Author Archives: evidenceintopractice

No, don’t forget everything we know about memory

With a renewed interest in cognitive science within teaching, are we in risk of “conflating hypothetical models with proven neuroscience since accepted facts can quickly become ‘neuro-myths’ when new research contradicts popular theories” as Ellie Mulcahy warns in “Forgetting everything we know … Continue reading

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Eliminating unnecessary workload

The ‘Workload Challenge’ consultation ran between 22 October and 21 November 2014. In February 2015 the analysis of this survey was published. The survey asked three main questions about workload: Tell us about the unnecessary and unproductive tasks which take … Continue reading

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Lesson observations: Would picking a top set get you a better grading?

Lesson observations: Approach with caution! For any measure of teaching effectiveness to be useful, it needs to be valid. To be valid, a measure also needs to be reliable. Reliability represents the consistency of a measure. A measure is said … Continue reading

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Attachment Theory: Why teachers shouldn’t get too excited about it.

John Bowlby: Attachment theory The British psychologist John Bowlby is fairly synonymous with attachment theory. From his clinical work with ‘juvenile delinquents’ over the course of World War II be began formulating ideas about the role of early and prolonged … Continue reading

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Germane load: The right kind of mental effort?

Despite our vast capacity to hold information in long term memory; our working memory is extremely limited and becomes overloaded very easily. Greater insight into these problems and some practical ideas about what to do about them comes from the … Continue reading

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Goodbye Mr Chips: can research tell teachers how to teach?

Back in October, I took part in a debate at the Battle of Ideas. Hosted by Kevin Rooney and featuring Professor Frank Furedi, Jack Marwood and Munira Mirza, the discussion focused on the relevance of research to classroom practice. The … Continue reading

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Psychology of behaviour management (part 3)

In the last posts, I briefly examined some of the key ideas and limitations of offering rewards and sanctions, and restorative approaches. Both of these tackle the issue of behaviour at an individual level; in this post I want to … Continue reading

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The psychology of behaviour management (part 2)

A frequent observation in schools is that the same children tend to end up in detention over and over again. The belief that ‘punitive’ approaches to school discipline were proving ineffective or even counter-productive has led to an interest in … Continue reading

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The psychology of behaviour management (part 1)

The topic of behaviour management and the problems teachers face in dealing with disruption to lessons continues to evoke strong argument within the profession. The extent of the problem was explored in a 2014 paper by Terry Haydn which argued … Continue reading

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The ‘artificial science’ of teaching: System vs Individual competence

Over the last two posts, I’ve been exploring the extent to which teaching is a natural ability and whether there is a formal or ‘professional’ body of knowledge or set of skills required for effective teaching. In summary: The ability … Continue reading

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