Theatre and Mindfulness

This month in the UK there is a focus on wellbeing and mental health, which of course links to mindfulness, which is what many schools are embracing as part of their Advisory programmes. Soon I am going to be running a workshop in my local community on wellbeing and creativity, so I have been reading up about creative mindfulness. The blog this month is going to share some mindfulness exercises that you can try out with your students, but I ...

Paper Two: Students Teaching Students

How can teachers ensure that they offer revision activities that benefit a variety of skills and learning styles in their classroom? Here are some tried and tested activities that I like to use to prepare my mixed ability class for Paper Two. 1. Poster making Students create posters using drawings, quotes, summaries of themes, plot turning points, narrative devices or character overviews, etc. I use large butcher's paper and display in the classroom in the weeks leading up exams. Students take photos and share ...

Soil Conservation

Soil conservation measures 95% of the world’s food is produced on soil One-third of the UK’s soils are degraded One million hectares (36% of arable land in the UK is at risk from erosion. According to the UK environment secretary, Michael Gove, in some parts of the country, the UK’s soils may only be able to support farming for a further 30-40 years. Conservation agriculture aims to restore soil quality by increasing biodiversity, organic matter and soil fertility. It does not involve any ploughing of ...

Should Language and Literature teachers give more privilege to the politicians?

Using election campaigns for studying the power of language  It’s 1960. Personal computers don’t exist. ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’, by Harper Lee wins the Pulitzer Prize for literature. Senator John F. Kennedy of Massachusetts is about to become the youngest elected president in US history.’ – A self-guided tour for high school students (John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum) The juxtaposition of Harper Lee’s name with Kennedy’s jarred me. I couldn’t walk the halls and just absorb the glamourous ...

In Praise of the European Spirit

Europe is going through one of the recurrent identity crises which have punctuated its long history. Some journalists and pundits contemptuously reject the very idea of a ‘European Civilisation’ and in a strange exercise of self-hatred, take full personal responsibility when the ghosts of slavery and colonisation are evoked. Yet, no other continent is prepared to face its worst demons and question its cultural and intellectual legacy in a period defined by confusion and uncertainty. This ability to question our ...

How do you do it?

Personally, I find section 9.2 one of the hardest parts of the course to teach. It relates to voltaic cells. I can never remember is it left minus right or vice versa, which side is positive, which is negative? In order to help teach this I put together a useful set of ideas / principles that I now use to help my teaching. It does involve some learning / memorization of facts but once these points are learnt, everything else ...

Seven Questions about Starting to Teach the Course

In recent category 1 visual arts workshops I have been asked some great questions about our subject; for example, what to teach, how to balance the things we teach, how much time we should have to teach in, how to connect to other subjects, etc. Here are the questions with my answers. If you would like to attend an IB authorized teacher training professional development workshop, go here. There are 36 visual arts workshops between now and December. 1. “Do I teach about techniques ...

Time to be lazy

This is the time of the academic year when IB teachers have a mix of being both happy and sad. Or maybe these are the wrong terms to use – we are nervous and feeling a little lazy – but teachers know this is an important phase for us to go through. Nervous. I feel nervous at this time because the exams are VERY close and of course, I am hoping (a terrible word I think!) that the exam allows the ...

World Theatre in the Shadows

The last few weeks I have been researching theatre traditions and theatre companies that use SHADOWS in their performances. For this blog I thought it would be good to share them with you so that you can see the amazing range of ways that light and darkness can be used with objects, bodies and film in performance. You can use these as starting points for devising, ways into world theatre traditions or as ideas for performance and production. I hope ...

Cyclone Idai

Cyclone Idai struck Mozambique, Malawi, and Zimbabwe in March 2019 affecting up to 2.6 million people. In Mozambique, some 1.85 million people have been affected and in Malawi around 900,000. Around 130,000 people have been displaced in Mozambique, and around 90,0000 in Malawi. The final toll of the cyclone will not be known for many months, perhaps ever. This was the worst cyclone to affect the area since February 2000 when the region was affected by three cyclone in just ...