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#BackToSchool – free webinars

2020-08-26T20:48:29+01:00August 26th, 2020|Featured, training|

Over the next few weeks I'll be hosting a series of five 'back to school' webinars on a range to topics aimed at early career teachers, those with a mentoring responsibility and anyone who simply feels they could do with a refresher of some teaching basics. And this year, of all years, who couldn't do with a refresher? Each of the webinars is focussed around a particular area of teaching and would make ideal CPD. Each webinar will be going out at 4pm and registration is FREE for those who need it to be, while those who feel able to pay [...]

Interview on Shoreditch radio

2020-07-02T07:20:59+01:00June 23rd, 2020|Featured|

Last week I was interviewed by Liam Davis on Shoreditch Radio about why I became a teacher, what got me into writing, the ideas in some of my books and the effects of Covid-19 on education. You can listen to the interview above. Is the player not loading above? Then you can listen directly on MixCloud: https://www.mixcloud.com/liam-davis3/educationalist-and-author-david-didau-joined-me-on-shoreditch-radio-to-discuss-his-work/

Introducing… The Learning Spy Academy

2020-06-15T23:17:01+01:00June 12th, 2020|Featured|

The last few months have gone by in a daze. The world seems to have changed - maybe permanently - and my primary means of making a living has vanished. Without knowing how - or if - it's going to work, I'm planning on providing a Webinar on a variety of topics every week for the next few weeks. The first of these, Five things teacher needs to know about reading, will be on Thursday 18th June at 16.00 BST. It will be completely FREE to anyone who wants to access it but there will be an option to pay £5 [...]

How to pay attention

2020-05-26T15:14:25+01:00May 7th, 2020|Featured|

Here is my researchEDHome talk on attention. And, if you want to chase up any of the references they're embedded is the slides below: How to Pay Attention from David Didau I also want to recapitulate an answer I gave to one of the questions I was asked about the distinction between instruction and curriculum. Part of my talk tried to explain Polanyi's idea about 'subsidiary awareness'. Essentially, although attention implies a 'withdrawal' of focus from one set of things in order to concentrate on another, we nevertheless retain our subsidiary sense. So, for instance, if you were probing a tooth [...]

Behaving badly in public: Where do we draw the line?

2020-05-01T11:25:06+01:00May 1st, 2020|Featured|

There's never any shortage of stupid on social media. Barely an hour goes by without someone saying something breathtakingly foolish, and this feverish tendency has only been intensified since we've all been confined to barracks for the duration. The last week has seen two senior figures from the old guard of education handed a pile of old rope and rush to bodge together their own  homespun nooses. First up, we had Sir Michael Wilshaw (who, bless him, hasn't had an opportunity to say something breathtakingly foolish for quite a while) suggest that teachers ought to work through their summer holidays. Former [...]

A reading of Robert Louis Stevenson’s Kidnapped

2020-05-20T12:18:29+01:00April 25th, 2020|Featured|

When my daughters were younger I used to read to them every evening. Over the years we read all the Harry Potter books, the Narnia stories, Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy, The Hobbit, Alice in Wonderland, most of Alan Garner's output and various others. As they got older we read most of Jane Austen's novels together. I'm not sure who enjoyed all this most, me or them. But sometime in the last three or four years our nightly readings ceased. They're teenagers now and not minded to indulge their father's keenness to read aloud. So, for better or worse, I've [...]

#ProjectParadise: A group reading project

2020-05-26T09:08:21+01:00April 20th, 2020|Featured|

Well. A few days ago I ran a poll on Twitter to find the most popular long poem for a group reading project and the clear winner, with 44% of the vote, was John Milton's seventeenth century epic, Paradise Lost. OK. If you were to take part in a group reading of a long poem (like the celebs are doing with Rime of the Ancient Mariner' which of the four below would be your first choice? — David Didau (@DavidDidau) April 18, 2020 I've been inundated with volunteers eager to read a section aloud and that is exactly what we're going [...]

How should we decide what knowledge to teach?

2020-04-09T08:10:50+01:00April 9th, 2020|Featured|

Last year I wrote two posts on two ways I think we might be getting curriculum thinking wrong at the moment. The first is on cultural capital, the second is on powerful knowledge. Below is a short presentation on these themes I put together for researchED Durrington:

Homework in the time of Corona

2020-04-04T10:55:51+01:00April 3rd, 2020|Featured|

It was inevitable: the scent of bitter almonds always reminded him of the fate of uncompleted homework. Gabriel Garcia Marquez I've never been much of fan of homework, not as a child, not as a teacher and nor as a parent. It's always seemed a quite unnecessary imposition. As a child, the 'dog' got to homework with unconvincing regularity. As a teacher I hated having even more marking to do. And as a parent, I just wanted to spend time with my children without papier mache art projects intruding. That was certainly the case when they were younger, anyway. After a [...]

Exam season and COVID19: What should we do?

2020-03-16T11:53:52+00:00March 16th, 2020|Featured|

In the current climate, worrying about whether this year's GCSE and A level exams are going to go ahead as scheduled may seem like small beans but it's a big deal to those directly affected. My eldest is due to sit her GCSEs and is, understandably, frustrated with the uncertainty. The likelihood that schools will carry on as normal over the exam period is looking more and more remote. Something has to give. Everyone working in education is expected an imminent announcement, but no one knows anything for sure. As ever, we have to hope for the best and plan for [...]

The dangers of hierarchy: a recommendation for improving Ofsted inspections

2020-03-07T08:10:05+00:00March 7th, 2020|Featured|

One of the many hard lessons learned by the aviation industry is that distributing responsibility and challenging hierarchical authority saves lives. From examining flight recorders and listening to cockpit recordings, crash investigators know that otherwise avoidable accidents have been caused by dysfunctional relationships between airline crew. The traditional model was the captain was in absolute authority and that questioning his actions was unthinkable. This led copilots and cabin crew to keeping silents when they noticed the captain making a mistake. There are clear dangers in leaving people to organise themselves because our natural inclination is to defer to those in authority [...]

What I learned from visiting schools in Uganda

2020-02-27T18:09:27+00:00February 26th, 2020|Featured|

Some months ago I was asked to be part of an advisory panel on a project to improve primary education in Uganda. To say I was surprised would be an understatement. What, I wondered, would I have to offer? The project, SESIL (Strengthening Education Systems for Improved Leadership) is funded by the Department for International Development and managed by Cambridge Education. The basic premise is that by introducing systems for collecting, analysing and using data to make decisions, school leaders will be better placed to improve children's outcomes by the end of primary school. Before heading out to Uganda, I was [...]