TeachMeet Dorset

TeachMeet Dorset

Yes, it’s coming – TeachMeet Dorset is coming to Gillingham School! I encourage everyone of you to try and come – Thursday 16th May. To sign up for TeachMeet Dorset please click here.

Every since I went to my first ever TeachMeet down on the Isle of Portland back in November, I have been very keen to bring it to my school. At the time I was a TeachMeet Virgin (!) and only knew about the events through reading about them on blogs or via twitter. I didn’t really know what to expect. Luckily, Gary Spracklen (@Nelkcarps), who organised this event, was very welcoming and a great host. I was very impressed by the opportunity to share teaching ideas and a chance to meet other teachers from other schools.

This year event is being organised by myself and Gary Spracklen (@Nelkcarps) of IPACA, Director of Digital Learning and Innovation and South West Digital Educator of the Year (2012).

So what is TeachMeet?

TeachMeet Dorset

Learn something new, be amazed, amused and enthused. This is an informal gathering of those curious about teaching and learning. Anyone can share great ideas they’ve trialled in their classrooms, ask important questions or simply sign up to take part in learning conversations. Education professionals from all sectors are welcome to take part.

The main part of TeachMeet is hearing stories about learning, from teachers. This is not an event to present about a product or theory – this is a chance for teachers from all types of establishments to hear ideas from each other. Real narratives of practice that make a difference. It is about being engaged and inspired by our immediate colleagues and a whole bucket load of networking to boot!

Please do get in touch if you have any questions or wish to help sponsor the event. For directions to the event please click here. If you are having trouble editing the wiki then just email me at mtidd@gillingham-dorset.co.uk or via twitter @tiddtalk and I will add you to the list. For further details of TeachMeet Dorset click here. I look forward to seeing some of you there!

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Geography and the Movies

Over the Christmas holidays I was going through my DVD library at home and it got me thing about the importance and usefulness of films in education. I do use films in my lessons as I find the footage and content can convey a message that can help a students understanding. Back in January 2010 I wrote about this very issue on my blog and for Sec-Ed in April 2009.

I have always been using documentaries and footage from DVDs and videos in my lessons but I had not realised what films could offer. It got my mind racing on different aspects of films that could be shown to pupils within different subject areas. I soon realised that films could enhance and develop a pupils learning and encourage them to be life long learners.

Films can enhance a lesson and excite a young mind with their powerful and thought-provoking subject matter. My good friend from my Southampton University days, Dr. Pietari Kaapa of the University of Nottingham, has stated that, ‘cinema as both a popular form of entertainment and a means of artistic and political expression, is a crucial area of classroom teaching. The pedagogical potential of film provides an immediate and invigorating addition to established lesson plans, while the history of the medium and its contextual socio-cultural relevance function as sources of study in their own right.’

As a Geography Teacher I have used a wide variety of different films to help show and back up key terminology or sometimes complex geographical features. The world today has created a generation of young people with very active minds. The days of a teacher in a classroom talking for 50 minutes are long gone and would not generate much enthusiasm from today’s young learners. Interaction and variety is what is needed to engage learners and film is one medium that can grip a young person’s attention. Film can enthuse and generate much debate and help a learner.

Pupils are requested to use and take part in different types of media within their learning from the National Curriculum. Films like music should be encouraged to be used within the classroom. My good friend and former flatmate, Nick Hargreaves, of Radipole Primary School in Weymouth, Dorset, believes that ‘films are a really valid text as much as books. With the National Curriculum we have to look at various types of media within a child’s learning and film is one way. Films are not always easy to understand and it does take time sometimes for a young learner to fully understand the complexities of a film like the music changing in relation to the mood of the film.’ As we are aware there are three types of learners; visual, auditory and kinesthetic. A film is one medium that incorporates all three learning styles and can hold the attention and pass on knowledge and understanding to all three main learning styles.  Nick Hargreaves says ‘film takes into account how a learner learns…it attracts the three main types of learners and engages all of them in one sitting. It reaches out to all target levels especially boys’.

I remember reading Great Expectations at school and found watching the David Lean adaption a much-needed guiding hand when it came to revising for the GCSE. A film may not always be true or correct, but in the right hands, us as teachers, we can filter out the bad and use the great pieces of film there is out there waiting to be used.