Tagged: Practice

Global Collaboration Day #VET

Please see the post below for details. This was sent via the UNESCO-UNEVOC TVET Experts Forum. I decided to share as it may be of interest to some of you.

Dear Colleagues,

It is my pleasure to share with you the launch of the Global Collaboration Day. Over the next couple of days, students, classrooms, teachers, administrators, parents and organizations will be either attending and/or hosting events online that are designed to showcase and promote global collaboration. Over 100 groups have designed and planned their own events which we have then organized into a directory and in special calendars to allow these events to be seen in any time zone in the world.

This is a huge worldwide experiment to demonstrate the power of globally-connected learning.

You are encouraged to browse the event directory or the calendar and choose a compelling event to attend!

Here are some important links for you to keep handy:

We have scheduled an event to contribute to this effort:

http://www.globalcollaborationday.org/event-directory/cognitive-skills-enhancement

Warmest regards to All!

Chris Chinien, Ph.D.

President,

Compétences/Skills R&D Inc.

Tackling Youth Unemployment – identifying young people at risk

First things first this is the last time that Ill use the word NEET (Not in Education, Training or Employment). Imagine being a 17 year old, leaving school and being labelled in the negative. It doesnt really say much for your future does it? How depressing…

Upon leaving school (regardless of age) young people enter into either a positive destination or they require support; careers information advice and guidance (IAG) to assist them through their learning journey. I use that term a lot, as I firmly believe that throughout our lives we all experience learning, regardless of setting. And yes, that does include employment.

High quality, impartial IAG is important in helping young people (and others) to make informed decisions about their pathways and future career choices. Careers IAG is a universal entitlement in Scotland – supporting all young people at any stage of career development, whether they choose to learn at school or college, or to develop their career management skills in a work-based or non-formal setting. Indeed, this is reinforced in both the Curriculum for Excellence entitlements and within the 16+ Learning Choices Policy and Practice Framework.

There is a need to re-assert the Government’s commitment to the provision of universal careers services, placing an emphasis on self-help – through developing people’s ability to manage their own career and through a multi-channelled, blended service, with face-to-face and more intensive support for those who need it most.
Most young people will access universal support from Skills Development Scotland during their school career, though others will require a more targetted approach, with early identification required so that resources can be deployed effectively. This process must start at least 12-16 months in advance of the statutory leaving age (in Scotland this is 16 years old) or whenever required by legislation as outlined in the ASL Act and Code of Practice.
An example of such assessment can be found within a risk matrix. The Risk Matrix aims to address the issue of those children and young people at risk. It highlights those most at risk by using a simple assessment technique that assigns a risk value to a number of the pupils attributes. These are configurable by each authority and when added together the resulting number is a quantitative risk assessment for that child. The status of the pupil is identified using colour coding with those most at risk coloured red. This is managed through the school/authority management information system.

The system should assist pastoral staff with the early identification of those pupils slipping towards a high risk category. Hopefully this will allow intervention at an earlier stage. The data is also shared (through the application of robust data sharing agreements) with other parties e.g. colleges of further education. This has the additional benefit of streamlining the post-school transition and is a basic principle of the 16+ Learning Choices Data Hub.

Information is automatically updated to the risk matrix on a nightly basis but can be re-imported at any time if required. Some of the criteria includes attendance; exclusions; post code; attainment; social work and other professional agency engagement; additional support needs and so on.
Of course, this isnt an exact science were talking about young people and they are the most significant variable in the known universe. By that, I mean to say that a young person may be at risk at 10am in the morning and by 2pm the level of risk has diminished, and vice versa. Criteria must never be used alone and so this must be backed-up by professional opinion ideally from a named person from within the school e.g. youth worker or pupil support teacher.

Evidence Informed Policy and Practice in Education in Europe

The Evidence Informed Policy and Practice in Education in Europe (EIPPEE) is a two-year project which aims to increase the use of evidence to inform decision-making in education policy and practices across Europe. The network also provides a series of free online and face-to-face courses to help people working in education to explore and evaluate practices, using findings from research. For more information and to view the EIPPEE’s first newsletter, please visit their website at http://eippee.com/cms/.

