Posted by John Naples-Campbell on 2nd October 2011
I’m an openly gay teacher – I am proud of who I am as a person and what I have achieved, but that is it… I am a person, gay isn’t everything about me yet I feel in the world in which we live where ‘That’s so Gay’ is used on a daily basis by our young people and young LGBT students are committing suicide because of who they are I honestly feel I have to ‘wave my flag’ so to speak.
I recently came across this on a website…
One of his teachers is a gay male and is very obvious with it. And I think that makes for a bad influnence in the schools where our children are learning. It is bad enough their peers are influencing them and we have to guard them against drugs, and unprotected pre-martial sex, but now we have to deal with gay teachers. They are at the age where they are very impressionable, and seeing this may have some effect on them. I want to hear from everyone on this topic, whether you agree with me or not.
to which one replied….
A gay teacher preaching gay tolerance should not be allowed within a school.
Should our young people (gay or straight or anything in between) not have role models to look up… role models that they see on a daily basis? Why do School officials feel the need to say that gay issues are ‘delicate’ topics – isn’t everything these days? Maybe we need to stop wrapping our young people up in cotton wool and let them experience the wonderful diversity we have in our country without being worried what the ‘parents will think’.
I am a gay teacher and I teach about acceptance for all… yet I feel It’s frowned upon… yet maybe a black teacher teaching about racism, or a disabled teacher teaching about difference or a Jewish teacher teaching about the Holocaust shouldn’t be encouraged either?
I walk into a classroom and see a photo of a fellow teacher with their husband or wife… what if I put a photo of my partner and myself up? Would anything be said? Happen? Maybe i’m thinking the worst.
The issue we are facing is that it’s not the young people we teach accepting openly gay teachers, they see gay people on TV, in Magazines etc all the time… but it’s the thoughts of the parents and colleagues.
Harvey Milk said… ”I was raised by heteosexual parents, taught by heterosexual teachers, lived in a fiercely heterosexual society, so why am I homosexual?”
Stonewall Scotland says ‘Gay teachers and staff should be out wherever possible. It’s good to be able to talk to a gay teacher about gay stuff rather than talk to a heterosexual teacher because they have probably experienced bullying and coming out. But teachers don’t want to come out in school because it’s such a hostile environment.’
As teachers… we are all role models… and we all have the ability to make a difference!
Posted in Citizenship, Curriculum for Excellence, Homophobia | 5 Comments »
Posted by John Naples-Campbell on 25th August 2011
So we are now into the second year of Curriculum for Excellence at secondary level and I am so excited to be working with a fabulous department and faculty.
Our first year and second years are rotated in the Expressive Arts; each pupil gaining 3 periods a week for ten weeks in Drama, Music and Art… This year we have introduced an exciting new area into our curriculum for S2 pupils. Pupils will still gain their core experience in Drama, Music and Art on the rota for but they choose two ‘Creative Industries’ electives throughout the year to attend. These electives will last for 15 weeks each and will give the pupil an alternative insight into the Expressive Arts through the Creative Industries. Students are able to choose from Physical Theatre and Stage Combat, Animation, Theatrical Design, Musical Theatre, Rock Band, Sound Engineering and Puppet Making .
We hope this gives our pupils a chance to see what the Expressive Arts has to offer and how skills cane be transferred from one curriculum area to the other.
Exciting times ahead at Knox!
Posted in Curriculum for Excellence, East Lothian Council, Knox Academy, Physical Theatre, puppetry, SQA | 1 Comment »
Posted by John Naples-Campbell on 25th August 2011
So at the end of last term Knox Academy took part in an amazing day of theatre to celebrate the fifth birthday of the National Theatre of Scotland. We were so honoured to be taking part in what became an incredible day in the Drama Department. All the Standard Grade classes took part and received so much praise for the work that they created… we even got a mention in the Scotsman from acclaimed arts journalist Joyce McMillian…
For some shows, there is nothing more than a single camera pointing at a distant stage, across the heads of the audience; in others – like Knox Academy’s astonishing multiple one-on-one drama Secrets And Lies, broadcast live on Wednesday morning – the camera almost becomes one of the actors.
