How should we use the science?

Educators are increasingly drawn to the developing field of cognitive science.  What the psychologists and scientists tell us about how we learn couldn’t of course be more relevant to what we do.  But how the science should be translated into effective practice is yet to be agreed.  Writing in the journal Impact Paul Howard Jones … Read more

Have you done Growth Mindset yet?

From time to time there are big themes in schools that everyone seems to be talking about.  Growth Mindset, made famous by Carol Dweck’s research, is a good example.  If you had gone into schools 5 or 10 years ago, you’d have witnessed excitement about a body of work that educators all over the world … Read more

A first step towards talk-rich learning

As a trainee teacher back in the 80’s, I attended a fascinating conference about Oracy.  I was inspired by a wide range of ideas about how a talk-rich curriculum could support powerful learning.  The National Curriculum (introduced a year later) included ‘speaking and listening’ but the statutory assessments for reading and writing that followed, led … Read more

The Power of Authenticity

  We think of the National Curriculum as a collection of learning objectives summarising the knowledge, skills and understanding relating to a number of different subjects.  These are then plotted out over medium and long-term plans to achieve coverage and the necessary benchmarking for assessment.  As the weeks proceed, activities are designed to teach the … Read more

The Genius of Collaboration

I couldn’t begin to do the job I do today if I hadn’t spent my whole career listening to, working with, reading about, discussing and being challenged by what other people think.  Intellectual or imaginative break-through might come in moments of private reflection but it’s always against a backdrop of collaboration.   In 1676 Isaac Newton … Read more

The Reward of Offering Trust and Choice

The larger part of my work as a class teacher was in inner-city schools.  Managing the children’s behaviour was the biggest challenge as I embarked on my career as a new teacher.  I worked with a headteacher who prohibited the use of rewards or punishments and instead asked teachers to trust in the power of … Read more

The Importance of Novelty

One of the things I loved as a class teacher was getting out and about with my class and meeting people who did interesting things.  Having spent most of my life in school I found I needed it as much as the kids.  If we were making a documentary the friend of a friend starting … Read more

When Teachers get into Role as Learners

The discovery of mirror neurons in the human brain confirms what teachers of young children have always known; that we are set up to learn through imitation.  It means that the teacher’s role model as an experienced learner is potentially a powerful tool in the classroom; but curiously it’s one that we generally under-use, operating … Read more