Build It – They Will Come & Return

Practical Pedagogies returned this year bigger and even better than the previous year, with old and new faces in equal measures. The range of speakers and sessions this year was immense, so much so that you really needed to be cloned to cover all bases.

For me there were many highlights:

  • The keynote and session led by the ever-provocative Ewan McIntosh from NoTosh with his 5 Whys…?;
  • Learning more about the work of Natalie H Scott;
  • The informal conversations, allowing opportunities to catch up with friends from across Europe and beyond;
  • Meeting new people and finding out about their own roots and routes.

My personal stand-out workshops were led by two teachers who both epitomised the ethos and spirit of Practical Pedagogy. Having attended my workshop on Active Learning strategies last year, Laura Riley decided to apply some of the game ideas to teach her students in German at St George’s International School in Cologne. Her session preview can be found here.

Meanwhile, closer to home, Zoe Smeaton from Bradford Grammar School decided to apply the games to active revision sessions in Biology. It was liking being in a one-person TeachMeet, with a range of high quality take-away ideas. Her session preview can be found here.

My session in 2015 was very much based in on a primary approach, whereby I had attempted to merge an outdoor PE session with an English focus. The fact that Laura and Zoe had taken this into secondary German and Biology was intriguing. Both teachers delivered their workshops with passion, energy and thought, gently provoking us and creating opportunities for new ideas and collaborations.

My own workshop for 2016 continued the theme of last year, this time linking physical activity with an online writing platform and emotional literacy. Initially the plan was to showcase a collaborative project between Tagtiv8 and Night Zookeeper. However, a quote on Instagram led me on a mazy run.

fullsizerender-31The session allowed participants to consider the cycle of thoughts, feelings and behaviours, before heading outside to play an active drama game which generated letters with which to work. The thinking challenge for the teams was to create words about feelings, discussing them and how they impact on our thoughts and behaviours. Then began the creative process of creating an emoji to match one of the feelings.

Huge thanks to everybody who participated with energy and imagination. Particular thanks to Jenna Lucas and Mags Amond for their input on practical uses of Class Dojo.


The session slides can be accessed here.

It will be interesting to see if any of the participants at the session are able to be like Laura and Zoe and return to the next Practical Pedagogies with their own unique twist on an idea.

Having talked with other delegates and speakers, it would seem that all of us were fired with energy and ideas, as well as re-affirmation that we are not alone, no matter where we are in the world of education and policy constraints.

Thank you to Russel Tarr and the rest of the team at IST for organising and facilitating something very special indeed.

Huge hugs too to:

Instagram photo credit: