Monthly Archives: October 2014

Using questions to fuel personal teacher growth

The more you find out, the more questions it leads to. The more you know, the more you realise you don’t know. And by asking questions, the more we can engage in personal reflection and maintain a fresh, problem solving perspective on things.

So the challenge of the day is to see what childlike questions you can raise about yourself as a teacher and your practice to take a step back and look at things afresh. Again. It doesn’t matter if you think you know the answers to the questions, because each time you revisit them you are at a slightly different place and time than you were the last time you asked them.

Stay curious. Develop your own curiosity. It’s infectious. It will help you keep fresh in your own practice, and your curiosity will rub off on others: hopefully even your students!

Just do a free-writing 5 minute blast on a list of questions that come into your head about your own role as a teacher, your practice, and your students. You can do this in a blog, or a notebook… Anywhere! But the aim is to do it in an exploratory way, free-flowing, without aiming to finish it, without judgement… Just aim to think freely with the aim of looking at something from many different perspectives.

When you have your list of questions you can then set about reflecting on them. They could then be powerful catalysts for personal growth and development.

Here’s my list below. Feel free to add more questions in comments, or even reflect and leave comment on any responses to any of the questions you might have…

1) when do I feel most comfortable in the classroom?
2) what students, classrooms and activities allow me to feel most fully myself?
3) what is the one thing I could stop doing, or start doing, or do differently, starting on Monday morning that would improve the quality of my teaching?
4) what is my greatest teaching talent?
5) who are my most inspiring teacher role models?
6) how can I best help my students?
7) what is my greatest wish for my class?
8) how am I perceived by: my best students? My worst students? My colleagues and boss? My students’ parents?
9) what are the really good things about my role as a teacher?
10) what legacy would I like to leave as a teacher?

And some more teaching focused questions:

1) how does a teacher teach?
2) why do students learn?
3) why do students improve?
4) how does a lesson get taught?
5) how does learning slow down?
6) how does learning accelerate?
7) how much can students learn?
8) when do students stop learning?
9) how can a teacher learn to see and understand what’s going on in a student’s head?
10) what fuels good teaching?

Keep asking questions…


Recommended Reading for PGCE Module 1 – collated by @cazzwebbo

Hi Folks

What books would you recommend for the PGCE? Below is a list we’ve been suggested for Module 1: “Preparing to Teach, Plus”. Please add any other good ones you’d recommend in the comments below.

Thanks, Carol x

Reading List – Preparing to Teach plus (FE & Skills)

Module Content

*Avis, J, Fisher, R & Thompson, R. (2009) Teaching in the Lifelong Learning Sector – a guide to theory and practice. Maidenhead: Open University Press

Bolton, G (2010) Reflective Practice – writing & professional development. 3rd Edition. London: Sage

Francis, M Gould, J (2009) Achieving your PTLLS Award, Sage

Gravells, A (2008) Preparing to Teach in the Lifelong Learning Sector (Third Edition) Learning Matters

Gray, D. Griffin, C. Nasta, T. (2000) Training to Teach in Further and Adult Education. Cheltenham. Nelson Thornes

Inglelby, E, Joyce, D & Powell, S. (2010) Learning to Teach in the Lifelong Learning Sector. London: Continuum

O’Grady, A. (2013) Lifelong Learning in the UK, An introduction guide for Education Studies. Routledge

Petty, G. (2009). Teaching Today: A practical Guide Cheltenham. (Fourth Edition) Nelson Thornes.

Reece, I. Walker, S. (2007) Teaching, Training and Learning: A Practical Guide. (Sixth Edition). Sunderland. Business Education Publishers Ltd

*Scales, P. (2008). Teaching in the Lifelong Learning Sector. Berkshire. Open University Press

*Scales, P. (2012). Teaching in the Lifelong Learning Sector. 2nd Edition Berkshire. Open University Press

*Tummons, J (2007) Becoming a Professional Tutor in the Lifelong Learning Sector. Exeter: Learning Matters

Wallace, S. Ed (2010) Becoming a professional Tutor in the Lifelong Learning Sector. Exeter. Learning Matters Ltd.

Wallace, S. (2011). Teaching, Tutoring and Training in the Lifelong Learning Sector 4th Edition. Exeter. Learning Matters Ltd.

Wilson, L (2009) Practical Teaching, A guide to PTLLS and CTLLS. Cengage Learning


Cottrell, S (2008) The Study Skills Handbook, 3rd Edition. Hampshire: Palgrave Macmillan

*available as e-books

When people fall out… The Vicar of Dibley Says…

So you’ve had a falling out. Someone doesn’t agree with you. You don’t agree with them. They don’t like something you did. Or you don’t like something they did. They said something about you. Harsh words were spoken, to your face or behind your back. They aren’t on your Christmas card list anymore. Everyone has trounced off and slammed doors behind them. Hrmph.

My Vicar of Dibley ‘altar’ ego says:

– Be a grown up and walk away if you can’t work it out
– Don’t try and make people take sides. And don’t take sides. It’s your battle. Not someone else’s.
– Don’t gossip about it if you don’t know about it or weren’t there. You’re quite sad if you do. You don’t know enough of either side of the matter and is it any of your business? Really?
– There might be some truth in something you’ve heard. There might be a lot you don’t know as well. Don’t judge lest you be judged.
– Just because someone else has fallen out with someone doesn’t mean you have to fall out with them too. You can still quite happily be ok with both parties.
– Don’t meddle in other people’s affairs. Don’t try and stir. Don’t make things worse. Why would you do that?
– If someone comes to you bitching about someone else, the most effective remedy is often to say why you, on the other hand, quite like that person.
– Everyone has their faults. Don’t fight someone else’s battles and don’t get sucked in to other people’s circus and monkeys.
– Stay grown up and let other people be. We are all different and nobody gets along all the time. Clashes will occur. Diversity is the spice of life. Everyone is much too busy with their own circus to get drawn in to other people’s.

Have a great Sunday 😘