The debate in the staffroom

Filling the pail

Back in the early 2000s, I was the head of science at a government school in London. I didn’t read education research at that time. Instead, it came to us through a series of national strategies that were mediated by local advisors.

From my 2017 perspective, I can see that some of the early stuff was pretty benign. It was focused on assessment for learning and largely consisted of techniques for eliciting evidence of student understanding. This was before assessment for learning had morphed into the monster it later became with lots of marking edicts and grids to fill in.

However, over time this focus shifted. Eventually, a series of guides was produced known as ‘Pedagogy and Practice’ that purported to be a synthesis of the best available evidence. Notoriously, one of these guides promoted the use of learning styles.

As a science teacher, from my training onwards, I…

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