The Optimus blog

The blog that inspires leaders in the UK education sector

The Optimus blog

The blog that inspires leaders in the UK education sector

In classroom learning

Elizabeth Holmes

The Joy of Not Knowing: a conversation with Marcelo Staricoff

Learning how to learn, philosophical thinking, action research and getting comfortable with discomfort: Elizabeth Holmes gets to grips with JONK. Recent headteacher, now consultant, lecturer and author, Marcelo Staricoff is a man with a mission. Drawing on his decades of experience as a scientist,...
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John Dabell

The ordinary magic of resilience

What life throws at us might dent or break us – but the '7 Cs' of resilience can help us recover and rebuild. John Dabell explains how. ‘Resilience’ is a buzzword heard pretty much everywhere these days and certainly within the mental health narratives of schools. How do you define resilience?...
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Dr Alistair Bailie

Seven tips to beat exam stress

How can you best support students who are stressed out at the prospect of exams? Clinical psychologist Dr Alistair Bailie suggests seven strategies to share. For students of any age, there can be considerable stress when it comes to exams. Their implications for study, jobs, and life progress can...
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Dr Karamat Iqbal

How should controversial issues be handled in the classroom?

In the second of his two-part series , Karamat Iqbal looks at how to teach pupils about controversial issues and instil confidence in staff. Read part one, What is controversial in the classroom? Teaching of some curricula and the resources and methodologies used are left to the schools’ and...
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Adele Bates

From teacher to TV presenter

Remote classes raise new challenges for leaders, educators and pupils. Adele Bates suggests some new ways of approaching learning, engagement and behaviour. This academic year I found myself spending an entire lesson with a laptop bag on my head, for teenagers with social, emotional and mental...
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Dr Karamat Iqbal

What is controversial in the classroom?

What makes something controversial? In the first part of a two-part series, Karamat Iqbal explores definitions of controversy and approaches to teaching it. Whether our fellow citizens can feed themselves is often in the news these days. This maybe because of Marcus Rashford’s excellent work on...
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Charlie Roden

Fake news and media bias: teaching pupils to think critically

Children and young people need to be equipped with the knowledge and skills to think critically about everything they read online. Charlie Roden looks at examples of fake news, and how we can teach pupils to make their own informed judgements. The Collins Dictionary defines fake news as 'false,...
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John Dabell

Maverick teachers wanted

Teaching is made up of all types and that's a good thing. We need diversity and difference. But do we have enough adventurers and mavericks? Just what type of teacher are you? There are some teachers who do things differently and can be trusted to ruffle feathers. These teachers I like. The pupils...
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John Dabell

How to help children who say they are 'stuck'

Teachers are sometimes far too quick to respond to requests for help. How do children benefit from being 'stuck' and how can we encourage them to find a solution independently? When some children encounter a problem, difficulty, or challenge, they stop. Sometimes stopping and pausing for a moment...
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Will Millard

Boyz II Men: how worried should we be about boys' educational outcomes?

How much does gender impact pupil performance? According to Will Millard, other characteristics exert a far more powerful influence over academic outcomes. The media is full of stories about boys’ relative underperformance at school in comparison to girls. This seems warranted. Boys don’t do as...
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