Spend a spell with Potter

3rd August 2007 at 01:00
Make hay while the sun shines, says Sara Bubb. Work done now will pay off with a harvest of new skills in September

There are many easy and enjoyable ways to improve your knowledge, skills and understanding before September. And, oh boy, will you need to know a lot about whatever your pupils are learning, to teach it and to cope with their funny questions.

Making better use of computers pays dividends. Improve your typing speeds or invest in some voice-activated software. The advances made in the latter make it really helpful. If you're a primary teacher, you might want to practise the style of handwriting that you have to teach and model. Infant teachers need a large repertoire of songs, so you could try to pick some new ones up.

Reading is a cheap and flexible way to garner knowledge. And it's a lovely thing to do, whether you're travelling, lying on the sofa or snuggled under the duvet. It gives you more insight, ideas, food for thought and inspiration. Reading the latest Harry Potter and watching programmes for your age group of pupils will be fun, as well as giving you something to talk about at breaktimes and it will raise your street cred.

Teachers TV has many programmes pitched at new teachers and you don't need satellite TV, or even Freeview. You can see whatever takes your fancy on your computer at www.teachers.tv. In some you'll see me, but remember that the camera adds pounds!

Programmes in the Teaching with Bayley series are really interesting. Take a look at Ecoutez so called because the teacher seems to say that word so much but to so little effect.

Ideas can come from the most bizarre places. In the car I tuned into a feature about laughter on Radio 4's All in the Mind. It argued that any behaviour as universal as laughter must have some solemn survival purpose. Experiments demonstrated that people who'd just had a good laugh acted more altruistically.

That got me thinking about how laughter could be used in our armoury of persuasion and manipulation in the classroom. What do you thin **

Sara Bubb's Successful Induction for New Teachers is published in September by Paul Chapman

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