It’s been some time since I put one of these lists together (The last time I seem to remember getting a fair bit of flak for indulging my gender bias.) and it seems high time to praise some of the best writing and ideas the edublogging community has produced over the past year.
There have been plenty of excellent contenders but on balance, these have been my five favourite education blogs of 2015:
Greg Ashman, formerly known as Harry Webb, is an expat science teacher and school leader Down Under. He’s produced a remarkable output this year. The combination of incisive analysis, sly satire and readability has resulted in some real corkers. Some of my favourite posts include Five questions to ask an education guru, Taking a critical look at praise, Carts and horses, Surf school is about so much more than just learning to surf and this very generous spirited review of Teacher Toolkit’s new book.Daisy Christodoulou
Daisy Christodoulou, infamous author of Seven Myths About Education, is probably the blogger who’s most enriched and challenged my thinking this year. Her posts on assessment are an invaluable resource and required reading for anyone working in schools, especially those with any responsibility for making sense of the aftermath of National Curriculum Levels. This one, where she takes some of my ideas to task, was a salutary reminder that I have a lot to learn. In addition to these assessment posts I also enjoyed Prosperity or democracy – why does education matter?, Will big data transform education? and “Certain things then follow from that”: Notes on ED Hirsch’s Policy Exchange lecture.
Heath Fearn is one of those bloggers I struggle to keep up with due to the lamentable absence of a ‘follow by email’ button This is a relatively straightforward thing to add to a WordPress blog – instructions here.). Often I only stumble across her posts on Twitter and am never disappointed. In fact, in writing this review, I caught up on a few I’d missed. But, maybe this somewhat haphazard approach adds to the sense of serendipity? Anyhow, here are some of the best of Heather’s posts: Reading failure? What reading failure?, “You’ll put them off”, Is reliability becoming the enemy of validity? Is grouping pupils by ability ‘iniquitous’? and a great serious of posts on reading: The Hydra parts one and two.
Toby French is one of those people who’s been hanging around Twitter for years soaking up the edu-rays but has only recently begun to blog. This gives his writing an intoxicating balance of maturity and freshness. He’s articulated a number of thoughts I’ve not been able to put into words and has spurred me to be better. Some of my favourite posts are On language: a rod for our own back?, Some opinions are ridiculous, Is questioning yet another cult?, Talking a lot and Marking is not the same as feedback.
Anthony Radice is a new kid on the block and has burst onto the blogging scene with a consistently provocative, trenchant and polemical blog about, yes you guessed it, traditional teaching. Some of Anthony’s posts go a little too far for my more moderate tastes (This one is a good example of the sort of thing I balk at.) but he routinely hits the mark in about four out of every five posts. Some of the best are The Curse of ‘Dead Poets’ Society’, Rural Comprehensives: The Curse of Not-Too-Dreadfulness, Assessing Swimming Progress and, probably my favourite, Against Analysis, or Why William Doesn’t Engage the Reader.
Other blogs I’ve found particularly enjoyable or useful this year are David Thomas’s Blog, Bodil Isaksen’s blog, Jack Marwood’s The Icing on the Cake, Martin Robinson’s Surreal Anarchy, Jo Facer’s Reading all the Books, the notorious Quirky Teacher blog, Michael Tidd’s excellent Ramblings of a Teacher, John Tomsett’s blog and Tarjinder Gill’s Teach Well.