A year in blogging

2018-01-06T15:30:32+00:00January 6th, 2018|blogging|

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 [...]

Thought Depends on Knowledge

2017-12-05T15:46:01+00:00December 5th, 2017|blogging|

Paul Kirschner, lead author of the research paper that has perhaps most influenced my thinking, is a bit of an educational hero. Imagine my nervousness when he came to see give a talk on 'the trouble with transfer' at the researchED national conference a couple of years ago. There are few audience members likely to be more knowledgeable or more intolerant of guff. It came as a very welcome relief when he made a few complimentary comments afterwards. I've since met him on a number of occasions and have found him to be hugely insightful, incredibly generous and charmingly irascible. So, after [...]

The 10 most popular posts on The Learning Spy in 2016

2017-01-02T18:29:35+00:00January 2nd, 2017|blogging|

Here are the 10 most viewed posts of last year. Only half of them were actually written last year and some of them are several years old. I reckon this must in part be due to the fact that there are so many links to some of my older posts knocking around on t'internet and so, because my views have changed, I've taken the opportunity to rewrite some of them fairly extensively. I wonder if you can guess which ones? 10. 5 things every new (secondary) teacher should know about reading (August 2016) 9 Bottom sets and the scourge of low-level disruption (November 2016) 8. Is growth [...]

My favourite posts of 2016 on The Learning Spy

2016-12-31T10:58:09+00:00December 31st, 2016|blogging|

Here follows a selection of some of what I consider to be my best posts of 2016. I've learned not to be surprised that what I think is my best writing is rarely appreciated by others and this is certainly reflected in the selection below; almost all of these posts went largely unnoticed by the reading public. In a desperate attempt to rectify this injustice I once again foist them before you for your consideration. January Can anyone teach? Well, that depends on what you think education is for - The role of the teacher is a continual battleground between the various [...]

My favourite blog posts of 2016

2016-12-30T13:30:22+00:00December 30th, 2016|blogging|

Here follows my extremely partial take on some of the blog post I have most enjoyed reading this year Heather Fearn - Reading fluency and the ‘Tragedy of the Commons’ My only continuing niggle with Heather's blog is that she stubbornly refuses to add a 'follow by email' widget and, seeing as I can't make head not tail of RSS feeds and the like, I often miss her posts much too often. That said, pretty much everything she writes is ace and I really should make more of an effort. This one, on the haphazard way reading is taught in secondary schools [...]

The revolutionary wisdom of the tribe

2017-04-11T23:16:27+01:00March 12th, 2016|blogging|

In A History of the World, Andrew Marr suggests there needs to be a balance between new ideas and what he calls 'the wisdom of the tribe': What is the right balance between state authority and individual liberty? No successful state is a steady state. All successful states experience a relentless tug-of-war between conservatism, the wisdom of the tribe, and radicalism, or new thinking. The wisdom of the tribe really matters: it is the accumulated lessons of history, the mistakes as well as the answers, that a polity has gathered up so far. But if this wisdom is not challenged, it ossifies. The [...]

February on The Learning Spy

2016-03-02T08:55:57+00:00March 2nd, 2016|blogging|

February was cold, dark, wet and miserable. Which probably explains why I go so much writing done. Here are all of my posts from lat month in one convenient digest. Learning about learning: What every teacher needs to know A report from the US National Council on Teacher Quality reveals the 'big six' strategies we should all know. More guff on creativity There really people who believe that being creative means you don't have to remember stuff! Reading difficulty is a teaching problem not an intelligence problem If a child leaves school unable to read it is the school's fault. Romanticism & the Enlightenment: Meta-beliefs in [...]

Varieties of boredom

2017-04-12T14:31:54+01:00January 2nd, 2016|blogging|

For I have neither wit, nor words, nor worth, Action, nor utterance, nor the power of speech, To stir men’s blood: I only speak right on; I tell you that which you yourselves do know Shakespeare, Julius Caesar, Act 3, scene 2 Teaching is a profession with an odd, uneasy relationship with boredom. At once we are almost never bored, but seem to always run the risk of being boring. Teachers seem to find their subjects and what their students do endlessly fascinating. In fact, our enthusiasm runs the risk of boring anyone except other teachers, and even then at times. Writer and hispanophile Gerald [...]

Annual report 2015

2015-12-30T13:38:48+00:00December 30th, 2015|blogging|

Well, 2015 has been and gone. It's been a great year for me personally and one in which the blog has continued to make waves. It seems that as more and more ordinary teachers are liberated from the tyranny of some of the daft but pervasive ideas in education, the debate has become increasingly polarised. My writing seems to irritate and encourage in roughly equal measure and I fear I've gained many new readers at the expense of alienating some old ones. For anyone who happens to be interested, here's the 2015 annual report on my blog produced by WordPress. As you [...]

December on The Learning Spy

2015-12-30T00:54:42+00:00December 30th, 2015|blogging|

December has traditionally been a bit of a fallow period as far as this blog is concerned, but this year, despite the inevitable Christmas lull I continued to churn out posts. Here they are in all their rather tawdry glory. 3rd December - Marking: What (some) Ofsted Inspectors (still) want An expression of frustration at the continued inability of some Ofsted inspectors to free their minds from the shackles of bias, prejudice and personal preference. 3rd December - Why I ♥ blogging (and believe there is hope for Ofsted) An expression of satisfaction and relief that the upper echelons of Ofsted continue to see sense and strive mightily [...]

A roundup of my least popular posts of 2015

2015-12-27T17:16:11+00:00December 27th, 2015|blogging|

I love blogging and I'm chuffed beyond reason when a post captures the imagination and pings around the internet for a few days. But I'm always taken unawares by what's popular and what's not. Some of my posts seem to get thousands of views whereas others are only read by a small but select group of loyal readers. Possibly this is because they're a bit crap, but, not to be defeated, I'm hopeful that a roundup of some of the posts I most enjoyed writing but sank without a trace might do something to spark a modicum of interest.  1. A defence of [...]

Why I ♥ blogging (and believe there is hope for Ofsted)

2015-12-03T15:19:58+00:00December 3rd, 2015|blogging|

Earlier today I posted an outraged spume of invective directed at a recently publish Ofsted inspection report. Since then Sean Harford, Ofsted's National Director for Education, has been in touch to say that the report has been taken down and arses are being kicked. To be clear, I don't want or expect Ofsted to change its judgement about the school in question - I am in no way placed to make any kind of judgement or even comment on what the school in question might be like - but I do want and expect the report to be changed so that [...]

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