October 3, 2016
One of my great passions is Big Junk Art – I just love cardboard. So when Holywell school gave me the go ahead for a Big Art Project at the end of term; I was thrilled.
After laying out a rough framework of boxes, I set to work with the gaffer tape and rolls and rolls of masking tape – in fact I realised, at the end of the project, that I had used the entire schools supply!
Once the skeleton was reasonably firmly fixed together and safe from the enthusiasm of the year one and two children, we embarked on the next stage of fleshing out. This needed a pile of another expensive resource – newspaper.
I was lucky that a big group of year 4 girls were happy to help during their lunch hour, as the end of term was looming. They were an efficient team – some scrunching the newspaper into balls others attaching it with the masking tape. Piece by piece the beast began to take shape.
Read more Violet, the Vocabulary Dragon, by @skybluepink
January 18, 2016
A report issued by the World Bank suggests that India’s economic progress could be severely hampered, with an additional 45 million pushed into poverty, due to the effects of climate change. While Prime Minister Modi makes his position clear vis-à-vis developed nations, the government does not appear to be taking enough cognisance of the devastating effects of climate change at home.
Climate change is real and unless serious action is taken there is no way back. There is no plan B and unless our space exploration explodes a million fold and we get extremely lucky, we do not have another planet to call home. So climate change is here to stay and will affect everyone – most of all the marginalised. Within that subset, the vulnerable – women and children – are most likely to see its full-blown effects. Throughout the world, natural disasters and severe weather events tend to impact women more than men. In developing countries, this problem is compounded when several other factors such as malnutrition, inequitable distribution of power and gender roles that are unfavourable to women are added to the mix.
Read more Why Climate Change Impacts Indian Women More Than Men by @rupandemehta
November 18, 2015
The government has just announced plans to revise the Politics A-Level Curriculum. Feminism has been removed entirely, apart from a mention of the Suffragettes and Suffragists and the proposed curriculum only contains one female political thinker out of seven: Mary Wollstonecraft. The problem with erasing and writing women out of history is that we only get half the story.
When women are underrepresented in society, the government should be working to address this problem. It has been said that you cannot be what you cannot see. Female role models are important. Women like Kimberlé Crenshaw, who coined the theory of intersectionality, Catherine MacKinnon, an American feminist lawyer, Emma Goldman, anarchist and political activist, Audre Lorde, black feminist writer, Ayn Rand, Russian novelist and philosopher and Simone de Beauvoir, French writer, political activist and social theorist. We must show women to be inspired by and be taught that the ideas of feminism and gender equality are important.
Earlier this year, Jesse McCabe used a petition to keep women on the music curriculum. Together we can use public pressure to make sure that the same happens with the Politics curriculum. There is no excuse for this. There is no reason why the Department of Education and Ofqual shouldn’t get this right. Join me in asking that they change this, so that the curriculum reflects the work, thought and achievements of women.
On social media, use #femalethinkers and let us know who your favourite female political thinkers are.
August 27, 2015
I started wearing a Fitbit fitness tracker so I could log my running progress more easily, but wearing it all day, I started to notice a pattern: on days when I teach, I walk miles further than on days when I don’t. Digging deeper into the data, I found that I am never sedentary during my classes: my activity level always registers as light or moderate, even if I am facilitating a (mostly) seated discussion. How does that work? I suppose running up to the white board to illustrate a point or spell out a word explains a good deal of it.
For a while now, my efforts to engage students as whole people have included awareness of the body, thanks in part to the influence of bell hooks. I teach my writing classes (both composition and creative–yes, labeling the distinction that way is problematic) hand yoga; when students start drifting off when they should be writing or reading, I encourage them to move—however they can and wish to (barring ways that impinge on other students’ rights)—instead of falling asleep. Moving into different groups, or into different classroom arrangements for different classroom arrangements also helps keep the energy levels up. These kinds of activities, however, are a little different from what my fitness tracker is recording.
Read more What wearing a fitbit taught me about teaching