What's in this week's TESpro (September 16 2011)

16th September 2011 at 01:00
Welcome to the first edition of TESpro, the new weekly pull-out-and- (ideally)-keep magazine on teaching practice

The whole point of these supplements is to find answers to one question: "what actually works?"

Outside schools, the debates about teaching methods have got stuck in a timewarp. Many of the arguments made by politicians and the press have changed little since the 1800s.

But in schools across the UK teachers are trying out new approaches, or fresh twists on old, trusted ones.

However, novelty is not enough. We have also witnessed fads in teaching that have not worked, or initiatives where the short-term improvements have been a result of the Hawthorn effect, with pupils reacting positively purely because they were receiving extra attention as the experiment's guinea pigs.

To find out what really works, TESpro will be exploring the most up-to- date research, collecting tips from trailblazing schools, and probing different classroom techniques. Our aim will be to cut through the jargon, waffle and fluff.

We will also publish weekly articles on behaviour - and not just as a synonym for "discipline problems" - as well as career advice.

The teaching approaches we explore may not be ones that are popular with ministers, but should be realistic for schools to use, given the many pressures they now face. So it is fitting that the first issue should open with Assessment for Learning, an approach many teachers recognise works, though it is not always easy to do well.

Above all, we hope this supplement will encourage teachers to share ideas. TESpro will not be a series of one-way broadcasts - we want to hear from you about the techniques you are trying, the research you are doing, and the interesting projects you have seen in your school and in others, no matter how small.

Many of the most inspirational developments in teaching taking place now are a result of collaboration, often online, sometimes between teachers in different countries. We hope TESpro will play a part in that, as will you. Out of the public gaze, inspirational work is being done in classrooms that would surprise those trapped in the old debates. Tell us about it.

Michael Shaw is editor of TESpro @mrmichaelshaw

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