intelligent accountability

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Should we give teachers the ‘benefit of the doubt’?

2017-03-03T13:41:16+00:00March 3rd, 2017|leadership|

Earlier in the week, Schools Minister, Lord Nash announced that schools should be more like businesses and jettison underperforming staff. According to this TES report he's reported to have said, "“I think one of the things that it’s easy to say ... is that sometimes in education there is a tendency to give people the benefit of the doubt too often.” The consequence of this well meaning woolliness is that we consign children to a sub-standard education. Much better for school leaders to be like business leaders. The “best leaders in education” are “tough”, “have a real sense of pace”, and “realise the clock is [...]

Less marking, more feedback: A challenge and a proposal

2016-12-01T16:18:59+00:00December 1st, 2016|leadership|

I've been arguing for some time that if teachers spent less time marking (by which I mean writing comments on students' work) then they might have a lot more time for giving meaningful feedback which actually helps develop more flexible, durable learning. This is a message that tends to play well with harried, over burdened teachers but often fills school leaders with horror. The fear is that because some teachers are lazy, good-for-nothing loafers they'll simply take this as an opportunity to shuttle off to the pub every evening and their students will be even more neglected. I can certainly understand [...]

“Works for me!” The problem with teachers’ judgement

2019-02-10T18:46:05+00:00October 11th, 2015|leadership|

It is with our judgments as with our watches: no two go just alike, yet each believes his own. Alexander Pope One of the difficulties inherent in challenging teachers' judgments is that when those judgements appear to be contradicted teachers sometimes say, "Well, it works for me and my students." This is hard to challenge. Anthony Radice made a similar point in a recent blog post about the debilitating nature of complacent certainty: A clear example of this kind of complacency is contained in the words, ‘I know my pupils’. It’s the killer punch to an argument, because it is not [...]