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

Can all of learning be summed up by test scores?

Contrary to popular opinion, I’m not all that bothered about test scores. I mean, obviously I’d far prefer pupils did well rather than poorly on a summative exam, particularly if it is

How can school inspection get what it wants?

I read a great piece by Dr Becky Allen in Schools Week this morning on inherent unreliability of school inspections. In it she makes the point that human beings are incapable of

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

War and Peace in education

After a long flight, I’ve finally finished rereading War and Peace and, if you were in any doubt, it is a masterpiece. I found so much I’d either entirely forgotten or hadn’t

Knowing the names of things

Many people have written many thousands of words about the difference between knowledge and understanding, but I think Richard Feynman nails it here: You can know the name of a bird in

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

Reading for betterment

About 20 years ago, I read Tolstoy’s uber-novel, War and Peace. The perfect set of conditions all came together: I’d just been sent a copy of the book by a friend who was

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

The power of ‘best bets’

The other day I read Greg Ashman’s post Why Education is like smoking which talked about the way teachers often generalise from anecdotes in the same way that when smokers are confronted with

Problems with the ‘zone of proximal development’

It’s hard to have a discussion about learning without someone sooner or later chipping in with the Russian developmental psychologist, Lev Vygotsky’s zone of proximal development (ZPD) to support their position. This might,

Should students be overlearning?

In my last post I outlined my concerns with the idea of ‘thinking hard’ being a good proxy for learning. Briefly, thinking hard about a problem appears to be an inefficient way to