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Primary Education News
News Teachers benefit from a dose of mindfulness
Plus how university libraries are flourishing despite online access to information, and how to choose the best higher education course; all on our online communities this week
Can you concentrate? Lots of us flit from topic to topic and find it hard to keep our attention fixed. Teaching mindfulness, when we're aware of and focused on what we are doing, is one way of counteracting that and it is catching on in schools in a big way.
So perhaps it's not surprising that our mindfulness resources on GTN – including an activity that challenges students to hold a piece of chocolate on their tongue for three minutes – are among are most downloaded on the site at the moment.
This week, associate principal Amanda Bailey explores the benefits of mindfulness for teachers themselves and shares some of her favourite techniques for clearing the mind and beating stress. "Mindfulness has helped me train my 'monkey-mind', which is how I describe a mind that buzzes all over the place without focusing on what really needs attention," she writes. "I can now watch my thoughts, and find they are much less likely to take over and consume me."
Also on the site this week:
What does a truly immersive lesson look like? From role-play and changing the layout of your classroom to clever use of audio and visuals, assistant head and English teacher Sarah Findlater shares her proven tips on immersing your class in a topic.
Following on from an earlier investigation into the rise of executive headteachers, journalist Nick Morrison finds out how principals and executive heads get the power balance right in their academy chains and school groups.
Plus, Secret Teacher shares a few observations on observations, and concludes that the system "requires improvement".
Over the past decade, universities have been rebuilding, refurbishing and redesigning their libraries. Nowadays, from the so-called Berlin Brain at the Free University of Berlin to the forest-like library interior at the University of Queensland, library buildings no longer look like libraries.
This week on the network, Claire Shaw interviews the heads of 10 university libraries across the world – from Aberdeen to Australia, from Canada to Japan – about the challenges they face and their plans for the future. Far from facing extinction in a world of online access, they tell us that their libraries are at the very heart of current higher education debates such as open access and research communication. But what do these issues mean for academia?
We're also inviting readers to send in photographs of their own university library via our user-generated platform, GuardianWitness. View the results so far and get involved here: www.theguardian.com/higher-education-network/2013/jul/24/university-libraries-design-21-century
If you're hoping to start university next year, there are 37,414 courses to choose from. How do you sift through the thousands of course listings to find the best one for you? This week, we will unveil the courses that your teachers have not told you about, from Swahili studies to college-based degrees, from combined courses to foundation years.
• Students talk about the pros and cons of taking a joint-honours course
• Will a placement year help you to secure a graduate job? We find out how sandwich degrees can boost your initial graduate earnings
• What does it take to study a language at degree level? Admissions tutors explain why they don't expect students to have formal language qualifications before starting at university
• And, don't miss the chance to put your questions directly to university admissions officers and careers advisers, in our live Q&A on Thursday, from 1-3pm