When Prophecies Fail and Evidence Backfires – The Confident Teacher

“A man with conviction is a hard man to change. Tell him you disagree and he turns away. Show him your facts or figures and he questions your sources. Appeal …

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John Bald: Groupthink by publishers results in dire school textbooks

John Bald is a former Ofsted inspector and has written two books on the history of writing and spelling.

The Conservative Education Society reached a high point in its current revival with a meeting with Secretary of State, Justine Greening, last week at the House of Lords. Forty or so members attended, including councillors with education portfolios, headteachers, the occasional old-stager, and our  talented young committee members. Chatham House rules do not prevent me from saying that Justine Greening gave detailed answers to each of our questions, and took notes. Tickets are available for the next meeting, on “Textbooks, why are they so dreadful and what can be done about it,”with Tim Oates of Cambridge Assessment, and Robert Peal, of West London Free School.

Source: John Bald: Groupthink by publishers results in dire school textbooks

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The bad ideas holding Australia back

Filling the pail

This week saw more evidence of Australia falling behind its international peers. A new study found that Year 6 students’ aptitude for science has not improved in a decade. In my view, there are a number of bad ideas that are entrenched within the education sector and that prevent us making progress. Chief among these are ideas about teaching methods and behaviour management.


Over and over again, inquiry learning is pushed as a modern, revolutionary teaching method that will better prepare students for the future. We have the celebrity educational consultants promoting inquiry learning as a replacement for conventional subjects in primary schools. Incredibly, there are those who suggest it as a solution to our poor showing in Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) science even though PISA itself provides evidence against the use of inquiry methods: in the last round of PISA testing, students were asked about the teaching…

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Learning a subject is not exactly the same as building a car – my issue with Assessment for Learning


As a not particularly sporty individual, it took me longer to learn how to play tennis than it did some of the others on the course I attended back in the early 1990s. Time and again, I couldn’t get the serve right. I knew the techniques and was trying to follow them. I asked the coach for guidance and he smiled. “You’ll get there, Fish, you just need more practice”

“But everyone else seems to be getting it” was my response.

“Probably because they’ve done racquet sports before and you haven’t. Just keep at it.”

He was right. I’ll never be a tennis star, but after practising evening after evening, I did eventually “get it”

The reason I am sharing this anecdote is because we are now encouraged to think that improvements in learning can always be thought of in terms of “what they are currently doing wrong” and “next…

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What do teachers believe? – David Didau: The Learning Spy

It’s well-established that various ‘myths’ about how students’ learn are remarkably persistent in the face of contradictory evidence. In 2014, Paul Howard-Jones’…

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The Teacher Workload ‘Collection’ – The Confident Teacher

This last month, the Department for Education, the teaching unions and OFSTED united. Yes, you heard me right. The topic that saw this unique collaboration: teacher workload. The recruitment and …

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What difference does a year make? Part 1 – Education Datalab blog

This is part one of a series of posts exploring trends in attainment by month of birth over time. A link will be added to later posts once they have been published. Dave Thomson’s recent blogpost…

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