I have been blogging on THIS Education for nearly three months and I have written 21 blogs. By my calculations that is just short of 20,000 words. It dawned on me that I have written the equivalent of at least one book. Over the past few weeks I have started asking questions which I would like to answer;
Why am I writing a blog and how can it be developed?
An easy one to answer. I want to make a difference in education in this country. I want to ensure that teaching young people involves the learning of skills that are important to their lives and gaining employment. I have lost count of the number of employers who complain (myself included) about the need for people to be able to show that they have transferable skills or soft skills when coming to an interview. I have lost count of the amount of people you see getting themselves into debt by not having the simple skills to budget their income v outgoings. Whether its Skills for the workplace or skills for life we owe it to our young people to provide this education as a high priority in schools and colleges. THIS is a good reason for continuing my blog. I will therefore develop my blog further by providing more help advice and support to ‘Leaders of Learning‘ inside and outside the classroom (Please see ‘MIND SHIFT: Leaders of Learning Creating Independent Learners‘)
Do I make a difference with my blog?
This is a much tougher one to answer. It brings into my mind a whole host of forces that I cannot influence alone, educational policy certainly needs to change. Many people from business, to careers support, to education itself have started to voice concern over the focus on tests and exams without much concern for developing the whole learner. This is again a very good reason to keep my blog going and influence policy, while continuing to provide advice to others.
Does anyone read it?
The stats provided by wordpress.com suggest I am getting readers. Many people comment on my blogs via twitter and I have been asked to write guest blogs for www.irisconnect.co.uk and www.showmyhomework.co.uk which means that some of the things that I say strike a chord with other educators. I also get various other organisations inquiring about working with them on other educational projects.
Am I maintaining the vision of my blog?
I have to say this is highly important for me as some people have commented that I am against traditional styles of teaching. I want to stress that I am not anti traditional teaching but I do think that other skills based learning opportunities are just as important. Then, at the right time, young people should be given the opportunity and have the options for academic or skills based pathways. A young person should also be able to choose a mixture of pathways without the institution or individual being penalised. I also want there to be less focus on the exam driven curriculum which I believe is damaging our young people. I do want to promote skills learning, including being able to display characteristics in soft skills, transferable skills, essential skills, digital skills and life skills. I am passionate that this must have an equal focus in a curriculum that prepares a young person fully for life and work in the 21st century.
Do I help people and is my blog supporting my career and interests?
I posted my first blog on the 16th January 2015 and I stated that the reason for doing this was to promote skills in education and to help, advise and share ideas about how schools and teachers can carry this out in their classroom. In truth I had a lot going on in my head (some people may find that hard to believe) and I needed get my thoughts and ideas down on paper (virtually speaking). I have found my blog to be the perfect outlet for this. My head now feels uncluttered and I have also managed to direct certain frustrations in a positive manner. I have also found that I have become slightly better in the skill of producing the written word (I did say slightly!). For me however, what I have really enjoyed about my blog is the opportunity it has given me to write down learning ideas and strategies for the classroom. I KNOW that this strategy can help improve and better develop young people, both in their skills for learning and in their long term academic progression. Several of these ideas I have already written about in blogs.
To bring the journey of THIS Education together (so far); I will continue to blog and focus on the issues that are important in education, and what we still need to get right in this country. I passionately believe that every young person has a right to a more balanced skills and academic based education as part of a drive to fully develop our young people for life and work in the 21st century.
I dearly hope that whichever party (or parties) form a government after the May 2015 election will have the strength to do the right thing for OUR young people and their education! Well I can hope anyway…