Category Archives: learning

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)

What are they learning?

Learning is never neutral. Although I have no empirical evidence, I’m pretty sure that it’s rare indeed for children – or indeed anyone – to learn nothing in a given situation. My contention

What every teacher needs to know about… rote learning

As per, here’s this month’s Teach Secondary column for you delight and edification. These days it is rare indeed for children to be taught much by rote, or, to use a less pejorative

Learning is liminal

I am a part of all that I have met; Yet all experience is an arch wherethrough Gleams that untravelled world, whose margin fades For ever and for ever when I move.

What’s the starting point for all learning?

“No question is so difficult to answer as that to which the answer is obvious.” George Bernard Shaw UPDATED 7th February 6.30pm This morning in answer to a question about whether children

Scripts: whose lesson is it anyway?

When I was 16, Whose Line Is It Anyway? first aired on UK television. The show, hosted by Clive Anderson, asked four comedians to ad lib responses to various prompts and scenarios,

A definition of learning

“For a man to attain to an eminent degree in learning costs him time, watching, hunger, nakedness, dizziness in the head, weakness in the stomach, and other inconveniences.” Cervantes Learning (n) 1.

Is it a ‘sin’ to tell teachers how to teach?

Half the vices which the world condemns most loudly have seeds of good in them and require moderated use rather than total abstinence. Samuel Butler According to a recent TES article, Professor

Why ‘mastery learning’ may prove to be a bad idea

“It is a wretched taste to be gratified with mediocrity when the excellent lies before us.” Disraeli What could be wrong with wanting students to master difficult content? Nothing. For the most

Student voice: windmills of the mind

Pray look better, Sir … those things yonder are no giants, but windmills. Cervantes Does it matter if students like their teachers? Is it worth knowing if students don’t maths or hate

Cargo cult teaching, cargo cult learning

…it is the peculiar and perpetual error of the human understanding to be more moved and excited by affirmatives than by negatives… Francis Bacon, Novum Organum, Aphorism, 1620 Cargo cults grew up on

Why I struggle with learning objectives and success criteria

A strenuous soul hates cheap success. Ralph Waldo Emerson Broadly, I’m in favour of sharing with students the intention behind what they are being asked to do. Anything that adds clarity to