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Blog2019-03-06T10:56:44+00:00

What’s wrong with Ofsted’s definition of learning?

As everyone already knows, Ofsted have published a draft of the new Inspection Framework which is currently undergoing a process of consultation. Amazingly, one of the most contentious aspects of the document is definition given to learning: Learning can be defined as an alteration in long-term memory. If nothing has altered in long-term memory, nothing has been learned. However, transfer to long-term memory depends on the rich processes described above.[1] [...]

Does creativity have a dark side?

Of course it’s desirable that students are able to identify problems, generate potential solutions, evaluate the effectiveness of those strategies, and then communicate with others about the value of the solutions. If you want to call this 'creativity,' so be it. But it may be that creativity isn't always desirable. Kaufman and Beghetto argue in their wonderfully titled paper, In Praise of Clark Kent: Creative Metacognition and the Importance of Teaching Kids [...]

By |January 30th, 2019|Categories: Featured|Tags: |1 Comment

Can ‘creativity’ be taught?

The way ideas come to fruition is often mysterious; while we may remember consciously thinking a few things, we are unaware of all the ingredients simmering away in the pot of thought. I like the image of placing a pot on the back boiler on a very low heat and allowing flavours to develop over time. It seems, at least to me, that some of my favourite ideas have emerged [...]

By |January 29th, 2019|Categories: Featured|9 Comments

Why smart people say stupid things: a response to Jack Ma

In case you're unaware, I've just published a book that explains the role of knowledge in thought. Rather than rehash the arguments in depth (there are a series of chapter summaries here) suffice it to say that no one, no matter how intelligent they believe themselves to be, can think about something of which they have no awareness. It's literally impossible, but I'll pause for you to give it go [...]

By |January 24th, 2019|Categories: Featured|Tags: , |7 Comments

Leading literacy masterclass: 1st March 2019

Since the publication of The Secret of Literacy back in 2014 I've been asked to visit a lot of schools to talk about how teachers can make sure they're focussing on reading, writing and speaking as well as teaching academic content. In that time I've learned an enormous amount about how schools can successful implement policies that support children's ability to use academic language with burdening teachers with pointless frippery [...]

By |January 23rd, 2019|Categories: Featured|3 Comments

Skill = knowledge + practice

Over the years I've thought a lot about whether we should be teaching children knowledge of the world or the skills to flourish within it. The debate has moved on a lot in recent years and today it's rare to find anyone arguing against teaching knowledge, but there are many who would still advocate for a balance of knowledge and skill. The more I thought about it, the more I've [...]

By |January 11th, 2019|Categories: learning|Tags: , , , |5 Comments

Making Kids #Cleverer – Conclusion: Shifting the bell curve

This is the final post in a series of chapter summaries of the arguments made in my new book, Making Kids Cleverer. The rest of the series can be found here. And so, we finally reach the conclusion. Here I explicitly take on the arguments of Charles Murray and Richard Herrnstein in The Bell Curve. They argue that the normal distribution of intelligence across a population is more or less immutable and that "the [...]

By |January 11th, 2019|Categories: Featured|Tags: |1 Comment

Making Kids #Cleverer – Chapter 10 Struggle and success

This post is part of a series of chapter summaries of the arguments made in my new book, Making Kids Cleverer. The rest of the series can be found here. This last chapter is aimed specifically at teachers and makes the case that if our aim is to make children cleverer then we should adopt explicit instruction. We look at why other methodologies which have problem solving at their heart are likely to [...]

By |January 10th, 2019|Categories: Featured|Tags: |0 Comments

Making Kids #Cleverer – Chapter 9 Practice makes permanent

This post is part of a series of chapter summaries of the arguments made in my new book, Making Kids Cleverer. The rest of the series can be found here. This chapter moves our discussion of how to make children cleverer from theory into practice. In chapters 6 and 7 we talked about how knowledge can be embedded in long-term memory as 'skill' and here we move to a discussion of how best [...]

By |January 9th, 2019|Categories: Featured|Tags: |0 Comments

Making Kids #Cleverer – Chapter 8: What knowledge?

This post is part of a series of chapter summaries of the arguments made in my new book, Making Kids Cleverer. The rest of the series can be found here. Having made the case that by teaching children more knowledge we are likely to make them cleverer, it's important to address the question of what knowledge ought to be taught. The case made in this chapter is that we should inoculate children against [...]

By |January 7th, 2019|Categories: Featured|Tags: |1 Comment

Making Kids #Cleverer – Chapter 7 You are what you know

This post summarises the arguments in the seventh chapter of my new book, Making Kids Cleverer. The rest of the chapter summaries can be found here. I'm sure that some readers who my be otherwise sympathetic to the arguments I advance about making children cleverer will take issue with some of the points I make in this chapter, particularly as I side step some of the thorniest philosophical debates about what precisely constitutes [...]

By |January 6th, 2019|Categories: Featured|Tags: |0 Comments

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