Great Lessons at the Wellington Festival

The Spiritual Room at Wellington (photos  via Wellington and @ZoeAndrewsAST
The Spiritual Room at Wellington (photos via Wellington and @ZoeAndrewsAST)

It was a real thrill to take part in the Wellington Education Festival this year.  I was overwhelmed by the level of interest, with people packed into every corner and many more who couldn’t get in at all. Guess what? People at an Education Festival want to talk about lessons! That’s hugely encouraging.

My slides included some images from lessons at my school, showing that learning takes many forms… with traditional ‘heads down’ essay writing integrated with group work, on-line resources, student-led instruction, peer support, tightly focused drills and more open-ended explorations…

Lessons take many forms; they integrate techniques and strategies of many kinds.
Lessons take many forms; they integrate techniques and strategies of many kinds.

However, the idea of a ‘great lesson’ is that it is characterised more by the habits of the teacher, the things they do routinely every day, rather than the specific strategies and structures they employ.  For me, Great lessons are all about habits.

I then went through the Great Lessons Series 1 -10, one idea at time… from Probing to Joy.

The full series is available via this link: Great Lessons.

OR individually here: 1. Probing  2. Rigour  3.Challenge  4. Differentiation 5. Journeys 6. Explaining  7. Agility 8. Awe 9.Possibilities 10. Joy

OR you can download a pdf with all the posts compiled together in one easy-to-share document.

The Great Lessons Series.
The Great Lessons Series.

I am now planning to turn this into a book some time next year… you can read it all again then!

It was fantastic to see sessions from Tom Bennett, David Didau, Geoff Barton and Mark Anderson… and to chat to so many people.  Thanks to everyone at Wellington for putting on such a great event.  I want to go back next year – and I’ve been promised a bigger room.  I’ll have a few more things to say by then…

I’m grateful to Sally Thorne for a great write-up of the talk on her blog:

A report from Sally Thorne
A report from Sally Thorne (click for full report)


  1. I was at your talk and thoroughly enjoyed it, especially your assertion that a 20 minute snapshot is a limiting exercise in developing the learning of students. I also loved your point that we should not accept poor work as all too often students seem to be of the impression that the teacher should be grateful they handed anything in at all! I am going to work on including some of your ideas more thoroughly in my lessons so thank you for the inspiration.


  2. Hello there! Another brilliant blog – thank you and I look forward to the book. Please can you tell me how to get tickets to the teachmeet in Hounslow on 5th July? Many thanks, Victoria


  3. […] It would be a long list if I listed them all. I’ve enjoyed hosting #TMEssex with Martin Burrett @ICTMagic and Andy Knill, usually supported by the wonderful Chris Waugh @Edutronic_Net, one of the people I admire the most in education!  The KEGS #DigIT Festival was also a great success – about 800 people came to my school on November  9th for a giant geek-up! Mark Anderson was one of them – which I was thrilled about. Visiting Clevedon in June for #TMClevedon was amazing – I met David Didau, Jim Smith, Zoe Elder, Mark Anderson and Hywel Roberts all on one day.  The Sunday Times Wellington Festival was another treat – my first go at doing a session at an event on that scale; it was a thrill to be in a small room that then over-flowed. A highlight of the year for sure – captured here. […]


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s