Skip to main content

It depends where you start....

When I was fourteen, I went to Ireland with my dad. We stayed at one guest house and, while walking up a few flights of stairs to the room by the owner, he gestured left saying, "The breakfast room's there." A few more flights of stairs later and I couldn't remember which floor the breakfast room was on, so I asked him to tell me. He looked at me, thought for a moment and said, "Well, I guess it depends where you start." I never thought about this as a educational point before, but it's a thinking one. As educators we are stuck in a rigid system where numbers, levels and data indicate position, both within class and league tables, yet that can inhibit thinking. His approach to answering my question was to remove what we naturally perceive to be the obvious absolute: the building is rigid & therefore we must move around the building. He put me as the rigid element and moved the building to fit my requirement. To him, the problem wasn't confined by the framework within which I had posed it, based on my accepted view of the world, he manipulated his response based on a different set of parameters, ones which I am only just beginning to understand. That got me thinking about the new draft curriculum. It mentions the word practice a lot. An awful lot, to be honest. So much so that I started to think about changing my approach to teaching and it didn't seem to fit at all. Then I remembered Kilkenny man. So, I would suggest we do practise things. But not quite the way the lord Gove intended. when practising a skill or setting a task, ensure the viewpoint is changed from time to time. Make the children uncomfortable by removing things that are familiar. Then practise figuring out why things are the way they are. Thinking skills are integral to empowering independent and lifelong learning and underpin successful, employable and engaging adults. It is though experience that we improve.


Popular posts from this blog

Sometimes we need to step back in order to move forward

It's been a while since I put fingers to keyboard and wrote something on my blog, or any blog for that matter. I think it has less to do with workload & more to do with overload.

Social Networking on various levels had begun to take over my approach to a lot of things, most noticeably my work, but it had begun to encroach on my personal life as well.

Frank, educational discussions were taking place after clocking out time, I would lie awake at night and follow a hashtag stream from an earlier Twitter debate. I would be sitting on the sofa with my wife, ostensibly watching the TV, but my head wasn't. I was actually becoming so obsessed with all things that were educationally cutting edge, that I was beginning to neglect my marking, assessment and correcting my planning where necessary. In essence, my desire to push the boundaries was threatening to impact on the children in my care.

But how did it get to this? Honestly, I don't know. I suppose I was trying to keep up wi…

Independent Learning

This evening on #ukedchat, the discussion was about 'independent learning' or 'IL' and it's importance in the curriculum.

In my opinion IL is an umbrella title, one so multi-faceted that we probably need to invest a lot of time determining the rationale behind it.

One point that came across was from Miles Berry that Independent Learning is something innate, present from birth as a survival mechanism so teaching it is contradictory. This is something that I agree with and yet we are in a system that has institutionalised our lives to the point where children are taught out of this. They become so reliant on being told what, when and how to do things, that they forget what they are genetically programmed to do.

And there's my mistake. I'm talking about these children in the third person. The point is that we have all fallen into the habit of providing knowledge as teachers. There is no blame associated with this, we are as caught up in the status quo as they …

ICT Self Assessment booklet

A few weeks ago, I stumbled across ICT Teaching & Learning Framework 2011, which was written by Matt Lovegrove and included contributions from Steve Greenfield, David Sheppard & Claire Waite.

Here is the Framework which can be found on his blog.

The beauty of this work was that it was licensed for sharing, remixing and adapting. This is exactly the type of thing we should all be doing in my opinion and I must sincerely thank those who wrote it for saving me a tremendous amount of time by not having to write my own.

What I did do, however, was to create a self-assessment booklet that can be used in conjunction with the framework.

I hate assessment, but this book allows the children to assess their learning at the end of the week. I've factored in time to my timetable to allow reflection. This, in turn, feeds into my planning & because it's done on a weekly basis, it's easy to keep on top of and lasts about 20 mins.

Here's an example copy of what I've don…