Tes Articles

On shiny ideas and the dangers of being a magpie

This week the TES published my article on classroom innovation and the questions we should be asking ourselves when we come across a shiny idea.

Four questions to ask yourself about classroom innovation

I earned my magpie badge pretty early in my career. Like many new teachers, I was attracted to every shiny teaching idea I happened upon (which, in my pre-Twitter days, was less often than now) and was all too eager to try them in my classroom. My attraction to these sparkly innovations was positively reinforced by the praise I received from those observing my lessons and, at the time, there was an unquenchable thirst for the new.

It may not be surprising, then, that I was predisposed to falling down the rabbit hole of using Brain Gym in my lessons. Not only was it shiny and innovative but I was easily seduced by the idea because it sounded, well, sciencey. Partway through my lessons, like the Green Goddess but with less lycra, I’d get my students up out of their seats to follow my lead with a variety of exercises that included such things as drawing sideways figures of eight in the air with our fingers. I was essentially distracting my students from their learning.

You can read the rest of the article here.


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