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How to Use Storytelling in Lessons

With the emphasis on teaching for exams and preparing for inspections increasingly evident, the age-old artform of storytelling is showing signs of decline in British classrooms. Whilst helping children to achieve top results is important, it’s also crucial that we don’t sacrifice the innovation and freedom that comes with this powerful learning tool.

Despite its name, storytelling isn’t as simple as reading a story out loud. Instead, it incorporates rich language, physical movement, imagination, emotion and conceptualisation in order to reveal key details and turn words into visual imagery, also integrating collaboration as a means of encouraging input from students. This format of teaching is so valuable that there are even Storytelling Schools that focus on using it as a springboard for learning, assisting students to master both language and subject content.

What’s more, storytelling doesn’t just apply to reading and writing. By using it to engage students and welcome participation, it can be put into practice across the entire curriculum, even in subjects that traditionally lack narratives, such as maths and science. Whilst it can be tricky to perfect this method, it’s very easy to begin delivering it in your classes – all you need to do is explore ways to make topics more exciting and demonstrate how facts, figures and information can be linked to one another.

Here are some tips for creating impactful stories that children will enjoy and remember:

  1. Build a strong series of core elements that are at their most effective when in a specific order, leaving room for queries and creativity.
  2. To get students invested in a story, you must show your own excitement and passion from the start and throughout.
  3. Modulate your voice, make regular eye contact and use gestures to bring the subject matter to life.
  4. Metaphors and creative license add value to a story, providing they don’t disrupt the flow or obscure the facts.
  5. Rather than a nonstop string of statements, include the occasional question and invite the class to finish some sentences that revolve around previously learned themes.
  6. As with any story, there should always be an ending that sums everything up and provides food for thought.
  7. If possible, set a task for children to write their own mini story at the end of a lesson or module, as this will allow them to show their understanding and express individual perspectives.
  8. Most importantly, make it fun and memorable, as this will support your students in retaining the fundamental details that they need for exams and life alike.

If you still need convincing that storytelling is at the foundation of all information, simply pick up a newspaper, go to a favourite blog, log onto your social media channels, watch TV or simply ask a friend how their day was. You’ll soon see that people don’t simply list the particulars without adding visual triggers and expressive vocabulary. And if we as adults use storytelling on a daily basis, it seems only logical and fair that teachers champion its implementation in the classroom too.

Get in touch

We specialise in marketing and design for the education sector. To find out more about how we can help, get in touch at hello@bigpinkfish.com or call us on 0161 507 3365.

Keep Your Cool in School

It’s a new school year and teachers across the UK are applying their creativity, passion and determination to give young people the best start in life. However, this time of year can also be very stressful, so we’ve popped together some top tips for staying cool in school.

Plan your day

This may seem like obvious advice to teachers, who are well known for lesson plans, structured approaches and following the curriculum, yet planning your day goes beyond the subjects that you teach. In fact, it begins before you’ve even set off in the morning, as knowing what needs to be done between lessons can really help you to stay in control of your time.

For instance, if you need to catch up on emails, have a quick meeting with a fellow educator or tidy up an area of the classroom, fitting it neatly into your schedule will ensure that everything gets done on time. Using an app such as Google Calendar can really help here too, as its notifications are far more effective than sticking post-it notes to your desk or tying a ribbon around your finger.

Get some exercise

It’s very tempting to take the bus or drive to work, but getting up a little earlier and walking there can go a long way to energising yourself for the day ahead. Depending on how far the school is from your home and the local traffic conditions, travelling on foot could actually be quicker and will certainly save you money.

If you live a fair distance from your school and even cycling is out of the question, try to incorporate a little extra fitness into your regime, such as taking the stairs instead of the lift, walking around the classroom where possible, and getting some fresh air on the school grounds during lunchtime.

Make time for friends and family

Obviously you can’t spend quality time with loved ones during the working day, but many teachers also fail to do this properly during their spare time too. It’s very easy to go home and watch a bit of telly, only to lose an entire evening to mindless screen time.

Instead, put effort into allocating time with friends and family, as sharing stories about your days and taking part in shared hobbies will do wonders for relieving stress and lifting your mood.

Sleep is sooooooo important

You’re an extremely busy person, we get it, but not getting enough sleep will result in your efficiency taking a nosedive. When you’re properly rested, your brain works more effectively, enabling you to not only do a better job but also do it more quickly.

Set yourself a suitable bedtime and stick to it. If you can’t fall asleep quickly, we recommend downloading investing in a meditation book or app that will teach you how to regulate your breathing, empty your mind and nod off in no time.

