Hirsch vs Engelmann: “No scientific basis for Direct Instruction”? No one seems clear who first said it, but it’s become an abiding truth of journalism that, “If a dog bites a man, that is not news. But if a man bites a dog that is news.” To publish an article in which an octogenarian educationalist says basically what he’s been saying for the last few decades would not be news. But if said educationalist were to bite another well-known bastion of traditional education? Publish and be damned! So, in a recent article about the nonsense of selecting what to teach based on whether material is cognitively ‘age appropriate’, ED Hirsch Jr makes the following aside in the midst of a solidly sensible and perfectly reasonable argument: We have become disappointed in policies and programmes that seemed experimentally promising, such as smaller class sizes, direct instruction and Success for All.
Somehow this got turned into, “There is no scientific basis for Direct Instruction” on the front page of the TES magazine. So, what happened? Hey ho. Like this: Related. Improving our subject knowledge. In the Sutton Trust research review (2014) ‘What makes great teaching?’ (extract above) the subject content knowledge of a teacher is at the top of the six components of great teaching. ‘Teachers cannot help children learn things they themselves do not understand’ Deborah Ball, 1991 Despite the strong evidence base that sits behind this statement, very few teachers have access to CPD that keeps their subject knowledge up to date. Here at Durrington, we have been addressing this to an extent with our fortnightly ‘Subject Planning & Development Sessions’ (SPDS). Deputy Leader of Geography, Sam Atkins, has been looking to address this. The geography team will then read this article and at the next SPDS discuss points such as: What was the key new learning from this article?
To an extent, this is a formalisation of what the department have been doing in recent years anyway. So, what does Sam hope will be the benefits of this approach? Posted by Shaun Allison Like this: Like Loading... Are 'Learning Styles' Real? In the early ‘90s, a New Zealand man named Neil Fleming decided to sort through something that had puzzled him during his time monitoring classrooms as a school inspector. In the course of watching 9,000 different classes, he noticed that only some teachers were able to reach each and every one of their students. What were they doing differently? Fleming zeroed in on how it is that people like to be presented information. For example, when asking for directions, do you prefer to be told where to go or to have a map sketched for you? Today, 16 questions like this comprise the VARK questionnaire that Fleming developed to determine someone’s “learning style.” VARK, which stands for “Visual, Auditory, Reading, and Kinesthetic," sorts students into those who learn best visually, through aural or heard information, through reading, or through “kinesthetic” experiences.
The thing is, they’re not. This doesn’t mean everyone is equally good at every skill, of course. Related Video. How I Rewired My Brain to Become Fluent in Math - Issue 17: Big Bangs. I was a wayward kid who grew up on the literary side of life, treating math and science as if they were pustules from the plague. So it’s a little strange how I’ve ended up now—someone who dances daily with triple integrals, Fourier transforms, and that crown jewel of mathematics, Euler’s equation. It’s hard to believe I’ve flipped from a virtually congenital math-phobe to a professor of engineering.
One day, one of my students asked me how I did it—how I changed my brain. I wanted to answer Hell—with lots of difficulty! After all, I’d flunked my way through elementary, middle, and high school math and science. Learning math and then science as an adult gave me passage into the empowering world of engineering. In the years since I received my doctorate, thousands of students have swept through my classrooms—students who have been reared in elementary school and high school to believe that understanding math through active discussion is the talisman of learning.
Setting up a Knowledge-rich School…. Part II – Midland Knowledge Hub. What has had a really significant impact so far? In my previous blog I introduced our journey as a school, Saint Martin’s in Stoke Golding, Leicestershire, from being a lovely, but very small, 11-14 high school, to becoming a normal 11-16 Secondary Comprehensive with GCSEs, teenagers and the joys that brings. We’ve been (so far, fingers crossed, here’s hoping) quite successful at GCSE, in a very short space of time, becoming one of the highest achieving schools at GCSE in the county.
