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Marco Shearin
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The Shearin Group Training Services: Are schools becoming 'exam factories'?

There has been growing concern in the UK about evident drawbacks of the current educational system being dubbed as "exam factory".

Hundreds of parents, teachers and children's writers expressed their concern that children are getting burdened by ever-increasing pressure in today's schools.

"We are concerned to hear of children crying on their way to school, upset that they will not be able to keep up: of parents worried that their 4-year-olds are 'falling behind' or of 6-year-olds scared that 'they might not get a good job' ... And we wonder what has happened to that short period in our lives known as 'childhood'," says the letter signed by over 400 concerned teachers and parents.

It's certainly one proof that the current model of education needs to change so students can get a more "grounded and rounded education" -- for their own good and for that of the country.

According to The Shearin Group Training Services, the letter went on to touch on the ill effects on teachers and children of numerous exams dominating most of school time. Worse, some students who are under pressure would tend to switch off and just stop trying altogether. Even the so-called cream of the crop are obviously struggling to keep their place.

It's as if education is all about students passing an exam, something that doesn't obviously translate to real learning all the time. They are told to retake exams countless times until they pass -- as if the act of passing itself is supposed to mean everything.

As noted by The Shearin Group Training Services, such system does not help at all in preparing students for the future or in equipping them with the all-important critical thinking. In the end, this is not "teaching" children but merely "drilling" them.

Another signatory to the letter who is a senior official of Pre-School Learning Alliance warned, "The current focus on formal testing and measurable outcomes risks encouraging a 'tick-box' approach to early education, a shift that would undoubtedly have a detrimental impact on children's early learning experiences."

Moreover, it's not only frustrating for students but for teachers as well. For instance, statistics from the Department of Education revealed that most teachers are working more than 50 hours per week on average, most of it spent on "unnecessary or bureaucratic" activities.

Michael Rosen, popular novelist and poet, said it succinctly when he commented: "You can sit in a bookshop and see people buying books full of mock tests and blank pages to fill in -- and ignoring the real books."

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The Shearin Group Training Services: Are schools becoming 'exam factories'?
There has been growing concern in the UK about evident drawbacks of the current educational system being dubbed as "exam factory". Hundreds of parents, teachers and children's writers expressed their concern that children are getting burdened by ever-increa...
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The Shearin Group Leadership Training in Hong Kong on 10 tips for passing practical assessments when applying for a senior teaching job 

http://www.theguardian.com/teacher-network/2015/feb/05/job-senior-leadership-team-teaching-schools

Your CV has made the cut, now it’s time for presentations, demonstration lessons and psychometric tests. Here’s how to prepare for success

Interviews for teaching jobs used to involve a half-hour chat to a panel of well-meaning governors. But these days, they are more like physical and psychological assault courses with presentations, demonstration lessons, psychometric tests, observations and in-tray exercises. And if you’re applying for a senior teaching job, you need to prepare yourself for the practical tests as well as the formal interview.

Demonstration lessons

Give a lesson plan to the observers beforehand so if it all goes horribly wrong at least they know what you intended to achieve. Detail how you plan to differentiate and show progress, even if there wasn’t time during the demo lesson.

Mary Glynn, candidate development manager at Prospero Teaching, says: “The first question the panel are likely to ask at the formal interview will be about evaluating your performance in practical things like the demo lesson. Focus on answering this well – show you are a reflective teacher and can justify the decisions you made.”

Be ready to explain at interview how you differentiated, especially for EAL or SEN, how you planned for progress, justify why you changed tack or improvised and acknowledge any mistakes you made.

Don’t expect parity, though. You could get a tough year 9 group when another candidate gets sweet little year 7s. Your lesson might have to be taught after the formal interview while another might be interviewed before.