Take a deep breath

If a lesson is proving difficult or that one troublemaker is really pushing you to your limit, remember that losing your cool can get you in trouble and also result in your students losing their respect for you.

As hard as it may be at the time, if something is stressing you out, you need to take a breath before responding. It’s not necessarily a case of counting to ten and picturing a beautiful meadow – even just a moment’s pause can prevent you from losing your cool.

Get in touch

We specialise in marketing and design for the education sector. To find out more about how we can help, get in touch at hello@bigpinkfish.com or call us on 0161 507 3365.

How to Survive Freshers Flu and Stay Healthy

Starting university is an incredible time of life, filled with new experiences and opportunities. However, with so much to see and do, all while rubbing shoulders with countless people, it’s easy to become ill or run down. To help you stay fresh during freshers, we’ve popped together some top wellbeing tips.

Please drink responsibly

You’ll have heard this on every alcohol advert ever and it really is excellent advice. We totally understand that you’ve left home and suddenly have access to tons of social events, but drinking too much and too often will take its toll in more ways than one. Aside from the obvious hangovers, excessive alcohol consumption has an effect on your organs, concentration levels, mood and even your skin, so try not to go overboard.

Another good recommendation is to have a half pint of water between each alcoholic drink and have some painkillers ready for the morning. A refreshing and detoxifying smoothie for breakfast will also go a long way to aiding a swift recovery.

Keep active

Universities have lots of sports clubs and societies to choose from, so consider joining one or two in order to get regular exercise. Other simple habits that you can incorporate into your daily routine are walking to the campus and back, taking the stairs instead of the lift, and going to the gym with friends to a schedule that fits around your studies.

Eat well

Ahh, uni life – you’re allowed to eat pizza and sweets whenever you like! Still, whilst comfort food is great, it can play havoc with your health even at a young age, leading to sluggishness and lack of focus. We’re not saying that you shouldn’t enjoy a takeaway with friends and some naughty snacks when you fancy them, but try to always buy fruit and veg when you do your shopping.

Many supermarkets have great offers on healthy ingredients too, so make time for some homemade meals as often as possible. Cooking with your housemates can also be a great way to get to know each other, plus it can be loads of fun. If in doubt, the StudentBeans website has some mouth-watering recipes that certainly won’t break the bank. Another tip is to buy frozen veg, as this will last for ages.

Factor in regular me time

Socialising is awesome and an important part of university, yet you also need to put aside time just for you. Whether it’s having a cheeky Netflix binge or, even better, reading for pleasure then popping out for some fresh air, the art of switching off and enjoying the moment will really help you to stay relaxed and mentally in control.

Make sure your body is fully stocked

The human body needs a balance of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants to function efficiently. A vitamin tablet washed down with a pint of water first thing in the morning is an excellent start, plus getting plenty of fibre and other natural goodness through a balanced diet will keep you full of energy. Other supplements can also help, but make sure to check with your doctor or pharmacist first.

Sleep is so important

Whoever said that sleep is for the weak must have bags under their eyes the size of the big blue ones you get from Ikea. A good night’s slumber enables your body and mind to recharge and fix any small problems that may have arisen, such as aches, stiffness, lethargy and low mood. Ensuring that you always get the right amount of sleep is imperative to a healthy first year – too little will leave you shattered, and too much can cause you to feel a bit lifeless.

The amount of sleep that the average student requires is between eight and nine hours a night. This won’t always be possible due to assignments, revision and partying, but the more often you get your full quota of zeds, the better you’ll feel throughout the semester.

Get in touch

We specialise in marketing and design for the education sector. To find out more about how we can help, get in touch at hello@bigpinkfish.com or call us on 0161 507 3365.

Time Management Tips for Educators

Whether you teach in a school, college or university, you’re guaranteed to have a very busy schedule. To ensure that everything gets done and burnout doesn’t rear its ugly head, here are some practical time management tips to integrate into your working day.

Set achievable goals

Making sure that you have clear goals that are also realistic is the first step, as losing track of your to-do list or putting too much on your plate are recipes for disaster. The more specific these goals are, the better – rather than aiming to become a better educator, pinpoint exact areas of teaching that require improvement.

Also take into account the power of wiggle room, as a very strict timetable could be massively disrupted by unexpected events and jobs popping up.

Prioritise your tasks

Now that you’ve laid out everything that needs to be done on both a regular and long-term basis, you need to decide which are the most time-sensitive tasks and which can be focused on over a longer period of time.

