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This is a school photo taken in 1988.

I’m in there somewhere. See me?

No, I can’t either…

What a terrible photo, you might think. Actually, I think it’s perfect! It perfectly represents my experience at St Albans School in 1988. My experience was depersonalised, anonymous, and like this photo, rather blurred.

St Albans School for boys was considered to be a pretty good school in 1988, with a its fair share of students graduating to Oxbridge or other high end universities. I’m not talking about an underfunded or ‘failing’ school here. …

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I have been thinking about learning moments all my life, but I didn’t name them until earlier this year.

Learning moments are catalysts for learning and the development of independence, interdependence and connection to the world. They are also a way of personalising learning for everyone.

A learning moment is that time when you take control of your own learning. Certain conditions can increase the power of the learning moment (apologies for the slightly ropey diagram)

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Well being — Generally, we are more receptive to learning when we are physically and psychologically healthy

Curiosity — We are more receptive to learning when we are…

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After my , it looks like I have a question, ‘How do we make every student high performing?’. I don’t know the answer to this question, but I like a challenge. I am going to put forward some ideas and connect them with the research and work of others. By doing this, I hope I can start to establish a way forward.

Firstly, I think I need to clarify what I mean by making every student ‘high performing’. What I don’t mean is making every student achieve straight A’s, no matter what their level of achievement. Using standardised evaluation of student achievement is problematic. It often serves only to widen the gap between high and low achievers. …

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When I was at Primary school I was a ‘high performing’’ student. I didn’t know what ‘high performing’ meant. I loved school.

Around the age of 13, I my teachers labelled me as being an ‘arts’ student. My maths got worse and I soon fell out of love with science

By the age of 15, I was not enjoying school. I had been told that half of what I was studying (maths, biology, chemistry, physics, technical drawing) was not my strength. I started to resent being at school. I went on to skip a lot of school and flunk my ‘A’ levels. Fortunately I found a university that would accept me. …

Back in September I published a story about my plan to start a . We now have an ever expanding network of 18 classrooms across 13 schools covering countries including the UK, Tanzania, USA, Ecuador, Brazil, Russia, Italy and Spain.

Here are a few ideas for how those classes might connect in the areas of culture (who are you? What are you like?), curriculum (what are you/we learning?) and collaboration (how can we learn better together?).


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Mystery Skype

This is a great introductory session for classes to get to know each other whilst developing intercultural understanding and critical thinking skills. …

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Primary school counsellor, Andrea leads a session at ICS on Peace Day

Inspired by Peace Day (two days ago, September 21st), which was marked at ICS, I have decided to develop a global classroom network. I probably need to write a manifesto at some stage, but first I thought I would reflect on what I am planning, and why. If you are interested in joining this new venture, please email me on, or if you know a classroom, teacher or school that might be interested, please share this post, or my email.

What is a global classroom network?

A global classroom network is a network of classrooms (teachers and learners) all over the world that can come together and learn from each other. …

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Learners busy dissecting owl poo. But what is the teacher thinking?

I’m pretty new to blogging, and I’m curious about the power it has, so this is a type of experiment. Can Medium significantly increase the ideas we have in our school? Please read on, and make sure you get to the end, as that is where I need your input.

In previous blog posts, I have developed the idea of ‘heads on’ teaching. I developed the idea as a contrast to hands on teaching, where the teacher is always busy, at the centre of the learning process, and dominating the class. As outlined in , the ‘heads on’ teacher is still busy, just in a different way. …

I have reflected over the past few weeks about the teacher and his/her role. I have concluded that there is great value in teachers taking a back seat (what I refer to as ‘’ teaching).

As a fun way of developing this hypothesis we have decided to carry out an experiment at school. I will be teaching myself (team independent), while Jess will be taught by Josh (team taught). The goal: to create a game or animation using .

The rules (as agreed in over a drink last night):

  1. It has to be a game or animation
  2. With at least 2 different…

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5 year old teaching us Tai Chi

I have spent the beginning of the week visiting classrooms, reflecting on the teacher as facilitator, and developing the idea of ‘Heads On’ teaching (as originally thought up ).

I feel here that I should outline some of the characteristics of (good) ‘Heads On’ teaching.

  1. The teacher is generating interest, setting things up, overseeing the task, keeping learners on task, monitoring, giving feedback, facilitating sharing and peer feedback.
  2. Teacher instructions are expressed clearly and simply. Learners understand what they need to do.
  3. The learners are the focal point of the lesson.
  4. Learners are working collaboratively in groups, or alone.
  5. The teacher may appear to be sitting back or invisible in the classroom. …

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Learner does the teaching. Teachers do the learning.

The idea of the teacher as facilitator is not new. However, I wanted to consider what this looks like in relation to my research into ‘it’.

I was thinking of calling this post ‘Shut It’, reiterating the view that effective learning environments are usually those in which the learners are ‘doing stuff’ (and therefore the teacher is probably not at the front of the classroom holding court). …


Stuart Pollard

Sharing thoughts on my journey through education.

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