Paris murders in Norfolk classrooms? The responsibility of RE teachers & the Muslim community

Charlie Hebdo: In areas with a low concentration of Muslims, the importance of RE in relation to the "social cohesion" mentioned in Mr Nash's recent letter is all the greater. Pupils in counties such as our own Norfolk do not routinely interact with Muslims, leaving only media pieces when puzzling together an image of Islam and the murders in Paris. This is especially... Continue Reading →

Deconstructing the Progressive-Traditional Dichotomy; a note to Mr Peal

Student-Centred Learning in UK schools; Here be Dragons… Over the past month, I have been reading Mr Peal's Progressively Worse with disturbed fascination. For someone coming from the Scandinavian education system, with a very different ethos and political history, this book is an eye-opening insight into some of the visceral controversies over UK education, and a stern warning to any... Continue Reading →

Stalham Academy Head on: Cooperative Learning & the Sutton Trust on Pupil Premium

The acting headteacher, Mr Andrew Howard, discusses his rationale for introducing the structural approach to Cooperative Learning at Stalham Academy after becoming aware of the research of the Sutton Trust on the effective use of pupil premium published in this year's EEF Teaching and Learning Toolkit.  The EEF Teaching and Learning Toolkit compares collaborative learning with a host of other approaches, including... Continue Reading →

Socio(pathic) Skills#2; Teaching limits of debate (?)

(Read part #1 on Socio(pathic) Skills; the dark tangent of Student-Centred Learning?) For people familiar with the proposed content of our upcoming Educators’ Workshop in Islam Awareness Week, I want to direct your attention to the conundrum in the United Arab Emirates, where the government is throwing its full weight behind market forces’ demand for total student-centredness against the wishes of a population concerned... Continue Reading →

Now available: “The High Cost of Free Thinking; Debating Education Reforms in the Gulf”

Now available on ResearchGate.com My Copenhagen University paper on the hyper-speed shift to Student-Centred Learning in the the Arab/Muslim context: “The High Cost of Free Thinking; Debating Education Reforms in the Gulf”. If you want to see the issues the UK might be facing in 10-20 years, have a look at this - or just... Continue Reading →

Socio(pathic) Skills; the dark tangent of Student-Centred Learning?

I admit it; I was in school at a time when the 60s generation free thinking was not a rebellious idea, but a norm - both inside and outside the classroom - and communism was in vogue among intellectuals and teachers. Openness, freedom and critique of Le Ancien Régime was part and parcel of the pedagogic 5-year... Continue Reading →

Convincing your Head to think about Cooperative Learning #1

To many, Cooperative Learning just seems too good to be true. Although research documenting the effectiveness of CL is extremely copious, I've therefore spent some time looking for a well-organised, well-documented and concise summary that can be used to present the case. This short paper contains the material practical-minded head teacher or colleague would be looking... Continue Reading →

From Cooperative Learning of skills to Collaboration as a Skill

As a further note to Dr. Lawson's comment on teachers subverting a cumbersome educational system to create amazing teaching, I just came across an article on Personal Learning Network about the distinction between collaborative learning and Cooperative Learning. The author defines Cooperative Learning as an "educational approach that emphasises teacher involvement in setting goals and... Continue Reading →

Cooperative Learning & the Cultural Imperative

While preparing my paper on the radical education reforms in the Gulf across Arab media, I have been churning through quite a bit of background material over the past few months.  Here the biggest bone of contention seems to boil down to the relation between education and identity. These new didactic methods being brought into schools by the reforms, whether on-line... Continue Reading →

What’s in a name?

A note on nomenclature Everyone agrees that cooperative learning means groups of students interacting in order to learn.  According to Laurel S. Walter's 2000 article there is also even an agreement on two key components that must be present for a group process to be termed cooperative learning: promoting interdependence and individual accountability (i.e. avoiding... Continue Reading →

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