Phil Beadle

Thinking like a writer

2013-07-19T10:48:34+01:00June 4th, 2013|English, Featured, writing|

How do we get better at writing? By writing. The advice I always give to students to improve their writing is to write. Often. Everyday if possible. This might be a private diary entry, an Amazon review, an essay or, even better: a public blog post which someone might actually read. For years now I've been in the habit of writing with my students; whenever they have a controlled assessment to write or a question to answer, I do the work too. Apart from the desire to build a sense of solidarity, I started doing this to model the thinking required [...]

Icebergs, taking risks & being outstanding

2024-01-19T10:53:07+00:00February 11th, 2013|Featured, learning, planning, training|

How do we recognise a great teacher, a great lesson or great teaching and learning? How do we know what we're seeing is outstanding? The sad truth is that often observers don't (or can't) see the wood for the trees. They see your planning, they see your interactions with a group of students and, hopefully, they see the evidence of impact in your students' books. But most of what goes into making your lessons finely crafted things of beauty are invisible. Observers only ever get to see the tip of the iceberg. If a writer of prose knows enough of [...]

Live Lesson Obs: Making lesson observations formative

2013-07-19T09:22:37+01:00February 3rd, 2013|Featured, leadership, learning|

You can push and prod people into something better than mediocrity, but you have to encourage excellence. David Lammy We've all experienced the dread and agony of formal lesson observations, haven't we? We've sweated blood over our preparations, filled in inch thick lesson plans and obsessed over meaningless details in our presentations. Or is that just me? A while back now I read something (I forget exactly what) by Phil Beadle which went along the lines of "Be brilliant and they'll forgive you anything." This nugget has rattled around in my stony heart ever since with the result that I've started [...]

The mathematics of writing

2013-09-18T12:59:04+01:00October 30th, 2012|English, literacy, writing|

A mathematician, like a painter or a poet, is a maker of patterns… The mathematician’s patterns, like the painter’s or the poet’s must be beautiful; the ideas like the colours or the words, must fit together in a harmonious way. Beauty is the first test. GH Hardy How are most children taught writing? Badly. Eight weeks ago I took over an AS English Language class in which none of the students had a clear understanding of the difference between a noun and a verb. How is that they have got so far through formal education with absolutely no explicit understanding of [...]

Planning a 'perfect' lesson

2012-06-30T11:41:36+01:00June 30th, 2012|training|

How long does a decent lesson take to plan? Ofsted have recently made clear that they're not interested in over complicated lesson plans noting that "excessive detail within plans causes teachers to lose sight of the central focus on pupils' learning." So, who are we putting all that effort into planning for? Our students? Our selves? John Tomsett writes Over the past twenty years we have made tremendous progress in teaching and practice in our state schools has never been better; however, over-planned lessons are a curse. One candidate for a post at Huntington had a lesson plan a full nine pages [...]

Is SOLO a waste of time?

2012-06-04T00:09:07+01:00June 4th, 2012|learning, SOLO|

Stop blaming your lack of experimentation, risk and innovation on your lack of time. Hywel Roberts - Oops! Helping Children Learn Accidentally It was pointed out to me recently that I can afford to expend my energies on such fripperies as the SOLO taxonomy and group work because I teach a subject which is rich in curriculum time. If, the logic goes, you only have 1 or 2 hours per week you need to spend it delivering content. Anything else is a waste of time. Clearly there's some truth in this: English does get more time than, say, French or RE. [...]

The ultimate teaching technique

2020-10-03T16:19:30+01:00February 14th, 2012|learning|

UPDATE: I no longer agree with any of the following. It remains on my blog as a warning against hubris. June, 2016 Maybe it's just me, but I seem to be encountering an awful lot of people railing against 'progressive' teaching methods of late (see this for an example.) There seems to some sort of consensus that all schools are bastions of constructivist theory in action and that seldom, if ever, are teachers allowed to waffle from the front. Sadly, my experience is that many teachers still spend far too much time standing at the front of their classes talking at [...]

How to have a successful life

2011-10-01T15:08:18+01:00October 1st, 2011|learning|

This week Mr Phil Beadle graced us with his towering presence and 'edutained' 60 Year 11 students. I was going to call this post "Beadle's About" but I'm sure he's heartily sick of any comparisons to the bearded prankster Jeremy (no relation) Beadle. To be absolutely honest, I hadn't heard of Mr Beadle before I was bullied into reading Dancing About Architecture, his fantastically leftfield book on creativity in the classroom. For sheer bloody minded buffoonery it beats the hell out of anything Sir Ken has written and I would unhesitatingly recommend to anyone wanting to liven up lessons with some [...]

Reasons to be cheerful

2011-09-26T21:31:49+01:00September 26th, 2011|learning|

So, it's now the fourth week back and despite been plum tuckered (I've a vague notion that this means tired) I'm still smiling. I've just read Kenny Pieper's latest post on how he's feeling after (in his case) six weeks back and thought it timely to read over my Back To School post written on the first day back after bathing in the rosy glow of creativity that my wonderful faculty had induced in me on hearing about the splendid variety of good things they intended to forge ahead with this year. In order to maintain the mad-eyed positivity needed to [...]

Back to school

2011-09-09T21:15:16+01:00September 9th, 2011|leadership|

What I really like about going back to school in September is that it's a new year with no mistakes. The students' books are graffiti free and and all the dates and titles have been neatly underlined. There is nothing to mark and my lessons are inspirational and well planned. the annual rot has yet to sink in. I also like deciding on my new school year resolutions. I have to say, I can't be bothered with the proper New Year resolutions and avoid them as the mass market nonsense that they are. School year resolutions are different though. They're normally [...]

Differentiation: to do or not to do?

2013-07-20T16:27:24+01:00September 7th, 2011|assessment|

Of all the impossible tasks expected of poor, over-worked teachers, differentiation is the most troublesome. Why? Because on the one hand, if you did it properly every lesson you'd be reduced to a dribbling wreck in less than a week. T'other hand though is that it's really really important. Therein lies our dilemma: we know we should be doing (a lot) more of it but we just don't have the time or energy to do it properly. Francis Gilbert says on the subject, "The whole thing is a duplicitous gimmick...In reality schools just do not have the resources, time or space [...]

What's the point of homework?

2011-09-04T21:07:16+01:00September 4th, 2011|Featured|

Father: What's all those books then?Son: That's my homework dad.Father: You know what son, if they can't teach you all the stuff you need to know during the day, they can't be very good at their jobs can they? How To Teach p170 Homework. The word clangs with leaden dread, doesn't it? I hated it when I was a kid and I'm not too keen now I'm a teacher. Parents seem very keen on it and are quick to let schools know if an insufficient quantity of it is being sent home on a daily basis. Clearly, this is one potential [...]

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