 

 

 

The Teacher, The Social Media Site and The Public

Here we are, advancing steadily into 2012. I find it slightly amusing if not frustrating that my first post this year is based on the use of scoial media by teachers. Forgive the title – The Teacher, The Social Media Site and The Public – however I do believe that we are stepping into the fantasy world of mystical beings, talking lions and batlles between good and evil.

Scottish teachers are being warned that their use of social networking sites could put their careers at risk.

For those of you who work with children and young people outwith Scotland, the issues are exactly the same. The media has made a fine example of professionals who have stepped over the line and merged their personal and professional lives together. Easily done when that proverbial line is hardly visible.

This is what the SSTA says:

The Scottish Secondary Teachers Association believes teachers can reveal too much personal information on sites such as Facebook and Twitter.

The union also fears they could become overly familiar with pupils.

The General Teaching Council of Scotland is preparing new guidelines on social networking sites.

This follows a number of recent cases brought before the GTC’s regulatory body.

Jim Docherty, assistant secretary of the SSTA, told BBC Scotland that teachers should follow his advice: “First thing is don’t bother telling anybody else about your social life. Nobody is interested about your social life and it doesn’t help.

“Secondly, never make any comment about your work, about your employer, about teaching issues in general.

“There is always a possibility it will be misinterpreted.”

And this is what the GTCS says:

The recommended advice for teachers is that the online environment is an extension of your professional responsibility as a teacher. So conduct online must mirror the Standards set out in the GTC Standard for Full Registration and the GTC Scotland’s Code of Professionalism and Conduct (CoPAC). The interesting thing about the CoPAC is that it does not exclude the use of social media with pupils but states that it must be”… professional, appropriate and justified“. For this reason the Disciplinary Sub-Committee

has said that; “…for the avoidance of doubt, there should be absolutely no ambiguity or perceived ambiguity between a teacher’s private life and his/her professional life in electronic communications”.

– John Anderson, Head of Professional Practice, GTC Scotland

In essence, if you have a social media account as a teacher – it should reflect your professional responsibilities as a teaching professional. I wouldn’t expect teachers not to discuss education (in general) so the GTCS shouldn’t either. That’s like asking a politician not to talk about politics. It isn’t going to happen. If you have a personal account, it must be kept completely separate and private. This can be a potential minefield at the best of times if you are unsure of the features available in the programs and you should seek advice from colleagues if you’re not sure.

I for one will continue to use Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, WordPress and the magical wardrobe to Narnia. Of course, with a splash of common sense. Essentially, don’t post anything in the public domain if it is something that you wouldn’t want your mother, spouse or employer to see. Secondly, don’t direct message pupils or add them as friends – be cautious about adding those who have left school as they may have friends on their social site who you still teach.

Lastly – if in doubt, go with your gut instinct.

Addressing Socio-Cultural Diversity through the Curriculum

The International Bureau of Education is calling for preliminary responses to questions for its 5th annual e-forum, on the theme: Addressing Socio-Cultural Diversity through the Curriculum, which will be held between 21 November and 9 December, 2011. The e-forum, which is organised around a forthcoming discussion paper and series of weekly questions, provides a unique opportunity among the Community of Practice members for inter-regional, multi-lingual and open discourse, with the support and facilitation of international experts. Participants can contribute in all 6 UN languages.

More details to follow…

Lecturing, Guest Speaking, Advice or Coffee?

As well as teaching at my own institution, I have decided to take a bigger part in the development of my field both in a professional and public context. You can read more about my specialism within my Biography. This includes expanding my education papers and research projects.

If there is no conflict of interest with my employers, I am currently open to invitation; offering lectures on courses / undergraduate or postgraduate teaching programmes at colleges of further education or universities. Likewise, I am open to lecture outside academia and I am more than happy to speak to other organisations with an interest in education, policy or young people.

I have stood as keynote speaker at many events and conferences and I am now looking to expand my portfolio. I do not always require fees or expenses, depending on the nature of what I have been asked to do.

If you believe that I may have something to offer to you, whether as a guest speaker, consultant or perhaps an informal chat over coffee, please do get in touch! I don’t always work Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm either, so evenings and weekends are also welcome and I can work virtually if this suits you best!

