Old Andrew

/Tag:Old Andrew

Ofsted's new Inspection Handbook – a cause for celebration

2014-07-30T22:19:04+00:00

As detailed by Old Andrew here, I attended a meeting with the new National Director for Schools Policy, Sean Harford in Birmingham on Friday 25th July. This had followed a series of telephone calls and emails in which I provided "free consultancy" on Ofsted's new Inspection Handbook. Whatever your ideological stripe, whatever your beliefs about the purpose of education, everybody can, I hope, agree that reforming Ofsted is in everyone's best interest. During the past month Sean has "taken a scythe" to the 500+ pages of subsidiary and subject specific guidance to produce a slimmed down document that will be useful to inspectors, and [...]

Ofsted's new Inspection Handbook – a cause for celebration 2014-07-30T22:19:04+00:00

Awards Season 2013 – my votes in the Edublog Awards

2013-12-07T09:48:11+00:00

It's that time again. The rhythm of the year inevitably reaches a staccato climax as the Edublog Awards, or Eddies, trundle laboriously into view. And happily the voting process appears much less flawed than in past years with every individual only able to vote once for each entry. Even better you can actually see who has voted for you. So I will know! Back in 2011 I was nominated for Best New Blog and got very over excited. In my self-depreciatory way I tried to mobilise my very modest Twitter following, and my mum, to vote for me. With almost imperceptible results. [...]

Awards Season 2013 – my votes in the Edublog Awards 2013-12-07T09:48:11+00:00

The shocking mediation of Ofsted criteria by 'rogue' inspectors

2013-11-10T17:06:41+00:00

There's a lot said and written about what Ofsted do and don't want to see in lessons, and it turns out a lot of it is nonsense. Fortunately though we have Michael Wilshaw, the chief inspector, saying all kinds of sensible things: Ofsted should be wary of trying to prescribe a particular style of teaching, whether it be a three part lesson; an insistence that there should be a balance between teacher led activities and independent learning, or that the lesson should start with aims and objectives with a plenary at the end. We should be wary of too much prescription. [...]

The shocking mediation of Ofsted criteria by 'rogue' inspectors 2013-11-10T17:06:41+00:00

Why the knowledge/skills debate is worth having

2015-01-26T08:41:20+00:00

'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 [...]

Why the knowledge/skills debate is worth having 2015-01-26T08:41:20+00:00

Total Teaching: every lesson is group work

2013-10-07T07:26:24+00:00

It's no secret that I think children learn best in groups. I've argued back and forth with sundry opponents who claim that group work is variously inefficient, pointless or too hard to do and have (to mind my mind at least) matched them stroke for stroke with no quarter given on either side. It seems that one of the main objections to group work is that it has in some way a constructivist, anti-knowledge agenda, and who knows? Maybe in some teachers' minds it does. But for me, children working in groups is the most efficient, practical and successful way to [...]

Total Teaching: every lesson is group work 2013-10-07T07:26:24+00:00

Some thoughts on Learning Styles

2017-03-17T09:34:53+00:00

The rusting can of worms that is Learning Styles has been prised open again and the wriggling mess is crawling all over the educational twittersphere. And on that note I will stop extending the metaphor. A visual metaphor for the visual learners who didn't get my first sentence Last week Ian Gilbert wrote Learning Styles are dead, long live Learning Styles. He said: I have been in too many situations where young people who weren’t ‘getting it’ one way then started ‘getting it’ when we tried a different way, to dismiss the whole learning styles thing as a fad. As [...]

Some thoughts on Learning Styles 2017-03-17T09:34:53+00:00

Why group work works for me

2013-07-20T16:25:07+00:00

For some time I have been of the opinion that children learn best in groups. This is disputed by all sorts of folk, some of whom are very articulate and thoughtful like the wonderfully caustic Old Andrew. He says that students' inability to work in groups "will have been learned over many years of being made to work in groups by idiot teachers, who didn’t really care about learning, trying and failing to get some group-work done. They will have already learnt that group-work is effectively an extension of breaktime, in which you get to chat as much as you like and [...]

Why group work works for me 2013-07-20T16:25:07+00:00