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Mind the Gap – Episode 6 Featuring Sonia Thompson

Episode 6 of Mind the Gap: Making Education Work Across the Globe, a video series presented by John Catt Educational, begins with “On Our Minds,” a popular segment in which co-hosts Tom Sherrington and Emma Turner discuss pressing, relevant issues. In this episode, they give their thoughts on determining an approach to the new academic year. Tom and Emma describe ideas for creating a “normal” school environment, adapting to the unique experiences each student has had through the pandemic, setting the right tone for the school year, and more.

Then, Sonia Thompson, Head Teacher of St. Matthew’s C of E Primary School, joins the show (10:33) for the “Mind Share” interview. She talks about the concept of “reading for empathy” and discusses Empathy Lab, an organization whose research demonstrates the benefits of empathy on the brain and learning. Sonia explains how empathy is a concept that can be taught to all students and reinforces that empathy is not about sympathizing; it’s about doing something with those emotions that we feel. She also talks about using challenging content, how students’ increasing skill influences their will, and more. 

The interview is followed by “The Debrief” (30:36), with Emma and Tom sharing their reflections on the interview with Sonia. They describe how they’re inspired by Sonia’s work at St. Matthew’s to deliver real results for all students.

Keep up with the conversation by subscribing on YouTube to get all Mind the Gap videos, and follow along on Twitter @teacherhead and @emma_turner75. Make sure to tweet your questions using hashtag #askTomandEmma to have them considered for the next mailbag. If you’d like to subscribe to the audio version of Mind the Gap, visit https://anchor.fm/mindthegap-edu and choose your preferred podcast app.

Mind the Gap is presented by John Catt Educational, a leading independent publisher that has supported teachers and school leaders with research-based, easy to use professional development publications since 1959. Learn more about books from Tom, Emma, and many other world-class authors at us.johncattbookshop.com (US) or johncattbookshop.com (International).

About the participants:

Sonia Thompson is Head Teacher of St. Matthew’s C of E Primary School in Birmingham, U.K., a vibrant, forward-looking and confident school which aims to meet the future needs of our young people and the world they inhabit. She is a contributor to The ResearchED Guide to the Curriculum: An Evidence-Informed Guide for Teachers. Follow Sonia on Twitter @son1bun

Tom Sherrington is a co-host of Mind the Gap: Making Education Work Across the Globe. He has worked in schools as a teacher and leader for 30 years and is now a consultant specializing in teacher development and curriculum & assessment planning. Through his consultancy – teacherhead consulting – he is interested in working with educators to explore and implement contemporary educational ideas that deliver an excellent all-round education for young people. His books include Rosenshine’s Principles in Action and The Learning Rainforest Fieldbook.  Tom is a regular contributor to ResearchEd events and other conferences for teachers and policymakers. He regularly contributes to conferences and CPD sessions locally and nationally and is busy working in schools and colleges across the UK and around the world. Follow Tom on Twitter @teacherhead

Emma Turner is a co-host of Mind the Gap: Making Education Work Across the Globe. After 20 years in primary teaching, Emma joined Discovery Schools Academy Trust where she is currently the Research and CPD lead, devising and writing training for staff at all career stages, but specializing in continuous professional development (CPD) for early career teachers. She is the founder of ‘NewEd – Joyful CPD for early career teachers’, a not-for-profit approach to CPD to encourage positivity amongst the profession and help to retain teachers in post. Turner is author of Be More Toddler: A Leadership Education From Our Little Learners. She is an advocate of balance in leadership and family life and regularly speaks at events across the UK on how part-time leadership and flexible working can be a hugely successful model in organizations. Follow Emma on Twitter @emma_turner75

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