Playing with Fire – Mike Fairclough

Extract taken from Foreword by Professor Bill Lucas

This book is expansive in its conception of education of the desired outcomes of a child’s school days.  It is a serious corrective to a risk-adverse world, carefully explaining why it possible to do potentially dangerous things in a character, values and skill-forming way.  It takes learning out of the classroom into the real world where it belongs without compromising the necessary disciplinary progress that students need to make – West Rise is an outstanding school for both Ofsted and for someone with my values.  It reconnects children to the natural world when too many of them have lost any link with the seed to seed cycle, with care for creatures and with the awe that landscapes like this can inspire.  It is an awesome laboratory for the development of character and capability.

Above all Playing with Fire is, for me, about trust. Trust children to set up and run an art studio.  Trust parents that they will let you take risks.  Trust teachers to let go.  Trust us all that we need help from those who understand animals and wetlands and archaeology if we are to be real lifelong learners.  Trust your luck that when the water buffalo get out, the village will understand.  Trust that there are great Ofsted inspectors who see through the ordinary.  Trust that not all health  and safety people are the problem.  And trust that, fortified by this book, you can play with fire in your own backyard.

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Featured book: The Hungry Mind – Susan Engel

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Despite American education’s recent mania for standardized tests, testing misses what really matters about learning: the desire to learn in the first place. Curiosity is vital, but it remains a surprisingly understudied characteristic. The Hungry Mind” is a deeply researched, highly readable exploration of what curiosity is, how it can be measured, how it develops in childhood, and how it can be fostered in school. Children naturally possess an active interest in knowing more about the world around them. But what begins as a robust trait becomes more fragile over time, and is shaped by experiences with parents, teachers, peers, and the learning environment. Susan Engel highlights the centrality of language and question-asking as crucial tools for expressing curiosity. She also uncovers overlooked forms of curiosity, such as gossip an important way children satisfy their interest in other people. Although curiosity leads to knowledge, it can stir up trouble, and schools too often have an incentive to squelch it in favor of compliance and discipline. Balanced against the interventions of hands-on instructors and hovering parents, Engel stresses the importance of time spent alone, which gives children a chance to tinker, collect, read about the things that interest them, and explore their own thoughts. In addition to providing a theoretical framework for the psychology of curiosity, The Hungry Mind” offers educators practical ways to put curiosity at the center of the classroom and encourage children s natural eagerness to learn.”

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Creative Schools: The Grassroots Revolution That’s Transforming Education

sirkenKen Robinson is one of the world’s most influential voices in education, and his 2006 TED Talk on the subject is the most viewed in the organization’s history. Now, the internationally recognized leader on creativity and human potential focuses on one of the most critical issues of our time: how to transform the nation’s troubled educational system. At a time when standardized testing businesses are raking in huge profits, when many schools are struggling, and students and educators everywhere are suffering under the strain, Robinson points the way forward. He argues for an end to our outmoded industrial educational system and proposes a highly personalized, organic approach that draws on today’s unprecedented technological and professional resources to engage all students, develop their love of learning, and enable them to face the real challenges of the twenty-first century. Filled with anecdotes, observations and recommendations from professionals on the front line of transformative education, case histories, and groundbreaking research—and written with Robinson’s trademark wit and engaging style—Creative Schools will inspire teachers, parents, and policy makers alike to rethink the real nature and purpose of education.

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British Journal of Education Studies review of Expansive Education Book

Expansive education: teaching learners for the real world. By Bill Lucas, Guy Claxton9780335247554 (2)
and Ellen Spencer. Pp 240. Milton Keynes: Open University Press. 2013. £22.99 (pbk).
ISBN 978-0335247554.

Values matter in education. From its first pages, Expansive Education reminds us ‘…
education is irreducibly a moral business’ (p. 8). Martin Luther King’s advice that teachers concentrate upon ‘worthy objectives’ for education sets the tone of this book full of challenges to established educational policy dogmas. Outlining what might be involved in ‘expansive’ education, the authors are unapologetic to use the word ‘ought’ to describe the need to teach confidence enhancing and creative mindsets applicable to both personal and global contexts. Dispositions like ‘resilience and resourcefulness’ (p. 12), for example, are argued to be as vital to the mental and intellectual health of those in the ‘best’ universities as they are to the youngest children in our nurseries. Expansive education must also involve values that apply to the ‘real’ world, of rapid communication, burgeoning technologies, widening access to heritage, knowledge, skills and research. The goals, attitudes, environments and leaderships of learning need expansion suggest the writers, and few would disagree.

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Featured book: 50 Quick and Easy Ways to Build Resilience through English Teaching

How can we help our students to be resilient? How can we cultivate a sense determination, of 41+Jn5eHTRLpersistence and of grit? How can we help our students to be the best they can be?

Every English teacher knows the subject can be challenging for learners. What we want is to help them embrace this challenge and to become better speakers, writers, readers and listeners as a result.

50 Quick and Easy Ways to Build Resilience through English Teaching presents time-pressed English teachers with a range of tried and tested classroom strategies you can employ to help your students develop resilience, grit and determination.

Each idea is simply presented, practical and easy to implement. Each one will help you to build the confidence and self-esteem of your students, turning them into resolute, committed learners who believe in themselves and their capacity to be successful.

For less than a cup of coffee you can have a suite of brilliant teaching techniques at your fingertips!

Brought to you by Mike Gershon and experienced English teacher Lizi Summers, 50 Quick and Easy Ways to Build Resilience through English Teaching is part of the bestselling ‘50 Quick Ways Series.’

Created with the aim of helping English teachers across the world teach brilliant lessons, the book sits alongside two further volumes: 50 Quick and Easy Ways to Outstanding English Teaching and 50 Quick and Brilliant Ideas for English Teaching.

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