On fads and fashions

I really enjoyed this recent post by the great Tom Sherrington on Lessons That Misfire. In this post Tom carefully explains the conditions that make a great lesson before giving examples of the terrible activities he has seen that fail to deliver them. Most of these activities are ones I was encouraged to use when…

Plenary vs Pedagogy

Last year I wrote two posts about the need for teachers to understand the why of teaching rather than being directed to follow a what of teaching (see What’s your why? and The ritual of teaching). I think many of the problems we see in teaching today stem from years of teachers being instructed in what to do […]

Meaningful Assessment

  Assessment is a complex beast that once seemed so simple. When I started teaching we assessed in KS3 by getting pupils to produce a piece of extended writing at the end of the topic and assessed that against national curriculum level descriptors. This created a whole host of problems. The level descriptors were never…

Marking madness and weak leadership

I suspect this is going to be quite an angry post so I will start by nailing my colours to the mast. I think that if you are a school leader who is insisting that everyone mark their books every two weeks you should resign. Here’s why.  I have written before about my love of…

Making a fuss of feedback

At the weekend I attended the Teaching and Learning Takeback conference at Southampton Uni – #TLT17. It was wonderful to meet so many engaged and enthusiastic teachers who had given up their time to share their ideas freely with others. One stand-out session was Rebecca Foster’s who discussed the problems with the need to provide…

What do they know?

I wrote recently about the mess that I felt our department’s assessment system was in. Since the introduction of the new specification at GCSE, and the removal of National Curriculum levels at KS3, I feel we have lost sight of what we are assessing for. I may be speaking too soon, but I think I…