Author Stephen Covey recommends placing tasks into the following categories: Important and urgent; important but not urgent; urgent but not important; not urgent and not important. Most of these are self-explanatory but some people get confused with the ‘urgent but not important’, so a good example is something that arises and needs to be done very soon, yet which can be shared with colleagues or even fully delegated to someone else.

Remove distractions

You find yourself blasting through an important task during a free period, but then someone knocks on your door or your phone rings. You deal with the interruption quickly, return to the task, and find that your concentration has taken a blow. By the end of the day, you’ve achieved far less than you would have if disturbances had been minimised.

We realise that it’s not always possible to have 100% private time as an educator, but if you save the jobs that require intense focus for periods when you can retreat to a quiet space, you’ll find that they get done far more efficiently.

Delegate where appropriate

There are a number of soft skills that will benefit your career as an educator, from adaptability and problem-solving, to creativity and a strong work ethic. Though delegation may not seem like a soft skill, it’s actually a valuable tool that enables effective time management.

The key is to see delegation as a means of allowing you to get more work done, rather than less – any small jobs that don’t really come under your remit can be passed on so that you can focus on the most important tasks.

Make time for you

Free time that’s spent doing something that makes you feel happy or relaxed is absolutely imperative. Changing your surroundings even just for fifteen minutes so that you can stretch your legs and get a little fresh air will reinvigorate you and lead to the next work session being more productive than it would have been.

And whilst some people say that sleep is for the weak, the truth is that proper rest helps the mind and body to deliver their best work. So the next time you’re feeling overwhelmed, step back for a few minutes, grab a coffee or glass of water, look out of the window and give your eyes a rest from the screen – we guarantee it will be a wise investment of time.

Get in touch

We specialise in marketing and design for the education sector. To find out more about how we can help, get in touch at hello@bigpinkfish.com or call us on 0161 507 3365.

Brain Training for Teachers

Being a teacher means that you don’t just help young people to learn on a daily basis, you also learn a lot yourself in the process. From new words to historical dates, chemical compositions to artistic styles, teaching is the perfect career for people who are passionate about lifelong learning.

However, though you’re always busy, schedules and general repetition can lead to the brain being excellent in some areas but a little sluggish in others. In order to keep your grey matter growing, here are a few brain training tips that are perfect for fitting into your personal time.

Write using your non-dominant hand

Here’s a nice and easy one to start with. The majority of us have just the one hand that’s dominant, using it for everything from turning a screwdriver to flipping a coin. Whilst the muscles in that arm will naturally be a little stronger, you can also bulk up your brain by trying some writing exercises with your non-dominant hand.

By carrying out a task that’s usually very simple but which is suddenly quite complicated, your brain really kicks in to improve your hand-eye coordination. Even just writing your name or a simple sentence over and over again is a great brain workout, plus you’ll improve the overall dexterity of your non-writing hand in the process.

Draw a map of your neighbourhood from memory

This is a fun challenge that can really keep you busy. Start by drawing a basic bird’s eye view of the area around your house – where the individual houses are, backyards, alleyways etc. Now go more in-depth by adding in other items and structures, such as telegraph poles, post boxes, trees, flowerbeds and so on.

Now spread our into other streets and go into as much detail as you wish, such as thinking about which houses have solar panels and how many cars each driveway usually holds. The more minutiae you can add without cheating by looking out of the window, the greater your memory capacity will become.

This doesn’t have to be done all in one go. In fact, you can look around each morning on your way to work and memorise new information, then add it to your handmade map later in the evening. The key is to keep on going for as long as you can – maybe you’ll end up mapping the entire city on sheets of A4!

Do sums in your head

No pencil and paper for this one, and certainly no calculator. Doing mental arithmetic doesn’t just improve your numerical skills, it also helps you to get better at plotting, memorising and thinking logically. Start small in relation to your current maths skills, then make it harder as you go along. This could be a case of incorporating larger numbers, ratios, square numbers, sequences – whatever will work up a mental sweat!

Put your taste buds to the test

This is an interesting one that you may not have come across. When eating a meal or drinking something like a smoothie or herbal tea, take your time and try to detect the individual ingredients and flavours. Even if you’ve prepared the meal or beverage yourself, focusing on the unique herbs, spices, characters and sensations will keep your brain busy whilst you refuel your body.

Learn a new sport

It’s tempting to think that physical training and brain training are totally separate things, yet learning a new sport requires mind and body working closely in unison.

