Tes - The education podcast The Tes podcast brings you all the latest news, reviews and opinion from the world of education

May 18, 2018  

This week, we discuss Sats and the impact the tests have on primary school pupils. As Sats come to an end, GCSEs season begins, and we talk about the introduction of the grade 9-1 GCSEs, and the social media backlash many exam boards now face.

We also talk about the use of emojis in the classroom – pupils love them, but do teachers? And is there any hard proof of their effect on pupils' learning?

Tune in and enjoy.

May 16, 2018  

In this week's episode of the Tes FE Podcast, columnist Sarah Simons talk to teacher, trainer, author and chair of governors at Writtle University College, Julia Smith. They discuss concerns about cyber security following the changes to JISC's funding, how to avoid burnout, and their contrasting levels of enthusiasm for the royal wedding. 

May 16, 2018  

“EAL is a problematic category,” states Victoria Murphy, professor of applied linguistics at the University of Oxford.

Murphy is a long-time researcher into English as an additional language (EAL) and on this week’s Tes Podagogy podcast she explains that use of the term brings multiple problems.

“The way it is defined is so general, it really just highlights children who have another language in the home,” she explains. “It does not speak to whether and to what extent the child is exposed to English since birth or any other context, and it doesn’t say anything about their proficiency in English, and importantly it does not say anything about their knowledge of their home language or proficiency in that language.

“It is a group that is massively diverse. So any time we talk about EAL in general terms, we are really being a bit reckless.”

She goes on to say that another issue she has with the term is that it is seen as a negative attribute.

“It is used as a deficit term - we assume there is a problem. It really doesn’t have to be a problem,” she argues.

In a wide-ranging discussion, Murphy talks about the problem with interpreting the performance data of EAL children too simplistically, the issues with ‘immersion’ programmes and the lack of support for schools in helping EAL children in the classroom.

“I don’t think there is enough financial support for children with linguistic challenges and I don’t think teachers have historically had enough support in supporting EAL students,” she says

There is recent research that suggests that teachers generally feel unprepared to support students with EAL.”

Murphy also offers some insights to the research going on around the best pedagogy for EAL students, including translanguaging.

“Translanguaging is a little bit of a tricky construct - essentially it means drawing from the child’s other languages within the English classroom, so they can use those other languages as support while they are carrying out work,” she explains. “This approach recognises that the child comes to school with knowledge of another language, that it is a huge resource not just for that child but for the other children in that class if teachers were equipped to use that pedagogical strategy. The teacher would not need to know that home language, it is about a multi-lingual pedagogy.

“I hope to see more studies that will look at when this should be used or if it should be used, the research is in its infancy.”

May 11, 2018  

This week, we discuss a major government announcement on grammar school expansion, new faith schools and its approach to the independent school sector.

We also talk about the growing number of schools that are finding their own solutions to teacher workload, and ask whether there is evidence to support fears of an anxiety epidemic among young people.

Tune in and enjoy.

May 4, 2018  

This week, we discuss Damian Hinds' radical overhaul of how schools are held to account - including the end of poor exam results triggering forced academy conversion.

We also talk about research about how teaching assistants are used in the class, and ask what happened to the vision of parents setting up their own free schools.

Tune in and enjoy.

May 1, 2018  

In this week's episode of the Tes FE Podcast, columnist Sarah Simons is joined by chief executive of Sixth Form Colleges Association, Bill Watkin. They discuss the secretive cull of FE provision that T levels may bring, look at the work of FE commissioner Richard Atkins, and share experiences of climbing the career ladder.

April 27, 2018  

Join the Tes team as we talk about some of the biggest topics of the week.

We assess Sir David Carter's reign as national schools commissioner as he announces he is stepping down.

We also hear about the stress being put on seven year olds and their teachers by SATs, and mental health.

Tune in and enjoy. 

April 25, 2018  

Professor Neil Mercer takes a moment to consider the question, and then launches into an answer that should please any teacher who has been told to talk more or less in the classroom.

“The research does not tell you what the balance between teacher and student talk should be, in any clear way,” says the emeritus professor of Education at the University of Cambridge and director of Oracy Cambridge. “Crude proportions are not important or useful.”

Mercer has dedicated his career to looking at the power of teacher and student talk in schools and he discusses the research on both in this week’s podcast. He is certain teachers need to be both excellent talkers and spend time talking in lessons.

“I always say to primary teachers: you are the only second chance for some children to have the rich language experience. If they are not getting it in school, they are not getting it,” he explains.

However, this does not mean that a teacher should spend all lesson talking.

“We know enough [from the research] to say you should strive for a balance between authoritative presentation and genuine dialogue,” he says. “And that the proportion of instructive talk and dialogue should be determined by what you want to achieve, not by your personality. A teacher may be more suited to one of those approaches, but they need both and it needs to fit the objective at that time.”

When the teacher does talk, it needs to incorporate all the essential skills of good presentation (which Mercer says anyone can learn to do well) and it needs to be considered and well thought through in its content.

When the teacher is not talking, activities need to promote spoken language skills in students, and these are not, he stresses, just those skills that seem to be promoted through oracy interventions.

“There is tendency to think or oracy as speech making or taking part in debates, but we actually mean the full range of spoken language skills, which would include working in a team, helping someone else learn something, listening sensitively to someone so you can help them and so on,” he explains. “Children will differ in these skills, some may be excellent making speeches but not skilled in a group situation, they may not listen to anyone else at all. While another student may be the opposite.”

In the podcast, he talks at length about the research around teacher and student talk and about strategies teachers need to implement to improve both their own spoken language skills and those of their students. He also discusses whether a test for oracy is now needed.

April 24, 2018  

In this week's Tes FE Podcast, columnist Sarah Simons is joined Basingstoke College of Technology's Scott Hayden, whose team won the Outstanding use of technology for improving teaching, learning and assessment category at this year's Tes FE Awards.

In this episode Sarah and Scott, a teacher and digital innovation specialist, discuss criticism of the Institute for Apprenticeships, how T levels could be fast-tracked to credibility, and the importance of speaking the language of business.


April 20, 2018  

Schools minister Nick Gibb joined the Tes podcast to talk about school funding, hungry pupils, and the DfE's review of exclusions.

Join us as we unpick what his comments mean for schools that are suffering a funding squeeze, and for children whose hunger is affecting their behaviour and attainment.


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