Why the knowledge/skills debate is worth having

2015-01-26T08:41:20+00:00July 7th, 2013|blogging, myths, SOLO|

'I note the obvious differences between each sort and type, but we are more alike, my friends, than we are unalike'. Maya Angelou I've come an awful long way since September 2011 when Cristina Milos took the time to point out that my view on the teaching of knowledge and skills were seriously skewed. I'm flabbergasted that, as an experienced teacher, I could have been so ignorant. I said at the end of that post that "I guess my conclusion isn’t that skills are more important than knowledge: rather that both are required for mastery of a subject." But I didn't really believe it. If [...]

How knowledge is being detached from skills in English

2013-07-22T06:52:56+01:00June 18th, 2013|English|

I don't normally do this. In fact, I haven't put up a post by anyone else since last August. But in this case Joe Kirby has expressed my own thoughts so articulately that there seemed little point trying to repeat the same thing myself. Not only that, Joe is somewhat of a phenomenon. His grasp of the nuances of education theory belies the fact that he is only just completing his NQT year. When I compare his expertise to my ignorance at the same stage of my career I am staggered, and not a little ashamed. As such I would very much like for you to read his [...]

Knowledge is power

2013-09-25T21:14:34+01:00October 21st, 2012|learning, myths, SOLO|

I've been having a bit of think this week. Firstly I read Daisy Christodoulou's post on Hirsch's Core Knowledge curriculum. She points out that Hirsch, oft-condemned for being the darling of ideologues like Mickey Gove is, in his own words 'a quasi socialist' and big mates with Diane Ravitch (who is nobody's fool.) Then I listened to the hugely entertaining Jonathan Lear give an excellent presentation at Independent Thinking's Big Day Out in Bristol on Friday and like any speaker worth their salt he got me thinking. His point, if I may make so bold as to attempt a precis, is that [...]

What to know: the importance of cultural capital

2012-04-04T22:02:48+01:00April 4th, 2012|reading|

Let's face it, we need to know to stuff if we're going to have anything resembling a successful life. But what is it we need to know? As an English teacher I have a fair bit of fairly arcane knowledge that few others outside my profession and subject specialism would see as useful. Doctors know all kinds of stuff, and they save lives. Surely everything they know is vitally important? Well, if it is I've muddled along without knowing the vast majority of it. The same goes for anyone from green grocers to figure skaters to lion tamers: the knowledge we [...]

Knowledge or skills?

2013-07-20T12:29:52+01:00September 11th, 2011|Featured|

Skills, knowledge, who cares?  I'm a huge fan of the implementation of Personal Learning and Thinking Skills as part of the English National Curriculum and feel confused and concerned about the current government's stance on knowledge & skills. see here for an example. Last week I had a really thought provoking conversation on this subject with Cristina Milos (@surreallyno) on Twitter which I think unpicks some of the issues: CM: When teenagers can't locate a country on the map, "facts" are suddenly important. Preaching "skills" before /or/ vs. "knowledge" is silly. Me: Is it? The fact that Poland is east of Germany tells us little, [...]

Go to Top