The more you have to think and respond, the better, so try something like tennis, golf or yoga. If you don’t want to get too tired out, even playing pool or darts allows you to move your body whilst calculating factors such as angles, trajectories and possible outcomes.

Get in touch

We specialise in marketing and design for the education sector. To find out more about how we can help, get in touch at hello@bigpinkfish.com or call us on 0161 507 3365.

Students: Make This Your Best University Semester Yet

Calling all universities and lecturers out there! If you’re reading this article, we suggest that you share it with your students to inspire them for the coming semester. You never know, it might make your own semester run a bit smoother too.

Plan ahead

First off, even if you love a classic student wall planner or physical diary, we recommend that you also use an app such as Google Calendar. This way you’ll always know where you are and what’s coming up – just make sure to add updates to each format you use, which is much easier if it’s a maximum of two.

Secondly, put everything in your planner as soon as you find out about it. Obviously you’ll add things like essay deadlines, exam dates and so on, but it also helps if you include social events, fitness sessions, time with friends and family, even things like dentist appointments and haircuts. As a university student you have a lot on your plate, so logging it all in a calendar helps you to stay on top of things whilst removing the risk of double-booking.

Final tip for this section, if you’re using a digital planner, make the most of any features it may have. For instance, different colours for categories such as lectures, deadlines, socials and sports can make everything super clear. Also, set pop-ups to a timeframe that works for you – receiving a notification fifteen minutes before an event when you live twenty minutes from the campus isn’t going to do you any favours.

Look after your body and mind

Student living is awesome, isn’t it? Takeaways with friends, plenty of social events, lots of late nights and as few early mornings as you can manage. It’s fun, we get it, we’ve been there ourselves, and that’s why we understand the toll it can take on your physical and mental wellbeing.

We’re not saying you should become a teetotal hermit who eats nothing but quinoa (unless you want to be), but you need the self-awareness to know when you require more sleep, healthier food, better exercise and prolonged fresh air, combined with the self-discipline to put it into effect. This will ensure that you don’t burn out and can enjoy partying alongside a productive learning journey.

Grow up a bit

We don’t mean this in a patronising way, it’s just that it’s very easy to live like a student even after you leave uni. For instance, some graduates still rely on their parents for everything from money to mealtimes – this dependency can always be lessened in some way, from getting a part-time job, to offering to cook meals for the family.

As for you, you’re still at university and most likely live in student accommodation; if this is the case, start adopting good habits that you know you’ll need in later life, such as maintaining a clean home, always paying bills on time, checking the post instead of putting it to one side, and investing time into seeking out interesting opportunities that will aid your continuous personal development.

Work on your personal brand

This is an interesting one that you might not have expected, yet it’s very important. Your personal brand is how you market yourself to potential employers and evolves constantly. It may sound a bit corporate but it covers all aspects of your individuality, from your academic achievements, to membership of any societies and sports clubs, volunteering or charity work you’ve done, causes that you’re passionate about, enriching pastimes, and anything else that you feel sums up who you are.

In terms of conveying your personal brand, this can include multiple platforms, such as your CV, social media activity, LinkedIn profile, business cards, a personal blog or website, testimonials and references, and a network of people who can support you when the time comes. That last one is tailored around your activity – your lecturers and any previous employers are key members of your network, plus you should get to know your university’s careers advisors, reach out to potential mentors, and try to meet up with members of the community (business or otherwise) who you think can offer invaluable knowledge and guidance. By getting your personal brand up to scratch, you’ll find that post-university life becomes a whole lot smoother.

Get in touch

We’re here to help schools, colleges and universities to get the most out of their marketing, benefitting teachers and students alike. To find out more, get in touch at hello@bigpinkfish.com or call us on 0161 507 3365.

Mental Health Tips for Students

Whilst it’s an accepted fact that students at secondary school, college and university will succumb to periods of stress, there are plenty of techniques and practices for staying on top of not just studies, but also mental wellbeing.

Take things one step at a time

This may sound like obvious advice, yet it’s amazing how many students go through times of intense anxiety simply because they’re thinking about everything all at once. Whether it’s a good old-fashioned handwritten timetable complete with colour coordinated areas, all the way to clever digital tools that make it easy for them to picture their day, week or semester clearly, encouraging students to plan their time will pay off no end.

Work together

When students discuss subjects in groups or do homework and assignments with friends, so much more can be achieved when they have a study partner. This can be applied to almost every area of learning, including the memorisation of facts and figures, the analysing of difficult topics, giving feedback on each other’s essays, or simply having someone to ask questions when a subject is proving to be difficult territory.