Full review can be seen here
So here we are… the finished pieces of work that was created by our talented students at Knox Academy… to say we are proud is an understatement!
Hold Onto Hope Love – S3
Flesh – S3
Cook – S4
Barry’s Ballad – S4
Secret’s and Lies – S4
So from everyone at Knox Academy… Happy Birthday National Theatre of Scotland!
Posted in Curriculum for Excellence, East Lothian Council, International theatre, Knox Academy, National Theatre of Scotland, SQA, Standard Grade, What is theatre | No Comments »
Posted by John Naples-Campbell on 7th May 2011
The Standard Grade Drama pupils in third and forth year at Knox Academy have been accepted to take part to celebrate the National Theatre of Scotland’s fifth birthday by creating 5 pieces of five minute theatre.
A total of 235 Five Minute productions will be broadcast online over 24hrs from 5pm on Tuesday 21st June, 2011. Entries were received from all over the world with 37 successful entries coming from Edinburgh and the Lothian’s.
John Naples-Campbell, Teacher of Drama, Knox Academy, commented:
”Knox Academy are incredibly excited to be selected to stage 5 pieces of theatre created by our Standard Grade pupils as part of Five Minute Theatre. Our pupils aged 14 – 16 years old are looking forward to being part of this wonderful project. Each piece will be staged at Knox Academy on Tuesday 21st June, 2011 as part of a day of theatre at the school. We hope to create five engaging and stimulating pieces of theatre; performed, written and directed by the theatre makers of tomorrow. From all at Knox Academy…Thank you for giving us this amazing opportunity.”
The five groups from Knox Academy, whose performance proposals include a TV cookery show with a twist; tourists marooned on an island following the sinking of their cruise ship; a one to one confessional; a site-specific, physical theatre piece and a couples’ date night. The school are planning a day of theatre at Knox Academy on Tuesday 21st June, 2011 to celebrate the Five Minute Theatre programme.
Marianne Maxwell, Audience Development Manager, National Theatre of Scotland commented: “The response to Five Minute Theatre from all over the world has been fantastic. There is a huge range of ideas from a huge range of people. The creativity of each submission promises live and virtual audiences 24 hours of short, original, funny and brilliant entertainment on June 21st.”
Posted in Curriculum for Excellence, East Lothian Council, Knox Academy, National Theatre of Scotland | No Comments »
Posted by John Naples-Campbell on 20th April 2011
After reading a discussion on twitter and with the introduction of the new Curriculum for Excellence I would like to add this to the blog and as you to discuss it…
Is there a culture of fear within Scottish education?
Posted in Curriculum for Excellence, East Lothian Council, Extra Curricular, GLOW, Knox Academy, National Assessment Resources (NAR), SQA | No Comments »
Posted by John Naples-Campbell on 9th April 2011
So with the draft documents of National 4 and 5 out, the first year of Curriculum for Excellence almost over… what does the future hold for us?
I’m excited about the future of education in Scotland, the possibility to do a lot of interesting work, the new areas of development in the pupils learning with the National 4 and 5 and what we are doing as a Department, Faculty and School.
We have developed this year our S1 course to meet the new CfE and have worked on the theme of Heritage within our Faculty, we are developing resources and assessments that we can include on the NAR (National Assessment Resource) site. We hope to offer a ‘specialism’ for one period a week in S2 and then possibly the new SQA Creative Industries course in S3 for those pupils who are able to achieve it.
In Senior school we are already offering the new National Certifiacte in Acting and Theatre Performance (both at Acting and Musical Theatre strands) and have offered for session 2011/2012 NPA Techical Theatre, NPA Acting and Theatre Performance, NPA Musical Theatre and Higher Drama – focusing on giving pupils a brochure of subject related courses to Drama.
Over the next year you will read Blog posts from me regarding how we are moving forward with CfE, as a Department and as a Faculty. From what we’ve discussed the feeling seems to be that we are still walking in the ‘mist’ but one thing is for sure that we need to give pupils ‘options’ to developed their needs.
