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…

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…

How do we assess?

Every year, at about this time, I start dreaming about all the things I’ll get done during Term 6 when my exam classes have gone. With both Year 13 and Year 11 heading off I should actually get a reasonable amount of time to get stuck in to something and this year is a biggie.…

Giving Feedback

I think one of the biggest changes I have seen in teaching over the last 14 years has been to feedback. We have moved through flick and tick to AfL, dialogue marking came (and already start to go), from commenting on effort to setting every  pupil specific targets, from correcting all spelling mistakes to highlighting…

The Curse of the Red Pen

I don’t want to get all “John Lennon” on you, but I’d like to ask you to imagine something for me. Imagine there’s no OFSTED, it isn’t hard to do. No lesson observation, and no grading too. Imagine all the teachers, teaching how they chose. If that was the case, if there was no one…