Make time for life

No one ever got anywhere by working constantly. Reading a book for pleasure, getting a little exercise, grabbing a glass of water and a bite to eat, catching up with friends and family – all of these small activities help to refresh the mind and body, which can mean the difference between burning out and doing a fantastic job.

Set realistic goals

You can’t excel at everything immediately and all in one go. A student needs to decide what they want to achieve within a certain amount of time, be it an afternoon or an entire academic year. The key is to aim high but not to the point where they’ve set themselves up to fail. If goals are achieved, always make new ones; if not, focus on new ways of tackling problematic areas.  

Take mental breaks

Even if a student takes regular breathers to eat, watch TV or go outside, chances are they’re still thinking about their studies, at least a little bit. The path to achieving the best results is to allocate times when you simply don’t think about them at all. This could range from meditation, mindfulness techniques, prayer, relaxation exercises, or taking a stroll through a green space and living in the moment. If they do this on a regular basis, they’ll find that their brain works a lot more efficiently.

Learn how to deal with stress

Even when following all of the above tips, stress can still rear its ugly head. When this happens, it can be incapacitating and ruin an otherwise productive study session. As soon as a student starts to feel stressed, they should turn away from the books or computer monitor, take a deep breath and think about something that makes them happy. This might sound a bit corny, but it can be extremely effective and sometimes causes serotonin to be released by the brain, which can have a speedy calming effect.

Get in touch

Whilst we’re here to help educators with their design and marketing, we’re also experts at developing strategies, methodologies and company cultures that help teachers and students to get the most out of education. We’ll help you to take the stress out of education through powerful planning and clever implementation. Get in touch at hello@bigpinkfish.com or call us on 0161 507 3365.

Teaching Children About Climate Change

With retailers of all shapes and sizes adopting ecologically sustainable practices, not to mention 15-year-old activist Greta Thunberg speaking at high-profile gatherings around the world, it may come as no surprise that climate change is making its way into the curriculum in a big way. A recent development was four young students from Cheney school in Oxford launching a petition that called for more lessons on the subject.

With over 81,000 signatures, this petition will hopefully mean that it won’t take long for climate change to be properly integrated into everyday teaching, rather than as a minor add-on to geography and science. In the meantime, some educators in the UK have fast-tracked the process by enrolling at the Climate Change Teacher Academy, which is run by the United Nations.

The specially designed CCTA online courses offer training to primary and secondary school teachers so that they have all of the knowledge required when confronted with tough questions. For instance, though every teacher may know a little about plastic waste and global warming, potential discussions are often cut short due to lack of in-depth, up-to-date knowledge on a topic that will affect the rest of every young person’s life. In fact, ongoing damage to the environment has a large impact on them right here and now, as younger people are often more susceptible to heat exhaustion and respiratory conditions.

Meanwhile, the local authority of North of Tyne plans to become the first place in the world to have a UN-accredited climate change teacher in every state primary and secondary school. Its new mayor, Jamie Driscoll, says that this will be achieved by giving all schools in the area the opportunity to train a member of staff in giving lessons on global heating and the impact of the climate crisis.

This is all amazing news and we hope that more schools commit time and resources into tackling the climate change problem. If you want to start right away, here are some tips and topics that you can incorporate into lessons very easily:

  • The first thing that children and their families can do together is decrease the amount of waste created in their homes. From turning the taps off whilst brushing their teeth, to taking bags to the shops and replacing plastic straws with metal ones, these small and simple practices will make a very big difference.
  • Composting unwanted food is another great move, which can be achieved by either creating a compost heap in the garden or using the food caddy that’s provided by most local authorities. If neither of these are possible or available, many families ask neighbours or nearby allotment owners if they’d like food waste for their compost heaps.
  • Encourage children to fall in love with nature by exploring ecosystems both in your lessons and outside the classroom. Something as simple as taking a moment for the class to appreciate blue skies or getting a little fresh air on the school’s grounds helps children to engage with the natural world more often.

We specialise in marketing and design for the education sector, with environmental responsibility at the core of everything we do. To find out more about how we can help you to teach climate change topics in your school, get in touch at hello@bigpinkfish.com or call us on 0161 507 3365.

Using Technology in the Classroom

The world that young people live in is very different from when we were kids, with technology and digital tools used for everything from checking facts to connecting with people around the world. Though many schools prohibit the use of smartphones, there are some interesting ways of integrating tech into your lesson plans.

