Home/Tag: skills

Skill = knowledge + practice

2019-06-14T09:07:29+01:00January 11th, 2019|learning|

Over the years I've thought a lot about whether we should be teaching children knowledge of the world or the skills to flourish within it. The debate has moved on a lot in recent years and today it's rare to find anyone arguing against teaching knowledge, but there are many who would still advocate for a balance of knowledge and skill. The more I've thought about it, the more I've come to see just how meaningless this distinction is. Knowledge and skill are two sides of the same coin. Or, to attempt another analogy, think about teaching as cooking: 'knowledge' is [...]

What do we mean by ‘skills’?

2017-04-14T20:39:12+01:00November 10th, 2016|Featured|

Any definition of skills depends on knowledge. Joe Kirby has written persuasively about skills and knowledge forming a double helix - inseparably intertwined and mutually interdependent. This is definitely a more helpful way to think, but it might be even better to abandon the term 'skills' altogether. Is riding a bike a skill? Well, if we mean is it a set of procedures, which we can master to the point that we're able to cycle without having to think about it then, yes it is. Is essay writing a skill? Well, it's not the same sort of thing as riding a bike, but yes, it's another set of [...]

Some dichotomies are real: the ‘and/or debate’

2018-09-24T23:29:26+01:00December 6th, 2013|Featured|

I get quite cross when I hear people who really should know better dismissing the knowledge/skills debate as a “mindless dichotomy". It’s not. The ideological opposition between proponents of these views is real, pervasive and powerful. The attempt by some educators to pretend that these differences don’t really exist is unhelpful. For the record, here is what I believe: Knowledge is transformational. You can’t think about something you don’t know. Once you know a thing it becomes possible to think about it. The thinking, in whatever form it takes, is a 'skill'. Not all knowledge is equal. Some propositional knowledge has [...]

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 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, [...]