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Theatre and Mindfulness

This month in the UK there is a focus on wellbeing and mental health, which of course links to mindfulness, which is what many schools are embracing as part of their Advisory programmes. Soon I am going to be running a workshop in my local community on wellbeing and creativity, so I have been reading […] Find out more

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Paper Two: Students Teaching Students

How can teachers ensure that they offer revision activities that benefit a variety of skills and learning styles in their classroom? Here are some tried and tested activities that I like to use to prepare my mixed ability class for Paper Two. 1. Poster making Students create posters using drawings, quotes, summaries of themes, plot […] Find out more

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Soil Conservation

Soil conservation measures 95% of the world’s food is produced on soil One-third of the UK’s soils are degraded One million hectares (36% of arable land in the UK is at risk from erosion. According to the UK environment secretary, Michael Gove, in some parts of the country, the UK’s soils may only be able […] Find out more

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Should Language and Literature teachers give more privilege to the politicians?

Using election campaigns for studying the power of language  It’s 1960. Personal computers don’t exist. ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’, by Harper Lee wins the Pulitzer Prize for literature. Senator John F. Kennedy of Massachusetts is about to become the youngest elected president in US history.’ – A self-guided tour for high school students (John F. […] Find out more

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In Praise of the European Spirit

Europe is going through one of the recurrent identity crises which have punctuated its long history. Some journalists and pundits contemptuously reject the very idea of a ‘European Civilisation’ and in a strange exercise of self-hatred, take full personal responsibility when the ghosts of slavery and colonisation are evoked. Yet, no other continent is prepared […] Find out more

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See Real Art: Visit an Art Gallery!

Student question:“It’s 2019. What is the point of looking at art that was made in 1520, five hundred years ago? How is that relevant to me?” We were at the Royal Academy (London) and looking at “Venus Rising from the Sea”, by Titian (1520) The Renaissance Nude I can understand the context of this question. […] Find out more

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There is no true meaning to a text

How to approach the challenge of analysis In Language and Literature you will most probably be presented with texts that are from other cultures and time periods to your own. In Northern Australia the Tiwi people identify this with one word, Ngaruwanajirra, which means different people, from different clans, from different places, we come together […] Find out more

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How do you do it?

Personally, I find section 9.2 one of the hardest parts of the course to teach. It relates to voltaic cells. I can never remember is it left minus right or vice versa, which side is positive, which is negative? In order to help teach this I put together a useful set of ideas / principles […] Find out more

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Penguins in St Kilda, Melbourne

With over 50% of the world’s population living in urban areas, urbanization is one of the main threats to biodiversity. Some plant and animal species may thrive in urban areas, whereas others find the pressures of urbanization challenging. Urbanization has been linked with local extinctions. The little penguin (Eudyptula minor) (AKA blue or fairy penguins) […] Find out more

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Seven Questions about Starting to Teach the Course

In recent category 1 visual arts workshops I have been asked some great questions about our subject; for example, what to teach, how to balance the things we teach, how much time we should have to teach in, how to connect to other subjects, etc. Here are the questions with my answers. If you would […] Find out more

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Time to be lazy

This is the time of the academic year when IB teachers have a mix of being both happy and sad. Or maybe these are the wrong terms to use – we are nervous and feeling a little lazy – but teachers know this is an important phase for us to go through. Nervous. I feel […] Find out more

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Paper 2: Choosing your questions and texts wisely

As an IB examiner for Paper 2 I often read very eloquent and promising responses that are hindered by poor question and/or text choices. Here’s some tips to avoid this. The questions The actual questions change every year, there are, however, certain aspects of a text that are frequently asked about, these include: How a […] Find out more

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Sigma, Pi, Hybridization and Shape

Sigma bonds, Pi bonds. Shapes of molecules. Hybrid orbitals. How do they all fit together? I was really confused with this information when I was a student. It wasn’t covered when I did my biochemistry degree and I only felt like I really understood things until I started teaching about the concepts … so I […] Find out more

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Jean-Jacques Rousseau and Popular Sovereignty

Public and social media are inundated with vitriolic declarations calling for the toppling of political institutions and their replacement by the infallible diktats of the so-called ‘sovereignty of the people’. Rousseau was the first modern theorist of this complex and ambiguous notion, analysed and developed in his seminal essay, The Social Contract, published in 1762. […] Find out more

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World Theatre in the Shadows

The last few weeks I have been researching theatre traditions and theatre companies that use SHADOWS in their performances. For this blog I thought it would be good to share them with you so that you can see the amazing range of ways that light and darkness can be used with objects, bodies and film […] Find out more

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COHERENCE? (‘Here is your theme. Stick to it for the next two years’)

Reconsider the theme: is it always a bad idea? There are many things wrong with these two sentences, as uttered by a visual arts teacher to one of his students. First of all, you don’t need to have a ‘theme’. Second, if you – the student – want a theme, it should NOT be selected […] Find out more

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Cyclone Idai

Cyclone Idai struck Mozambique, Malawi, and Zimbabwe in March 2019 affecting up to 2.6 million people. In Mozambique, some 1.85 million people have been affected and in Malawi around 900,000. Around 130,000 people have been displaced in Mozambique, and around 90,0000 in Malawi. The final toll of the cyclone will not be known for many […] Find out more

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Work until You’re Muscle-bound!

This is probably the most nervous time of the 2 years for the IBDP students. There is the fear that they will get crushed by the upcoming exams. And the exams come very quickly and really on top of each other. My experience of talking to students through this period, is that they keep working, […] Find out more

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Some wise advice about commentary?

At least from my point of view, what Robert Scholes had to say about close reading contains some good reminders. I think we all recognize the New Critical roots of the these IB assessments, both oral and written. And though I suspect not too many of us deliver ‘the’ reading of texts, the temptation does […] Find out more

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Hegel on Freedom

Hegel’s conception of freedom is central to his Introduction to the Philosophy of History and his Phenomenology of Spirit (1807) in which it is described as one of its most immediately perceived properties. Yet, it is only through philosophy as speculative knowledge that freedom can fulfil itself. For Hegel, universal history is the slow progress […] Find out more

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