Interviews – why do we make them so complicated?


Many moons ago, as an NQT, I remember that attending an interview was a relatively straightforward process. I was rarely asked to teach a lesson, for example. Much of the interviewing was in the style of a friendly chat. Yet I was aware that behind the seemingly innocuous questions, some razor sharp minds were evaluating my responses.

“So Mr Fish, I see you’re a Man of Kent. Or is it a Kentish Man? What is the difference by the way?” The head teacher looked up from poring over my CV.

My actual thought was, “I bet you know the difference full well!” But when you think about it, my ability to answer or not answer this seemingly unimportant question would have told the head teacher a lot. An inability to answer it would suggest that either I was dishonest on my CV and hadn’t actually grown up in Kent, or that I lacked a…

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Behaviour is shit: ideology

At this year’s Education Festival at Wellington, I spoke to rather hot and sweaty room about why behaviour is so difficult to talk about, why we overcomplicate matters, and what we can do about it. Thanks to everyone who packed themselves in – not sure H&S would have been keen.

What follows is the first part of the talk, on ideology. This is the longest bit! The second and third parts, on policy and classrooms, will follow in the coming days.

Behaviour is shit. It’s shit to talk about, because we disagree with each other all the time, even about single words (I’m looking at you, ‘O’ word), and because someone always feels like a failure – “Oh, 9Y3? They’re always lovely with me.” Behaviour is shit because it’s hard to implement policies which are successful. We put in lots of rules, and children don’t follow them, some teachers…

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“Understanding” and Occam’s razor – David Didau: The Learning Spy

The physicists Hendrik Lorentz and Albert Einstein both concluded independently that the closer we get to moving at the speed of light, the more we slow down. But while both arrived at the same…

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Are more pupils really taking arts subjects? – Education Datalab blog

Schools Week last week published a handy summary of Ofqual’s release of summer 2017 examination entry statistics. It notes that entries in EBacc subjects have risen whilst entries in other subjects…

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Is Australia better at teaching English than the English?

Filling the pail

I was intrigued when I saw the headline, ‘Australia better at teaching English than the English’ in an article for the West Australian. You might be intrigued too.

You might be wondering how such a judgement could be made. You might think that the researcher in question, Paul Gardner, had his hands on literacy assessment data from both countries. You may further imagine some kind of statistical analysis demonstrating that any differences were down to the teaching and not other factors. You might expect this analysis to be contentious and open to discussion.

What are you, a POSITIVIST!!??

You need to free your mind from always asking for ‘evidence’ and ‘data’ and be more respectful of research. Go read Biesta or someone like that and you’ll see why. It’s not up to me to educate you. Suffice it to say that education is far more complex than healthcare…

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Draft programme released for researchED Melbourne 2017

Filling the pail

A draft programme has been released for the researchED Melbourne conference taking place on Saturday 1st July at Brighton grammar. As if to prove the point that researchED is a grassroots, shoestring initiative, there are still a few typos, including in the blurb for my talk:


If you would like to purchase a ticket then you can do so here:

Purchase tickets

I will be discussing the history of education. In particular, I will propose that educational ideas that are presented as shiny and new are often nothing of the sort and have a rich lineage. Moreover, many of these ideas have been proven wrong repeatedly by successive generations and are inconsistent with up-to-date understandings of cognition.

If you want to get a feel for my arguments then read this post.

I love that researchED is a conference organised by teachers, for teachers. As such, it feels different…

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A Novice->Expert Model of Learning – David Didau: The Learning Spy

Every artist was first an amateur. Ralph Waldo Emerson One of the best understood principles of cognitive psychology is that novices learn and think differently to experts. These labels are…

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