things I notice in schools

06 Aug 2013

A knowledge free classroom?

So, I’m trying a thought experiment. I’m imagining a knowledge free classroom. I’m having a think about the knowledge versus skills debate. And their close relations, direct instruction versus group-work.

In my head, there are no displays, pictures, books or electronic devices. A bit of an anaemic shell. Wouldn’t really want to spend much time there. And can’t think of many children who would either. So, now I’m thinking, let’s put a bit of knowledge in there. A book or two. Now some pictures, displays. And if we are really turning the dial up, some electronic devices. Ah, that’s better. A kaleidoscope, colour, promise, opportunity. Bit of a banquet really. Why would I want to go back to starvation rations?

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04 Aug 2013

Teacher Proof: Tom Bennett's dose of healthy scepticism

So, when was the last time I read any book, laughing out loud? Can't remember. But I sat by the river Dee on a sunny Saturday morning and read Tom Bennett's forensic piece of work on educational research. I had to keep wiping my eyes.

But this book is serious, deadly serious about some of the less fragrant ideas to have wafted their way into our classrooms. They have arrived in schools via universities, the DfE, LAs and commercial courses. Bennett takes his cue from Ben Goldacre's 'Bad Science' which, among other things, debunked 'Brain Gym'. This book sets out to show why research in education doesn't always mean what it claims. And what we can do about it. Yes, and you too.

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