Interesting reads

Being a big fish in a small pond has its benefits.

The BBC ran a piece this week identifying the benefits of being a big fish in a small pond. They used an analysis of the entire careers of famous footballers to come to the conclusion that sometimes it benefits people to be the most talented player in a less talented group, rather than to be mediocre in a strong group. They made links between the idea in football and how this can apply in academia, too, with the argument being that students in the stronger (or more academic) group feel like they aren’t up to scratch and this affects their performance. By being in a weaker group, people have stronger belief in themselves, get more time to practise and ultimately achieve more.

Don’t use phonics to teach reading in older grades.

ASCD argues that students who struggle to read when they reach grades above grade 1 are often put on phonics or phonemic awareness courses, but this really doesn’t benefit them. Instead, teachers should focus on giving students interesting books which they can read and want to read as part of their strategy to improve student motivation and ultimately, their reading.

Negative consequences make bad behaviour worse – there is a better way.

Teachers with difficult students try to use punishments and consequences for students in order to win momentary peace in the classroom, according to MotherJones. The trouble is that this often makes bad behaviour worse. Teachers are taking control of the children’s behaviour rather than teaching children to manage it themselves, which ultimately leads to children being unable to do so. The article talks about how to address poor behaviour through more positive means.

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