Revisiting lost learning by Gerald Haigh

2014-11-30T10:06:16+00:00November 30th, 2014|learning|

In the practical use of our intellect, forgetting is as important a function as recollecting. - William James As teachers, we tend to do all in our power to prevent students from forgetting what we have taught them. This seems entirely correct and not open to debate: forgetting is clearly the enemy of learning. Well, according to Robert and Elizabeth Bjork, the way our memories work is a good deal more complex than that. For all practical purposes our capacity to store new information appears limitless - our brains have sufficient space to comfortably store every experience we're likely to have over [...]

Chasing our tails – is AfL all it's cracked up to be?

2013-08-29T21:17:40+01:00August 29th, 2013|assessment, learning, myths|

Is it blasphemous to doubt the efficacy of AfL? While purists might argue that it's 'just good teaching', we teach in a world where formative assessment has become dogma and where feedback is king. (Don't worry, I'm not about to start upsetting the feedback applecart although there are occasions when pupils can benefit from it being reduced.) But AfL as a 'thing'? I'm not just talking about some of the nonsense that gets spouted about lolly sticks and traffic lights, I'm questioning the entire edifice. Is assessment for learning really all it's cracked up to be, or is it just me? You [...]

What's the point of assessment?

2011-08-22T12:10:55+01:00August 22nd, 2011|assessment|

Came across an interesting challenge by @purposeducation - #500words campaign, This week the topic is #purposedassess, so here goes... Everyone knows that there's two different types of assessment, right? There's summative assessment which is all about finding out whether students have learnt everything they've been taught. This is the kind of assessment that the media reports on and which schools are judged on. GCSEs, SATs, A levels etc. Then there's formative assessment, or Assessment for Learning as its been rebranded. This is all about finding out what kind of progress students are making. This is (hopefully) what goes on in classrooms [...]

Formative assessment and the mark scheme

2011-07-23T23:03:52+01:00July 23rd, 2011|assessment, English, learning, training|

I’ve been consciously and actively using exam board mark schemes as an essential component of formative assessment with my classes for some time now and thought it was time to share what I was up to more widely. I led a CPD session on this recently and while none of what I said was new or even particularly surprising, it did at least remind us what the point of marking all those essays is. Before putting my presentation together, I decided to check out what was out there already. Plenty of stuff on formative assessment but nothing specifically (nothing that I [...]

Emerging leaders

2011-07-20T21:36:13+01:00July 20th, 2011|leadership|

Have just completed the last session of the leadership course I've been on for the last 6 weeks. What great CPD! For this final session we all had to prepare a presentation on a project which had lead or wanted to lead and demonstrate the leadership skills we had used. Whilst my presentation focussed on internal issues within my own school which are not really suitable for blogging about, what was particularly great was that I got to listen to and comment on 15 other people's projects. We had a real mix ranging from making maths lessons more creative, to building [...]

What's the point of lesson observations?

2011-07-17T11:35:16+01:00July 17th, 2011|Featured|

I feel I need to start by saying that I am not questioning the need for lesson observations. They're a crucial part of developing our professional practice and ensure T&L is quality assured. No, what this post is really concerned with is asking what we hope to achieve by observing teachers. For some time now I have been musing on the purpose of lesson observations  as well as considering new ways to encourage staff to develop their teaching practice. This has been merrily percolating at the back of my brain for some time but has now, I hope, turned into something a [...]

Rip it up: Hula hooping about literature

2018-12-16T22:59:11+00:00July 16th, 2011|English, learning|

I keep this post on the site to remind me just how far I've come. When I wrote this in 2011, despite teaching for 12 years, I knew practically nothing about education. I am now rather ashamed and embarrassed at my naivety but it's good, i think, to remind our selves that we all have feet of clay.  If you do decide to read on please know that I would now disavow pretty much everything that follows.  December, 2018 Day 1 Have just finished reading Phil Beadle’s book, Dancing About Architecture at 2.39 am. I received it in the post today and tore [...]

The Learning Loop

2011-07-12T22:58:25+01:00July 12th, 2011|learning|

For last few years we (the English faculty) have been teaching our GCSE course over 3 years. I made the decision this time last year to begin our three year programme of study with a scheme of learning which would encapsulate everything I believe education should be about. I had recently had some training on the impact of intrinsic motivation & growth mindsets and wanted to see if this was something we could foster in our learners. The other rationale (or perhaps, excuse is a better word) was to introduce the skills needed to successfully navigate the new GCSE course. We [...]

Using Learning Continuums

2011-07-11T20:33:58+01:00July 11th, 2011|English, learning|

After reading How to Teach the Perfect Ofsted Lesson by Jackie Beere, I came up with the idea of the Learning Continuum. The idea is that the learning objective for a lesson should be viewed as a journey. Students can achieve outcomes that meet the objective at different levels. Aha, I hear you say, isn’t he just talking about differentiated outcomes? Well, yes, but the difference here is that the emphasis is placed on students continuing on through the learning journey over the course of the lesson. The diagram above is a useful way of explaining what I mean. [...]

So, what are learning spies?

2011-07-11T20:18:53+01:00July 11th, 2011|learning|

A few years ago an Ofsted inspector told me I talked too much and that as a result the lesson that had been observed was 'satisfactory'. I was gutted. I was also determined to do something about it. The task of getting out of the way so that my students are free to learn for themselves has been challenging but also without doubt the best thing that has ever happened to me. As an educator I mean - obviously the birth of my children etc. was way cooler! Following some training with Zoe Elder on Observing Learning, I began experimenting with the [...]

Getting to grips with PLTS

2011-07-11T19:53:59+01:00July 11th, 2011|learning|

This was first written in October 2009 So, the PLTS. What are they and why would you want to embed them into anything? I’m quite sure that I won’t be surprising many people by telling you that Personal Learning and Thinking Skills are now a part of the National Curriculum. That means they are statutory and that we have to teach ‘em. My school has taken the approach that the 6 skill areas were divided up and one given to each faculty to concentrate on. English got Creative Thinking. N'est pas. So far so good: we dutifully write our PLTS objectives [...]

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