The power of ‘best bets’

The other day I read Greg Ashman’s post Why Education is like smoking which talked about the way teachers often generalise from anecdotes in the same way that when smokers are confronted with

Problems with the ‘zone of proximal development’

It’s hard to have a discussion about learning without someone sooner or later chipping in with the Russian developmental psychologist, Lev Vygotsky’s zone of proximal development (ZPD) to support their position. This might,

Should students be overlearning?

In my last post I outlined my concerns with the idea of ‘thinking hard’ being a good proxy for learning. Briefly, thinking hard about a problem appears to be an inefficient way to

Further problems with the ‘thinking hard’ proxy for learning

Because learning is invisible, we can only hope to measure whether students are making progress by observing proxies. Most people now seem to agree that certain activities which routinely take place in

Why feedback fails

Feedback is one of the few things in education that pretty much every agrees is important and worthwhile. The need for feedback is obvious: if you were expected to learn how to reverse

Post-truth and the best way to teach

A thing is not necessarily true because badly uttered, nor false because spoken magnificently. St. Augustine We’ve always had a tendency to defer to what is most said most magnificently and shun

The 10 most popular posts on The Learning Spy in 2016

Here are the 10 most viewed posts of last year. Only half of them were actually written last year and some of them are several years old. I reckon this must in part

The most interesting books I read last year

I put together a round up of my favourite reads of 2015 and some people seemed to like it. So, in typically opportunistic manner, I though I’d repeat the exercise. Here are

My favourite posts of 2016 on The Learning Spy

Here follows a selection of some of what I consider to be my best posts of 2016. I’ve learned not to be surprised that what I think is my best writing is

My favourite blog posts of 2016

Here follows my extremely partial take on some of the blog post I have most enjoyed reading this year Heather Fearn – Reading fluency and the ‘Tragedy of the Commons’ My only continuing

Last one in: My return to Michaela

I had an afternoon free in London on Monday (what luxury!) and arranged to pop in to Michaela Community School to see what, if anything, had changed since my last visit in

Struggle and success

The struggle itself towards the heights is enough to fill a man’s heart. One must imagine Sisyphus happy. Albert Camus The gods of ancient Greece punished Sisyphus, the king of Ephyra, for his