Developing subject knowledge

A recent blog by Tom H (@GeographyTom9) on Why Subject Knowledge Matters made me think about how we treat teacher subject knowledge in our profession. I’m not convinced we give it the attention it deserves. Tom points out that subject knowledge adds texture to a lesson – it gives the details. It varies hugely by…

Who trains the trainers?

‘Quis custodiet ipsos custodies? Your grace.’ ‘I know that one,’ said Vimes.  Who watches the watchmen?  Me, Mr Pessimal.’ ‘Ah, but who watches you, your grace?’ said the inspector, with a brief smile. ‘I do that too.  All the time,’ said Vimes Terry Pratchett, Thud.  An interesting report from the Wellcome Trust this week found that…

In defense of being informed

Earlier this week I had a piece published in the Guardian entitled “How can schools use research to better inform teaching practice?” Whilst the response was overwhelmingly positive I have still spent a significant amount of time having to defend the idea that teachers should be informed about their own practice. As someone who had…

Life inside the bubble – Part 1

For the last couple of years I have been writing, blogging and tweeting about education. I have read dozens of fascinating books, countless papers, attended conferences and met many brilliant teachers. I have been invited to write for TES and the Guardian’s Teacher Network, speak at conferences, teach meets and school’s CPD sessions, write a…

The Ritual of Teaching

Terry Pratchett’s novel Small Gods tells the story of what happens to Gods when people stop believing in them. The much diminished God Om is talking to his last remaining true believer, Brutha, and explaining to him how it comes that Gods die. He quotes the Discworld philosopher Abraxas. “Around the Godde there forms a…

What makes the difference?

A few days ago, after getting our GCSE results, I wrote a quick post about some of the things we had done as a department that I felt had made a difference and helped us go from getting “quite good results” to “really quite excellent results”. Since then people have asked lots of further questions…

Building Independence 

At our school, we build our idea of excellent teaching and learning around four pillars. The first two, challenge and feedback, are fairly uncontroversial but the other two, engagement and independence, sometimes raises eyebrows. I think this is because the two terms get so misused in education out of a desire to make everything something…