Presentations

You are likely to be asked to do a 10-minute presentation on the role you are applying for. You might be asked about your vision for the English department or how you would take forward safeguarding, pastoral care or behaviour in the school. Here’s how to deliver a cracking presentation:

Plan a beginning, middle and an end – basically tell a story in about why you are right for the job.

- Your beginning (maximum two minutes). Think A,B,C and D: 

A is for attention – get the panel’s attention with an arresting quote or statistic.
B is for benefit – what is the interview panel about to learn from you in next 10 minutes? Summarise it in 15 seconds.
C is for credentials – tell them (again in 15 seconds) what your credentials are.
D is for direction – give them a 20-second outline of the structure of your presentation so they’ll remember it once you have finished.

- Your middle (maximum seven minutes). This is your content, the meat in the sandwich. Give a compelling outline of your vision supplemented perhaps by a diagram or infographic, maybe a few stats, a very short video clip all on half a dozen PowerPoint slides.

- Your ending (maximum one minute). Finish with a call to action or an inspiring line that sums up you and what you will do.

Lesson observations

You are required to observe someone else’s lesson to test whether you can identify outstanding teaching. They’ll be looking to assess the quality of your written and oral feedback, your confidence to assess what you observed or a coaching tip to develop skill and technique. You also need to show a wider appreciation of your subject knowledge or leadership potential(visit: http://theshearingroups.org/ ).

In-tray exercises

These test your ability to prioritise and cope under pressure. Can you deal with a dozen things coming at you at once? How will you prioritise urgent matters like multiple staff absences, coursework deadlines and the school boiler breaking down all on the same morning? You can prepare for these by searching for examples on the internet. Search for “in-tray exercises for teachers” – Exeter University and @TeacherToolKit has them. There are no right answers but practising helps you prepare.

Psychometric tests

These are a harder to prepare for because they are supposed to objectively test your mental ability, aptitude and personality. You may be asked to engage with a variety of exercises that test your verbal and numerical ability or your abstract, spatial or mechanical reasoning. I did one for a headship with the three other candidates for the job that involved building a three-foot high tower with paper clips and sheets of A4. It was worse than an episode of The Apprentice.

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The Shearin Group Leadership Training in Hong Kong on Tips for Passing Practical Assessments
10
tips for passing practical assessments when applying for a senior teaching job Your CV
has made the cut, now it’s time for presentations, demonstration lessons and
psychometric tests. Here’s how to prepare for success Interviews for teaching jobs used to...
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The Shearin Group Leadership Training in Hong Kong: Sushi Maki CEO’s five tips for growing your business
The success of South Florida’s popular local restaurant chain
Sushi Maki didn’t come overnight. Its founder and CEO, Abe Ng, suffered the
failure of another business before figuring out how to stay afloat in Miami’s
local economy. Ng’s first restaurant ende...
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The Shearin Group Leadership Training in Hong Kong: Are you a hack waiting to happen? Your boss wants to know

The next phishing email you get could be from your boss.

With high-profile security breaches on the rise, from Sony Pictures to Anthem, companies are on the defensive. And they want to make sure their employees are not a hack waiting to happen.

Data show phishing emails are more and more common as entry points for hackers. Unwittingly clicking on a link in a scam email could unleash malware into a network or provide other access to cyberthieves.

So a growing number of companies, including Twitter Inc., are giving their workers a pop quiz, testing security savvy by sending spoof phishing emails to see who bites.

"New employees fall for it all the time," said Josh Aberant, postmaster at Twitter, during a data privacy town hall meeting recently in New York City.

Falling for the fake scam offers a teachable moment that businesses hope will ensure employees won't succumb to a real threat. It's even a niche industry: companies like Wombat Security and PhishMe offer the service for a fee.

Phishing is very effective, according to Verizon's 2014 data breach investigations report, one of the most comprehensive in the industry. Eighteen percent of users will visit a link in a phishing email which could compromise their data, the report found.

