Teaching in Texas???

I spent some time in Texas over the summer and was amazed to read this huge billboard on the road from Houston Airport to the city centre. Imagine if this said Want to do brain surgery – when can you start?  OK, I am exaggerating to make a point, but given the choice to decrease state support for public education (with concomitant increase in class sizes and decrease in classroom resources) in Texas (see below) it is unsurprising that there are difficulties in recruiting teachers for public schools.

God Save Texas, A Journey into the Future of America by Lawrence Wright
God Save Texas, A Journey into the Future of America by Lawrence Wright

I read Lawrence Wright’s new book (an insightful and balanced read) God Save Texaswhich suggests that that we should all be very interested in Texas because this is the future of America. He also suggests the decreases to school budgets may be intentionally racist –  most pupils in public schools are not white (p.281).

State General Funding Per Student (chart)
Click to enlarge: State General Funding Per Student (chart)

Evaluation of the Global Learning Project in Northern Ireland (2015-2017)

Between 2015-2017, Professor Linda Clarke and Dr Lesley Abbott carried out research to investigate the impact of the Global Learning Programme (GLP) on schools in Northern Ireland. The research included an examination of the programme’s effect on the capacity of teachers to deliver global learning. It also explored the extent to which the GLP has helped pupils achieve global learning outcomes.

The research took the form of a longitudinal study, incorporating a mixed methodology. Evidence was gathered through two main avenues:

1. In-depth interviews: Pupils and teachers were interviewed from six GLP schools in Northern Ireland. Starting from when they were either in P5 or Year 8, pupils were interviewed at the end of three successive school years to ascertain the extent to which they had achieved global learning outcomes. The teachers were interviewed annually as well. They discussed the delivery of global learning within their schools and the overall impact of the GLP.

2. Online surveys: These were completed by teachers and senior leaders from schools involved in the first two GLP cohorts. To allow the impact of the GLP on classroom practice to be monitored over time, participants filled out an initial survey in 2015, followed by two additional questionnaires in 2016 and 2017.

Joyful Learner in Bangkok

British Ambassador’s Residence Bangkok
British Ambassador’s Residence Bangkok

Today I had the privilege of attending and speaking at the UK Teacher Training Capability Showcase at the British Embassy, Wireless Road, Bangkok, Thailand. The event was funded by the UK’s Prosperity Fund initiative in Thailand. The audience of around 100 included representative from the Rajabhat universities and from Thailand’s other universities where teacher education courses are offered.

Margaret Tongue, Deputy Head of Mission in the British Embassy Bangkok welcomed speakers and delegates and Dr Teerakiat Jareonsettasin, Thailand’s Minister of Education, opened the workshop.

Photo by mwangi gatheca on Unsplash
Photo by mwangi gatheca on Unsplash

Prof Chris Atkin of Bishop Grossteste University, Lincoln began the day by presenting presenting the review of ITT in the Rajabhat sector carried out in 2016. The Thai Teachers’ Council (TTC) was represented by Dr Tinsiri Siiribodhi who launched their competence framework – shown in the diagram – centered on the needs of pupils as Joyous Learners and deliberately couched in non-academic, teacher-friendly language.    The framework has been agreed and will be adopted across the ASEAN countries.


I was honored to be be a member of the team of academics from across the UK who spoke about each quadrant of the framework:

  • Know and understand what I teach: Dr Nick Gee – Bishop Grosseteste University
  • Help my students learn: Professor Linda Clarke – University of Ulster
  • Engage the community: Dr Aileen Ackland – University of Aberdeen
  • Become a better teacher everyday: Professor Wasyl Cajkler – University of Leicester
Joyful learner diagram

Teaching in Thailand and is not a high status profession; parents would prefer that their pupils became doctors or engineers (surprisingly, perhaps, law is not highly esteemed here either). The TTC is seeking to redress this issue by enhancing the professionalism of teachers.


The Place Model: interactive online concept
The Place Model: interactive online concept