Letting the learning shine

I was thinking today about how same-y my lessons had become. There was a time when pupils would have come in to find the tables arranged in groups for a carousel task, or ready for them to do a role play of a news report or they’d be creating a newspaper front page or doing…

Curriculum: From Hodge-Podge to Coherence

One of the joys of the education landscape in 2018 has been the move from endless discussions about how to teach towards a renewed focus on what we teach. On curriculum. Recent writing  At ResearchEd ’18 I was fortunate enough to listen to Christine Counsell speak about curriculum and the questions we should ask of…

Knowledge in the classroom

  When I joined in with twitter’s educational world a couple of years ago I was struck by how much discussion there was on the role of knowledge in the curriculum. We were still feeling the reverberations of Gove’s reforms to the national curriculum and the new GCSEs were being prepared ready for teaching. Whilst…

Sustainable Knowledge

  There are three main approaches to teaching the concept of sustainability in schools. Firstly, we can teach about sustainability, its definition, its history and its application. Secondly, we can teach through sustainability by using the concept as a way of seeing the world and understanding an issue. Finally, we can teach for sustainability by…

Curriculum Design (Part 1)

One of the first steps of curriculum design in geography is considering the relationship between thematic and regional geography. This is discussed in Alex Standish’s chapter in Debates in Geography Education (2nd Edition) edited by Mark Jones and David Lambeth. It has influenced by thinking when planning our curriculum at KS3 and beyond. What is…

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…

Great Explainers – The Met Office

At the heart of Geography is a desire to understand the world. In order to do so we need to make sure that we have a very good understanding of the complex processes that underpin the our dynamic planet. Many of these processes are hard for children to grasp and we often use a lot…

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…

How do you design your curriculum?

Towards the end of last term, as we started to review our Expect Excellence action plan, my thoughts shifted towards our next goal. I have become increasingly concerned that over the years our focus has been on how we teach and that we have taken our eye off what we teach – and why we…

A Culture of Excellence – Excellent Geography 

What does excellence look like in your subject? That is the question that my department will be putting at the heart of all we do over the next year.  For the last two years we have focused on increasing aspiration and expecting excellence. I wanted to ensure that we had a culture where everyone wanted…