Category Archives: learning

O brave new world! The search for 21st century qualifications

It’s difficult to ignore the appealing certainty that the times in which we are alive are unique and fundamentally different to any that have gone before. The most cited reason for this

Is it worth trying to memorise facts?

We can only think about what we know and, no mater how intelligent we might be, we cannot think about something about which we are ignorant. But how well do we need

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

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

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

More good proxies for learning

A few days ago, I wrote about a brief online discussion I had with Dan Willingham on the importance of thinking hard. In the comments, Greg Ashman pointed out that thinking hard

Why what you teach matters

I’m going to go out on a limb and predict that within the next two years Ofsted will stop grading the quality of teaching, learning and assessment as part of their overall judgement

The trouble with transfer: How can we make learning more flexible?

I define learning as the long-term retention of knowledge and skills and the ability to transfer between contexts. The retention bit is fairly straightforward and uncontroversial: if you can’t remember something tomorrow, can you

The feedback continuum: why reducing feedback helps students learn

The effects of feedback are more complex than we often realise. While expertise and mastery is unlikely to develop without feedback it’s certainly not true to say that giving feedback results in expertise

Robots, evolution and why schools shouldn’t worry about innate skills

It should come as little surprise to hear that some of what human beings can do is innate. That is to say, we are born with various capacities and abilities which appear

Call and response

Over the past few years I’ve spent a lot of time visiting schools to talk about literacy. One of my stock nuggets of advice is that it’s worth spending lesson time scaffolding

On gimmicks

What is a gimmick? The dictionary defines it as “a trick or device intended to attract attention, publicity, or trade.” So, putting a cartoon tiger on a packet of breakfast cereal in order