I enjoy a good chat show but why are there seldom any writers on them? Why is it always sparkly-toothed actors or primped singers? These shows focus on the tip of the iceberg of the cultural world. The artistic endeavour of the writers, directors, creative teams is hardly ever celebrated and I wonder if this... Continue Reading →
The very popular 1980s imporvisation show, Whose Line is it Anyway? gave me and my mates a great deal of entertainment and not a few laughs when we were at school. I used to love the humour, the sparkling wit and the deftness of a pun. In many ways, it glued, for me, the fundamental... Continue Reading →
via Socrates and the Ofsted inspector
From 1997 to 2010, I taught in the UK. During this period, my 16-year old students completed GCSE exams and my 18-year-old students sat A-Levels. In fact, due to the modular nature of these exams at the time, students sat them continuously through a period spanning the ages 15 to 18. Until 2008, 14-year-old students […]... Continue Reading →
“Forgetting focuses remembering and fosters learning; remembering generates learning and causes forgetting; learning causes forgetting, begets remembering, and supports new learning.” Bjork 2011 I’ve seen some online articles that raise concerns with the length of the school holidays. Whilst there may be other concerns, I don’t think they’re overly problematical in terms of learning. This […]... Continue Reading →
Dylan Wiliam is a world authority on formative assessment and Emeritus Professor of Educational Assessment at the UCL Institute of Education in London. His popular book on formative assessment, Embedded Formative Assessment, was recently released as a revised edition and his latest book, Creating the Schools our Children Need, critically examines the ways we could... Continue Reading →
Having struggled through many of these issues – but not articulating my misgivings particularly well – I found this very insightful and useful.
As we continue to develop our system-wide thinking about assessment, it’s important that teachers and leaders understand the underlying concepts we’re dealing with. In order to motivate and challenge all students, it makes good sense to try to distinguish between attainment and progress. This allows us to give value to students making strides with their learning regardless of their starting point. Schools have made valiant efforts to develop assessment language and processes to measure progress and to report this to parents. Not everyone can get the top marks but everyone can make progress. That’s the idea. But does it work?
The idea of progress only works if we’re clear about what it means – and only if we give it the weight the concept can sustain.
If we have something absolute like the time it takes to run a 5K race or how far we can jump in long jump…
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I remember being at school and having to wait outside the Housemaster's study. It was the early 1990s and the hallway in which I waited contained the usual flummery of past house pictures, notes, updates and reminders. Next to the notice board were two posters that we all mocked at every available opportunity one said:... Continue Reading →
A sensible approach to the debate and well worth a read.
(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 are increasingly found as interwoven threads in our discourse on policy and practice in schools. This is healthy but can be tricky to navigate, especially if, like me, you have an aversion to being forced to pick sides.
After a couple of decades when student-centred personalised learning was officially all the rage, we are in a phase where traditional teacher-led instruction and a knowledge-driven curriculum are in the ascendency, promoted enthusiastically by Nick Gibb, Amanda Spielman and plenty of school leaders and teachers. Just go along to a ResearchEd event – knowledge is…
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