Category Archives: General teaching

Vygotsky: a champion of didactic teaching

The constructivist claim that knowledge is socially constructed and driven by peer-interaction is frequently defended by references to the theories of Lev Vygotsky. Most major initiatives during my time as a teacher have been (apparently) been based on the writings of … Continue reading

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‘Killing’ with kindness and the dangers of differentiation

Towards the end of last year, the newspapers appeared full of negative reports about teachers holding low expectations of students. Students from poorer socioeconomic backgrounds (especially white working class children and black children) are underachieving in schools and one of … Continue reading

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A toast to the death of pedagogy

The original meaning of ‘pedagogue’ was apparently a slave who escorted Roman children to school. The term ‘pedagogy’ is almost universally equated with constructivist theories of learning – certainly whenever I hear the term, I think of Piaget, Vygotsky, et … Continue reading

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Improving the effectiveness of homework

Interesting study published this week in Educational Psychology Review this week claiming that by making 3 relatively small changes to homework significantly improved outcomes. Rice study: Simple changes to homework improved student learning The study alternated the type of homework … Continue reading

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The effects and impact of AfL

Since Black and Wiliam published ‘Inside the Black Box’ in 1998, AfL strategies have dominated a great deal of professional development time, had significant influence on national education policy and has become an unquestioned feature of ‘good practice’. However, to … Continue reading

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Earth: An animated map

A friend of mine sent me this – it shows current temperatures and wind currents across the globe. Other settings also show ocean currents and different map projections. It might be a nice resource for science or geography. Earth: An … Continue reading

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Should students listen to music when learning?

Given some of the advice circulating at the moment, I thought it apposite to post some of the evidence on this question: Blog post: Edutopia – What works in education It appears that if the task requires maths, reading or … Continue reading

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Marking and feedback: Less is more?

Formative marking and students responding to feedback has been a focus recently. It’s important that we do not allow these strategies to become uniform or mechanical. An interesting blog article by David Didau explains some of the pitfalls of ‘force … Continue reading

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Poor implementations of AfL

Here’s an article in the TES by Dylan Wiliam, decrying the poor implementation of AfL strategies within schools. It’s interesting to note that he feels the original set of strategies was distorted by national policy at the time and has … Continue reading

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Three blog posts on marking and feedback

Given the focus on responsive marking at the moment – here are three blog posts discussing helpful strategies: Reflecting English: Strategic marking for the DIRTy-minded teacher The Learning Spy: Marking is an act of love Headguruteacher: Making Feedback Count: “Close … Continue reading

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