Category Archives: psychology

The nail in Growth Mindset’s coffin?

As I’m sure everybody already knows, mind sets are beliefs about the nature of characteristics like intelligence. The theory is that students with growth mindsets believe their ability can be changed with effort and

When do novices become experts?

It’s a fairly well established principle of cognitive science that experts and novices think differently. Being aware of these differences can make a big difference to teachers. For instance, if we assume

Handwriting matters

Some years ago, during the interview for a role as Head of English in a secondary school, all the candidates were asked to speak about what we would prioritise if we were

Getting culture right Part 2: Understanding group psychology

This is the second post on getting cultures right in schools. You can find Part 1, on social norms and using normative messages, here. We are essentially social animals and have evolved to

Teaching to make children cleverer – Part 2

In my last post I reviewed those aspects on intelligence which are likely to be most malleable by teachers. Briefly, research into individual differences suggests that intelligence is fairly stable and that

Reading aloud might boost students’ memories

In the latest edition of the British Psychological Society’s Research Digest, Bradley Busch writes about a new study which compared the effects on memory of reading in silence to those of reading

Getting culture right Part 1: Normative messages

If you want to change anything within a school, culture is crucial. As Tom Bennett argues in Creating a Culture: How school leaders can optimise behaviour, culture is “the way we do things

What does the Theory of Multiple Intelligences tell us abut how to teach?

As I explained here, the scientific consensus is that intelligence is general. That is, if you are good at verbal comprehension, you’ll also tend to be good perceptual organisation, and if you’re good

What teachers need to know about intelligence – Part 2: The effects of education

In Part 1 of this series I laid out why IQ matters and that, far from being a banal measure of merely of how well some people do in a series of

What teachers need to know about intelligence – Part 1: Why IQ matters

Intelligence is required to be able to know that a man knows not. Montaigne Although it’s become a truism to say we know relatively little about how our brains work, we know

The problem with problem solving (or, why I struggle to reset my clock)

When the clocks went forward in March and we arrived in British Summer Time, I made an abortive attempt to change the time on my car’s clock. I knew, from having eventually

Can we improve school interviews? Part 3: The interview lesson

In Part 1 of this series I reviewed some of the evidence on what makes for effective interviews, and in Part 2 I looked specifically at creating a less biased, more structured