Positive Benefits from Music Education

Here’s a well-researched piece extolling the broad virtues and benefits of music education – particularly as a preventative more than remedial approach towards healthy learning.

The data given sets out a very strong case for something that we’ve been feeling some time. As a result, we’ve been in discussions about how we can significantly enhance the music programmes available to TSRS students. The specialized knowledge and skills required mean that we’re likely to ‘outsource’ a considerable part of this provision.

Music education as preventive medicine for youth

Student Intrinsic Motivation

This is an excellent article from Ed Week Teacher based on excerpts from a new book. The crux of the piece is that all attempts to develop motivation in others (students) are pretty much doomed to failure. The only kind of motivation that is really sustainable is intrinsic motivation.

Helping Students Motivate Themselves – Ed Week Teacher Article

The article contains some very good ideas for how educators can encourage and nurture intrinsic motivation, and also some of the risks of attempting to impose motivation.

Skype for Educators

Some teachers have been finding some really nice, creative and innovative ways to use Skype as an education resource. I was therefore very happy to see this little story about how Skype are responding to these initiatives by giving educators an exclusive network:

Skype Dedicated Teacher Network

Respect for Teachers

The status of teachers in society is a debate that raises its head from time to time. With recent events in the USA the topic has, again, come to the surface. It is a relevant topic that matters, if for no other reason than the fact that the status of the profession influences the choices made by young graduates about whether or not to consider education as a viable career option.

The New York Times recently carried a series of articles giving different perspectives on the issues, under their ‘Room for Debate’ series:

New York Times – Teacher Status

I feel inclined at times when reading these kinds of opinion pieces to compare and contrast the teaching profession with other professions, such as doctors or lawyers. In many countries these professions have established their credentials and self-governed standards of professional conduct through firm, rational self-governance which has usually prevented the inclination of others to impose rules and regulations on them. For some reason, the teaching profession has a history of refusing and resisting both external regulation and self-regulatory bodies. I believe in today’s world it is naïve to say ‘trust us because we are teachers, leave us to do our jobs and don’t talk about our accountability’. ‘Consumers’ believe that accountability must always be there. In many countries there are bodies that do a lot of good work on educational standards, professional development of teachers etc. (e.g. ASCD in the USA). However, these bodies are voluntary, tending to attract the best and most motivated of teachers, but too often inadvertently providing the smokescreen behind which the lower standard teachers can avoid accountability.

Most individual teachers are respected for the challenging work they do in often intense circumstances. However, this doesn’t translate in to respect for the profession as a whole – and that’s something all teachers need to reflect on.

Teachers Sharing Lesson Ideas

Here’s a link for another website that acts as a meeting place for teachers throughout the world to post and share lesson plans:

Better Lesson Website

I love the way such websites are emerging within the internet social networking domain – evidence of teachers’ inclination to share knowledge and to focus as much on mastering their teaching practice as the ‘stuff’ they teach. I would encourage all teachers to get involved in this movement, not only taking and trying lessons that others have posted, but also sharing your own ideas.

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