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

October 12, 2018  

In this week's Tes FE Podcast, Boston College principal Jo Maher - the youngest college leader in the country - discusses how best to develop the education leaders of the future with Tes columnist Sarah Simons

October 12, 2018  

Join the Tes team as we discuss Damian Hinds' full throated defence of academies, the latest volley in the war over the new inspection framework, and the questions which have been raised about Ofsted's approach to inspecting safeguarding. 

We also discuss this week's Tes magazine, which includes a feature about the parlous state of school buildings and the merits of positive psychology in schools. 

Tune in and enjoy.

October 10, 2018  

There is plenty that we can all do to support young people’s mental health, says clinical psychologist Dr Emma Mahoney on World Mental Health Day.

In this podcast, Mahoney talks about the statistics around young people’s mental health, the causes of mental health problems, and what schools can do to help tackle the problem.

October 5, 2018  

Join the Tes team as we discuss what this week's Conservative Party conference in Birmingham means for schools.

We also assess where another week of criticism from influential figures leaves Ofsted's plans to overhaul its school inspection framework, and explore the idea of teachers taking more risks in the classroom.

Tune in and enjoy.

October 5, 2018  

In this week's poscast Lesley Morrey, Director of Student Engagement and Partnerships at Newcastle and Stafford Colleges Group, discusses a recent security incident that saw the college under lockdown. In conversation with TES columnist Sarah Simons, she offers advice on how to ensure the correct procedures are in placs should the unthinkable happen.    

October 3, 2018  

Dominic Wyse has a challenge for you: “How often does a child in England get to genuinely do a piece of writing that begins with a blank page and is entirely their own ideas because they think those ideas are important?”

The professor of Early Childhood and Primary Education at the University College London (UCL), Institute of Education (IOE), already thinks he knows your answer.

“I know from my own research and experience, it is incredibly rare,” he states. 

And he says that because this is not happening, pupils are not really learning what it is like to “be a writer”.

Speaking on the Tes Podagogy podcast, professor Wyse explores several different aspects of teaching the writing process. He explains that it has to begin at the earliest ages of school and that, often, this is hampered by teachers not recognising when the youngest pupils believe they are writing.

“They are naturally curious about writing, and they play with the tools of writing given the opportunity. But in some research a PhD student of mine did recently, they found that adults did not pick up on the fact the children were writing when the children were very clear that they were writing. That is an important pedagogical lesson for us.”

He argues that teachers also need a broader appreciation of what writing is, and of its societal context. That means including examples of writing in different media or getting children to compose in different media, be it text messages, snapchats, formal reports, handwritten diaries - the list should be extensive.

“We have to teach writing as it really is, not base it too much on tests or a romantic notion of what it was,” he says.

That said, he is a firm advocate of a mixed approach to writing: part formal, part informal, so that the conventions are taught but creativity and engagement can also be cultivated.

“A general writing area in an early years setting is vital so children can, in any way they feel comfortable (at tables; on the floor on cushions) be making marks and have children interacting with children about those marks," he explains. "But also there is absolutely a place for more teacher-directed activities where teachers can stimulate with things they would like students to learn. Those things should be based on what the teacher has witnessed in those informal writing periods - that’s how they spot where the challenges are.”

In the podcast, he talks through the different stages of teaching writing and the latest research on how best to do it. You can listen via your Podcast provider (tyope in Tes- the education podcast) or via the player below:

September 28, 2018  

Join the Tes team as we discuss the head teachers' march on Downing Street.

We also mull over Labour's announcements about the future of academies at its annual conference, and discuss the plight of supply teachers.

Tune in and enjoy.

September 28, 2018  

In this week's TES FE Podcast, teacher, academic and educational 'nomad' Lou Mycroft, chats with TES columnist Sarah Simons, exploring how pedagogy can be brought to the front and centre of FE.

September 26, 2018  


Fred Oswald seems to audibly cringe when the words “21st Century Skills” are mentioned. But that’s not to say the professor of Industrial/Organizational Psychology
in the  Department of Psychology at Rice University does not think such skills exist. Rather, he believes this set of “non-cognitive” skills – including resilience, pro social skills, conscientiousness - have always been required in society, but the demand for them has now increased.  

“What makes them 21st century skills? Technology and internationalisation – these disrupting forces, how are they going to shift the relative weight on these skills,” he asks.  “With automation, if the technical aspect can be automated, does that leave the worker to have to concentrate on the non-cognitive skills, the social skills? I would not say these are new skills, but they are [now] just receiving more emphasis [from employers].”

Speaking on this week’s Podagogy podcast, he explains that organisations will try and influence education so as to produce workers with these skills.

“Businesses have an interest to find talent that will give them a competitive edge, so [if] they can [persuade schoolsto] develop that talent to their own advantage they will do it,” he explains.

Whether schools should – or can – listen is, of course, highly debateable.

Oswald’s view is that a balance is needed. He believes schools should have an eye on what the jobs market requires, but that businesses need to be more realistic about their role, too.

“Some organisations need to lean more to training, rather than selection, they are depending too much on the school system,” he argues.

But can schools even teach the non-cognitive skills companies are asking for, if they did choose to do so? Oswald says the research cannot yet answer that question, but believes the work of professors Angela Duckworth and Carol Dweck (who have both appeared on the Podagogy podcast) is beginning to show us what might be possible.

He also explains that some of the research he has undertaken with US assessment companies has also produced encouraging results of correlation between grade scores and these skills.

But for now, he thinks teachers just need to have these skills in mind when teaching, and to think about the balance between them and knowledge.

“We need to do more research to understand the balance between skills and knowledge in schools and how that translates to value for organisations,” he says. “A lot of effort and team work and leadership happens in classrooms but we do not necessarily recognise it as such [through assessment] . I think educators need to be more mindful of these skills in their classrooms.”

Oswald also discusses the impact of big data on assessment and the “partial reality” of the ‘skills gap’.

September 25, 2018  

“I used to love line-by-line forensic marking,” says Robin Macpherson, an assistant head at Dollar Academy. “I’m one of these weird people in that I like marking. If I’ve got a huge pile of marking at the weekend, for most people, that keeps them awake at night, but I just go off to a café somewhere and I like doing it.”

This was Macpherson’s approach to marking when he first started teaching. He promised his pupils that if they got work into him on time, they would get it back the next lesson, marked in detail. This was, he felt, his “mark of respect as a teacher”.

But, Macpherson explains in the latest episode of the Tes English teaching podcast, when he started to read the research around marking, he began to realise that all the time and effort he was putting into writing lengthy comments in students’ books might not be as worthwhile as he had thought.

This week, Carl Hendrick and Robin Macpherson, authors of What Does This Look Like In The Classroom: Bridging The Gap Between Research And Practice talk on the podcast about their own experience of applying research to the teaching of English, and examine the place of research in our classrooms.

Too much marking?

They offer insights into what the experts tell us about three essential areas of teaching: motivation, behaviour and feedback.

“People assume that marking is feedback in its entirety, but they’ve got that wrong. Marking is a small subset of all feedback. It’s just one way in which you can convey to pupils how they are doing,” says Macpherson.

As a result of engaging with research, he has now moved away from those “forensic” marking practices and begun to make more use of peer assessment, self-assessment and whole-class feedback instead, freeing up more time for him to focus on planning – and he believes his teaching has improved as a result.

“Personally, I’ve found it the hardest thing to change about my practice,” he says.

Jamie Thom is an English teacher at Cramlington Learning Village and the author of Slow Teaching: a guide to finding calm, organisation and impact in the classroom. He tweets @teachgratitude1


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