A-levels vs the International Baccalaureate: which makes a more rounded student?

Lecturer in Education, University of Bath

Few would disagree that a good education means more than just exam results. The benefits of non-academic experiences – from sports competitions, charity events, or school plays – have been shown to lead to more than just happy memories.

Evidence shows that taking part in extracurricular activities can support academic attainment, even into adulthood, as well as bringing personal benefits such as social skills, improved well-being, and self-confidence.

Interested in reading more?

Why do governments invest so little in education and training?

The most recent records that I can find on the Internet allege that Spain spends 4.21% of its GDP on Education, in comparison to the UK which spends 5.73%, and Norway which spends 7.37%.

OK, obviously, we need to understand exactly what these Education budgets include, but, the next time a politician says: ‘‘Education is the key to economic prosperity and better living’‘, we need to challenge them, and ask them what they mean by education, and better living for whom.

Finally, if you are curious as to which country invests the most of its GDP on education, then check it out here. And, if you don´t believe that these statistics are true, who can you ask to get the right information?

To understand autism, don´t look the other way.

”Carina Morillo knew almost nothing about autism when her son Ivan was diagnosed — only that he didn’t speak or respond to words, and that she had to find other ways to connect with him. She shares how she learned to help her son thrive by being curious along with him.”(In Spanish with English subtitles)

The unexpected benefit of celebrating failure!

Astro Teller, Entrepreneur, inventor, author

“Great dreams aren’t just visions,” says Astro Teller, “They’re visions coupled to strategies for making them real.” The head of X (formerly Google X), Teller takes us inside the “moonshot factory,” as it’s called, where his team seeks to solve the world’s biggest problems through experimental projects like balloon-powered Internet and wind turbines that sail through the air. Find out X’s secret to creating an organization where people feel comfortable working on big, risky projects and exploring audacious ideas.

Listen to his thoughts on Ted Talks

Working Parents and Michelle Obama

Michelle Obama, a lawyer and administrator, is an advocate for working parents and education for girls all around the world. Speaking to an audience of students, US First Lady Michelle Obama reminds each one to take their education seriously — and never take it for granted. This new, brilliant generation, she tells us, is the one that could close the gap between the world as it is and the world as it should be.

Listen to Michele Obama´s thoughts and ideas on Ted Talks.

TED Talks is coming back to Málaga

OMG, I love TED! And TED is coming in October and November!

If you are not familiar with the TED Talks empire, you really must check it out.  I have spent hours and hours, and hours and hours learning things about crazy stuff from truly brilliant people. I am always inspired and without a shadow of a doubt I can say that knowledge is sexy, and knowledgeable people are hot!

So kids, stay in school, learn stuff, be curious, question, be critical, experiment and innovate as it´s much more likely that you´ll get laid if you do.

Playing chess improves concentration and problem solving skills

Chess improves concentration and problem solving skills
chessIs it possible that chess, a strategy board game loved by billions of people, can be considered a form of gambling? Unbelievably, if you a religious cleric in Saudi Arabia, then the answer might well be, yes! I, on the other hand, like millions of parents, educators and mathematicians, think that chess is highly likely to improve people’s concentration, problem-solving, critical, original and creative thinking skills and abilities.
Furthermore, it has been persuasively argued that ‘’chess can cross socio-economic and cultural boundaries and give otherwise disadvantaged children a chance to compete on equal terms.’’ In light of the above points, if I worked for the Ministry of Education, I would definitely make playing chess a compulsory part of the maths curriculum.
Finally, if you’ve never played chess before, it’s never too late to give it a go! In fact, I play chess online with my 10 year old nephew every other week, and so far, his approach to critical thinking is far superior to mine.

If you want to read more about the health benefits of playing chess, then click here.

Educational challenge: Learn a new skill

How hard can throwing knives be?

Learning something new can be very enjoyable. Often, you get to know new people, exercise your brain in a different way and have fun at the same time. Brilliant challenge, how hard can this be?!

So, what should I learn?

My boyfriend, who obviously doesn’t know me very well,  has suggested the following: cooking, cleaning, sewing, ironing and dusting. However,  I told him that he should start to learn how to use his brain more. Seriously, as if I’m going to learn any of those ‘domestic’ skills!!

Anyway, as I’m looking for a flat to buy, I think I need to learn some practical skills like rewiring a plug, hanging a picture or  fixing a leaking tap.  Generally speaking, I need to be better at  D.I.Y ( do it yourself).  What do you think?

More importantly, do you know of a flat for sale in the historical centre that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg?

Education: Digital age = Smarter kids?

Digital ageWell, I know I’m supposed to say the person who used a multi-media approach to knowledge acquisition will remember the information better.  However, controversially I think the person who just listened and thought about the seminar will not only remember more but will be better equipped to understand what to do with the information.  What do you think?

Want to know more?  Well, here’s the full article.