The power of play

Working in early childhood settings we always seem to have to justify why play is important for children (and adults -see below).


Life is playfulness. We need to play so that we can rediscover the magic all around us. – Flora Colao We are never more fully alive, more completely ourselves, or more deeply engrossed in anything, than when we are at play. – Charles Schaefer Creative people are curious, flexible, persistent, and independent with a tremendous […]

via Power of Play — Steve McCurry’s Blog


Harsh punishment?

I was part of a movement in education, STOPP (Society of Teachers Opposed to Physical Punishment), to try to stop the use of corporal punishment in schools. I think we won, by 1987, but humiliation in schools is still apparent.

In many countries, ban or no ban, harsh punishment is still the order of the day, as if this in any way can support learning.

Recent brain research provides ample evidence that the forms of toxic stress that children and young people have to undergo just to get an education is totally opposite to the conditions for healthy brain development and learning.


Corporal punishment was only banned in Samoan schools in 2013. Four years later, however, the issue was once again up for debate. Thankfully, a matter of days ago, Cabinet decided to uphold the ban. Amongst those who have questioned whether the ban on corporal punishment is correct was a leading education official who worried that the […]

via Samoa votes against reintroducing corporal punishment in schools — World Education Blog

Rethinking Charlottesville

After the horrific display of violence and hatred in Charlottesville last weekend that was fueled by white supremacy, many teachers have approached Rethinking Schools to ask for frameworks on how to think about and contextualize our role as educators in this moment. It’s important that teachers talk about Charlottesville in their classrooms, and there are […]

via For Educators After Charlottesville: Teaching in the Time of Trump — Rethinking Schools

Strengthening teacher professional development through collaboration 

From the INEE newsletter:

BlogTeachers in Crisis Contexts Working Group – Strengthening teacher professional development through collaboration 
Mary Mendenhall, Assistant Professor of Practice at Teachers College, Columbia University

“As we work to improve the overall quality and effectiveness of ourhumanitarian responses by improving coordination, reducing duplication, and trying to mitigate the competitive environment in which we work, the Teachers in Crisis Contexts (TiCC) Working Group provides a notable example within the field of Education in Emergencies. The TiCC began over three years ago when a small group of individuals from different organizations came together to respond to the needs of refugees and other displaced persons teaching in crisis-affected contexts. This group was adamant about moving away from ineffective one-off teacher training workshops and to put in motion the development of a model and related materials to strengthen teacher professional development in crisis settings and other contexts of instability. This work was further buoyed by Mary Burns and James Lawrie’s work – Where It’s Needed Most: Quality Professional Development for All Teachers – which provided a clarion call for why teachers in crisis contexts need and deserve more support.”

Read the full blog post here.

It is amazing and worrying that one off teacher training activities still exist, but they do! The only future is for teachers to work together more, share experience and good ideas, observe ,comment and support and learn horizontally -not top down.

I like the sentence:

the professional development model that we have designed together, an approach that fosters constructive communications, active participation, collegiality, concern for everyone’s well-being, and, of course, a little bit of fun along the way.


My philosophy when planning teacher training too!

Meaningful education…

Just the title has a ring about – shouldn’t education always be meaningful to all learners?Unfortunately many of our education institutions,formed perhaps up to 100 years or more ago, cannot adapt or keep pace with the rapid advances in brain research,learning and technology.

Report: Meaningful education in times of uncertainty 
Center for Universal Education “We are living at a time of enormous uncertainty. Technology is advancing at an ever-increasing rate, transforming the nature of work and employment. Widening inequality threatens to further disrupt our systems and to leave a large part of the world behind. And as a result, our political systems are increasingly facing an isolationist backlash.

Change is happening at a disorienting pace and our institutions can barely keep up.

This collection of essays represents the outcome of those discussions. It addresses some of the most urgent and important issues of our time.”

Access the collection of essays here

Accelerated Education

Having developed two accelerated learning programmes for early childhood education I know the power of accelerated learning. As we know many education experiences for children and young people demand a lot of waiting time – so it is not hard to develop accelerated learning, by cutting out much of the lost learning time.

Blog: Making a Case for Accelerated Education – How It Can Be Done 
Kayla Boisvert, Accelerated Education Working Group 

“Globally, recent estimates suggest that approximately 262 million children and youth are out of school. Accelerated Education (AE) programming is a complementary or non-formal mechanism for reaching populations poorly served by the formal education system. AE programs are flexible, age-appropriate programs that promote access to education in an accelerated timeframe for disadvantaged groups, over-age out-of-school children, and youth who have missed out or had their education interrupted due to poverty, marginalization, conflict, and crisis. The goal of AE is to provide learners with equivalent certified competencies for primary education using learning approaches that match their level of cognitive maturity.

Accelerated Education Programs (AEP) are employed with more and more frequency to address the overwhelming numbers of out of school children and youth. However, while there is widespread agreement on the need for such programming, there is insufficient validated documentation that provides guidance, standards, and indicators for efficient program planning, implementation, and monitoring. Moreover, there is little significant documentation on the impact of such programming, including how far they contribute to learning achievement and how successful they are facilitating pathways into formal education.”

Read the full blog post here.

What Works Best in Education for Development

From INEE newsletter:

Report: What Works Best in Education for Development – A Super Synthesis of the Evidence 
David Coleman, DFAT Senior Education Adviser 

“There are things that every policy maker and development partner working in the field of education want to know: what works?  What are the best ways to get kids into school, keep them there, and learn?  Which options have the best evidence of their effectiveness?  And what are the costs?

These are critical questions, because the world is facing critical challenges.  More than 264 million children, adolescents and youth are out of school.  Of children who start primary school, the Global Monitoring Report estimated that at least 250 million are failing to learn the basics.

This ‘Super Synthesis’ of the evidence draws from 18 systematic reviews, meta-analyses and comparative reviews of ‘what works’ in education for development.  Collectively, these reviews bring together the key findings from more than 700 rigorous studies and their supporting research.  By condensing this vast literature into an eight-page operational guideline, the Super Synthesis identifies which interventions have the greatest impact on student learning and education participation in developing country contexts.”

Read the full report and find out more here