Six things I learnt at Practical Pedagogies 2016
Some 250 teachers and educators from Britain and around the world met last week at the International School of Toulouse to discuss and share ideas about classroom best practice.
This TES journalist was lucky enough to be among their number. Here are six things I learnt at Russel Tarr's Practical Pedagogies 2016:
1. There is a real opposition to the NeoTrad establishment. But like the Rebel Alliance in Star Wars, they’re a ragtag bunch with little more in their armoury than enthusiasm, and they meet far, far away. Led by the likes of Tarr (of Mr Men fame) in Toulouse, and Ewan McIntosh (of TeachMeet fame) in Scotland, the tradition of mid-Naughties progressive education is alive and well.
2. Teachers at international schools don’t talk about workload, Sats, Ofsted or the new, harder GCSEs, but they are a bit obsessed with Nick Gibb's brain…
3.… and, like their colleagues in England, they worry that there is a mental health crisis among their pupils.
4. Philosophy for primary kids is, like, way, way cool. Well at least when teachers do it themselves, it is. You haven’t lived until you’ve watched 20 or so primary teachers get righteous about the fate of the Elgin Marbles and the metaphysical nature of ownership.
5. Hywel Roberts is a genius. I’m in no position to judge his pedagogical approach, but surely he is overdue some kind of stand-up contract with Channel 4 (possibly with Tim Taylor as his comedy side-kick). And he really knows how to fire up teachers.
6. French school dinners are delicious. Chicken and mushroom sauce with pasta and cauliflower cheese was a win all round. And unlike in Britain, the French dinner ladies are allowed to use seasoning.
Let's not forget that there were literally thousands of teaching ideas shared, of course. Like a bloody great TeachMeet, but over two days and in the South of France.