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Things in Education

This is our repository of all our newsletters which are delivered to the inbox of our subscribers.

List of Published Newsletters

Edition 2.7

17 Mar 2023. 

After a brief pause on our series of editions on foundational learning, we are back with a special edition on foundational learning. We are sharing not just our thoughts and experiences, but we have also incldued parts of our own preschool offeringRead More.

Edition 2.6

3 Mar 2023. 

In the previous two editions of our series on assessments, we wrote about how formative assessments are a key part of teaching and how we can successfully assess for understanding. This week we focus on what we misinterpret as student understanding. Read More.

Edition 2.5

17 Feb 2023. 

In the previous edition of our series on assessments, we wrote about the need for formative assessments during teaching and how these assessments must inform teaching. The focus of the piece was that assessments must help us answer the question: Have students understood what I have taught them today? In today’s edition, we go deeper into how to assess for student understanding. Read More.

Edition 2.4

3 Feb 2023. 

Today's edition is not related to foundational learning. It is about formative assessments. We write about how misunderstood formative assessment may be and what changes can we make in them to improve student learning. Read More.

Edition 2.3

20 Jan 2023. 

This Friday we have a selection of writings on alternate pedagogies and assesments that we wrote about in the last year. And what we mean by alternate pedagogies is just pedagogies which are different from the traditional lecture-based instruction. We summarise the different difficulites that educators face while conducting inquiry classes, project-based learning lessons and flipped classrooms. We also give some quick tips and some deeper tips to overcome these challenges. We end the newsletter with summing up our thoughts on how to use assessments in the most effective way and also how to not overwhelm a student when asking a question. We hope you enjoy this journey! Read More.

Edition 2.2

6 Jan 2023. 

As we continue our anniversary celebrations, today's edition brings you the highlights of how a human mind learns and how knowledge of this can be leveraged in classrooms. Students can be motivated, kept engaged with the lesson and learning goals can be achieved more effectively when we know how the human mind is going to learn and what are the ways the human mind can trick teachers and students into believing that they learned something, without really learning it. Read More.

Edition 2.1

23 Dec 2022. 

There has been a great push for strengthening foundational learning practices across the country, thanks to the policy statements of the NEP 2020, the guidelines for implementation by NIPUN Bharat, and the curriculum framework set out by the NCF 2022. And this edition is a good summary of our thoughts on how early learning practices should be approached. Read More.

Edition 1.26

9 Dec 2022. 

Today's edition of Things in Education is us sharing what we have learned from seeing our philosophy and curriculum in action in preschools. We understand it is nice to talk about what could work, or what may work. Today, we focus on what works and what are some essential things we need to do as educators to make it work. You may wonder, "What is 'making it work'?" 'Making it work' for us is ensuring student learning. Read More.

Edition 1.25

25 Nov 2022. 

Today's edition of Things in Education explores a rather debated topic in early learning - phonics and its relevance in learning to read the English language. We focus on arguments from a data-driven point of view rather than the memories of our early learning. This is a continuing series on Foundational Learning that we are running. Read More.

Edition 1.24

11 Nov 2022. 

In today’s edition we try to understand what an application-based question really is. Does an application-based question really exist? Or is it just some mythical thing? We have all heard the phrase ‘application-based questions’. We have also been asked numerous times to check whether the students are able to apply what they have learned. So how do we ask a question that tests students’ ability to apply the knowledge that they have learned and understood? Read More.

Edition 1.23

28 Oct 2022. 

This edition is part of the Foundational Learning Series and talks about the need for motor development as an important stepping stone to learning writing. We already spoke about why writing is essential in developing a literate brain and we also saw that writing develops from what we may think is gibberish, but are actually important pre-writing levels. Taken together a slightly bigger picture on the development of writing emerges which includes crucial development of the brain alongwith development of other parts of the body.  Read More.

Edition 1.22

14 Oct 2022. 

Assessing student learning is as straightforward as you want it to be. Decent questions give a good superficial understanding of student learning. But there are many nuanced layers to making excellent assessement questions. Today's edition is the beginning of a new series on Making Excellent Assessments.

The first part of the series talks about how not to make recall questions and why context, cognitive load and the testing objective need to be balanced while making a question.  Read More.

Edition 1.21

30 Sep 2022. 

We started our Foundational Learning series a month ago, and we hope that you’ve found it useful. The first edition in the series suggested reasons why handwriting is not as redundant as it may seem in the present times. And the second edition was a deep dive into what actually constitutes writing at the Kindergarten level. In today’s edition we highlight points to understand to ensure student learning happens and the student is motivated to learn. We have written about these earlier in our newsletter. Read More.

Edition 1.20

16 Sep 2022. This is the second article in our Foundational Learning series of Things in Education. And in this edition we get down to the bedrock of what writing is. And writing is much more than writing. And today's edition is even more special as it includes contribution from Vani Balasubramanian, who has worked in the education sector in direct and indirect capacities for the last 4 years. She is currently pursuing her master's in education from Azim Premji University. Vani's educational interests include classroom literacy practices, library spaces and the role of children's literature in early language acquisition. Read More.

Edition 1.19

2 Sep 2022. This edition is a special one because it launches our series on Foundational Learning. Seasoned readers would recall that we have written about foundational learning before. And we agree. WIth this series, we aim to discuss specific questions or issues that teachers, principals and school leaders encounter often. For example, we kick off this series by asking what happens to reading if we remove writing from the foundational curriculum. If the need for a writing syllabus has not been questioned yet in your school, it will be soon. Hopefully this article can help you articulate some of the arguments against it. Read More.

