Here’s a few news items from the world of education that have caught my eye…..

  • Children’s education is suffering because of poor mental health experienced by many teachers according to a survey of 770 teachers carried out by and Leeds Beckett University. Key findings include:

* 94% say mental health can have a detrimental impact on their physical energy in the classroom

* 73% believe mental health can have a negative impact on the quality of their explanations in lessons

* 72% think that their questioning skills in lessons can suffer due to poor mental health

* 89% say their mental health can have a detrimental impact on creativity in their teaching

* 85% thought their mental health could reduce the quality of their lesson planning

Professor Jonathan Glazzard, of Leeds Beckett University’s Carnegie School of Education, said teachers were suffering from the effects of constant learning walks, lesson observations and work scrutiny,

We also know from our on-going research in the Carnegie Centre of Excellence for Mental Health in Schools that there is also a network of power and surveillance that operates within schools as well as a general lack of trust in teachers. This is about how teachers treat each other. Schools need to promote a culture of inclusion so that all staff and children experience a sense of belonging.

  • The CEOs of Unilever, The LEGO Foundation and IKEA Group announced the ‘Real Play Coalition’ at the World Economic Forum in Davos. They are calling on educators, policymakers and politicians to cooperate in stimulating play opportunities that contribute to the creative development of children and key learning skills such as problem solving. Research by Unilever shows that 61% of children say that they can no longer play without technological aids.

An ambitious action programme that focuses on creating more and new opportunities for playing in schools and in large cities is being planned with pilot projects starting this year. During the announcement of the ‘Real Play Coalition’ a special role was reserved for the wooden block box with which Albert Einstein played with as a child and visitors to the World Economic Forum were given the chance to play with exact replicas of this block box. Einstein’s block box symbolises the importance of research and play and so the ‘Real Play Coalition’ uses this toy as a mascot of the movement. They say,

To solve the world’s biggest challenges, we need disruptive thinkers. Albert Einstein used play as a creative method for problem solving.

  • A new poverty map published by the End Child Poverty coalition reveals there are now constituencies where more than half of children are growing up in poverty.

  • A survey of more than 1,000 pupils between the ages of 11 and 18 by the charity Plan International UK shows that 85 per cent of girls think that their school should teach them how to cope with sexist, racist or discriminatory behaviour online.
  • Teacher and school evidence-engagement: self-assessment toolkits are available via the Chartered College of Teaching and well worth a look. These collaborative tools encourage us to consider our engagement with research evidence and the areas we may need to develop.
  • Working in a classroom children with behavioural, emotional and mental-health problems is as tough as it gets. Could you deal with violence on a daily basis and why should you have to?


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