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Studying successfully: motivation + strategy + habit

At home we’re in the midst of another exam window. My son has an AS and several internal Y12 exams to prepare for. As I documented last year during his GCSEs, I feel that it’s generally a positive process for him. He works hard and learns a lot in the process. I think there are … Continue reading

Teaching and Learning Agenda 2019/20

The summer term is often a time when people gather their thoughts for the year ahead.  The work I do with schools and colleges is largely driven by a medium term improvement agenda: combining some initial support –  establishing areas to improve in current practice, setting some goals for the next 12-18 months – and … 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

10 Techniques for Retrieval Practice

Image Credit: https://emptechgroup.com/the-internet-of-things/ I’ve written about retrieval practice several times in other posts but here I just want to make it easy to lay out various alternative methods for the process of reviewing your students’ knowledge and understanding.   Before doing that, I would suggest that there are some key principles: Involve everyone:  Good techniques involve … 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

Eureka! Teaching for creativity. C = f (K, P, D)

  Over the years I’ve thought a lot about the question of teaching for creativity.  Back in 2012 I wrote this post where I made some reasonably sensible general statements: It is uncontroversial that for us to solve Humanity’s problems, to create the conditions for a sustainable future and also to maximise the cultural richness of … Continue reading

Vietnam, Ali, reading and the powerful knowledge gap.

In a recent lesson observation, I witnessed a classic teacher-dilemma unfold.   How far do I have to go to fill in the knowledge gaps? I can’t teach them everything they don’t know so where do I begin? It was in a GCSE English resit class where students were looking at a reading comprehension question.  Here’s … Continue reading

Teaching for Distinction, the Oldham College #CPDinFE programme is working!

This week, the news was released that Oldham College received a strongly positive inspection outcome:  The press report here, tells the story:   After an intensive four-day inspection with a large team, the College was judged ‘Good’ in all categories – many more than apply to a school.  This is such great news.  As anyone … Continue reading

The @teacherhead planning tool. Draft

I’m trying to design something that might be helpful for teachers planning lessons.  I have drafted two tools, one a structured reflection sheet for thinking through what is needed for a detailed unit of work; the other a very simple short-hand version for scoping out a series of lessons. In both cases, the idea is … Continue reading

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