Is our behaviour a choice? – David Didau: The Learning Spy

Arguments about free will date back to ancient Greece, but the scientific consensus now tends towards the belief that free will is an illusion. It’s become an article of faith in the life…

Continued here

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Want to be a better teacher? Then focus on learning, not activites

Unlike last night’s post, I know this is a little controversial with some. But it shouldn’t be.

The more I read about my own subject the fewer activities I prepare. I don’t mean to say that I never let children do something without my total control, but that this is incredibly infrequent. I talk a lot; all the time, in fact. Unless children are writing or reading alone – and, actually, I’m generally reading with them – I’m talking. And I’m doing so because, eight years in, I feel like I know my subject pretty well. I don’t know everything, but there are fewer and fewer questions which stump me.

I talk because I’m the expert and they’re the novices. I talk because I need to show them how to speak, in general and specific terms. I talk to “bring it to life“, whatever that means…

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The power of zero 

Filling the pail

Dan Meyer recently published a blog post on how to teach the idea that any number raised to the power of zero is simply one. This is an important result that crops up in many different areas and so it’s critical that students know it.

Meyer asked us to choose between two strategies. The first he described as ‘teaching tricks’ and I agree that it’s not very enlightening. The presenter of the video simply tells you that anything raised to the power of zero is one. And that’s it.

Meyer is keen on a different pattern-based activity that he describes as ‘sensemaking’. I think this approach is better than the first but it still doesn’t really explain anything. In my view, it’s more of a pattern-based trick. I’m not quite sure what ‘sensemaking’ means – which is ironic – but I thought this would be a good cue to explain the…

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Is Teaching an ‘Intellectually Attractive’ Profession? – The Confident Teacher

Some aspects of education are devilishly complex: take many school tracking systems, our army of acronyms, or behaviour management on a windy Wednesday. And yet, some thing are very simple. As I sat and read this short article on the TES – entitled ‘Cut Teaching Hours to Ease the Recruitment Crisis, PISA Chief Advises’ – I considered the simple truth about how we need to recruit and retain more teachers into our profession and how we need to make the job more manageable and attractive.

Source: Is Teaching an ‘Intellectually Attractive’ Profession? – The Confident Teacher

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Verbal feedback: Telling ’em what they need to do | Learning history

I’ve been thinking about writing something on marking and verbal feedback for a while but put it off because so many people have covered it well already. Joe Kirby (Joe_Kirby), Jo Facer (@Jo_Facer), Katie Ashford (@Katie_S_Ashford), Jonathan Porter (@JHC_Porter) and Toby French (Mr_Histoire) are just a few of those doing great work on it and most of what I’ve done has been based on what I’ve learned from them. Additionally, after deciding to write this I saw that Mr Thornton (@MrThorntonTeach) has made a marking crib sheet that looks similar to what we’re using but is prettier, so anyone looking for a way to apply a formalised verbal feedback policy should take a look at the impressive resources he’s producing.

Source: Verbal feedback: Telling ’em what they need to do | Learning history

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The Great Grammar School Distraction of 2016 –

The recent debate about the proposed grammar school expansion is interesting but it’s just another distraction from the real issues that affect education.

Source: The Great Grammar School Distraction of 2016 –

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4-Step Starter Kit: Beginning in Ed Research (cross post from TES)

A Total Ed Case

This is another piece from the series I’m doing for TES US on the value of ed research in advance of the big researchED US conference (only a month away! Get tix now! Have you SEEN this program?!!).

Also: Education Post ran an adapted version of one of the series’s earlier pieces this past week, find it here — and, of course, feel free to retweet, share, etc. We really want to get word out about researchED DC! (Which you can follow at Twitter now, by the way…)

Have a great week, y’all.

I’m an evangelist for teachers taking control of their own development by using education research.

But I know there’s a great distance between saying, ‘Reclaim your profession, educators!’ and actually doing it.

If becoming a better user of educational research were not so difficult or time-intensive, countless more practitioners would already have made…

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