This was my sixth year of blogging and it was a real mixed bag. For reasons of mental well-being I more or less stopped blogging in the last four months of the year and almost completely swore off social media. That said, almost 750,000 people visited the site and I managed to cobble together over 100 posts, the ten most popular of which are summarised below.
1. Is growth mindset bollocks? – 25th January
A somewhat scurrilous foray into the latest failure to replicate Carol Dweck’s research into the growth mindset. In summary, I don’t think her research is bollocks, but I’m increasingly convinced it’s not a fruitful way for schools to invest time and energy.
2. On being called a racist – 17th August
After a series of articles about IQ and heritability I inadvertently wandered into a mini Twitter hate storm. The main up shot of this is that I am now no longer a regular user of Twitter and I’m much less keen to blog. It feels like failure to have allowed the thought police any kind of victory but life is just too short to be bothered with their vitriol. On reflection, I’m ambivalent about the fact that this post was so widely read.
3. The problem with ‘reading along’ – 25th March
This, on the other hand, is a post that (in my biased opinion) represents the best of education blogging. I ‘m pretty sure there’s a PhD in this idea for someone. I wrote a follow up post in December which seems to confirm my suspicions that reading along at the same time as listening is a sub-optimal way to comprehend a text.
4. Problems with the Zone of Proximal Development – 13th January
I’ve always felt a bit unsatisfied by the truthiness of ZDP, so when Dylan Wiliam sent a paper that unpicked the problems inherent in it, I was keen to have my biases confirmed. What surprised me was just how popular this post turned out to be with readers.
5. Didau’s Taxonomy – 4th April
A deliberately hubristic attempt to reclaim the word taxonomy from all the negative associations it’s picked up in education circles. I’m sure there’s a lot that one might find fault with in the model I present, but I’m still pretty happy with it.
6. What do teachers think differentiation is? – 24th April
Not, it turns out, what I thought they thought. Posts on differentiation are always popular and this one documents the fact that teachers seem to be abandoning the concept of personalised learning and individual lessons plans & resource for all students for the far more sensible idea of adaptive instruction.
7. Should teachers do want children want? – 19th May
No, of course not.
At the time I really enjoyed writing this post, but on reflection I can see that it demonstrates how unhealthy my relationship with social media had become. This is the sort of thing I have now committed to avoiding.
8. A summary of my arguments about education – 13th April
This, on the other hand, is exactly the sort of thing I want to write. It brings together my thought on education over the past few years and, I think, makes a convincing social justice argument for a determined focus on building students’ schema using explicit instruction.
9. Why feedback fails – 10th January
A great deal of the feedback we give students is either ignored or ends up having unintended negative consequences. This post attempts to explain why.
A picaresque of my own struggles to learn to read as a child which I use to exemplify the principles I believe to be most effective at making sure all children make good progress.
Thanks for reading.