Prior to entering teaching I worked in Local authority Outdoor education centres in the United Kingdom. My teaching background includes a number of inner city comprehensive schools followed by teaching in a sixth form college in Barrow in Furness, Cumbria UK. I joined Patana, my first international school in 2002.
Living in Thailand is a wonderful opportunity to explore the sub tropical forests of Asia and the culture of one of the most welcoming of country's, Thailand.
Like all authors I have to acknowledge the infinite patience of my family, who tolerate my excessive time in the editing these pages. As much as I enjoy maintaining this site and teaching great students my first love is to be out in the forests with my kids.
For those teachers new to IB Biology this site should reduce the preparation time for your lessons. The content of the pages will allow you to identify the level of work required for the examination which is often difficult to judge from the syllabus statements. The site was originally constructed to provide a one-stop revision site for my own students as they prepare for examinations. The site was never intended as a primary teaching resources and hopefully most teachers will realise that they need to go so much further in their teaching preparation if their students are to learn effectively. Hopefully then these resources will save time researching the content of the syllabus which can then be used to construct and design a course that promotes understanding of biology. I would urge teachers to read and consider the ideas covered in ' Understanding by Design' by Grant Wiggins and Jay Mc Tighe. However the biggest impact on my own teaching has in recent years comes from the work of John Hattie. I recommend without reservation the The Power of Feedback. If you don't read this you will have missed out on a massive opportuity to improve the effectiveness of your teaching.
Students who visit these pages should recognise that their singularly most important resource is their own teacher. These pages can never hope to replace the professional guidance that a good teacher provides. By the way a good teacher in my book is one that does not pretend to be the 'font of all knowledge' but recognises their own limits. And having reached their own limits the good teacher then direct their students to the expert sources. A huge dose of humility is fundamental to the teaching tools of any committed professional teacher. I would say that as part of the process of maturing into a young adult the student should recognise the value of a teacher who does not profess to know everything. Always respect those who know their limits and do not fudge the issue to save face. The acid test however is that the teacher will pass on their student to those who do have the knowledge or skills. My own teachers taught me this very many years ago. Thank you!
To finish this page I wanted to share one anecdote about my own learning. I once asked a Professor of Botany for citations which supported the thesis he had just given in a lecture. His reply was surprising but provided me with a 'lesson for life' . 'No', he replied, much better you read those authors who are my critics'. Acknowledging the opinions of those whose opinions differ with our own is a huge learning experiences. It teachs us to measure our opinions, value those of others and deals a huge does of humility.
Bangkok August 2011