Building leadership qualities in teens

Follow me, I know the way! 

In this two-part blog series, we’re going to talk about leadership.

But first, a bit of context. Giving centre stage to real world competencies (like leadership) is at the heart of Spain’s new educational law, the LOMLOE. However, the conversation around competence-based teaching and learning has been developing for quite some time. Pearson’s employability framework developed in 2019 is a useful resource for teachers looking for both research and practical guidance on teaching and assessing key competencies..

One of the competencies outlined by the framework is leadership: check out the full report if you’re feeling studious or the executive summary for an overview. And of course, keep reading this blog post in which we’ll look at how we can develop leadership in our teens. Let’s begin!

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Digital Literacy and LOMLOE

picture source: Gerd Altmann pixabay

It’s impossible to deny that the future is a digital. In the past we’ve been told that our students are “digital natives” and that they’re the ones who’ll be teaching us. In some respects this seem true. The reality, however, is that navigating the increasingly digital world we live in is littered with pitfalls and is far from second nature for our students. Digital literacy is a competence and it can and should be taught: certainly according to the new LOMLOE, where it given much increased prominence. In this blog post we’ll look at what it means according to the law, and how it can be developed.

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LOMLOE: Making our classroom an inclusive place to be

We all like to feel included. To feel that we belong, and that people care about us. To feel that we’re listened to and to feel that we’re represented. To feel that we have the same opportunities open to us that others have, regardless of our circumstances. And our students have a right to all these things.

Inclusion has been on the agenda in education for many years. Consider the names given to Educational laws and acts: The ‘No Child left behind Act’ (2001) and its successor the ‘Every Student Succeeds Act’ (2015) in the USA, or ‘Every Child Matters’ (2003) in the UK. The right to education of every child in accordance with the UN Convention was set out back in 1989 and Quality Education is the fourth of the 17 UN sustainable development goals.    

Inclusion in education is already well embedded here in Spain and is one of the five pillars of the new education law, the LOMLOE, which is coming into force.

In this blog post we’re going to look at what inclusion means and provide resources that will help us be inclusive in our teaching practice.

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Ensuring gender equality in school: LOMLOE

Link

The new education law

Spain’s new education law, the LOMLOE, brings the country in line with global views and goals regarding education and sustainability. The second focus of the law is:

Ensuring gender equality, preventing gender violence, respecting diversity and ensuring an inclusive and non-sexist education. 

This is directly linked to the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations, of which Spain is a proud member. Sustainable goals number 4 and 5 outline inclusive, quality education and gender equality. These are important goals for all nations of the world, and the best place to start these initiatives is in school. In this blog post, we’ll look at what we can do as teachers.

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Tackling Climate Change Head On

The climate crisis is real. Recent developments in government legislation with the introduction of the LOMLOE means it will now be compulsory for schools to tackle issues surrounding climate change: indeed, one of the five guiding principles is an increased focus on sustainable development and global citizenship. In today’s post we are going to look at the changes the law introduces and how you can adapt your classes to meet them.  

 What does the law say?

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Back to School: the ice-breaking, rule-making, goal-setting blog post

Doesn’t time fly? It seems only yesterday that I was putting my kids to work on the front of a pedalo while sunbathing on the back, but September is almost upon us and that means it’s time to go Back to School.

As Will Rogers said, ‘You never get a second chance to make a first impression.’ Now, this isn’t a blog post advertising my latest shampoo range and we can and should make continuous improvements, but the quote does broadly hold water for our context as the first few lessons set the tone for the rest of the year.

These are some of the vibes I like to try to give off at the start: “Hello! I’m your teacher. I’m fun. I care about you as people. I’m organised. I have high expectations of work and behaviour.”

As far as I can I want to establish a climate in class in which students feel safe and at ease with me and each other and that they know where they’re going.

With the above in mind, in our first lessons back we may include 1) ‘Getting to know you’ activities 2) Rules and expectations 3) Course content and goals. This blog post will deal with these three areas.

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LOMLOE: a look at the new Education Law

Change. It’s something teachers everywhere are well-versed in, particularly given the events of the last 18 months. Another change coming into focus for teachers in Spain is a new Education Law, the LOMLOE. The stated aim of the law is to ensure the provision of a quality education with equal opportunities for all and one all. The Law aims to help equip young people with the necessary competences to meet the demands of the global and digital world of today and tomorrow: to meet the demands of societal change 

In the blog post we’re going to look at the reasoning behind the new law and the key competences that it outlines. In future blog posts, we’ll look at what the law means for the English curriculum and look at what we can do in the classroom to develop the competences the law outlines.   

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Speaking and writing practice tasks for the summer

The summer is almost here! In our previous blog posts, we gave you some tips as to how to help your students practise their grammar, vocabulary and reading over the summer. However, it is impossible for them to work on their speaking and writing without the help of a teacher. Or is it?
It may be that the best way for your students to improve is to have the guidance and feedback of a teacher, but there are actually quite a few ways for them to continue the work when you are not around. There are also great ways to simply incorporate ways of expressing themselves in English into their everyday lives. Let’s have a look at some of them!

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5 tips for practising your grammar and vocabulary over the summer

Summer is finally approaching, and teachers and learners everywhere are looking forward to a well-earned break. However, lots of students will be preparing for language exams during this time or will want to catch up on lessons they missed during the pandemic and work on their grammar and vocabulary over the summer. In this blog post, we have collected 5 tips to practise their vocabulary and grammar in an autonomous way, even when we are not around to guide them:

Find expressions that are relevant for you

During the academic year, most teachers have to follow a syllabus and prepare students for tests and exams, which can often feel quite limiting. However, in the summer, students can get the chance to practise language that is relevant for them, personally! If your students enjoy reading about make-up, video games, yoga, climate issues or any other topic, encourage them to do so in English. Only in texts that truly interest them will they find expressions that are relevant for their interests.
A great tool to learn vocabulary from such texts is Readlang. It is a plugin that you can install into Google Chrome and after a 5-minute registration process, you can start collecting vocabulary items. Select words (or chunks) that are new to you in any text online and click on them to get the translation in your mother tongue. The words you look up will be automatically saved to your collection and can be used for practice later. I especially like it that the expressions are saved with the whole sentence, which can help students recall them later. You can even export the vocab items to Quizlet or your preferred flashcard application!

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5 books for your students to read this summer

Summer’s (nearly) here and the time is (nearly) right, for dancing in the street! After what’s been a challenging year in so many ways, teachers and students alike are looking forward to a well-earned summer break. But before we dismiss our class, we might set them a task or two to keep up their English: summer’s long over here! Last year I wrote a post with ten top tips for summer activities. In the coming weeks, my colleague Anita Derecskei will be looking at getting our students working autonomously on their writing and speaking and then grammar and vocabulary. But today, I’d like to suggest that classic summer activity: reading a book. And I’d like to share five of my favourite stories to suit different tastes and levels. But this is just the tip of the iceberg – click here to see more!

  1. The Twits

This Roald Dahl classic is one of my son’s favourite books, I must have read it to him a dozen times, I never get bored of it and neither does he. It’s hilariously funny and The Twits are deliciously evil! Imagine putting a ‘Skillywiggler’ in your wife’s bed and telling her ‘It’s got teeth like screwdrivers!’ We repeat this line every time we see a big insect in the countryside. Give it a go with your young learners: you won’t regret it!

 

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