parents' beliefs.
Mr Balls added that he did not necessarily believe they were best for communities and that it was up to local people to say if they wanted one in their area.
He also said he wanted faith schools to avoid dividing neighbourhoods along racial lines, adding: "There were many examples of faith schools who actually promote community cohesion. I want that best practice to apply to all schools."

Googling for your grade

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Interesting article in Time about a school course run through Parsons The New School for Design in New York City where students are trying to become famous in a virtual world.

Schools work resources for Hope '08

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Nigel points out some resources for Hope '08 that you can access here. This also includes the followings articles that are well worth the read:

How to do schoolswork - a no-nonsense guide to christians visiting schools
Starting a Christian group in school factsheet

4.17 million travel on London Underground in 1 day!

Friday, December 28, 2007

4.17 million passengers travelled on the London Underground on 7th December. This beats the previous record of 4 million on December 8 2006. On average, the number of people travelling on the Tube is increasing by about 7% a year.
That is a great fact and I am sure one that can be used in a sermon or talk somewhere.

Top 10 behaviour management tips for Key Stage 3 (11-14 year olds)

Monday, December 17, 2007

Great guide by Hafeezud on the TES website. It is obviously written with schools in mind, but there are plenty of ways to translate the tips across for youth work, and they are good reading for the bits of schools work you do do.

Did Mary have a surname?

Great question and discussion on the TES (Times Education Supplement) forums over what Mary's surname was, if she had one, and how to explain that to year 3s (7 year olds)! My favourite answer is:

Of course Mary had a surname. It was Christmas. Mary Christmas, everyone!

The Children's Plan

Saturday, December 15, 2007


The government has announced the Children's Plan, a £1bn 10-year strategy for education, welfare and play. It includes changes to the primary school curriculum and the possible end of the Sats tests in England by 2009. The wide-ranging plan promises 3,500 playgrounds, flexible school starts for summer babies, more nursery places in deprived areas, a focus on teaching English, maths and foreign languages in primary schools, adventure play parks and more information for parents about children's progress.


Children's Secretary Ed Balls said the mission was to make "our country the best place in the world to grow up" and the Plan would "unlock the talents and promote the health and happiness of all children, and not just some". The Children's Plan draws together the government's proposals to improve children's learning and well-being by 2020.

You can download a free copy of the Plan
here.