I found this video and would love you to discuss it with me so please leave your comments…
Posted in Curriculum for Excellence, Drama training in Scotland, East Lothian Council, Higher Drama, Knox Academy, Learning and Teaching Scotland, National Assessment Resources (NAR), SQA | No Comments »
Posted by John Naples-Campbell on 27th February 2011
I love it when you meet a teacher in your school and they say to you ‘well you don’t have a lot of writing do you? you just act? I mean we have so much marking to do…’ and then you see them digging deeper and deeper into their hole as you look on with a shocked expression on your face – thinking… what planet is this teacher on and if i say anything to them I might actually either burst out crying or turn into the Incredible Hulk!
Everyone who knows me knows how much I love my job and love where I teach, the pupils are incredible (with a few exceptions) and you feel you are making a difference in what you do.
The issue I have is that I teach pupils from a very middle class background where the ‘academic’ subjects are seen as more of a foundation than the ’arts’. I find it amazing to feel that we always go on about giving pupils options but in fact in most cases it’s actually the parents who we are giving options too… parent power.
The fact that a parent said to me… ‘oh we didn’t realise there was so much written work in Drama, we thought it would be his fun subject’ (sic) shows that under the Curriculum for Excellence… the ‘performing’ arts could be under threat in middle class schools…
The Scottish Government has released the proposed new courses for subjects for National 4 and National 5 (new S4 courses for our pupils). It looks like that pupils will have to opt for only 5 subjects to specialise in for S4 (each course being made up of three units at 40 hours each) - with English, Maths and a Science taking priority… so that leaves two subjects to choose from (a social subject and then one left for Drama, French, Music, Art, Latin, Classics, CDT, Business Studies, Computing, Home Econmics, Italian, P.E. etc…) An S2 pupil said to me as they left my classroom… ‘I want to do Drama but it’s up to my parents’ – to which I wanted to reply… ‘oh yeah I forgot they were sitting the examination’. I want to say that at Knox the parents are amazing and have fully supported everything we do… i’m still worried though… especially when you hear of teachers in Edinburgh and Mid-Lothian being made surplus (who have full timetables) and loosing teachers for money saving purposes… the arts are easy targets.
Why the importance of Drama in Education? Let’s see what HMIE have to say… you can read it here.
I’m all for parent power… as long as they fully understand what each subject involves… we all want what is best for the pupil afterall AND teachers ARE ACTORS! From Maths Teachers to Drama Teachers… you perform infront of an audience every hour of the school day – ‘The educational importance of drama is widely recognised, despite the fact that it does not hold a central place in the secondary curriculum. Drama can contribute to the development of personal and social skills.’ HMIE
Posted in Curriculum for Excellence, The Scottish Government, What is theatre | 1 Comment »
Posted by John Naples-Campbell on 9th January 2011
As 2011 starts as does a new term and therefore new events; curricular and extra curricular to look forward to…
With still no word from SQA/Government re examinations for senior pupils sitting Curriculum for Excellence we move forward with developing our S1 and S2 courses with a cautionary step. I have to say that I feel we are currently doing some excellent work at Knox on how to meet the needs of our young people in S1 and S2.
Our Standard Grade Pupils are currently involved in a playwriting project with a school in America and are developing their plays based around the theme of ‘Home’. The aim of the project is to write a 5 minute play that will then be directed by a student in the other school, so the Americans will be directing modern Scottish plays and we will be directing modern American plays.
Our Higher students move into the Examination period with the Acting Exam just around the corner…
The NC pupils are currently working on their Musical Theatre Cabaret’s which will be showcased in Feburary before starting their final productions.
on an Extra Curricular side of things… Our school production is being shown in February after being delayed because of Snow in December. So Sweeney Todd is getting gorier by the second…
Our NC Make-Up course is going from strength to strength thanks to my wonderful collegue…
KWN will start filming their Global Citizenship video…
We have our trip to New York and London…
So as you can see… it’s all go… nothing like starting the New Year hitting the floor running.
On a personal note I was given my sabbatical for next session and have applied for some post graduate courses. I have applied for a few promoted posts lately which I haven’t been lucky to get and am kind of feeling maybe teaching isn’t for me. So this sabbatical will be a breathe of fresh air.
