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Make-believe is not the same as lying

12th January 2014

Why do primary school teachers lie to their students? Some clarification In answer to this question we first have to ask what we mean by a lie. In the Chambers dictionary a lie is defined as: an intentionally false statement: they hint rather than tell outright lies | the whole thing is a pack of lies. used with reference to a situation involving deception or founded on a mistaken impression: all their married life she had been living a lie. My reading of this is that lying involves an intention to deceive for unscrupulous reasons. For me, the motivation is...

Dweck – Mindset in 60 Tweets

7th January 2014

These are my TweetNotes for Mindset. I'm planning to write a blog about it next week: Too busy at the moment. #mindset 2.6 "people have to decide what kinds of relationships they want: ones that bolster their egos or ones that challenge them to grow?" #mindset 2.7 "I'll never forget the first time I heard myself say,'This is hard. this is fun.' That's the moment I knew I was changing Mindsets." #mindset 2.8 Q"When do you feel smart?"A: (from fixed mindset) "When I don't make mistakes." #mindset 2.9 "people with fixed mindset expect ability to turn up on its own,...

Role play: from the ridiculous to the sublime

13th December 2013

I don’t like the term role-play. I’ve not liked it since I was asked, as part of a group of PGCE students, to ‘fly’ around the hall pretending to be snow-flakes to the sound of Aled Jones singing, Walking in the Air. I felt a right nob. This hatred of role-play intensified later in the year, when, as part of an Inset day, I was asked to role-play being a bully, picking on another adult role-playing being the victim. It was excruciating, the two of us play-acting our roles in front of a room of a friends and colleagues. When...

Hirsch and the importance of dialogue

9th December 2013

In answer to @webofsubstance: The Pedagogy of Serfdom We must remember, in The Knowledge Deficit, Hirsch is talking about primary education. He understands explicit instruction will be of only limited benefit after a short while - he suggested 40 minutes a day - and only for the teaching, learning and practice of specific ‘skills’ - the acquisition, application and development of reading and writing. We must presume he would also advocate the teaching of maths ‘skills’ in the same way, certainly the vast majority of primary school teachers would and do. The reason for this is two-fold. First, he understands...

A lesson on marking from Lilly, aged 7

6th December 2013

When my daughter, Lilly, was seven, she brought home from school a pencil drawing of the two-faced god, Janus. She didn’t show me or her mum, but put the picture on a table in the front-room where I found it later that night. When I saw it, I asked her why she hadn’t shown it to us. She said she didn’t think much of it. This didn’t sound right, the picture was beautiful and she had clearly spent a lot of time and care on it. I looked at it again. In the bottom right hand corner was a tick...

Some principles for effective marking

5th December 2013

In this blog, I want to look at some of the principles underpinning effective marking from the schools I’ve visited and the education blogs I’ve read. The following represents my current thinking on the subject. It is not a definitive list, neither would I call myself an expert. However, from what I understand, the principles on this list should constitute a firm foundation for developing a sound school policy on marking: One that will benefit the students and satisfy the inspectors when they call. If I’ve made any mistakes or missed out anything important, please let me know. I consider...

Pedagogy for People

29th November 2013

It is now six months since @betsysalt made her impassioned plea in "What I wish teacher bloggers would write about more…” asking for more blogging on the practice of education, in context, with examples from actual practice, with actual children. Her disappointment was that the topics covered by teacher bloggers tended to concentrate on a narrow band of subjects and rarely offered real, tangible, ideas, recommendations and strategies from authentic experiences in the classroom. Her blog asked for more honesty, more humility, and more sharing: "perhaps most of all, can we hear about your mistakes. We all know failure is...

Links to blogs on marking

27th November 2013

About six weeks ago I started work on a blog for the October Blogsync "Marking with Impact", I thought it would be a quick piece, maybe a few hours work. My focus was on marking for Early Years, Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2. However, once I got started I soon realised what a complex web of different strategies, purposes, and outcomes the subject is. As a consequence my blog (or blogs) are going to be a horribly late entry. Nevertheless, one advantage in being late is the opportunity it gives to read all the other blogs that have...

