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The thought that their children might be educating at home alone can put some parents off home educating. But with the growth in home educating groups the reality is quite different for most families. The name ‘home’ education also creates a false impression of children learning in isolation and rarely getting out to meet and mix. However, with the increasing numbers of families choosing to educate without school there is also an increase in the numbers of home schooling groups who meet, socialise, work and go out on trips together. This is mostly thanks to the web. Networking (especially through Yahoo or Facebook groups) has enabled families who home educate to extend their contacts and gatherings far more successfully than pre-social media. It means that small groups of people, who were once invisible to each other, can now connect and meet. And there are groups dotted all over the UK which are growing in size and diversity offering a huge resource of support and opportunity. Us

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Depending on who you talk to, teachers work anywhere between a cosy amount of hours, leave by 3:30pm and then enjoy massive holidays to a horrific number of stressful hours in overfilled classrooms, trying desperately to fit into our exam culture. The former will come from disgruntled parents, educational traditionalists and anti-unionists I m sure.  The latter?  Most likely teachers I think. Truth be told, there s no way of getting this information out in the open without appearing to take one side or the other.  I ll try and keep it as neutral as I can. What we are lucky to have are the annual results from the Department for Education a clever delve into the world of teaching thanks to some nice diary-keeping.  With that in mind, we should be able to get a nice look into the hours that teachers really work. How long is a teaching working week? According to the survey, heading the list are secondary school headteachers who fit in 63.3 hours a week for a five day week that s 12 ho

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How Is the Body Culturally Constructed?

The body is a model which can stand for any bounded system’ (Douglas 1966: 115).

In her work Purity and Danger, Mary Douglas describes the body as a symbol of society, where society is able to regulate the variety of bodies we have in relation to notions such as body size, fitness, health and beauty. The physical body, and the way in which it is both perceived and embodied, indicates the nature…

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Children come already primed to learn, although many educators disregard that fact and therefore miss out on this potential. They are primed by their natural curiosity. Which is why they do all those irritating things when they’re toddlers like opening cupboard doors, pressing keys and tapping the Ipad when you’re using it. They don’t do this to be annoying as it’s easy to think. They do it because they are naturally curious about the things around them and want to investigate. Curiosity is part of their desire to learn. This desire to learn gets thrust aside if the whole focus of their education requires them to forget the things they’re curious about and concentrate on prescribed curriculum. So some educators rarely utilise it. But home educators can use children’s curiosity to inspire learning experiences. This keeps the learning relevant, which in turn helps keep them motivated, thus developing a positive attitude to learning that lasts a lifetime. All from curiosity.

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Days can flash by so quickly when you home educate. But some people do wonder how, envisaging long empty hours. This is rarely the reality; families soon get into the swing of life without school routines and a pattern of learning and living gradually falls into place. This becomes established through the approach families take to home education. For some it is a natural progression from their time at home with pre-school age children. For others who’ve returned to home based learning after a period in school, it sometimes takes longer to adjust and develop different understanding of the multitude of ways there are to learn. Many parents first home educating start out by organising their day in a fairly directed and formal way similar to a school one. Parents direct learning exercises for the children and structure activities with a particular skill or topic in mind, perhaps doing academic exercises on sheets or workbooks, or from the web. After such activities are completed the chi

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Once upon a time, you did your A Levels based on what you see your future to be.  If you did well enough, you went to university and got yourself a degree.  Meanwhile, you paid no fees for your experience and you set yourself up well for life. Of course, today is rather different a country where tuition fees cost a mint and what you actually studied doesn t seem to make the blindest bit of difference (except for law and medicine). What we re seeing is a rather fragmented higher education system which is rather painfully dividing itself into a few distinct tiers: 1. We re asking for high grades and we re going to tell you what you need to have studied. 2. We re asking for high grades but we d like to see a well-rounded education. 3. We re not asking for the highest but you have to have studied X, Y and Z. 4. We re not asking for the highest and we want to see well-rounded individuals. I very much went for the 4th option there I didn t walk out with the best A Level results and came o

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Children going back to school will be learning with a new curriculum that according to the Prime Minister is “rigorous, engaging and tough” (see BBC report) But I m worried, after looking at some of the components,whether it is more likely to put children off learning than it is to engage them. It may also be a contributory factor in growing numbers of parents deciding to abandon schools and home educate. For the curriculum has become so prescriptive that parents feel it destroys the children’s innate curiosity and desire to learn. As an example take Year 4 children, aged 8 9, learning English. What they need is to be able to use our language to communicate well so they can build relationships with others, express themselves, speak, write and read effectively. But learning to label parts of the language as ‘determiner’, ‘possessive pronoun’ or ‘adverbial’ (as per the new curriculum), is not going enhance that process at all. Do you understand what those are? And is k

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What student does not dread exams? To quote that famous educationalist (err, maybe not) Eminem His palms are sweaty, knees weak , and that certainly sums up how I feel about exams. As somebody still stuck in the education system, enduring important exams every summer, and taking time to enjoy what s left of my long summer holiday before starting Uni, my mind has turned to exams, and whether they are really that important, let alone really necessary? And toy with the almost heretical idea that exams be abolished altogether. Who knows, maybe someone may even listen now that everybody s friend Michael Gove has left education for pastures new. The point of exams is to monitor a students process, but has this gone to far? Schools, in some ways have become exam result factories, teaching students just how to pass the exams. The aim of the game is memorise, retain, and regurgitate information, so surely this is just a test of your short-term memory rather than your understanding? Is thi

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Teaching can be tough, particularly when you have an unruly class to work with. Every child comes from a uniquely different background. Getting children to conform with classroom behaviour norms can be challenging, if their patterns are already firmly entrenched, and where they have issues such as respecting limits and personal space, or responding to conflict. It is therefore vital that teachers establish healthy patterns in the classroom, making it clear that what is tolerated at home or in social settings, will not necessarily be mirrored within the school. These are just a few habits of teachers who know how to effectively improve student behaviour in class: Greet each and every student at the door: Personal interaction is vital, as is setting a positive atmosphere in the classroom from the word go. Greet each student with a personal comment or positive wish for the day, so they feel acknowledged and cared for. Set rules and regulations early in the school year: Ask students t

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Tutoring these days is a whole different ball game than just five years back. The advent of e-learning tools and platforms sets out to make tutoring a much more practical experience, since one tutor can guide pupils who live at a distance, or monitor a group of students, from the comfort of home. In many ways, however, being an online tutor poses a whole new set of challenges – mainly in the areas of keeping students motivated and ensuring they are consistent and disciplined enough to complete set tasks, despite not having to see their tutor in person. We have prepared the following tips on how to become an effective online tutor. Let students know how much you can help them out A good online tutor will: respond to doubts and queries within a reasonable period of time (let your students know how quickly you will be responding from the outset), set interesting assignments, guide them through difficult areas and give feedback on work submitted. Be available Identify what the student