Alex Quigley

Is it what you do or the way that you do it?

2018-11-26T16:29:29+00:00January 23rd, 2016|research|

Alex Quigley has just responded to my post Two Stars and a Bloody Wish! with the revelation that it works for him and others: Using a ‘Two Stars and a Wish’ model ironically meant that many teachers were writing more concise comments and spending less time on marking than before. Rather than proving a waste of time as David Didau suggests, it was saving time for many (teachers weren’t beholden to two wishes each time and there was seldom ‘lavish praise’). Well, good. If using a particular marking structure does actually save teachers time then who am I to criticise? Alex goes on to say [...]

One step beyond – assessing what we value

2014-09-01T09:31:17+01:00April 5th, 2014|assessment, English|

Hey you, don't teach that. Teach this! Do we always teach what we value? it seems to me that when push comes to shove, we end up teaching what is assessed. The urgency of accountability results, inexorably, in teaching to the test. And this, sadly, ends up with teachers teaching stuff that they don't particularly value. I'm not in any way a mathematician, but one of the problems with maths at GCSE is that the knowledge students are taught is atomised: they are rarely shown the links and connections between, say, vectors and averages. Why not? Because the examination doesn't require them [...]

The glamour of grammar: in context or not?

2015-11-09T14:55:47+00:00February 13th, 2014|English, literacy|

It's something of an understatement to say that glamour and grammar are not usually closely associated in many people's minds. One of the 100 words David Crystal uses to tell The Story of English is ‘grammar’. It turns out that grammar and glamour come from the same root. Grammar originally meant the study of everything written but, as reading must have seemed like an almost magical skill to your average medieval peasant, grammar became synonymous with supernatural or occult knowledge. ‘Grammary’ came to mean magical or necromantic learning. And this leads us to ‘glamour’ which first meant a magical spell or enchantment and has since [...]

What if we stopped making the same mistakes?

2017-03-10T16:52:25+00:00February 11th, 2014|Featured|

If you always do what you've always done, you'll always get what you've always got. Henry Ford Insanity is repeating the same mistakes and expecting different results. Fake Einstein quote How many of us have worked in schools which have as one of their teaching & learning priorities differentiation, questioning, or assessment & feedback? Most of us, right? You'll be hard-pressed to find a school which isn't working hard on trying to improve one or other of these aspects of teaching. But why? No one seems to have 'the answer', and we're all desperately scrabbling about trying to get better at doing the same things. [...]

Some reviews of The Secret of Literacy

2014-01-18T14:44:58+00:00January 18th, 2014|literacy|

To further whet your appetite for my forthcoming book and in the spirit of shameless self-promotion, I thought I'd share a couple of pre-release reviews. (Just in case you weren't aware, it's out on 31st January, and I'm quite pleased with it!) First of all, there's a very generous review from the headguruteacher himself, Tom Sherrington: The Secrets of Literacy is an essential book for all teachers and school leaders.  It is not just another literacy book. David Didau provides a crystal clear rationale for all teachers taking responsibility for developing literacy in their specialist areas, with lots of very practical ideas, [...]

Principled curriculum design: the English curriculum

2014-07-29T21:27:26+01:00December 16th, 2013|English, Featured|

The tragedy of life is that one can only understand life backwards, but one must live it forwards Søren Kierkegaard Back in March 2013, I wrote about the principles underlying my redesign of a Keys Stage 3 English curriculum. It received a mixed response. Since then Joe Kirby and Alex Quigley have published their ideas on redesigning this area of the curriculum and have, in different ways, influenced my thinking. Recently, I've presented my ideas on the English curriculum to over 100 English teachers and the consensus seems to be that there is no consensus. Having thought quite a bit about [...]

What's the point of classroom displays?

2013-07-21T11:53:30+01:00July 21st, 2013|learning|

Having broken up for the summer and feeling warm and expansive, I foolishly asked Twitter what it would like me to write about next. Michael Oxenham came back, quick as a flash with "classroom display". Dutifully, I then asked Twitter what made a good classroom display. These are some of the responses: @tim7168 Also things that make the classroom 'theirs' (primary). Lots of photos, work etc. @benking01 Examples of best-practice from students and ensuring that the work displayed is more than just 'pretty' - Must be informative. @oldandrewuk Having nothing which can be used as a projectile or cannot be easily repaired. [Health & [...]

Grit vs Flow – what's better for learning?

2013-03-04T23:14:42+00:00March 4th, 2013|Featured, myths|

At least it wasn't Brain Gym! Bugger! Having just put up a new classroom display exhorting the benefits of 'flow' and using the idea in training materials, I have just had this thrust in front of my slack jawed face by my new bête noire, Alex Quigley! (NB: this is not true - Alex is a thoroughly decent chap, and a man I admire greatly.) I've been fascinated by the idea of 'flow' since reading Mihály Csíkszentmihályi's book some years ago. The idea is that if you're totally immersed in the experience of performing a task you will perform it [...]

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