things I notice in schools

20 Apr 2019

Useful and Beautiful?

It is as important to think about the implementation of the curriculum, as it is to think about the intent. Schools have spent considerable time and thinking about the vision and purpose of the curriculum in their context. And have followed this with the same exercise about the vision for individual subjects. This is helpful in clarifying the purpose of the curriculum within each setting.

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24 Aug 2018

I might have taught it, but have they got it?

There is a joke about two men in a bar. One says to his friend ‘I’ve taught my dog to speak French.’ ‘Really?’ says his mate, ‘let’s hear him then.’ ‘I said I taught him, I didn’t say he’d learnt it’ comes the response. There is something important in this anecdote and it is this: that the fact that I have taught something does not mean that my pupils have ‘got’ it. And they are unlikely to have really learnt something unless they produce something worthwhile with the material they are studying.


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24 May 2018

Intellectual architecture

It is not the beauty of a building you should look at; it’s the construction of the foundation that will stand the test of time.

David Allan Coe


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12 May 2018

On a cardboard curriculum

‘We’ve been learning about the Jewish people.’

‘Can you tell me more?’

‘Well we’ve learnt about the synagogue. In fact we’ve made one.’

‘What can you tell me about the synagogue?’

‘Well, it’s made out of cardboard.’

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31 Dec 2017

Nurture 1718

I don’t often look back. But it is good to be prompted. To think about what went well and what could have been avoided. So, some of the things for which I am grateful:

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09 Dec 2017

Walking the talk

It’s odd that high quality talk in classrooms is often regarded as an optional extra, something quite nice to do, rather than an entitlement for all pupils. Why, as a sector, do we privilege writing over talking? High quality talk, and its twin, listening, underpins reading and writing. And yet in too many classrooms, it’s something that is just assumed will happen, without being explicitly taught. It’s a pity that the range of talk identified by Robin Alexander - rote, recitation, instruction, discussion and dialogue – is, in too many cases, casually, rather than explicitly planned.

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