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Teaching and Learning

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GCSE Exams: Keeping a proportionate positive perspective.

Despite the fact that we’ve been running Y11 exams in one form or another for decades, there is always a fairly strong undercurrent in the discourse around the annual exam season characterised by a sense of injustice and unreasonableness.  In relation to GCSEs, the following arguments are rehearsed fairly often: Exams don’t measure everything that … Continue reading

Exploring Barak Rosenshine’s seminal Principles of Instruction: Why it is THE must-read for all teachers.

This post is based on a talk I gave at ResearchEd in Rugby.  The paper in question is Barak Rosenshine’s Principles of Instruction published in American Educator in 2012, downloadable in full as a pdf here: I first came across if after seeing Oliver Caviglioli’s superb graphic summary for How2 – available here: My admiration … Continue reading

What is a knowledge-rich curriculum? Principle and Practice.

I have found recent discussions and debates about the concept of a ‘knowledge-rich curriculum’  – or knowledge-led; knowledge-based – fascinating.   Some of this has been explored brilliantly in various blogs.  Here is a selection: Summer Turner https://ragazzainglese.wordpress.com/2018/02/14/pub-quiz-or-published-what-are-the-aims-of-a-knowledge-rich-curriculum/ Jon Brunskill  I’m bringing knowledge back. | Pedfed   which is worth reading along with his school’s website info on … Continue reading

GCSE Revision is Poetry: Intensity, hard work – and so much deep learning.

I know exam pressure is stressful – there are system issues – but my perspective is that, whatever their grades , GCSE revision has been good for my kids. They learned to work super hard for weeks – no bad thing – but mainly they just learned so much. The intensity pays off. — Tom … Continue reading

Is there a right way to teach? Making sense of the trad-prog debate.

(I wrote this in February for Guardian Teacher Network but since they didn’t ever get back to me I’m posting it here instead….) Is there a right way to teach? Making sense of the progressive-traditional debate. Debates about the purposes of education, the influence of social and political values and the role of research evidence … Continue reading

Annoying things controlling schools still do that have no basis in evidence:

As trailed on twitter… a short round-up of annoying things controlling schools still do that have no basis in evidence. 1. Grade individual lessons There is no justification for this in terms of professional discourse.  It’s voodoo; a control device. No human observer can reliably maintain graded judgements over time, let alone  ensuring that this … Continue reading

Edugeeks and Flat-Earthers. Does engaging with research make you a better teacher? #BrewEdHackney

Today I had the immense pleasure of attending the #BrewEd event at Hackney Pirates organised by Clare Sealy.  In planning for it, I’d decided to try doing a talk without slides for the first time.  I’ve become a bit a slave to the clicker so this was a nice change.  The title of the talk: … Continue reading

Developing Writing. Exploring the process from YR to Y6.

At the end of term I spent a fantastic day working with staff at Cirencester Primary School.  As part of the day, we ran an exercise to explore standards in writing  – a process I have now facilitated a few times; it is always absolutely fascinating. As part of my talk earlier in the day, … Continue reading

Behaviour Balance: Assertive teachers; supportive system.

On my travels around schools over the years I’ve seen hundreds of lessons in various different contexts.  Whilst a firm believer that school and college systems are necessary to support excellent behaviour, I have to say that, where behaviour is an issue in a lesson, a lot of the time I take the view that … Continue reading

Evidence-Informed Ideas Every Teacher Should Know About.

I love the idea of ‘evidence-informed wisdom’. I honestly can’t remember where I first encountered this but, essentially, it’s the idea that, as teachers we are faced with making hundreds of decisions a day – largely about how to question, how to motivate and how to adjust explanations, feedback,  and the pace and depth of … Continue reading

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