Blogging for Education

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Continuing the theme of the Growth mindset at Phoenix’s school, he was shown a video called ‘Austin’s Butterfly’, which I found very cute – as well as extremely eye-opening and inspiring.

It’s about the process of drawing a butterfly for a first grader called Austin. As you can see from the picture below, the process of transformation between the first picture and the last is amazing. And all of this was possible because he took on board the comments of his peers and never gave up. Each setback or step along the process was a learning experience for him – and just look at what he produced! Fantastic!

As you watch the video, look at how engaged the children are! Look at how many fantastic ideas they have! Look at how much they want to LEARN and IMPROVE!

Phoenix was very inspired by this video and it sparked a very interesting conversation between us. Click to watch the video here.

I hope you find it interesting too.


 You can also click the picture to watch the video


A couple of days ago, my little boy, Phoenix, came home from school with a piece of homework, which was to write a paragraph about what he had learned from his participation in a school project.

There were a couple of examples of what he should write – resilience was Groupofkidsonlawn476x290one of them.

Fantastic, I thought! This absolutely ties in with my research recently on what makes children successful.

So, I asked him : “Phoenix, what does resilience mean?”

“I don’t know,” came the answer.


So, rather than tell him the dictionary definition, which would probably go in one ear and out the other, I thought it best that I lead by example.

I found a lovely few words on ‘teaching your child resilience‘, which I thought might be interesting reading for all us parents and teachers out there.

Here’s a summary :

1. Listen with your heart;

2. See the world through your child’s eyes;

3. Accept [your]children for who they are;

4. Develop strengths;

5. Teach that mistakes are an opportunity to learn;

6. Promote responsibility by giving responsibility;

7. Teach your children to make their own decisions;

8. Discipline, but don’t denigrate.

This is just a rough guide but I think there’s some good stuff here ….. well worth checking out!

The more I read, the more I hear  and the more I think about it, our current established education system leaves a lot to be desired.

I recently saw a  video interview (featured) by Noam Chomsky (professor at MIT), which outlines his views on the purpose of education. An interesting interview, I have to say.

To sum up the ideas in this interview:

The Purpose of Education

He states that there are two concepts of the ‘purpose of education’. The first comes from the era of the Enlightenment, where traditional thinking states that education is a process of ENQUIRING and CREATING constructively and independently without external control. It’s about seeking out the riches of the past and internalising the important parts – or the parts which are important to you.

This style of education has children questioning and challenging a standard doctrine and searching for alternatives.

The second concept of education is indoctrination, where children are taught to accept and not challenge a certain set of data given to them. They are taught to fulfil the roles given to them – that failure to follow those rules results in punishment. They are taught not to ‘shake the systems of power and authority’.

The Impact of Technology

Chomsky states in his interview that although the impact of technology is very real in our lives today, the effects are not as dramatic as, let’s say, the introduction of plumbing or the development of transport, which were born of creative inquiry.

His comparison of technology to  a hammer was interesting: a hammer does not care whether it is used to build a house or smash someone’s skull. His point, of course, is that inquiry provides a framework and directs ones questions and research so that we can find what needs to be pursued and reject the rest. This framework is needed in order for technology to be useful.


Tests are practical only in the sense that they show what a child knows now and how much more he/she  needs to know – but they do not necessarily test UNDERSTANDING. A child can perform brilliantly on a test and not really understand a thing.

Tests can not only be meaningless, but they can do more damage in the sense that they can divert attention away from really meaningful learning. Tests can potentially mean nothing more than a set of hurdles our children need to jump – they are not the same as exploration.

Final Words

A gem from this interview is one quote:

“It does not matter what we cover (in class), it matters what we discover.”

We should be helping our children get to the point where they can think and learn on their own, not just regurgitate a set of given facts on command.


Sometimes, I find myself needing a little more motivation, as a person, a mother and as a teacher.

Often, I look to those little, but very wise, inspirational or thoughtful quotes, and they strike a chord, and I carry on.

Today, I have felt even more driven by the need to inspire in our students the desire and passion for learning. Sometimes, we need to sit back and think, or rethink, what we teach our children, but, more importantly, the way we teach our children.

So, here are a few of those little quotes that I stumbled upon today, and that I hope will keep afire the flame that should burn inside all us teachers.

Here they are:

Chinese Proverb  

Teachers open the door, but you must enter by yourself.

Eliphas Levi:

A good teacher must be able to put himself in the place of those who find learning hard.

Albert Einstein:

It is the supreme art of the teacher to awaken joy in creative expression and knowledge

Martin Luther King, Jr.

The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. Intelligence plus                                              character – that is the goal of true education.

Have a great and inspirational day 🙂

Admittedly, it’s been a year (2014) since this article was published in the Times Educational Supplement’s online source (, but since it’s now the season of Common Entrance exams (June 1 – 4), I was interested to unearth this today.

Screen Shot 2015-05-21 at 10.27.36The then Education Secretary, Michael Gove, states in this article: “All pupils should sit Common Entrance exams used to select children for private school” that “introducing more tests in state schools will help monitor pupil performance between assessments already taken at the end of primary school and GCSEs”, a time when performance tends to slip and suffer.

He goes on to suggest that the Common Entrance exam could be used by state schools to help keep pupils on track.

Likening the gap between state and independent school education to the ‘Berlin Wall’, Gove also suggests that state schools should consider taking the PISA test (see my previous blog post on the PISA test) to improve standards.

The article concludes by saying that state school pupils invariably perform just as well as their independent school peers when given the same privileges and advantages.

My personal opinion on this? As an educator myself, I have seen the benefits children gain from the rigorous training of the Common Entrance exam. The curriculum is interesting and varied. But it does tie in very closely with the current National Curriculum delivered in state schools. I wonder though, from the research I have done, whether yet another batch of tests would be of that much benefit…..?

Surely, it’s neither the curriculum nor the tests which are of such crucial importance, but rather the delivery of the material and the engagement and motivation of the students concerned.

I applaud the desire to improve our kids’ education. I’m just not so convinced we’re looking in the right direction.

I quite like the look of the Prep School Baccalaureate right now – a much more rounded approach to nurturing our children’s futures.