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