Attention, meaning & consolidation: matching technique to purpose

2024-06-08T11:40:04+01:00January 12th, 2024|English, reflection, training|

It's become increasingly clear to me that training teachers on how to use pedagogical techniques is of limited use. Over the past year or so I've lost count of the times I've watched a teacher act on feedback, improve how how they are, say, cold calling, or using a visualiser or mini-whiteboard, and yet still somehow the lesson is a series of missed opportunities with students failing to learn what was intended. A few years ago I read (or at lest, skimmed) Mary Kennedy's 2015 paper, Parsing the Practice of Teaching and was struck, like so many others, by her [...]

Heads I’m right, tails I’m not wrong

2020-08-08T17:58:15+01:00October 12th, 2015|reflection|

The path of least resistance and least trouble is a mental rut already made. It requires troublesome work to undertake the alternation of old beliefs. Self-conceit often regards it as a sign of weakness to admit that a belief to which we have once committed ourselves is wrong. We get so identified with an idea that it is literally a “pet” notion and we rise to its defense and stop our eyes and ears to anything different. John Dewey* Let me start by being really clear: I am very much in favour of conducting research into the merits of educational claims. [...]

This much I know about John Tomsett's book

2015-06-22T21:18:17+01:00June 22nd, 2015|reflection|

I remember reading John's first blog when it appeared in June 2012. Since then his posts have been consistently wise and deeply human. Even when he bangs on about golf, fishing or The Clash. Until I read that John was a headteacher who actually taught - actual classes - I'd never encountered this as a concept before. Since then I've seen him as a lodestone; my ideal against which I measure all other heads. I've had the privilege of meeting him a couple of times and he's as warm, tolerant and kind as you imagine him to be. We sat next to each [...]

A year in the life of an English teacher

2014-06-03T18:38:36+01:00July 12th, 2012|reflection|

What a lot can happen in a year. It was only this time last July that I began my experiment with Twitter and blogging. I think it's fair to say that my professional life (and at times my personal life, but that's another story) has been transformed. Even I don't recognise myself. After a couple of knocks in my bid to be promoted, I began the blog back on 11th July 2011 as a way of invigorating my teaching and with the intention of reflecting on my practice. I wanted to use it as an aide memoire for all the interesting stuff [...]

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