Developing intuition: when can you trust your gut?

At the talk I gave on intuition at Wellington College’s Education Festival on Thursday, I ended up not using the slides I’d prepared and wandering a bit off topic. Here follows what I’d planned

Telling better stories

None of us know what made us what we are, and when we have to say something, we make up a good story. Steven Pinker, My Genome, My Self Stories are one of

“There are no wrong answers!”

Along with, “It’s a skills based subject,” the cry that there are no wrong answers in English is, I think pretty unhelpful. Take the example of teaching Priestley’s perennial, An Inspector Calls.

The Dangerous Rise of Therapeutic Education

Joyous distrust is a sign of health. Everything absolute belongs to pathology. Nietzsche Maybe those bored by debating the purpose of education feel the way they do because everyone keeps saying the

A conversation about the best way to teach a new concept

A few mornings ago, Rufus William got in touch with an interesting request: @LearningSpy fancy doing a quick maths activity? You just need something to write with some paper — Rufus (@RufusWilliam)

Why I’m optimistic about the new Chief Inspector

Guardian journalist and ex-teacher, Michelle Hanson thinks education in the UK is “going down the pan”. In this article she tells us the memory of working as a teacher still makes her “feel

Can phonics help us spell better?

Children’s author and high-profile opponent of phonics instruction, Michael Rosen recently wrote this blog casting doubt on the idea that learning phonics could help people spell. He was writing in response to an

Seven tools for thinking #7: Beware of ‘deepities’

This is the last of my posts on Daniel Dennett’s tools for thinking outlined in Intuition Pumps. You can read the others here. Everyone want to find meaning in their actions and the

Seven tools for thinking #6 Don’t waste time on rubbish

Argue with idiots, and you become an idiot. Paul Graham Science fiction writer and critic, Ted Sturgeon coined what’s become known as Sturgeon’s Law: “Ninety percent of everything is crap.” This is sometimes

Seven tools for thinking #5 Occam’s razor

All things being equal, the simplest solution is usually the best one. William of Ockham You’ve probably heard the old adage that if you hear the pounding of hooves echoing through the Wiltshire

Seven tools for thinking #4: Answering rhetorical questions

Always the beautiful answer who asks a more beautiful question. E. E. Cummings Everyone likes a rhetorical question, don’t they? Do they? Think about it. Try answering it. Do you think everyone really

Seven tools for thinking #3: The “surely” klaxon

Rumack: Can you fly this plane and land it? Striker: Surely you can’t be serious? Rumack: I am serious. And don’t call me Shirley. Airplane, 1980 It’s natural to want to build