This week I had the joy of talking to Craig Barton for an episode of his podcast series. It was such a great experience, having the opportunity to talk about maths, about teaching, assessment data, lesson observations and various ideas from The Learning Rainforest. Craig is so enthusiastic about teaching, so engaged with a range of ideas shared across the education world – and is brilliant at broadcasting.
Here’s the blogpost Craig has written about the podcast – the ‘shownotes’: http://www.mrbartonmaths.com/blog/tom-sherrington-the-learning-rainforest/
This features a summary of our discussion:
So, in a wide-ranging conversation, Tom and I covered the following things, and plenty more besides:
- What did Tom learn in each of the different school environments he worked in?
- What is Tom’s favourite failure, and what did he learn from the experience?
- What are the Rainforest and Plantation metaphors that Tom uses throughout the book, and am I so wrong in thinking that the Plantation set-up is rather appealing?
- What is a knowledge-based curriculum, and what would its opposite look like?
- Would Tom prescribe essential elements of each lesson – eg drills, low-stakes quizzes – or leave individual teachers to decide?
- If Tom was a Head of Department today, what would his departmental meetings look like?
- How does Tom observe a lesson and give effective feedback?
- Then it all kicks off as we discuss assessment, and I ask Tom about “macro summative assessment tracking”, how it manifests itself most commonly in schools, and why it is so bad?
- Then we dive into Mode A teaching, focussing on two killer strategies: Signal, Pause, Insist, and Think, Pair, Share
- Then it is time for Mode B, looking at developing independence in our learners, and the beauty of Structured Speech Events
- I then ask Tom what piece of research has most significantly influenced his thinking or his approach to teaching?
- And finally, what does Tom wish he’d known when he first started teaching that he knows now?
Thanks to Craig for inviting me to take part – I enjoyed it immensely.
You can buy his superb book on maths teaching here:
And you can access the podcast site here: