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Discussing Behaviour, Inclusion and Exclusion: 12 considerations.

In this post I want to explore some issues that emerge from debates about behaviour systems.  This is based on my experience in numerous settings, including some challenging schools alongside others that are/were much more straight-forward.  It’s not a definitive list  – please feel free to add ideas via the comments. 1. Context: Context is King … Continue reading

Building Word Confidence: Everyone read, say, understand, use, practise.

A very common phenomenon in many lessons is that students encounter new words.  The way we approach this ought to be something teachers think about explicitly so that effective strategies are used.  I’ve seen explicit vocabulary development done extremely well but, quite often, I find that it’s approached in a rather shallow manner: new words are … Continue reading

Empowering speech, challenges on ‘correctness’ and some questions for sociolinguists.

A couple of years ago I wrote a post called ‘Modelling good speech: Let’s talk properly‘ and, on a whim, I recycled it very recently.  It’s very much a ‘from the hip’ kind of blog but, nonetheless, most of the responses I get are positive, including from English teachers.  However, there has always been some … Continue reading

Holocaust Education. Reflections on a trip to Auschwitz-Birkenau

  This week I took my 15-year old son on a trip to Krakow in Poland. Once we’d decided to go, the central feature of the trip was to visit Auschwitz-Birkenau – just an hour outside Krakow.  As we anticipated, it was a profound experience. My personal experience of learning about the Holocaust has been … Continue reading

Curriculum Building: Every step matters; know your role; make it count. e.g. Writing YR to Y11.

In the last few weeks I’ve had a lot of conversations with teachers and leaders in schools in challenging circumstances at both primary and secondary.  A common experience has been the difficult process of trying to build a coherent curriculum in a context of staff turbulence, curriculum reform and recruitment challenges. I’ve also worked with … Continue reading

School walls are oozing with unhelpful growth mindset cheese….

If you walk around a lot of schools these days and absorb the MESSAGE that emanates from the walls, you are likely to find yourself saturated by an oozing motivational cheeze-fest. (That’s a typo but it seems appropriate to keep it.). FAIL: first attempt in learning Don’t give up until you are proud.  I can’t … Continue reading

School Houses: Joyous eccentricity, tradition, culture… and the rest.

Last week I was stuck on a train. I’d been to a school which has some great house names and, as I reflected on my own experience of  house systems in various schools, I put out a casual tweet.  Normally you get a few responses – a bit of passing interest – but the response … Continue reading

‘Research Says’ Fruit Machine: A staff-room game.

Here is a game to help develop your colleagues’ research literacy. Can you spot the bogus study? Can you generate a plausible cause-effect rationale? Ask someone to give you three numbers between 1 and 15.  Using the handy table, you then construct the sentence beginning with ‘Apparently, research says that’ For example: You get 2, … Continue reading

A common lesson format. A structure, not a straitjacket.

In my previous school we devised a common format for lessons through staff discussion. The aim was to support the process of embedding certain behaviour routines and expectations and, perhaps more crucially, some pedagogical practices.  This week a Headteacher told me they had borrowed the idea so I thought I would share it again.  This … Continue reading

5 Teaching Fundamentals

Originally, this was set to be  five-post series, but the first two didn’t seem to bite – so I’m making things easier (better) by putting it all into one post. The five teaching fundamentals are aspects of effective teaching that I think are absolutely essential but are often things that I find I need to … Continue reading

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