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Blog2019-05-09T08:57:13+01:00

Can observation pro formas be used well?

Should observers waltz into lessons armed with a clipboard full of hoops they hope to see teachers jump through? No, probably not. Some years ago I wrote about my preference for how lessons should be observed: The point of a lesson observation should not be to see whether a teacher is slavishly following a checklist, rather it should be to tease out how effectively they are teaching the students in [...]

By |February 9th, 2020|Categories: leadership|2 Comments

This is what I do

For the past seven years I've been working as a freelance training provider and consultant. Most of the work I get comes either from word-of-mouth recommendations, or because someone has seen me speak or read something I've written. The majority of the work I do is in English schools - both primary and secondary (although I also seem to get a fair bit of work in Sweden and the Netherlands) [...]

By |January 31st, 2020|Categories: Featured|0 Comments

Are things so good that normal seems bad?

Former Irish president Mary Robinson has been doing the rounds warning the world it needs to wake up as the hands of the Doomsday Clock are moved to 100 seconds to midnight. Apparently things are so bleak that the world is closer catastrophe than at any point in history. Not only is climate change about to wash away most of the world's coastline, but the threat of nuclear annihilation is [...]

By |January 24th, 2020|Categories: Featured|Tags: , , , |11 Comments

Why can’t we agree about internal isolation?

The debate about whether schools should be allowed to internally exclude children from lessons is a hot topic at the moment, with all sorts of people weighing in at both ends of the spectrum of opinion. Whether you agree or disagree with the concept of internal exclusion probably says something about whether you prioritise the rights of the group or the rights of the individual. But it's also probably true [...]

By |January 19th, 2020|Categories: behaviour|4 Comments

Does the new inspection framework trade off reliability against validity?

Yesterday I saw a thread on Twitter from headteacher Stuart Lock on the pros and cons of the new inspection framework: https://twitter.com/StuartLock/status/1216475275514523648?s=20 In it he discusses the idea that because the previous inspection framework relied heavily on schools'  results in national exams in making judgements it managed to be fairly reliable. That is to say, an inspection team inspecting two schools with similar results or that two different inspection teams [...]

By |January 15th, 2020|Categories: leadership|Tags: , , , , |1 Comment

Are Ofsted punishing disadvantaged children by penalising three-year GCSE courses?

Is a broad and balanced curriculum "middle class"? According to an article published in The Times, Sir Daniel Moynihan, CEO of the Harris Federation, has described Ofsted's new inspection framework as "a middle-class framework for middle-class kids” because "Ofsted is valuing curriculum over qualifications." Currently, there is a great deal of fear that inspectors have been briefed to penalise schools - like those in the Harris Federation - where students [...]

By |January 14th, 2020|Categories: curriculum|Tags: , , |4 Comments

My most viewed posts of 2019

For those of you who are interested, here are the top 10 most viewed posts on my blog during 2019 Closing the language gap: Building vocabulary (16th November 2014) It's a bit of a puzzler why a post written 5 years ago is proving so popular but I can only imagine anxious teachers are looking for Alex Quigley's wildly popular book are are somehow stumbling onto this post. How do [...]

By |December 31st, 2019|Categories: Featured|1 Comment

What do teachers need to know about Cognitive Load Theory?

I've come to the conclusion Sweller's Cognitive Load Theory is the single most important thing for teachers to know https://t.co/MkJJLruR8g — Dylan Wiliam (@dylanwiliam) January 26, 2017 What do teachers need to know about Cognitive Load Theory? The short answer is, not that much. There's an awful that's been written and said about Cognitive Load Theory (CTL) in recent years and most of it is wholly unnecessary for teachers to [...]

By |December 17th, 2019|Categories: psychology|Tags: , |9 Comments

Where we’re getting curriculum wrong Part 2: Powerful knowledge

In part 1 of this blog series I discussed the importance of cultural capital, where we might be getting it wrong, what it consists of, and how to resolve the problem of 'dead white men'. Where we're getting 'powerful knowledge' wrong While we can make a case that all knowledge is precious, not all knowledge is equally precious. In Bringing Knowledge Back In, education professor Michael Young advanced the idea [...]

By |December 12th, 2019|Categories: curriculum|Tags: , , |6 Comments

Where we’re getting curriculum wrong Part 1: Cultural capital

Where we're getting 'cultural capital' wrong The concept of 'cultural capital' is increasingly on the agenda in the schools I visit. No doubt this is in large part down to Ofsted. The latest inspection framework makes specific mention of the term in its guidance on what a school curriculum ought to contain. School leaders are told they will be judged on the extent to which they "construct a curriculum that [...]

By |December 11th, 2019|Categories: curriculum|Tags: , , |6 Comments

The importance of play (and why it’s better to avoid bullshit)

Play is an essential part of learning. The young of many species play in order to test their physical limits, form bonds with others, explore the environment, practice hunting behaviours and generally mimic their elders. Human children are no different in this respect: we play in order to learn about ourselves and our environment. It's probably true to say that the instinct to play is 'hardwired' into us and, short [...]

By |December 10th, 2019|Categories: Featured|Tags: , , , , |13 Comments

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