Presenting at 21CLHK Online: Wellbeing and Pedagogy in a EAL, young learners classroom

I am excited to announce that I will be delivering at this upcoming, 2 week conference, with a host of fantastic speakers, including Guy Claxton and Dr. Darya Yegorina, as well as Twitter colleagues, Annie-Jane Finch-Johnson and Louise Heard. I will be sharing this presentation with my school team also in November. Check the site for more information: a great resource for all educators.

Voice and Choice

This article, “What makes employees empowered to speak up”, is so interesting to me. It would appear that participation is based on choice.
“We found that thinking about choices makes people feel stronger and more powerful, which makes sense because the act of choosing allows people to influence their environment while expressing their preferences, values, and beliefs.”
I certainly can relate to this and agree: in the workplace, where employee voice is important and valued, I have felt much happier and willing to contribute and volunteer.
Then I thought about the classroom I wish to create. I have always loved #EYFS as the children have voice and choice in their actions and learning. This I feel becomes limited in KS1, within the confines of the National Curriculum.
A second aspect of article was also interesting. #Agency and #empowerment decreases when there are far too many choices. On Friday, I stood back and looked at my provision and told my colleague, there are too many provocations here. The children were scattering around each area, unable to focus as they usually do in one or two.
These parallels between my Community of Learners (my class) and wider organisations for an employee shows in Early Years at least, we have got #learning right.

Amazon Countdown deal is on!

Exciting news for all those in the UK or with a Kindle UK account, my countdown deal has started! You will not find a more detailed, informative book at this one time amazing deal! I would like to help teachers have amazing experiences by starting a career abroad, hence my start price is the lowest it can be, 99p!

#career #internationalschools #internationalteaching

Amazing Amazon Countdown Deal

Do you fancy living in Dubai next year? Make it your reality by using the advice from my guide.

My amazing offer day is fast approaching, on 21st September my digital copy of ‘Becoming a Successful International Teacher’ will be part of an Amazon countdown deal, so will be a fraction of the price at just GBP 99p! Every day for a week the price will increase in increments. Grab it on the 21st!

Full of helpful information, personal experiences, tips, and helpful links, the book includes:

How and where to find the best international teaching jobs

Which countries and environments will suit you, your partner, and your dependents

Different types of international schools and what to expect

How to find the ‘perfect fit’ in terms of location and school

Advice on creating winning applications and excelling in interviews

Information on salaries and benefits

The practicalities of movingHow to survive, thrive, and be highly successful in your new job

Key considerations for single teachers, teaching couples, trailing spouses, and families

Here is the link:

Why I think Twitter is so important for Educators @WomenEdTW


Why do we use Twitter?

  • Access to a huge network of those involved in education: connections and advice is available from fellow teachers, leaders and experts and those who work towards social change (such as diversity and inclusion). These connections and discussions allow you to reach out to others globally. For example, you can ask about working in different countries, earning a teaching license, and the best courses to those who have or are experiencing them.
  • Through accessing this network and any of the WomenEd divisions (worldwide) we can gain support for our needs, be it advice, training, courses and information. Our network moves from a small Taiwan Facebook group to worldwide!
  • Building up your own network is excellent for future career prospects. You can see how schools are run by following the Principal or engage in conversations with them and/or teachers at a particular school. This is a way to get yourself known in the sphere and develop yourself within a ‘community of practice’.
  • Through Twitter you can further your own understanding in education by reading/contributing and creating your posts with questions. Furthermore, you can keep up to date with current trends in education, perfect for prospects and interviews.
  • You can improve your own practice through discussions, debates and also images posted of classrooms and work that takes place.
  • If you like to blog, you have a platform in which to post them which will receive a wide audience. Similarly, you can read other blogs and have access to articles to improve your skills and knowledge.
  • We can hold online chats to discuss any issues we have in our workplaces. Relevant webinars and conferences will be posted on Twitter, from all of the WomenEd groups as well as outside groups. We would like to create webinars or discussions covering and supporting your needs and questions.
  • The Twitter world is a kind and supportive one, which will help you on your education journey. 

How to Start

  1. Join first and choose your name (handle). I use the app on my phone, it is quick and easy to access.
  2. Join @WomenEdTW.
  3. Look at ‘followers’ and add each person (click follow); these are all the people interested in following WomenEd Taiwan. This means you are connected and you will see what they write. They may or may not follow you back, it does not matter.
  4. Then, you can follow the other WomenEd groups world wide (to name a few there is Thailand, Singapore, Netherlands, UK, USA) and any other group you are interested in.
  5. Depending on where and what you teach, check out a #. For example, I teach pre-school. I look at #earlyyears or #kindergarten. I scroll through the posts and click on the profiles of teachers that are interesting to me. I may then follow them and check who they follow, then add them also. This way you build your network as often people will add you back.
  6. As part of WomenEd Taiwan we will post networking questions such as ‘What are you doing today?’ and we will make a hashtag which everyone uses, such as #WomenEdTWtoday. People reply to this question and write the hashtag. Then you can connect with them also. We will begin with introductions but we may use these conversation starters for anything – such as Taiwanese culture questions, support for special needs etc. If you hashtag anything in your reply, people from these areas can find it.

