Book festival caters for teachers too

21st July 2006 at 01:00
Thousands of children and parents flock to the Edinburgh International Book Festival every August. This year, 193 events for children will cover everything from learning to read to teen sci-fi, 60 school events will cater for pupils of all levels and dozens of primary schools will attend the gala day on August 29.

The educational relevance of the festival is not limited to pupils. Three special events for teachers will tackle topical classroom issues. Workshops on cultivating confidence, creative thinking and motivation will address approaches that are becoming increasingly relevant in Scotland's schools.

Dr Carol Craig, chief executive of the Centre for Confidence and Well-Being and author of The Scots' Crisis of Confidence, will outline what confidence is and how it can be nurtured in children (August 16, 5.30pm). Since the development of confident individuals with self-respect, a sense of well-being, secure values and beliefs and ambition is outlined in A Curriculum for Excellence as one of the four aims of schooling, its relevance extends across all age levels.

The ability to think creatively and independently is one of the competencies set out in A Curriculum for Excellence for the development of successful learners. Ian Smith, a teacher developer and founder of Learning Unlimited, has worked with 30,000 teachers, exploring how people learn. He will take a practical workshop on how teachers at all stages can foster creative thinking in the classroom (August 17, 5.30pm).

Based on the idea that creative thinking is not an innate capacity but needs to be nurtured and developed, Mr Smith will examine practical ways for teachers to foster and develop both their own creativity and that of their pupils.

Regular TES Scotland readers will be familiar with psychologist Alan McLean, who was commissioned by the Scottish Executive to produce the Motivated School training programme. He will talk about the programme, which provides tools and activities to help teachers assess the motivational capacity of their classrooms. He will also discuss the learning stances, a framework which examines how learners adapt to and engage in the learning climate (August 21, 5.30pm).

Teachers, parents and carers can pick up tips on reading with children at the Read Together Makeover, a free drop-in event (August 22, 10.30am-3.30pm).

Read Together is the Scottish Executive's home reading initiative, which encourages parents and carers to embrace their children's reading right from the very early years. Lindsey Fraser and Kathryn Ross, national co-ordinators of the scheme, will be answering questions about reading and lists of book recommendations for children of all ages will be available to take away.

There are two further events for anyone interested in child development. In a session organised with the Scottish Children's Reporter Administration, Alexander Masters, biographer of homeless Stuart Shorter, will try to get behind the "hoody" headlines to see what life for vulnerable young people is like (A Life Backwards, August 14, 6pm). Former headteacher and literacy expert Sue Palmer will look at concerns about children's health in the 21st century lifestyle of mobile phones, video games and fast food (Toxic Childhood, August 18, 5.30pm).

Edinburgh International Book Festival, August bookings co-ordinator, tel 0131 718 5652 (Wednesdays and Fridays, 10am-4.30pm)

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