Virtual field trips

When the budget won’t stretch to a field trip, modern digital platforms offer a virtual alternative. Google Street View is an excellent opportunity to wander around a capital city without having to leave the classroom, plus there are virtual tours and panoramic views for multiple cultural attractions, such as the Sistine Chapel, the Eiffel Tower and the Empire State Building.

Videos bring lessons to life

There are countless online videos that can be used to strengthen a lesson, from popular educator Eddie Woo’s maths lessons, to the delightful Art for Kids Hub, which shares daily exercises by a highly creative family.

Try video conferencing

If you contact a subject specialist, such as a children’s writer, illustrator or entertainer, but they can’t manage to visit in person, there’s a chance they could speak to your class via Skype or Google Hangouts. This way they can squeeze a session into their busy schedule much more easily and answer all of your students’ questions in real time.

Listen to podcasts

By mixing relevant podcasts with traditional teaching, you not only make the content more engaging but also blend auditory learning into the occasional lesson. There are so many podcasts out there, including those by children’s authors, experts in a range of topics, and interesting people who have tons of insight to share with your class. By listening to the podcast beforehand and making note of useful snippets, you can then pause and fast forward so that the children hear the most valuable bits.

Make all presentations visual and colourful

A far cry from overhead projectors, modern presentation tools allow animations, videos, sound effects and all kinds of other audio-visual elements to be added. This will greatly help to keep the students’ attention and can be great fun, which adds to the content being memorised.

Is your class on Twitter?

Many schools have individual year groups and classes that have their own Twitter accounts. This needs to be run by the teacher and permission does of course need to be gained from parents first, but once up and running it can be a fantastic way of finding information, joining Q&As and sharing successes. Mundella School in Sheffield is an excellent example, as every single class has its own account.

Set up a student blog

Websites such as Blogger.com provide multi-user blogs free of charge. Through a student blog, the children can talk about what they’ve learnt, their goals for the year, their personal achievements and much more. As always, the teacher needs to be in charge of adding content and must take into account any privacy/confidentiality factors, such as only referring to children by a first name or initial. You can have a lot of fun with this and if you’re looking for inspiration we recommend checking out the blog of Harrison Primary School in Hampshire.

If you’re interested in marketing and design services for the education sector, get in touch at hello@bigpinkfish.com or call us on 0161 507 3365.

Encouraging Questions in the Classroom

A good teacher makes a difference to young lives by opening up a world of knowledge and discovery on a daily basis. Whilst structured topics, lesson plans and your individual wisdom are key to an effective learning environment, young children should also be encouraged to ask their own questions. This is easier said than done due to many pupils being shy or lacking self-assurance, so here are some tips for getting them to express their thoughts and make enquiries that could greatly strengthen the lesson for everyone.

Read stories together

Starting with a classic approach, a group reading session is a great way to tempt children to ask questions. What they ask could be anything from the meaning of a difficult word to clarification of an unexpected plot twist – whatever the case, a shared narrative gives everyone the opportunity to ask a question that will help to bring the subject matter to life.

Create a wonder wall

This has grown in popularity in recent years, as it’s an easy way for even the quietest students to contribute. Simply place a board on the wall where they can stick post-it notes presenting their questions, which can either be about all kinds of things or themed around the curriculum. You can then answer the questions any way you wish, such as a short session each morning or perhaps a dedicated slot on a Friday afternoon before home time.

Use thin and thick questions

There are many types of questions, and a simple way to explain this to children is the idea of them being thin and thick. A thin question could be one that has a yes/no response, or which is easily answered by searching on Google or picking up a reference book. Thick questions, on the other hand, can go into great detail and may sometimes have multiple answers. Some teachers encourage pupils to only ask thick questions in class, as it acts as a means of starting interesting discussions. Others prefer to only have thin questions asked, as they’re quick to answer and therefore don’t disrupt the flow of the lesson too much. If in doubt, adopt a happy medium.

Nurture a communicative classroom culture

All of the methods above are highly effective and can be combined to inspire curiosity, confidence and conversation in all students. However, at their core is the need for pupils to feel that they’re not only allowed to ask questions in class, but actively encouraged to do so. This lies in the roots of how you teach – whilst discipline and respect are crucial, a teacher should also be friendly, open, patient, energetic, fun, supportive and fair. When this is in effect, young people will feel more comfortable around you and the questions will start flowing – just make sure to be prepared for some interesting concepts, as children can come up with fascinating conundrums.

Do you have a question about marketing and design for the education sector? Get in touch at hello@bigpinkfish.com or call us on 0161 507 3365 – we always have the answer.