Teacher Talk

John Morris is head of Ardleigh Green Junior School, Essex, which is featured in a documentary being shown on Teachers' TV, the new television channel for education professionals
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The Independent Online

How did you get involved with Teachers' TV?

My involvement began last October because of the school's participation in a Department for Education and Skills (DfES) literacy project. I was very impressed by the professionalism of the company that made the programme. They had good knowledge of primary education, were well briefed and knew exactly what they were looking for. And they had no hidden agenda.

What is the programme about?

We've been working with Professor Eve Byrne of Cambridge University, looking at boys' attainment in literacy. From our experience, there was no single factor that improved boys' literacy. The DfES report on boys' literacy said we had a coherent management structure and high expectations for the pupils. That leads to high levels of self esteem. The documentary highlighted our use of speaking and listening to improve reading and writing, and the use of ICT as an integral part of the daily literacy hour. The programme makers filmed a typical lesson and discussed it with the teacher, Professor Byrne and myself. They also spoke to the boys.

What are the benefits of a teaching channel?

Watching the channel will be a great way to see what is good practice and put it to use. It's a positive opportunity to share ideas with colleagues from other schools. I'm doing an Inset day soon and I'll be using the programme as the basis for a discussion about literacy. There are programmes we can use with the children, and others that are useful for teachers. Having seen what goes into the production, I feel even more positive about the channel. They presented a real-life situation, not a cheesy promotional video.

Do you think it's likely to be successful?

There's great potential for resources to build up - all the programmes are going to be available on the website so in a year, say, there will be a catalogue of programmes on literacy. You won't get avid Teacher TV watchers, who sit down for an evening of viewing every night. The programmes are 15 minutes long; they're sharp, they get to the point and, because they're bite-sized, they can be used in school easily.

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