Category Archives: psychology

A summary of my arguments about education

And still they gazed, and still the wonder grew, that one small head could carry all he knew. Oliver Goldsmith A tradition without intelligence is not worth having. T. S. Eliot The

Why do we forget stuff? Familiarity vs recall

Now and then, I’ve taught whet seemed to be a successful lesson. I’d explain challenging content, check for understanding, get some great responses to consolidation activities and, at the end of the

The problem with ‘reading along’

It has become an unwritten law of teaching that when reading aloud to students, the teacher must ensure students are reading along in their own copy of the text. This is, I

Education isn’t natural – that’s why it’s hard

One of the most troubling conundrums in the field of education is that the common sense observation that children learn so many things by simply by virtue of being immersed in an

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 growth mindset bollocks?

Like everyone else, when I first came across Carol Dweck’s theory of growth mindsets I was pretty psyched. There was something so satisfyingly truthy about the way the labels ‘fixed’ and ‘growth’ mindset

Humans can’t multitask

One of the highlights of my day at researchED Amsterdam was hearing Paul Kirschner speak about edu-myths. He began his presentation by forbidding the use of laptops or mobile phones, explaining  that taking notes

Does ‘brain training’ increase intelligence?

In my last post I outlined the differences between fluid and crystallised intelligence and argued that fluid intelligence (Gf) – the ability to reason and to solve new problems independently of previously acquired

Making kids cleverer

One of the real problems with improving education systems is that there tends not to be much agreement about what education is actually for. I’ve written about this issue before and have

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 Trouble with Transfer – my #rED16 slides

Today saw another triumphant outing for Tom Bennett’s grassroots conference, researchED. This year I ran a session investigating the research into how we transfer what we learn between different contexts, the slides

What every teacher needs to know about… seating plans

Remarkably, the rather excellent Teach Secondary magazine haven’t yet seen through me and are still running my half-baked ramblings. Here’s this month’s pale offering. It is a truth universally acknowledged that a