VIGNETTES SERIES 9 : Ideas for Teachers


Vignettes 29 – 31




There is deep and abiding interest in matters of an educational nature. Increasingly print, radio, and television coverage refer to educational issues. Some people pay little attention to what is being reported about education because they feel it to be inconsequential. There is also a belief that what is reported, misconstrues facts. That to some extent may be the case; however it is important to be aware of the way education is trending within the community.

Retaining information about education can be useful. There are various ways and means of doing this, but it works best if collation is organised regularly (almost on a daily basis).

Newspaper items can be clipped and pasted in a loose leaf file, indexed book, or similar. Indexation is important as it allows you to quickly refer to things you may need to recall.

Photographing news clippings using an iPhone or iPad, saving them to your pictures file, then creating an album for clippings is another method that works well.

Scanning clippings and saving them onto USB stick is a method that works well. Again, indexing the USB file helps. It may be that you choose categories to index under, rather than an “A” to “Z”approach.

Clippings files can be backed up on iCloud or otherwise saved onto computer or USB.

From experience, the use of newspaper clippings when it comes to social and cultural education, cruising for general knowledge, for stimulating discussion in class, are but three ways in which they can be of use. Clippings can also be used to stimulate the content of debates, the writing of persuasive arguments for older students and so on.

Awareness of issues can stimulate professional discourse including helping to shape the way in which members of staff develop collaborative programming to support teaching in schools.

I believe teachers would find a study of media and the establishment of a clippings file useful and worthwhile.



As a profession, teaching is at its most viable when members respect and support each other in a fully collaborative manner. The joys and challenges of teaching should never belong to those who remain in isolation from each other.

A strength of teacher education is the encouragement offered trainees to link with each other in discussion groups either in person or by discussion boards on Learnline . Observation confirms the help those preparing to teach can help each other on matters varying from assignment tasks to practice teaching rounds. Carrying quality communications habits into teaching beyond graduation is wise.

There is a misnomer that to share matters of challenge is a sign of weakness. That is far from the case. Those raising issues often find that colleagues are having similar issues or have developed strategies that help with mastery of similar difficulties. A problem shared is a problem halved.

Many universities have developed or are establishing alumni groups. Keeping in touch with colleagues through the university post graduation offers professional sharing opportunities.

Sharing through professional associations is recommended. There are maths, science, literacy associations among a host of others. Belonging to associations enables members to keep abreast of trends. Opportunities for personal professional development along with contributing to others through group membership is enriching.

I would recommend a consideration of joining ‘LinkedIn’. This site enables members to build up a global contact base with like minded people. Members can join specific interest groups, sharing global ideas.

Maintaining contact with the graduating peer group is another way of keeping in touch. Whatever the preference, keep in touch with others because that helps support both individual and collective strength.



“Show and Tell” is often considered to be a way of filling in time. It gives children a chance to share a little about themselves or their activities with classmates. It is generally informal and there is no structure around this part of the program.

Show and tell can be transformed into a very meaningful classroom segment. It can also be engaging for all class members. Here are some ideas.

* Ask selected students to be ready with specific questions of the presenter.

* Similarly, have students pre-prepared to offer commendations and recommendations for the presenters consideration.

* With the class, prepare an evaluation template that covers elements of speech and speaking. Work with the class to ensure that the template takes account of ‘matter’, ‘manner’ and ‘method’ as key presentation elements.

* Draw up with students a class roster that enables all children to have regular turns at parenting and evaluating.

A program of this nature lends itself to a progression that develops a range of presentation skills. The following might be included:

Eye contact
Clarity of speech
Speed of speaking
Use of punctuation in oral presentations
Qualities of vocalisation
Use of notes
Inclusion of props
Stance and gesture
Focus on speech parts including the beginning, middle and the end if an oral presentation.

A similar raft of skills can be developed to cover speech evaluations.

Show and tell should be a meaningful and looked forward to part of the program. There is a great deal of relevance in encouraging children to speak, listen and appreciate with confidence.

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