Just before October half term, I braved the car park formerly known as the Northbound M1 to attend #tmsenbradford at Greengates Primary School in Bradford. Over the past year, I have attended similar events ranging from the one hosted at the impressive Mozilla HQ in London to the inaugural #CampEd12, which was TeachMeet on a completely different level.
The #tmsenbradford event was organised by Andy Gaunt (@andygfarsley), following a suggestion by Nicola Gaunt that educators host a TeachMeet focusing on SEN and inclusion. Andy co-hosted the event with the experienced Tim Bleazard (@idletim), who provided both witticisms, threats of camel throwing and technical support.
What struck me from the outset of this event was the mix of people, many of whom were making their debuts at a TeachMeet. Was it a landmark in the evolution of TM, whereby it goes mainstream…moving away from the ‘Twitterati’? After all, the event had been advertised on Bradford Schools Online and backed up with emails…not just tweets.
Apart from David Weston (@drdave89) who proceeded to provide an eclectic collection of ideas in his own inimitable way, almost all the other presenters highlighted ‘more traditional methods of learning’. David’s illustration of a child building a PC was mind-blowing to many in the audience, as was his explanation of teaching children to code with Scratch and the way it makes children realise, ‘I can do that’. That said, David did finish his set with ideas to teach RE using plasticine and how calligraphy impacts on the ‘art and quietness of children’.
Bradford’s SEN Learning Support and Behaviour Teams were at #tmsenbradford in numbers, not just ready to share their ideas, but also to listen to the needs of SENCos and others. The event certainly opened up dialogues and strengthened future lines of communication.
All in all, despite the relative quietness on the Twitter front, #tmsenbradford was a successful event. Many thanks to the organisers and presenters; hopefully, the ‘newbies’ will return to the next event.
Better still, maybe they will also consider using the TeachMeet format within their own schools and host an in-house TM once a term? This would allow not just teachers, but all adults to share examples of outstanding practice, practical innovations and personal insights.
Those schools wishing to take it to the next level could then let the children share their ideas on learning too. But hey, one step at a time.
Images c/o johnconnell.co.uk and mattpearson.org