How to impress your new school!

My latest article for #TES is about what you can do when you first begin at your new school to really integrate and get yourself known. I’ll be following my own advice next year, as my husband and I will also be searching for our next exciting position come 2022~2023!

Awareness #MonthlyWritingChallenge

For this month’s challenge, I reflected on both awareness and self-awareness.

To be aware requires a great deal of reflection and therefore self-awareness.

I don’t feel we can really separate the two, they are interrelated and affect us to the core. For example, I am self-aware that I care. Everything about me cares: about well-being, suffering, hatred, violence, discrimination, and of course, those who inflict these feelings and actions upon others.

Sometimes this care is too much, it’s crushing. But in other instances, it becomes a catalyst.
I have raised awareness of DEI in my small classroom, with my class, in the past few years. Young children can listen and appreciate unfairness at such a young age. In fact, it is integral to how they operate! This work has become very important to me. I was able to contribute to suggested core readings this year, so I could widen my sphere across my unit of four classes.

This small step led to another, whereby I am on the verge of launching #WomenEd here in Taiwan. Living in Taiwan I have become aware of the issues, how often Taiwan is overlooked and considered by much of the world as part of China. I admit I was not that aware of Taiwan before visiting the country. So now my next step is towards establishing something much larger than my work in my classroom, in a country which is often forgotten.

Is this next step scary? Of course, it is. Do I feel ready for it? Kind of.

Am I ever ready? Not really. I am aware of all these things. I am aware I wrote a book to help others but shy away when anyone congratulates me on it. I am aware that I work extremely hard as a teacher, creating and contributing projects to improve the children’s experiences and learning, not looking for recognition but instead working on them under the radar. I am aware whatever I do, it is to the very best of my ability. I am aware and aim to build awareness of how not only are these young children highly capable but should be always provided for appropriately. When I think of these ideas collaboratively, I realise that I am that female teacher that needs #WomensEd, I need to realise and push myself to reach my potential. I should be the one with the opinions and not feel fearful to voice them.

Back to School!

It is such an interesting time, the start of a new year, be in an school overseas or at home.

As my new children join the class with limited English levels or are often very shy, I take a lot of time initially observing and trying to have short conversations or moments of shared interests together in the first week.

As I stood back today and watched how my multi-lingual class were using the environment I could learn so much. There is a level of productivity and exploration in the unit which I hadn’t seen in my previous two classes.

Whilst my previous classes initially would seek out provocations mostly and want to work with me, my new co-hort were keen explorers, pulling out toys and learning equipment my prior class hadn’t been interested in. I have already noted how we need to move the loose parts to a more central area, as the children explored through the cubbies and drew these out.

I could tell loose parts were a great choice in the kitchen, whereas last year when they were not part of my provision, they were bearly touched. This year whole meals were being created and these ingredients well thought out. The links were taken from the small construction area to make spaghetti. I marveled at how they found resources from all over and made them their own.

Circle time though is the most challenging. This year, with now a 15 week break due to closure and the summer holidays, I am aware of how much we need to explain in dual language, ensuring there is a lots of opportunities to bridge across the languages. Our early shared books are chosen for this reason, such as Eric Carle’s ‘From Head to Toe’, to embed language in an active way. Alongside the good old ‘Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes’ and ‘Mrs Gosling (Simon) Says’. And a bit of stickers on body parts is always abit of silly fun!

Reflecting upon last year, I am mindful that in an international setting that my powers of observation and non-verbal cues I see from the children are extremely important in developing the correct environment for them.

The added difficulty this year is being mindful of Covid restrictions, with spacing, resourcing, and games. Yet, some restrictions create new opportunities.

For example, although my heart sank when I was told there would be no playdough permitted, I adapted this table to be a permanent painting table, which the children love and have used everyday. All painting resources are open and easier to access that a trolley with a shared table we used last year. They have really enjoyed taking out rollers, exploring with liquid and solid paints. For the kids needing sensory, their own little palette where they can put in their hands and fingers has been a hit too!

All in all, it’s another great start. Now that we are back in school homelearning is a memory, it will be another great year of learning together. Long may it last!

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