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Showing posts from 2020

Open? Reflecting on an experiment to give away my teaching resources

In August 2019, I started an experiment . Rather than sell my teaching materials online via a platform, I would share them in a pay-as-you-can arrangement. One year on, I reflect on the experiment and why (spoiler alert!) it has left me poorer. ⌚ 7 minutes Last summer, I read the excellent book called Open: how we'll work, live and learn in the future by David Price. This book discussed how developments in technology are altering how we share and gather information and, as such, have transformative implications for how we live, work and learn. These implications are relevant now, Price argues, and will become even more so in the future. It's a fascinating book. Price argues that the spirit of open enterprise (also called Creative Commons) allows traders and service providers to cut out large consultancy agencies, publishing platforms and so on by speak to their clients directly. If you have a training course to sell, for example, avoid an agency: instead promote it via socia

Not going back

⌚ 3 minutes   I often feel quite sad at this time of year. Teachers and children prepare to return to the school, a mass migration, a new beginning in which I no longer take part. Since leaving teaching in July 2014, the next time a September comes around I feel like I should be doing something: labelling trays, organising my classroom, buying new stationery (best bit), getting excited about subjects I will teach, or books that I will read and looking forward to getting to know the children who will call me sir (or 'miss'). As mundane as these tasks are, they were rituals of the job I performed for many years and symbolised the start of something new, something fresh. No, things are not all bad. I can have a longer, cheaper summer holiday. I don't have to get up at 6.30am. I am far less tired than I used to be. Now, I often find that I have a great burst of creative energy at this time of year - new ideas seem to come easily, I have a renewed determination to achieve the t

What does storytelling software Twine have to offer young writers?

    A fter a chance bit of Googling this week, I stumbled across Twine - an interactive storytelling platform for building text-based games. It is a platform with pot ential for developing narrative in our schools . ⌚ 6 minutes   I have spent my summer reading. After spending lockdown in Thailand with a rapidly deleting selection of books (reading A Casual Vacancy was a last resort), coming back to a house of full bookshelves was a treat. It felt good for the soul to escape the worries of the present by slipping into another, fictional world whose problems were not my concern. I have also been playing a lot of computer games, revisiting many of the games that I enjoyed as a child: The Settlers , Civilisation , Frontier Elite , Rome Total War . If you're not a 1990s computer game fan then, no, you're not alone but please indulge me as I reminisce. This summer, with time on my hands, I started to think seriously about why it was I enjoy playing these games, and why they seem to

ARTiculate Education - rethinking primary creative writing

Hello! 你好!    My name is Stefan Kucharczyk and I am an experienced primary school teacher, lecturer and writer based in Leeds (UK). I have always loved losing myself in stories: in books, films, computer games, theatre, lego and anything and everything else. But my real passion has always been writing. Now, I work with primary school children and teachers to support them in making writing an immersive, creative and fun experience. I am interested in the potential of creative, enquiry-based learning to change the way we think about education in primary schools (and education in general) and to help prepare young learners to live and flourish as literate citizens in an exciting world. I also work in Higher Education as a university lecturer and tutor. No, I am not an all-seeing expert with schemes of work under my arm, but I have experience, passion, imagination and the willingness to take a risk - all that you need to change the world. To book me for workshops, CPD, speaking engagemen

A thought on 21st Century Education

One of the educational buzzwords that I am attached to is ‘21st Century education’. I love it. And, while I am partly sure it is connected to my love of sci-fi and watching the Jetsons as a child, I think it encapsulates the idea that known-unknown that is how people will live and work in the near and far future. As a teacher, this interests me for several reasons. The first being that, as technology transforms our society at breakneck speed, this uncertain future is actually quite close. The second being that growing conviction that the way we educate children is not preparing them for this future. A challenge for educators has always been how to make education as relevant as possible for learners; relevant not only for their future but also for their present. Contending with a society that is being rapidly transformed by technology, education has difficulty maintaining its relevance. I want to avoid cliched generalisations, but there is much truth in the idea that many of the job

BERA blog post on creativity and teacher identity

  My first BERA blog post 'Teacher identity in a performative age: Coming to research through autoethnography' was published this week. In this piece I reflect on the themes of my recent MRes which explored the experiences of my teaching career using a personal, reflective research method - autoethnography. The main question is how can teachers promote creativity - which thrives on risk - in a competitive education that prioritises performance. The feedback to this post has been really positive. Please access my blog post here:

Tweeters and twitter: a creativity debate

A few weeks ago, the Twitter algorithm fairy threw a discussion about creativity into my feed. I have a natural aversion to putting my hand into this kind of hornets' nest, but on this occasion I couldn't resist. The discussion that was playing out reflects the evidence that creativity is something teachers care about and see it as a skill to be valued in education, and yet it is still something misunderstood and misappropriated. It went something like this... A primary school teacher had posted to Twitter a picture of an art display in her classroom. See a snippet of the picture below. The display showed pictures of birds the children had painted in watercolours and was captioned with a comment to praise her class for their work. Not so, said Twitter. The birds are all identical: how is this going to develop creativity in children? Wrong, came the counter-argument: children in primary school need to be fluent in skills before they can attempt to be creative.