Charlotte Wilkinson, TES Author Wilkieway, talks about what she’s learnt from teaching in different countries, their education systems and how her experiences have shaped her resources.
Tell us a bit about yourself
I was a teacher and deputy principal in the United Kingdom before emigrating to New Zealand in 1999. It was then that I began producing resources under my own trademark and self-publishing with my husband.
I currently work as a private education consultant and resource writer, specialising in primary mathematics.
What's it been like working as a teacher and author in different countries?
During my career I have worked with many different curricula. In the UK, I was involved with the implementation of the very first mathematics curriculum and its subsequent documents. On the other hand, my initial experience of the NZ curriculum was an online version, which has, like in the UK, been superseded.
I have found that while the actual mathematics doesn’t change between curricula, the execution of each is slightly different.
Working with the curricula in Africa was particularly interesting as it was far more restrictive. For example, at the time, Year 3 were not allowed to use four-digit numbers. I could write in text: 'one thousand grams = 1 kg', but I couldn’t write '1,000' in figures because it had four digits!
What knowledge would you like to share with other teachers and authors based on your experiences?
My experiences have shown me that all curricula are knowledge-based. However, instead of a series of items to be ticked off, educators should view the documents as signposts along the journey of learning.
I like the statement from the New Zealand document: "Each student’s ultimate learning success is more important than the covering of a particular achievement objective."
All resources created should contribute to learning success, rather than simply allowing the teacher to tick a box.
Why did you decide to join TES to share your resources?
TES provides a ready-made platform for both the sharing of free resources and the selling of premium resources, so I decided to give it a go.
I publish free and premium resources for different purposes. Free resources are either very simple resources that any teacher could produce if they had the time, or they are the result of consultancy work. My premium resources are my creative intellectual property and TES provides a means for me to reach a wider audience.
What tips do you have for authors who are looking to make good resources?
A good resource is designed with the customer in mind. For education resources, there are two customers. Firstly, for the teacher, a resource must be classroom friendly, i.e. manageable in a busy learning environment. Secondly, it must appeal to the students using it.
The content of the resource must be educationally sound. A writer requires in-depth knowledge of the subject matter and a strong understanding of pedagogical practice.
Attention to detail is essential. Children are really great critics and they are brutally honest. If you are considering publishing a resource on TES, make sure it has been used with students and preferably by a teacher other than yourself. Be prepared to edit your resource as a result and keep it as easy to use as possible.