Writing for online publication – what works?
A well written article, shared actively online demonstrates authority and will get a school noticed in the right kind of way. Andy Homden looks at different types of article that engage, entertain and inform. Almost all are written by practising educators.
1. The insightful moment
This is the classic article describing the reflection which follows a moment of insight about teaching. David Gregory is an outdoor education specialist constantly on the lookout for understanding and who communicates the resulting insight in a compelling way. This is a great example of his work:
2. The Painkiller
A painkiller article is one that shows how a problem has been solved. It is highly likely that if you have had the problem, then so have others, and they will be interested in the solution that you have come up with. Here Jackie Harden looks at the problem of ensuring online safety:
3. The Vitamin
Vitamin articles show how a good idea or original approach has enhanced the experience of teachers or students at a school, as at these two Scottish Primary schools who are experimenting with a new Maths resource: Katie Gardinier was talking to Andy Homden.
Neil Jarrett is a primary teacher who specialises in EdTech and writes about how it can advance learning in any classroom:
5. Top Tips
Related to the Painkiller and Vitamin, this kind of article reflects the voice of experience. There may be 4, 5 or 10 “top tips” or ideas for people to so something well. Succinct and punchy, these articles are always popular. This article by Prue Walsh describes ways in which to make the best use of a small playground:
In another, Peter Hudson gives five tips for developing personal listening skills:
6. Book Reviews
If you have enjoyed reading or using a book, others will want to know about it. What attracted you to it? Good reviews are very popular, and Kate Shepherd writes the kind of reviews that make people want to go out and read the book for themselves. We published this popular review in June 2017:
NB we had to get permission to use the featured image for this article.
7. Plain Common Sense
Articles don’t have to be at the “cutting edge” of education. Leah Davies’s articles reflect her years of teaching experience and offer a commons sense approach to problems that are commonly experienced in the classroom, but not often written about. Here she deals with child perfectionism:
8. The case for . . . .
This kind of article presents arguments for and against a certain proposition, as in this example that looks at the case for compulsory drama: by Simon Misso-Veness & Andy Homden
9. Case studies
People are always trying out new ideas, and others are always interested in finding out how things went. The evidence may be anecdotal, formal or action based, but well written case studies are always worth reading. Here Brian Ambrosio looks at the transformation of a school in rural Malaysia:
10. Curated resource pack
The internet is a treasure trove of useful resources – but putting together (or “curating”) a consistently high quality resource pack takes time. Here’s one of ITM’s “Best Sellers” by Jan Homden.
People make a difference, and a story about someone –teacher, student or parent who has achieved success, particularly if they have overcome a difficulty will always be read. Here primary Adam Black describes how he mastered his stammer to become a teacher:
12. Flavour of the month
Several very successful articles in ITM reflect the growing popularity of an idea and consequently are widely read. This example from Carolyn Savage reflects a growing belief that children whose first language is not English should also be learning in their “mother tongue”:
13. Crystal ball
What does the future hold? Readers are always looking for insight, and are keen to read about someone or something that seems to be pointing the way, as with this article written by Uma Shankar Singh about the libraries:
14. Good practice
Examples of good practice that have been effectively implemented and made a difference to learning, are popular particularly if they highlight something that others could try. This article by Vicky Hill attracted a lot of attention:
15. Travel, and down time
Teachers are on the lookout for new ideas about where to go and what to do, particularly if these places are a little off the beaten track. Here Elly Tobin describes a visit to Panama:
16. Where to teach
What is it like to teach in . . . . . ? Readers value a well-informed and balanced “insider’s story” about the countries in which they teach. Catherine Piper asks, “How about Northern Thailand?”
17. A good school
Written in the right way, an article about what makes a school “good” will attract a great deal of attention. After all, everyone wants to work in a great school, don’t they? Andy Homden visited SISD in March 2016.
Compiled by Andy Homden – Consilium Education