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Lessons that misfire. Good intentions + bad theory = poor results.

I am in the privileged position of having been able to observe a lot of lessons taught across a range of subjects in different contexts.  I’ve also taught thousands of lessons myself  – and I know how it feels for things to work well and not so well.  Where lessons could be improved there are … Continue reading

Introducing MARGE: A superb ebook about learning by Arthur Shimamura.

Earlier this week, twitter sharing came into its own with a glorious gift.  Dan Willingham shared a link to a new, free ebook from Arthur Shimamura – downloadable here.   I picked this up via one of  Ollie Lovell’s regular info updates.   It’s a gem. Shimamura, a professor of psychology specialising in memory and cognition has … Continue reading

Great Teaching. The Power of Diets

In so many discussions about the elements of effective practice in teaching, I feel it’s important to move away from thinking in absolute terms about whether certain approaches are more effective than others towards considering what the optimum combination of approaches with different qualities might be.  I’ve made this case in various blogs before including … Continue reading

Common Maths Struggles – some examples.

This combines a couple of old posts that I recently revisited – because the challenges remain!  Working with teachers from primary to FE, I’ve found it fascinating to consider the areas of maths that students find difficult and the processes we need to consider when teaching them to overcome these difficulties.  It seems to me … Continue reading

Solutions and reality checks in the exclusion/inclusion debate. #pinballkids

The RSA Pinball Kids Initiative. There has been a lot of discussion in recent weeks about exclusions from schools with a string of newspaper articles exploring the theme: The news of rising fixed-term and permanent exclusions is covered by The Guardian here. https://www.theguardian.com/education/2018/jul/19/sharp-rise-in-pupil-exclusions-from-english-state-schools This report describes some responses – the ‘Wild West system of exclusion … Continue reading

Great Teaching. The Power of Practice

Image Source: www.bowenehs.com In this post Skills and Drills, I explore the idea that, in order to play ‘the match’ – an analogy for a complex area of learning – students need to balance learning component skills and engaging in match=play, putting the skills to use in context.  The essence of this is the idea of … Continue reading

Know my name! A basic entitlement.

When I was in Jakarta at the British International School, the EAL department supported a group of Korean students to stage a protest. They made some placards and, during lesson time, they walked around one of the central areas chanting ‘Know My Name! Know My Name!’  It was a powerful moment for them -and for … Continue reading

Great Teaching.  The Power of Expectations.

Image credit: Melbourne Child Psychology  As each new term approaches, it’s worth reflecting on the powerful Bill Rogers concept that, as teachers, ‘you establish what you establish’.  This means: If we establish that we expect high standards and reinforce them continually with tight routines in lessons characterised by rigour, depth,  drive and a clear sense … Continue reading

Great Teaching: The Power of Questioning

In my Learning Rainforest and Evidence-informed practice CPD sessions, a core element is a focus on the power of questioning.  In my view, good in-house CPD and feedback from lesson observation should put teachers’ capacity and confidence with questioning at the centre.  In my experience, great questioning is the hallmark of a really effective teacher … Continue reading

10 essential discussions to have in any teacher team.

Towards the end of last academic year, I wrote a post outlining what might be in a typical school’s development plan:  Here’s your school development plan – no, really, don’t thank me.  All of those ideas are still relevant for next year.  But what about at a departmental level or a year level in primary? Here … Continue reading

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