TDRE Boss Blog: Portsmouth 2017 with Jonathan Doyle

TDRE Boss Blog: Portsmouth 2017 with Jonathan Doyle: Jonathan and me via  Jonathan’s Twitter I was fortunate to be invited to Portsmouth Diocese during a week of talks by Jonathan Doyl…

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The Questioning ‘Collection’ – The Confident Teacher

Since I have been writing this blog in 2012, no subject has interested me more than the nuanced, complicated staple of teaching: questioning. As a teacher of nearly 15 years, …

Continued here:

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Rows vs Groups? Have your cake and eat it with creative planning.

This gallery contains 6 photos.

Originally posted on Global Lessons on Learning:
Reading time: 9 minutes. It was my third year of teaching and I remember struggling to get my year 4 class to focus consistently. There wasn’t any particular bad behaviour, only low-level disruption…

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Thank goodness my parents filled my head with facts!

A Roller In The Ocean

Every Saturday my daughter volunteers at a day care centre for the elderly. On weekends there is a reduced number of staff on duty and as she’s under 18 I was asked if I could accompany her. This I’m happy to do.

Last Saturday an elderly gentleman came in (let’s call him Brian) and sat down besides me and we got talking. When, during the course of the conversation, I told Brian I used to live in Karachi, he became very excited. As it turned out he used to work for a multi national and spent seven years in Karachi in the 1960s. Brian said that although he sometimes meets people from Pakistan he rarely meets anyone from Karachi. We then passed a pleasant hour or so chatting about the city we both knew and loved. He told me where he first used to live (not a million miles away…

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There is the curriculum, and then there is the *other* curriculum.

The Quirky Teacher

Are we training the next generation to be selfish?

The more I read, the more my own thoughts evolve about the purpose of education. I have always been convinced of the importance of teachers actually teaching, which is what I thought they did, until I started my SCITT course and found out that apparently this was a bad thing. I have also always been convinced of the importance of providing children with oodles of knowledge in every subject and then giving them opportunities to memorise, recall, apply and build on said knowledge regularly so that they can have choices in life, do well in their exams, be fascinated by subjects rather than activities and of course communicate and engage with the wider world (again, I thought this was what all teachers wanted until I started my SCITT course and found out that apparently this was a bad thing).

Thankfully, it turns out…

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Understanding the PISA 2015 findings about science teaching

Filling the pail

I have shared the following graphic a few times. It shows that frequent use of enquiry-based learning, as defined by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), is associated with worse scores on the science component of the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA). It is based upon surveying students about their experiences in science lessons and then matching this to PISA science performance:

I often point this out to advocates of inquiry learning. Nobody likes cognitive dissonance and so the response I usually receive is, “Well yes, everything done to the extreme is a bad idea. This just tells us about those students who are exposed to inquiry learning in all or most lessons.”

So it is worth going to another chart. This chart shows how an ‘index’ of enquiry-based learning affects overall results. The index isn’t just about enquiry in all or most lessons but about the relative…

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IoP Energy: Once More Unto The Breach…


Why do we make these analogies? It is not just to co-opt words but to co-opt their inferential machinery. Some deductions that apply to motion and space also apply nicely to possession, circumstances and time. That allows the deductive machinery for space to be borrowed for reasoning about other subjects. […] The mind couches abstract concepts in concrete terms.

— Steven Pinker, How The Mind Works, p.353 [emphasis added]

I am, I must confess, a great believer in the power of analogy.

Although an analogy is, in the end, only an analogy and must not be confused with the thing itself, it can be helpful.

As Steven Pinker notes above, the great thing about concrete analogies and models of abstract concepts is that they allow us to co-opt the inferential machinery of well-understood, concrete concepts and apply them to abstract phenomena: for example, we often treat time as…

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