Mariam’s Ramdhaan

jonny walker teaching

This is a guest post written by my friend and colleague Dr Nasima Hassan, from the University of East London. In this post, Nasima explores the experiences of a 10 year old girl in London during Ramadan/Ramdhaan. Thanks Nasima!

It’s Ramdhaan, the ninth month of the Islamic calendar when Muslims around the word fast from dawn until dusk. Here in London that means the fast starts around 2.45am and ends at 9.25pm. So that means that lots of Muslim children are fasting whilst attending school. This throws up many questions and concerns (and rightly so) from teachers who have to balance the demands of a full teaching day and everything we know about healthy living and drinking water with the spiritual and religious practices of their pupils.   I am asked frequently what happens in Ramdhaan so this blog is a typical day in Ramdhaan through the experiences of Mariam. Mariam…

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The Semmelweis Reflex: Why does Education Ignore Important Research?



In 1846 the general hospital in Vienna was experiencing a peculiar problem. There were two maternity wards at the hospital but at the first clinic, infant mortality rate was around 16% while at the second clinic the rate was much lower, often below 4%. Mysteriously there were no apparent differences between the two clinics to account for this.

Part of the mystery was that there was no mystery. Almost all of the deaths were due to puerperal (childbed) fever, a common cause of death in the 18th century. This fact was well known outside the hospital and many expectant mothers begged to be taken to the second clinic instead of the first. The stigma around the first clinic was so great that many mothers preferred to give birth in the street than be taken there.

Working at the hospital at the time was Ignaz Semmelweis, a young doctor who…

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Suffer the Consequences

Freeing the Angel

In life, as in school, there are consequences for the wrong kind of behaviour. Or at least there are if you get caught. Imagine this: you’re driving along the motorway and for once it is empty. The weather is good, and you are driving a fast new car. You are in a rush to get home, so your foot presses down on the accelerator and you ease up to 90 miles an hour. You are breaking the law – behaving in the ‘wrong’ way. But, hey, no one gets hurt and at least you get home ten minutes earlier than you would have done otherwise. Now imagine this: as you speed along the motorway, you see a police car up ahead of you, waiting on the side of the road. You hit the brake, and by the time you reach the police car, you are doing the right speed. You…

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