Teachers Matter

I am a firm believer that sometimes symbolic acts are required to shift debate, to open people up to thinking in new ways and to get momentum and progress where previously there has been inertia. Time will tell whether Mr Sunny Varkey of the Varkey Foundation has achieved such a paradigm shift through the Global Teacher Prize with it’s media-attention-grabbing $1 million prize.

There were over 5,000 entrants from all over the world. They were whittled down to a long list of 50 and then the short list of 10 finalists who appeared on the stage for the prizegiving on Sunday at the Atlantis Hotel, Dubai. The profiles and perspectives of all ten finalists made very inspiring reading. Every one of them would have represented a worthy winner and the very best of what our profession can be in terms of educators who look at their work from the perspective of furthering human potential at the individual and collective level.

The final 10 included my incomparable friend, Kiran Sethi from Ahmedabad, India. Anyone who has ever spent time at her Riverside School knows exactly why kiran was there and how richly deserving.

In the end, the winner was from the US, Nancie Atwell, who for over 40 years has helped to inspire young people to be effective readers and writers. Her acceptance speech was simple, modest and humble, but carried important messages for every educator.

Nancie Atwell – Teacher Prize Winner
(Click on the link to open the page. Nancie’s acceptance speech video is on the right side of the page)

We are indeed privileged.

Great Teachers Teach Commitment

Seth Godin – spot on !!

Seth Godin – Blog Post
(Click on the link to read)

A short blog post from Seth Godin, but with big implications and a lot to think about for all thinking, caring educators.

Good to Great ….. and Beyond

For all who lead organisations the work of Jim Collins offers great inspiration and wisdom about how to make organisations that do more than just ‘exist’. Through his books he inspired leaders to create organisations that aspire to greatness and that can sustain that and grow over time.

I was therefore really pleased to come across (and to share) this short but powerful document in which Jim sets out 12 key questions that leaders can use in the pursuit of greatness for their organizations.

These 12 questions and the insights in Good to Great, Built to Last and the other books are as relevant for schools as for commercially oriented organisations. In fact, considering where education is today, maybe even more relevant and more important.


(Click on the link above to open the document as a pdf)

Where Teens Have the Most Homework – The Atlantic


Here’s an interesting international comparison article looking at homework.  One interesting thing is to compare this list with the international rankings for things like PISA and TIMMS.  The correlation is a very weak one.

What the article fails to get in to is the issue of the quality of tasks being set as homework.  This is critical in any meaningful comparison.  If the work set is busy work,  mindless mugging up or projects that fail to engage the student then it doesn’t matter what the quantity is – the learning outcomes will be poor.

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Your Headphones Are Killing You


An interesting article that shares real data about the risks and issues of noise levels,  especially for children. I probably should have had access to data like this when I was younger.  Of course,  for teenagers,  having the data doesn’t necessarily always lead to wise decision making!

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