Here’s what I got up to in October. The major themes this month were accountability and teachers’ judgement. Books I read which I found particularly interesting were Beyond the Checklist and Matthew Syed’s Black Box Thinking. I also found time to reread Conditions for Intuitive: Expertise A Failure to Disagree by Gary Klein & Daniel Kahneman.
4th October Intelligent Accountability – a manifesto for improving the ways in which teachers are held accountable in an attempt to support teachers in being good as opposed to looking good.
5th October What can education learn from aviation? – expanding on the intelligent accountability theme bu contrasting the way accountability works in education and in aviation.
6th October #researchED comes to Swindon – a trail for the wonderful secondary English & literacy conference organised for 7th November.
6th October The melody of education: what should we be accountable for? If teachers and schools are to be held accountable then is should be for something which we all agree is important. In his book, Education is Upside Down, Eric Kalenze suggests the aim of education should be that “students able to find fulfilment in – and contribute to the improvement of – the world outside the school.”
8th October Equality is unfair If we treat all teachers equally we will be treating them unfairly. Fairness is more important than equality.
9th October What every teacher needs to know about ’21st-Century learning’ This is my regular column for Teach Secondary magazine. This time I take a swipe at the 21st Century learning trope.
11th October “Works for me!” The problem with teachers’ judgement The problem with relying on teachers’ judgement is that, despite what we intuitively believe, it doesn’t tend to be all that good. Here I discuss the importance of falsifiability as a way of refining our judgements.
12th October Heads I’m right, tails I’m not wrong – The contortions we go through to reduce cognitive dissonance can sometimes be hilarious for onlookers. But the consequences are far from funny. In this piece I acknowledge Daisy Chistodoulou’s criticism and fess up to making a mistake about assessment.
12th October Is teaching a ‘wicked’ game? More thoughts on the limitations of teacher judgement: a wicked domain is one in which we don’t receive useful feedback about how to improve, so we don’t.
13th October Assessment: evolution vs. design Might the iterative process of evolution be a better way for us to approach post-levels assessment systems?
18th October How can we teach problem-solving? A rare post about maths. Here I suggest that problem solving depends on knowing a lot of maths as well as the learned experience of struggling with difficult problems.
23rd October Is school a straightjacket? A response to David Aaronovitch –Aaronovitch, like many uninformed commentators, has been seduced by the easy lure of Ken Robinson & Sugata Mitra. Here I attempt to set him straight.
24th October From Scared Straight to Reading Wrong – How we ignore evidence when it is at odds with our preferred beliefs.
24th October Is growth mindset pseudoscience? The jury is still out, but I continue to be sceptical of the promise of the growth mindset and argue that Dweck’s latest permutation – the false growth mindset – might make here theory unfalsifiable.
30th October The closed circle: Why being wrong is so useful – Critique is how we make progress. When someone points out our mistakes we can adjust and improve. But if you refuse to allow the possibility that you might be mistaken you will never learn.
31st October In praise of signposts – Rather than being worried about the fact that teachers don’t trawl though lengthy research papers looking for caveats to the main findings we should celebrate the clear signpost which are emerging from education research.
And that was October. As ever, little of this is planned; almost everything I write is a response to the ideas I absorb around me. Next month I aim to read Antifragile by Nicholas Nassim Taleb and Nonsense: the power of not knowing by Jamie Holmes. I’d be delighted if you were able to join me again in November.