Tom Sherrington

Tom Sherrington has written 661 posts for teacherhead

Reaching into the corners: 12 ways learning can be hard – and what to do about it.

When I observe lessons I sit at the back – mainly to get out of the way. As I scan from my vantage point, I can spot students who are finding it hard to engage in the lesson. Often this is happening without the teacher noticing -because from their point of view, they see plenty … Continue reading

Is Everyone Thinking? What are they all thinking about? This is THE Key.

“Memory is the residue of thought”. As part of my work with Oldham College, this week we were revisiting the key ideas that underpin our Teaching for Distinction programme. Right at the top is Dan Willingham’s work on memory including this important and famous statement: memory is the residue of thought. It deserves repeated revisiting. … Continue reading

My favourite teacher, Mr King – and the relationships that really matter. #shortpost

At various times I’ve been asked who my favourite teacher at school was. It’s an easy selection for me. Mr King, my teacher for O Level physics 1979-1981 at Weydon School in Farnham, Surrey. I don’t have any pictures of him but I always remember him as looking like Neil Tennant from the Pet Shop … Continue reading

Can we talk sensibly about exams please. #shortpost

We live in a world where serious newspapers print nonsense articles such as this one and this one by Simon Jenkins. “Once children were birched at school. Now they are taught maths”; “… 30 years since corporal punishment was banned in British state schools. The practice was considered “degrading and humiliating”….But ministers did not give up on … Continue reading

Teaching for understanding: Schema-building and generative learning.

I’ve had the privilege of observing a lot of lessons already this term – with huge thanks to the teachers concerned for their warm welcome. As I’ve been doing this, I realise I’m applying a continually evolving mental model of the learning process to what I’m seeing – and this is what influences the dialogues … Continue reading

10 FAQs about the challenges teachers face.

When I visit schools to deliver CPD or work alongside teachers and leaders as part of their improvement process, lots of the same questions come up. Here’s a selection from recent discussions with NQTs/RQTs as well as more experienced teachers. I’ve written this as a kind of interview with myself: 1. What do you do … Continue reading

Judging schools from the outside. Wrong, toxic, needs to stop.

I tweeted this recently: This stuff really winds me up. It comes in many forms: Newspaper stories about exclusions and uniform. The disgruntled parent parading their miserable looking child; the ‘scandal’ presented as a giant injustice on the school’s part. The school may be offered a line of comment – but the ‘balance’ is rarely … Continue reading

Teaching from behind the safety line..

In a number of CPD webinar sessions recently I’ve been asked for advice from teachers wrestling with the challenge of teaching from behind the Covid safety line; the taped-off teacher zone. How do you follow through on various elements of teaching practice if you can’t move in amongst students and see what they’re doing close … Continue reading

Top Three! High-impact, inclusive questioning strategies.

When I’m invited to support schools and colleges with CPD around teaching and learning – or I’m simply asked to nominate my favourite high-impact strategies – these three strategies are what usually come to mind as key areas to focus on. Cold Calling; Think Pair Share and Check for Understanding. They work incredibly well in … Continue reading

Stay As You Are. 20 years of creative friendship.

This week, I was delighted that my most recent musical endeavours with my two-person band St Jude were released on Spotify. Our EP, The Small Hours, consists of three songs and an instrumental piece – all recorded during lockdown. We’re very proud of it – not only because we think the songs are great (have … Continue reading

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St Jude Songs. And others.