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Are knowledge organisers flawed?

Like many others, I got quite excited about the idea of organising the knowledge students needed to learn on a single page when I first encountered it on Joe Krby's blog. As Joe said, a knowledge organiser (KO) can "specify subject knowledge in meticulous detail," provide "clarity for teachers" and provide a mechanism for "boosting students' memory". Used well, they can be part of a coherent five year revision strategy. I had a go at making some examples of KOs for English and started recommending the approach to schools I worked with. Then a thousand flowers bloomed; KOs popped up everywhere. [...]

2020-09-20T15:14:30+01:00September 20th, 2020|psychology|

#BackToSchool – free webinars

Over the next few weeks I'll be hosting a series of five 'back to school' webinars on a range to topics aimed at early career teachers, those with a mentoring responsibility and anyone who simply feels they could do with a refresher of some teaching basics. And this year, of all years, who couldn't do with a refresher? Each of the webinars is focussed around a particular area of teaching and would make ideal CPD. Each webinar will be going out at 4pm and registration is FREE for those who need it to be, while those who feel able to pay [...]

2020-08-26T20:48:29+01:00August 26th, 2020|Featured, training|

Learning Spy Academy: the story so far…

A little over a month ago I streamed my first ever webinar with the technical support of B&T Education. I decided right from the outset that I wanted to make the content free to anyone who wanted it but I also wanted to give people the opportunity to pay a tokenary amount if they felt able to do so. Afterall, streaming webinars isn't free; not only does it take time and effort but there's all sorts of hidden, behind-the-scenes costs. Much to my surprise and delight the first webinar was a huge success selling out 1000 tickets. We had a few [...]

2020-07-25T17:04:01+01:00July 24th, 2020|Webinars|

Interview on Shoreditch radio

Last week I was interviewed by Liam Davis on Shoreditch Radio about why I became a teacher, what got me into writing, the ideas in some of my books and the effects of Covid-19 on education. You can listen to the interview above. Is the player not loading above? Then you can listen directly on MixCloud: https://www.mixcloud.com/liam-davis3/educationalist-and-author-david-didau-joined-me-on-shoreditch-radio-to-discuss-his-work/

2020-07-02T07:20:59+01:00June 23rd, 2020|Featured|

Five things new school leaders need to know

1. The primary role of school leadership is to remove extraneous demands on teachers so that they can focus on planning and teaching the very best curriculum possible. If you're doing anything that interferes with this primary responsibility take a long, hard look at yourself. For clarity, this includes behaviour. While teachers have a responsibility to uphold the standards you've set and to hold students to account, behaviour is, primarily your responsibility. If you find yourself blaming teachers for poor student behaviour you are part of the problem. Of course, some teachers will need more support than others but your support [...]

2020-06-22T10:30:18+01:00June 22nd, 2020|leadership|

Q&A: Five Things Every Teacher Needs to Know about Reading

If you missed it, here's a link to the presentation I gave in my webinar on Five Things Every Teacher Needs to Know about Reading. There were a number of question that I didn't have time to answer during the webinar, so here are my thoughts. Q: Do you think schools should be pushing for subject specific reading in every lesson and subject? My school wants this but some subjects, e.g. Dance, think it is not relevant to them. Is there benefit? A: The idea that there should be reading - subject specific or otherwise - is deeply flawed and leads [...]

2020-06-21T20:01:42+01:00June 21st, 2020|reading, Webinars|

Webinar: Five things every teacher needs to know about writing

Last Thursday's inaugural webinar, 'Five things every teacher needs to know about reading,' was, on the whole, a great success. We sold out 1000 tickets and about 500 people showed up on the night. There were a few technical hiccups on the day including a power cut during set up, and our server going down when so many people tried to get into the webinar all at once. We also forgot to record the Q&A which was, arguably, the best bit. Never mind. We're going to run another - different - reading webinar on Tuesday 30th June at 4pm (BST): Building [...]

2020-06-20T14:57:05+01:00June 20th, 2020|Webinars|

Introducing… The Learning Spy Academy

The last few months have gone by in a daze. The world seems to have changed - maybe permanently - and my primary means of making a living has vanished. Without knowing how - or if - it's going to work, I'm planning on providing a Webinar on a variety of topics every week for the next few weeks. The first of these, Five things teacher needs to know about reading, will be on Thursday 18th June at 16.00 BST. It will be completely FREE to anyone who wants to access it but there will be an option to pay £5 [...]

2020-06-15T23:17:01+01:00June 12th, 2020|Featured|

GCSE reform: a modest proposal

The pandemic has cast many assumptions about how education could or should unfold into sharp relief. Like many others, I've been wondering about the positives we might find in our current situation and how - or whether - we can salvage anything when schools eventually return to normal. One area that seems to beg for reform is the way the exam season currently plays out. Here are some of the factors to consider: Accountability creates huge pressures on teachers which are, inevitably, passed on to students. Is there a way to break this chain? Along with these pressures, the quantity of [...]

2020-05-30T12:17:30+01:00May 30th, 2020|assessment|

Why we need to read aloud

Here is the recording of webinar I gave for #LDeduchat this week on 'Why we need to read aloud'. The prerecorded presentation lasts for about 25 mins with the rest of the time given over to Q&A. If you can't be doing with watching it, this is my basic argument: Too many children will not read independently because they are not fluent decoders. This is through no fault of their own: there is no correlation between decoding and intelligence. Reading confers all sorts of intellectual advantages: the more you read the more intelligent you will become We can overcome some of [...]

2020-05-27T11:52:25+01:00May 27th, 2020|reading|

How to pay attention

Here is my researchEDHome talk on attention. And, if you want to chase up any of the references they're embedded is the slides below: How to Pay Attention from David Didau I also want to recapitulate an answer I gave to one of the questions I was asked about the distinction between instruction and curriculum. Part of my talk tried to explain Polanyi's idea about 'subsidiary awareness'. Essentially, although attention implies a 'withdrawal' of focus from one set of things in order to concentrate on another, we nevertheless retain our subsidiary sense. So, for instance, if you were probing a tooth [...]

2020-05-26T15:14:25+01:00May 7th, 2020|Featured|