Teaching knowledge is teaching skill

We can call everything stored in our long-term memories knowledge. All knowledge is biological – stored in the organic substance of our brains – and everything stored biologically is knowledge. If you

The trouble with troublesome knowledge

A recent blog post made some interesting assertions about knowledge. In doing so it presented a series of opinions as facts. That is not a criticism – we all have a tendency

The best books I’ve read so far this year…

I normally round up my favourite reads at the end of the year but I’ve read so many really excellent books so far this year that I decided to put them out

The problem with dead white men – a reply to Mary Bousted

Apparently, Mary Bousted, joint general secretary of the NEU teaching union has announced that England is “hurtling forward to a rosy past” with its emphasis on knowledge. She is reported as having

The illusion of leadership

Everyone knows what’s needed to turn around a struggling school: strong leadership. In order for it to be deemed necessary for school to be consigned to ‘special measures,’ something has to have

Should Ofsted observe lessons?

As you may have seen, Ofsted have published a report which lays the ground work on how they might start observing lessons once more: Six models of lesson observation: an international perspective. Most

Lessons from the dojo

Struck with the inescapable knowledge that I’m not getting younger and, therefore, am unlikely to stay fit and healthy without some investment in exercise, I’ve struggled over the past few years to

What can you practise in English lessons?

Over my last two posts I’ve argued that, contrary to popular opinion, English is not a ‘skills based’ subject. In fact, what appear to be skills are actually composed on many thousands

Why practising inference doesn’t work

In my last post I argued that thinking about English as a ‘skills based’ subject is counter-productive. One response to this was to say, “Hang on, what about practice. If you can

Why English is not a ‘skills based’ subject

The idea that English is a skills based subject has become axiomatic. Most English teachers of my acquaintance accept it unquestioningly, as did I until a few years ago. How do we

Leading literacy in schools

Leading on literacy can be a thoroughly thankless task. It can often feel like you’re working incredibly hard to produce resources and strategies which colleagues at best ignore and at worst resent.

The death of my father

Yesterday my father died in his flat. He was a difficult man, and our relationship had been strained for years. He could be capable of great warmth, wit and wisdom, but he