The Scottish Learning Festival – Dead or Alive?

This year’s Scottish Learning Festival (Twitter #SLF11) is likely to be one to remember – either for better or worse. To be held on 21st and 22nd September, the theme is Curriculum for Excellence: Learning, Teaching and Assessment, Making the Connections.

The conference will also see the highly anticipated ‘launch’ of Scotland’s new executive agency – Education Scotland; a marriage between Learning and Teaching Scotland (LTS) and Her Majestie’s Inspectorate of Education (HMIe). The perpetual role and responsibilities of the ‘support’ and ‘challenge’ aspects of the agency are yet to be communicated in any great detail, though these traditional terms are likely to be ones that The Scottish Government would like to banish into the void; they do not convey the contemporary message which will realise the desired ties between Education Scotland and the learning and teaching profession.

Back in 2008, having attended and presented at a number of consecutive festivals, LTS asked me to produce a short paper which measured the impact of SLF. Given that the next event is almost upon us, I thought that I’d take the time to reflect on my previous thoughts, though I admit that I struggle to conclude whether the event is dead in the water or alive and kicking.

The Scottish Learning Festival is the largest education conference and exhibition of its kind in Scotland. Throughout its twelve year history, the event has been extensively evaluated by Learning and Teaching Scotland to ensure that delegates are benefiting from attendance. However, the real success of whether or not attendance is beneficial is in the long term impact that it has on the delegate and their classroom, school and professional practice. This ensures that the event is continuous throughout the year and not simply a two day event which promotes innovative ideas and an opportunity to network.

I believe that some teachers can have very narrow perspectives when their view is restricted to only one school or classroom and that SLF provides the ideal opportunity to have a fresh and unique overview of education. We have all seen significant change to the curriculum over the last few years and the future promises to bring ever more intensive and stringent reform to the qualification and assessment system. Improving the life chances of our young people and raising self-esteem, self-belief and self-determination, what I call responsible confidence, must be promoted amongst children and young people through a diverse range of creative and innovative pedagogy. By sharing ideas, resources and knowledge we can facilitate the growth and development of such practice to an extent where we provide infrastructure which will firmly support further implementation of Curriculum For Excellence.

I normally feel very excited following attendance at SLF. There aren’t many opportunities to meet with teachers from early years and secondary, colleges and other areas of education all in the same day and this type of perspective gives that broader picture. The conference programme arrives on my desk at exactly the right time. Based on current themes related to the curriculum and teaching practice, I always use it as a starting point to identify my own professional development for the year ahead, and it is an opportunity to see what other people are doing up and down the country. Increasingly, I have met with colleagues from other parts of the United Kingdom and from as far as the United States and Australia – indeed, if they make the effort to attend then so should we.

I do feel however, that in the current economic climate, some teachers may have difficulty achieving time away from the classroom – decreasing staff cover budgets and increasing workloads make attendance challenging – and I don’t know many teachers who attend both days.

I would really like to see the attendance figures from this year’s conference and compare them to those of the past. There could well be some serious questions to be asked. It may well be, despite all the advantages and good points to the event, that it has lived its course and a new approach is now needed. Perhaps, a controversial shift in time is needed, with an opportunity for teachers to attend at the weekend instead; are we given the chance to tune into a live seminar via video conferencing? This would be appealing to those who need to travel from afar and stay overnight – and of course it would provide a valuable record of the discussion. This is especially important, I feel. A record is needed if the conference is to continue impacting on learning and teaching throughout the year.

If you are attending this year, I may well see you there – please do give me a shout and say hello. I’d be interested in your after thoughts – either message me via Twitter (@leeandrewdunn) or send me an email. I’ll let you draw your own conclusions around the future of the event and its impact on your practice. At this moment in time, I’ll sit on the fence.

Setting up my learning and teaching space

With two weeks to go before the start of the new school year, I spent a few days preparing teaching materials and setting up my learning amd teaching space. I teach Design and Technology – Product Design, Engineering Science, Graphic Communication and Craft. I’m really looking forward to my return, and to see what opportunities there are for some policy and curriculum development. Here are some pictures of my classroom (and yes – I do realise how lucky I am to have such a great IT setup!).

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