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

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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Joanna Grace

Using sensory stories for learning

How can sensory stories engage students and inspire learning? Joanna Grace explains how she used them in the classroom and beyond. When I first discovered sensory stories, they were something of a hallelujah moment for me. I had been struggling to find a way of meaningfully engaging the students in...
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John Dabell

Why we shouldn’t ignore low-level disruptive behaviour

Behaviour management is a daily, hourly commitment. John Dabell explores how to promote positive behaviour and say goodbye to classroom disruption. Serious misbehaviour can unhinge the class, you and the school. But then so can low-level behaviour, especially when it is persistent. Ignore low-level...
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Simon Scarborough

5 ways to make inclusive PE work

Adapting the curriculum is only the start in making PE more inclusive. Simon Scarborough offers a few tips. One of the greatest barriers I have faced when promoting inclusive PE practice is the misconception held by some, that making PE more inclusive somehow makes it impossible to stretch and...
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Simon Scarborough

The need for inclusive PE is greater than ever

If your physical education curriculum is to get every student moving, it needs to play to their strengths. Simon Scarborough explains how you can make your lessons more inclusive. With a rise in mental health issues reported among young people, and record levels of childhood obesity , it would...
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Tom Fay

Teachers: do you have the X factor?

What does it take to be a great teacher? Tom Fay asked pupils to name their desired traits, and shares the responses. Everyone remembers a great teacher they once had. You may not remember exactly what they said or did, but you will certainly remember how they made you feel. Their impact can last a...
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