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From research to the classroom:  roadblocks, resistance and blind faith.

In my work I regularly have the opportunity to talk to groups of teachers and leaders about ideas from research and research processes themselves. It’s a continual source of surprise to me how different the levels of engagement and awareness can be from one audience to another.  In some places, there’s a high level of … Continue reading

How self-aware are you? (Be the fly on your classroom wall…)

I use this slide in several of my talks – capturing some of the variables that I encounter working with teachers across the system.   Here, I want to focus on self awareness. With some teachers, you kick off a post-observation discussion with a simple question: (how do you think it’s going? ) and they … Continue reading

Your curriculum defines your school. Own it. Shape it. Celebrate it.

At the Heads’ Roundtable event this week I was making a pitch for school leaders to get stuck into a deep curriculum review process – as many already have.  Not because of the expectations of whatever accountability process is underway, but because it matters so much.   To a degree that is underplayed all too … Continue reading

The spirit of people in our system is incredible. 

In the last few weeks, I’ve been reminded time and time again about the very human, emotional side of being a student, of being a teacher and of leading in a school.  The spirit of people in our system is incredible. Here are some snapshots. An Oldham student with additional learning needs, working independently on … Continue reading

Setting Great Homework: The Mode A:Mode B approach.

I have explored issues with homework in various different posts.  In particular, the research into homework by John Hattie is covered in detail in this post: Homework: What does the Hattie research actually say? I’m a firm believer that homework has an important role to play in providing a great education and fostering independent learning, as … Continue reading

Standby USA! Learning Rainforest: Dylan Wiliam Center Edition is Go for Launch!

I’m delighted that my book, The Learning Rainforest, which has now sold close to 10,000 copies, is about to be published by Learning Sciences International in the USA, as one of a new series called the Dylan Wiliam Center Collection.  The first in the series was  Craig Barton’s superb ‘How I Wish I’d Taught Maths‘ … Continue reading

The case for mixing modes of teaching: a mathematical model.

Here’s the truth.  We struggle to define the strategies that we deploy in our classrooms and, when we undertake research to identify the most effective strategies, there’s an awful lot of noise, error and variation between the conditions we’re studying in one place compared to any other.  However, various attempts have been made and we … Continue reading

10 Steps for Reviewing Your KS3 Curriculum

Now that schools are getting into the swing of the new GCSEs and KS3 assessment continues to present various challenges, it’s natural that a lot more attention is being given to the curriculum content at KS3.  Of course some will say that Ofsted’s much-trailed renewed interest in curriculum is playing a part too – but I’ve … Continue reading

Curriculum Notes #2:  Big picture first: then zoom in.

#2 in a series. I’ve often found that students in lessons are wading through a foggy cloud of confusion about why they are learning what they are learning.  I’ve been in that cloud plenty of times myself.  If, as an expert in a subject, you make a selection of the elements of the curriculum for … Continue reading

Curriculum Notes #1: Start out real, concrete, authentic.

Here’s the first of some short blog posts about detailed aspects of curriculum thinking. I observed a science lesson recently where students were looking at cells and were asked to recall the differences between plant and animal cells.  A student I spoke gave me this response:  animal cells are round and plant cells are rectangles. … Continue reading

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