Not only is phishing on the rise, the phish are getting smarter. Criminals are "getting clever about social engineering," said Patrick Peterson, CEO of email security company Agari. As more people wise up to age-old PayPal and bank scams, for example, phishing emails are evolving. You might see a Walgreens gift card offer or a notice about President Barack Obama warning you about Ebola.

The phishing tests recognize that many security breaches are the result of human error. A recent study by the nonprofit Online Trust Alliance found that of more than 1,000 breaches in the first half of 2014, 90 percent were preventable and more than 1 in 4 were caused by employees, many by accident.

Fake phishing emails are indistinguishable from the real ones. That's the point. In one sent out by Wombat, the subject reads "Email Account Security Report - Unusual Activity." The email informs the recipient that his or her account will be locked for unusual activity such as sending a large number of undeliverable messages. At the bottom there's a link that, were this a real phishing email, would infect the recipient's computer with malicious software or steal password and login information.

If you click?

Up pops a web page: "Oops! The email you just responded to was a fake phishing email. Don't worry! It was sent to you to help you learn how to avoid real attacks. Please do not share your experience with colleagues, so they can learn too." It also offers tips on recognizing suspicious messages.

In the 14 years since PhishMe CEO and co-founder Rohyt Belani has been in information security, he says the industry has changed from something a "geek in the back room" was supposed to take care of to something companies now handle at the highest level of management. The nature of the intruder also has changed, from pranksters to criminal organizations and nation-states.

As the security industry developed, he said, so did the idea of the user as "stupid" and the "weakest link," destined to continue to fall for phishing attempts and other scams. Belani disagrees with that, faulting the security industry for not better training workers.

"We posted posters in hallways, gave out squishy balls, (made) screen savers," he said. "When was the last time you changed your password because of a squishy ball?"

While phishing training emails are a "good cautionary measure," they aren't "actually going to strike at the core of the issue," believes Agari's Peterson. He, along with large Internet companies such as Facebook Inc., Google Inc. and Microsoft Corp., support establishing a standard that makes it impossible for scammers to impersonate your bank, social network or other business in an email. Think of it as a verification system for emails. For now, though, this seems a long way off.

So, at Pinnacle Financial Partners in Nashville, Tennessee, employees will continue to receive fake phishing emails, about one a quarter. The results are reported to the company's audit committee and board of directors, said Chief Information officer Randy Withrow. Since the 800-employee company started the Wombat program Withrow said it has seen a 25 percent drop in successful phishing attempts.

Workers "take it very personally" when they fall for it, he said. "They become apologetic and wonder, 'how did I miss it?'"

Luckily for Pinnacle, it was only a test.

Continue reading:
http://www.wfmj.com/story/28089207/are-you-a-hack-waiting-to-happen-your-boss-wants-to-know

More related content:
http://theshearingroups.org/
http://theshearingroups.org/news/

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The Shearin Group Leadership Training in Hong Kong: Are you a hack waiting to happen? Your boss wants to know
The next phishing email you get could be from your boss. With high-profile
security breaches on the rise, from Sony Pictures to Anthem, companies are
on the defensive. And they want to make sure their employees are not a hack
waiting to happen. Data show ph...
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How Shearin Challenges the Individual to Become a Leader
Leadership is a function of all humans.
The father is the leader of the family. The wife also shares that role within
her own capacity without taking away or destroying the main role granted to the
man. The family, in a most fundamental way, leads the way f...
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The Shearin Group Training Services: Can E-learning Replace a School Day?
E-learning has been gaining traction in some parts of the US
particularly in public schools as a learning option for when weather gets so
bad that schools had to suspend classes. Then students at home are supposed to
use their school-issued netbooks or tabl...
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The Shearin Group Leadership Training Top 10 Tips for Building a Flourishing Company Culture
Culture can­not flourish if individuals do not sustain it. Whether
it’s a beautiful or horrific culture, it does not exist without one individual
after another choosing to support it. For me, the culture that I want to live and work in is achieved
through w...
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