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Progression in the Language for Learning

This week’s guest blog comes from Chris Taylor, headteacher at Patcham Infant School near Brighton. “It is inarguable that quantitative data represents an essential aspect of assessing a child’s development; it hopefully measures positive progress which is then often represented in numbers, letters, words or acronyms. However, measuring qualitative information, in my mind, enables us…

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Image credit: Annette Wamser from Elk Grove, USA (DSC_1747E2rs) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Learning to be Robots?

Two things caught my eye this week – did you see them too? The first was an ad in the TES from a school in London that is seeking a Detention Director. Do you, the ad begins, like order and discipline? Believe in children being obedient every time? When I last looked online, TES was…

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Screen Shot 2017-01-20 at 11.53.44-Edited_in_LR-1

Perseverant Polly, patient pony.

This heartwarming video came up on my Facebook feed this morning.  I don’t usually take more than a glance at these apparently random videos (although at least it wasn’t cats) but there was something about it that piqued my interest: small girl, bright pink, filly net skirt, counterpointed comically with wellies and a hard hat. Unusual…

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walking

Walking the walk

When I ask senior leaders about learning walks, most say that they do them regularly. When pressed about what they actually do during such a learning walk, the answer is usually more about walking than learning. A few systematically gather data about learning that can be used to monitor changes in the school’s learning culture,…

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sparkly

Smiley, sparkly classrooms

A couple of weeks ago I wrote about life changing times for two of my grandsons. I’m happy to report that the elder has become the cook for his friends and the youngest is still skipping happily to the new adventure….school. This week I’ve been struck by what my youngest granddaughter has been asked to think…

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homework

Homework?

There has been much excitement on Facebook this week about setting homework for primary age pupils. The trigger was a teacher in the US who wrote to her pupils’ parents that she would no longer be setting homework as there was no evidence that it works. As is now so often the case, the social…

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fred-scooter

New beginnings: old habits?

For many young people this week has been the start of a new phase in their lives. In my family my oldest grandson was proudly driven hundreds of miles, in a car packed to the roof, to begin his university career. My youngest grandson donned his crash helmet and scooted his way to ‘big’ school, just like many…

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Group Work

In praise of Think Pair Share

Almost every classroom I go into has children talking, working and learning together for considerable periods. Sometimes this group work is carefully managed and structured by the teacher, but too often it is little more than children sitting around the same table working together or near each other. Frequently stimulated by the poorly specified invitation…

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observing

Never look at a lesson the same way again!

I returned home recently after two wonderful days undertaking a learning review in a welsh medium school in North Wales. You might think sitting around in lessons all day watching students learning would be easy, but spotting which learning behaviours they are employing and how their teachers are stimulating this to happen always leaves me exhausted.…

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tartan

The Scottish Solution?

I work in schools in all corners of the UK, but increasingly in Scotland. The first flight to Edinburgh or Glasgow, a day’s work with a school and the last flight back is just feasible with schools in the central belt. But why the interest in BLP in Scotland, when most English schools are currently…

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keepcalmnothing

Three cheers for inactive learning!

When I talk to students about the types of lessons they enjoy, they invariably mention lessons where they are ‘active’. For them, active means playing sport in P/E, or acting in Drama, or doing an experiment in Science, or making something in D&T, etc. Dig further, and what they mean by active learning is that…

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v flock

Building Learning Power and Mindfulness

I have worked with colleagues at South Dartmoor Community College for six years now. Under the inspirational leadership of Hugh Bellamy, they have retained – during a period of educational turbulence – a dedicated commitment to the enhancement of learning for all students. Hugh – with whom I have had the privilege of working for…

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hard learning

And talking of learning, why is it so hard to do?

When working with schools, I regularly initiate conversations with teachers about learning. It is, surely, the core purpose of schools, and to be an effective teacher with little interest in, or understanding of, human learning is inconceivable. So why, then, do such conversations frequently become derailed by other, more ‘pressing’, issues? What are these pressing…

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independent-child-Edit

Independence – reality or empty rhetoric?

Schools frequently talk about producing independent learners who are able to rise to the challenges of the 21st Century. Indeed, many schools include such notions in their mission statement. But how often does this aspiration get beyond wishful thinking and empty rhetoric? Part of the problem might lie in the lack of a shared understanding of…

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rockandahardplace

Getting unstuck

It’s easy to get stuck, so why is it so hard to get unstuck ? Lack of sensible strategies when faced by perceived difficulty is a recurring theme from the teachers with whom I work – about their students, obviously! Why, they ask, do my kids give up so readily? Why do they freeze when…

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