Sunday, 21 September 2014

Don't Change The Lightbulbs

Me with my chapter!

Using Twitter as a teacher has got me involved in many different things. TeachMeets, and in particular TM Havering, ResearchEd, Andrew Old's blogger curry nights, Caroline Webb's charity calendar and this, Rachel Jones's "Don't Change The Lightbulbs".

Rachel is an incredibly enthusiastic and innovative teacher who I always enjoy hearing speak at TeachMeet and other education events. When she asked me to do the Top 10 Tips for RE teachers, it was a real privilege. There are lots of RE teachers on Twitter and this burden weighed heavily on my shoulders as I embarked upon writing my chapter earlier in the year. Hopefully it gets a nod of approval from my RE colleagues when they have a read!

Rachel launches the live stream Q&A

From what was going to initially be an eBook, somewhere behind the scenes, Crown House Publishing got involved and decided that the book would also be going into print. I'm not sure that it was my name's inclusion that got them interested and more likely Vic Goddard, Jim Smith, Hywel Roberts, Mark Anderson, Ian Gilbert, Oliver Quinlan... all already popular authors in their own right. A fantastic job has been done with the book and it is something I am really, really proud to be a part of. 

The book launch, the first of these kind of events that I've been to, took place in The Centre For Literacy In Primary Education in Southwark, London. It was a great evening, if not a little overwhelming. In a small space, there was a huge number people that I follow on Twitter. People that inspire me and that I look up to. There was also cake and wine. 

Part of the evening was a live feed with a Q&A. Various people either volunteered or got selected to answer a question... there was an RE-related one and up I got up. I made a passionate plea to people to remember the importance of RE in the curriculum. I told them about the fact we create a space in the curriculum for asking and answering the big questions, including those about life and death. I told them that our subject is more important than ever as we still encounter students who have various prejudices that need to be challenged. My final plea was that people did not judge the RE of today with their own experiences at school. It is one of the fastest growing GCSEs and it is often one of students' favourite subject; the teaching of RE (in many schools) has been transformed in the last 10 years and there is so much great stuff going on in RE classrooms up and down the country. It seemed to go down well.

We got our first 5 star review from Acadmies Weekly <here>. The review importantly pointed out, "Much of their advice really is first-rate but what stood out above even that, was the commitment they displayed for teachers supporting each other and developing as a community.". This is perhaps the reason why I tweet and blog, and will continue to do so. The book launch confirmed the ability that we all have to make a contribution to improving education and raising the standards of teaching, without government intervention.

None of the authors were involved for financial gain, it started as a project to simply share ideas. However, now it is a published book, a final reason to buy a copy is that all the profits go to Action for Children. Not only will you get a really lovely book, full of inspiration, but you'll be donating to a really excellent cause.

So, what are you waiting for? Buy a copy from the publishers, <here> or from Amazon, <here>.

Thanks Crown House Publishing for this present!

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