Teaching is a great job but there is too much paper work, red tape, people to impress, new ideas, governement schemes (i could go on and on and on) to actually be able to do the best in your job – we can but try – but it’s hard and this holiday I have realised that. I love my job but can I actually do everything that is asked of me? I try but can I do it to the standards I am happy with? Anyway… my sabbastical will hopefully make me fall in love with the job I currently do again… cause at the moment i’m on Act 5 of The Crucible!
To all the teachers out there… you do a wonderful job! Just keep reminding yourself that.
Have an amazing 2011!
Posted in Curriculum for Excellence, Extra Curricular, Higher Drama, Knox Academy, Learning and Teaching Scotland, London Trip, NC, New York Trip, Playwriting, S6 drama, Standard Grade, The Scottish Government | No Comments »
Posted by John Naples-Campbell on 28th November 2010
A group of S3 pupils at Knox Academy are taking part in an excellent educational programme called KWN (Kids Witness News) which is ran by Panasonic.
The programme aims to train our young people in issues of Global importance for their age by engaging in Media. I was so lucky to be part of this project at my previous school and we created a documentary about the Lockerbie Air Disaster which can be seen here
This year's Knox Team are already on the go! They have had several meetings and have decided their topic to research. After two intensive days of Media training from the excellent James, the pupils learnt skills in Editing and Filming. We were shattered but had so much fun.
Panasonic KWN is a global education programme for 11-16 year-olds in five continents. At no cost to schools, the Programme provides video production equipment and training for the development of School Video News Teams.
Beginning with two schools in New Jersey, USA in 1988, the KWN Programme now supports 617 schools in 25 countries. During the 2008-9 academic year, 83 schools took part across Europe including 22 in the UK.
Starting work in October, School Video News Teams research and produce four minute videos on aspects of global citizenship from the point of view of their own communities. The deadline is mid-February.
The pupils value this project because
- Active Learning (doing rather than just listening)
- Collaborative Learning (working in teams rather than alone)
- Being part of something really big (global is very big)
- Making their own decisions
- Setting their own targets
- Learning from their own mistakes
- Knowing how much their skills have improved
- Sharing ideas with other young people around the world
- The challenge of winning a major award
- Being supported by, not led by, adults
- Having fun!
and as a teacher I value this project because it offers the pupils skills in the following areas
- Project planning
- Time management
- Target setting
- Team building
- Brain storming
- Decision making
- Task allocation
- Internal & external P.R.
- Press relations
- Scheduling & re-scheduling
and on a selfish point of views… means i’m doing Media Studies again which i’ve missed since coming to Knox.
So a HUGE thank you to Panasonic for getting in touch with us and a thank you to Mrs J Craig for agreeing that Knox can be part of the programme.
We’ll keep you posted as this fantastic ‘Curriculum For Excellence’ project takes hold.
Posted in Curriculum for Excellence, East Lothian Council, Extra Curricular, KWN, Maxwelltown High School, Uncategorized | No Comments »
Posted by John Naples-Campbell on 10th October 2010
So Curriculum for Excellence (CfE) has now kicked in and we are in a new phase for Scottish Education… hhhmmmm!!!!!
I went to Moray House during the start of CfE so basically for the past six years the S1 and S2 courses have been created with CfE in mind.
Recently Learning & Teaching Scotland have annouced ‘National Assessment Resources’ (NAR) to help teachers with CfE… so I eagerly logged on to Glow and have to be honest was totally shocked and laughed at the resources/assessments online that are for Expressive Arts – Drama (Assessment Numeracy, Literacy and Health and Wellbeing). Are those really what I am aiming towards? If so… I’ll start looking for a new job!
It made me realise the amount of amazing work we do at Knox Academy and that the Drama Department is actually doing some outstanding work; giving our young people an engaging, emerging and current curriculum.
Hopefully LTS will hopefully upload NARs that will actually be NARs that our assessments will be worth matching!
Am I being too harsh?
Posted in Curriculum for Excellence, GLOW, Learning and Teaching Scotland, National Assessment Resources (NAR) | 2 Comments »