Dorothy Heathcote – Four models for teaching & learning

21st November 2013

There has been some interest over the past week in the work of Dorothy Heathcote (1926 - 2011). Heathcote left a great deal of writing stored in the Heathcote Archive at Manchester Met University some of which is available on the mantle of the expert website. Dorothy studied and wrote about drama in education for over sixty years and during that time her ideas changed and developed. She moved through various phases, creating and adapting new ideas as she went along. She described this work as a process of discovery and uncovering, and it has had a profound effect, both...

Answering some questions on mantle of the expert

16th November 2013

On 14th November the anonymous blogger 'Andrew Old' made some spurious accusations on Twitter about mantle of the expert being the next Brain Gym and being 'totally insane'. I tried to answer these allegations but Andrew strategically blocked my account and ignored my repeated offers to discuss his allegations. On Saturday 16th he wrote a blog where he accused teachers who use mantle of the expert of dodging the argument and refusing to answer his questions. Why Andrew did this remains a mystery. The following text is my reply to Andrew's blog, I have re-published it here to record the...

Chamber Theatre

10th November 2013

‘Exploring motivation at the moment of action’ Considerations regarding Robert Breen's Chamber Theatre in drama teaching. Luke Abbott President NATD May 29th 2014 Some further thoughts about the use of CT in Heathcote's dramatic inventions. I have been meaning to work with the Chamber Theatre (CT) technique invented by Robert Breen (1) for some time now but have only used its processes sporadically in my teaching so far. Actually 43 years. Being oblivious to Breen’s concepts, until 1982, I learned with Dorothy Heathcote how CT worked. Even then I dismissed it, as a rather quaint way of dissecting texts such...

Creating bridges into the past

21st October 2013

This article was published in Creative Teaching & Learning For a PDF copy click here - this is a much better version of the article as it contains the pertinent graphics and photographs Using a bridging device Of all the changes in the new National Curriculum the ones made to the programmes of study for history at Key Stage 2 are going to have the most significant effect on the way primary schools organise and plan their provision. For one reason the units of the history curriculum will have to be taught chronologically: From the Stone Age to Battle of...

Why learning and having fun are not inimical

10th October 2013

Of all the arguments I’ve read, from the plethora of education bloggers over the last year or so, the one I find hardest to get my head round is the supposed dichotomy between enjoyment and learning. Learning, it seems, is a very serious business and teachers who look to make their lessons fun are committing the cardinal sin of putting their student’s enjoyment ahead of knowledge acquisition and skills development. When I first read this argument I was a little perplexed and it took me a while to unpick the different strands. In so doing, I came to the conclusion...

The problem with praise

23rd September 2013

Two stories from home We have some film of Finn, our son, when he was a few months old. Claire and I are on our knees on the dining room floor, taking it in turns filming Finn as he makes his first tentative steps. Accompanying Finn’s unsteady movements are the sounds of laughter and joy, along with coos and chirps of encouragement. As Finn waddles towards the camera giggling, you can hear Claire and I saying things like, “Come on Finn… there you go… ooh, up you get.” Finally Finn finds his balance and takes a stumbling step forward, this...

Trivium: the answer to the purpose of education?

17th September 2013

“Enthusiasm is the search for essence… of intensity and work that is essential for high achievement. This is the idea of mastery: discipline, focus, work, beauty even in ugliness, truth, and the pursuit of in-depth knowledge. This is, perhaps, what Plato thought of as ‘being awake’” The Purpose of Education When thinking about the purpose of education it is easy to see how the wider aspirations of the state can clash with the more human concerns of students and their families. While government ministers focus on ‘measureable’ outcomes, league tables, and their latest position in the OECD rankings, parents are...

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