Edition 1.18

19 Aug 2022. In this edition we discuss one of the most often encountered concern of teachers. Teachers who think newer methods and pedagogies may be helpful. But they believe that there is no time to complete the curriculum in time. "An inquiry learning classroom takes longer to cover the topic than a traditional classroom", they say. Our point of view is simple: don't cover everything in the curriculum! Read More.

Edition 1.17

5 Aug 2022. This is the part two of a two-part series on how the process of scientific thinking can be used to engage students in active learning. In this part we give you an idea of how we approach designing a class to engage students in the process of scientific inquiry. We hope that this helps you integrate inquiry as a way to actively engage students in the classroom. Read More.

Edition 1.16

22 July 2022. This edition is the first of a two-part series on how the process of scientific thinking can be used to engage students in active learning. In this part we try to show how the process of scientific inquiry can lead to active engagement and hence deeper understanding in students. The next part will focus on the challenges while using the process of scientific inqury in class. Read More.

Edition 1.15

8 July 2022. Today's edition is a little different. It is a type of an experiment. This edition tries to summarise information on different aspects of lesson planning that we have written about over the last six months. Lesson planning is an important skill and needs to be built over time and experience in the classrooms makes lesson planning more refined. Sometimes teachers say, "I had a great lesson plan. I knew what I was going to do every minute of the class." Lesson plans are not only about preparing material for every minute of class. It is about engaging and motivating students. And what better way to introduce it, than to paraphrase the boxer Mike Tyson... Read More.

Edition 1.14

24 June 2022. In today's edition we have written about motivation - specifically motivating students to learn. Motivation is one of the most difficult aspects of child (or adult) psychology to deal with. There are multiple factors which feed into one's motivation. Here we present one framework by which we can understand student motivation. Read More.

Edition 1.13

10 June 2022. Thinking creatively need not be an in-born trait which cannot be taught. There are ways to encourage creativity in classrooms and help students build this vital skill. To understand how one can do this, Read More.

Edition 1.12

27 May 2022. Flipped learning has gained some momentum in the last few years given the advent of online learning and asynchronous learning. In this article we talk about the dangers of doign flipped learning wrong. This is meant as a caution and we will share tips on how to avoid this in upcoming editions. Read More.

Edition 1.11

13 May 2022. Inquiry-based learning is a powerful pedagogy which allows for the democratisation of education. Students have a bigger say in what they would like to explore and learn rather than being told to do something. However inquiry classes are not straightforward to manage for some teachers, especially early on. In this edition of the newsletter we take a look at the challenges that teachers face and how we can ovecome these challenges.  Read More.

Edition 1.10

29 Apr 2022. Why is it easier for us to remember all the characters of our favourite TV show and their history but when it comes to history of the world, we struggle to recall? This edition of our newsletter suggestes that the answer may lie in how our mind rebels against remembering things that it deems unimportant. As educators we need to get our minds to stop rebelling against the learning matter. Read More.

Edition 1.9

15 Apr 2022. Engaging lesson plans are important, but what is more important than engaging students? Engaging students so that they learn and understand. We write about how to go about approaching lesson plan creation by keeping student learning at the centre. We also have a couple of great teacher professional development courses - details in the newsletter. Read More.

Edition 1.8

1 Apr 2022. In today's edition of our newsletter we decipher why it is difficult to think critically. And once we know why it is difficult, we can find ways to make it easier for students to develop critical thinking as a skill. Read More.

Edition 1.7

18 Mar 2022. In today's edition of our newsletter we focus on project-based learning (PBL). Specifically, we share our experiences of working with educators who are interested in conducting PBL classrooms in their schools. We hope that this edition helps you understand the basics of PBL and gives you options on how to start the transition to PBL classrooms. Read More.

Edition 1.6

4 Mar 2022. It is that time of the year again! The final examinations are upon us in most of the schools in India. And they will soon begin in the rest of the world, as well. Creating the final examination is an important process. One, it can assess the students' progress in the year. A subtle but more powerful aspect of creating final examinations is to allow teachers to reflect on the year of teaching and learning. Reflecting on the focus of teaching during the year can be a powerful tool to know what a teacher taught during the class, and hence what to focus the final examinations on. Further it helps teachers understand what teachers got right and what changes they should try in the next year. We hope that this edition helps you with the reflection process. Read More.

Edition 1.5

18 Feb 2022. Our core interest and expertise lies in Teacher Profesional Development and we help schools and governmental organisations to upskill teachers. From our experience we have come up with some common pitfalls that educators may fall into while thinking about professional development. Though this edition comes from our experience with schools, these are easily applicable to individual educators and parents. Read More.

Edition 1.4

4 Feb 2022. Reading is a difficult activity for the human brain. Depending on the language we can fluently read, our brain develops differently. What does this mean as digital devices replace books as primary reading resource? In the fourth edition of Things in Education, we dive into answering this question. And not surprisingly, the answers may come from the early days of writing in Western Asia and Egypt. Read More.

Edition 1.3

21 Jan 2022. In the third edition of Things in Education, we focus on how challenging it is for educators and students to transition from lecture-based classrooms to inquiry classrooms. We also write about scaffolding and how it helps in student learning not only in inquiry classrooms, but also in any type of classroom. Read More.

Edition 1.2

7 Jan 2022. In the second edition of Things in Education, we talk about one of the main reasons why reading levels in India are so low and what are small changes that educators or parents can make to help build reading skills in students. Read More.

Edition 1.1

25 Dec 2021. In this first edition of Things in Education, we talk about why our brain is quick to lose motivation to learn, and how relevance, rigour and fun can make learning easier as well as deeper. Read More.

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