Category Archives: learning

Force fed feedback: is less more?

It is commonly and widely accepted that feedback is the best, brightest and shiniest thing we can be doing as teachers, and the more of it the better. Ever since Prof Hattie

A tale of two lessons: further thoughts on the Cult of Outstanding

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was

The Cult of Outstanding™: the problem with ‘outstanding’ lessons

First of all I need to come clean. Up until pretty recently I was a fully paid up member of the Cult of Outstanding™. Last January I considered myself to be a

How can we make classroom observation more effective?

If the belief that it’s possible for untrained observers to pitch up in lessons and grade their effectiveness is comparable to a belief in witchcraft, (and Professor Robert Coe’s research confirms that

Don’t trust your gut: a little bit more on the problem with grading lessons

This evening, there will be debate on the role lesson observation in England’s schools with such educational luminaries as Professor Robert Coe, David Weston (the man behind the Teacher Development Trust), Lead

Can a good teacher teach anything well?

I used to work for a headteacher who was fond of saying “We’re teachers of children, not teachers of subjects.” This was justification for having non-specialist teachers in certain shortage subjects. Like

It’s not what you know… oh, hang on: it IS what you know!

I’m fed up of people who should know better saying they’re bored with the false dichotomy of skills versus knowledge. The knowledge vs skills debate is always worth having because it conceals a

Anything goes: Is there a right way to teach?

There’s nothing good or bad but thinking makes it so. Shakespeare, Hamlet I read Joe Kirby’s recent post on cognitive bias with interest because I’ve been pursuing a very similar line of

Is failure just a lack of practice?

Ever tried? Ever failed? No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better. Samuel Beckett, Worstward Ho! You must learn to fail intelligently. Failing is one of the greatest arts in the world.

Hang on in there: could encouragement be more useful than praise?

Last week I expanded on some of my doubts about the concept of praise, particularly the current consensus that we should be going out of our way to praise effort. I concluded

Is praise counter productive?

I had an interesting discussion with Tim Taylor this morning. He said,  “At best, praising effort has a neutral or no effect when students are successful, but is likely to be negative when

A model lesson? Part 2: Marathon vs sprint

Last week I questioned the concept of outstanding lessons full of gimmicks that look great but ultimately may not result in much actual progress being made. Instead, I argued, embedding classroom routines