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…

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…

Making a mockery of marking

The smell of mulled wine, John Lewis advert on TV, houses lit up with decorations; it can only mean one thing. Yes, it is mock exam season. Like teachers all over the country, like I have done for the last 14 years, I have carted home my mock exams this weekend ready to mark. This…

Feedback – Beyond Marking

One of the many lovely things about being involved in the Pedagogy Innovation team at our school is that it gives you not only permission but also an obligation to pry in to other people’s classrooms. This term I have been looking at research on feedback and at examples of excellent feedback from around the…