In 2017 we had a Progress 8 of 0.47 and 83% of pupils achieved a grade 4+ in Maths and English (This is only our second cohort of GCSE Students). The key to our success is, in a nutshell, some amazing staff and the willingness to nick any good idea we come across and actually implement it. I have, however, elaborated in a bit more detail below. If you like lists, this blog is for you….. Vision and the bedrock of some amazing staff “Where there is no vision, the people perish” Proverbs 29:18. Curriculum Memory. Differences in exam performance between pupils attending selective and non-selective schools mirror the genetic differences between them | npj Science of Learning. We report genetic mean differences between students attending three different types of school: state non-selective, grammar and private schools. We find that, on average, students in state non-selective schools have lower polygenic scores for years of education (EduYears) compared to their peers in selective schools.
Furthermore, following the same pattern of results as EduYears, there are also substantial mean differences in GCSE performance between pupils in selective and non-selective school types. However, almost all of these differences are explained by heritable, individual-level factors, which schools actively or passively use in the pupil selection process. Although finding genetic differences between state non-selective, grammar and private school students may initially seem surprising, when we consider the heritable traits that selection is based on, this difference is less unexpected. There are several limitations to our study. Research in education is great…until you start to try and use it. One reason that I’ve been interested in education research in the past couple of years is because, by luck/coincidence it mainly supports what I already do. I’ve been setting quick 1-5 recap quizzes for years, well before I read cognitive science research on the positive impact of retrieval practice.
I’ve not really done much to change how I teach yet it ‘works’ with the research. However, it’s not always as simple as confirming what you already do. Research in education is a minefield. Here is a (not comprehensive) summary of why using research is problematical: 1.Not enough specific research has been done for context specific conclusions In the EEF ‘A marked improvement’ publication on marking, the authors make the following comment, very early on: ‘The quality of existing evidence focused specifically on written marking is low. This is true for many areas of teaching yet teachers and schools are being encouraged to use research more. It can go against our instincts 3.Ofsted may not agree. Ask the expert: Mary Myatt | Durrington Research School. 15 myths about memory and learning | Durrington Research School. Ofsted boss calls for teachers to prove subject knowledge. Teachers should have to prove their subject knowledge is up-to-date at regular intervals to maintain their qualified status, a top Ofsted boss has said.
Professor Daniel Muijs (pictured), the watchdog’s head of research, said he supported a “periodic requirement” for teachers to demonstrate they know about the latest research and discoveries in their subject area. Speaking to Schools Week at a Westminster Education Forum, Muijs said the Chartered College of Teaching should work with subject associations to develop a professional development programme for each subject. At the end of the programme teachers would be “recertified” as either qualified or chartered teachers. The proposal is not Ofsted’s official policy, so much as an idea Muijs is “looking at”, and one which he would welcome in the sector.
Rather than saying the subject knowledge you acquired 30 years ago is still valid, this is to ensure professionals are up-to-date in the latest developments Alison Peacock. Why schools should not teach general critical-thinking skills. Being an air-traffic controller is not easy. At the heart of the job is a cognitive ability called ‘situational awareness’ that involves ‘the continuous extraction of environmental information [and the] integration of this information with prior knowledge to form a coherent mental picture’.
Vast amounts of fluid information must be held in the mind and, under extreme pressure, life-or-death decisions are made across rotating 24-hour work schedules. So stressful and mentally demanding is the job that, in most countries, air-traffic controllers are eligible for early retirement. In the United States, they must retire at 56 without exception. In the 1960s, an interesting series of experiments was done on air-traffic controllers’ mental capacities. Since the early 1980s, however, schools have become ever more captivated by the idea that students must learn a set of generalised thinking skills to flourish in the contemporary world – and especially in the contemporary job market.
Republish. Putting Evidence to Work - A School’s Guide to Implementation. Acrobat Document. Seating students for engagement – what does (some of) the evidence say? – How then should we teach? In my last post, I raised three issues with group seating as standard in the primary classroom. Of the three considered, only two had any sort of pedagogical value. The arguments related to group seating supporting group teaching and collaboration both at their cores assumed that the configuration of furniture should support teaching. This is an excellent assumption and aim but the method is flawed, as previously noted. As Hastings and Wood (2002) rightly note: “The problem (with these arguments) is not in the case they make for group seating for small group teaching and for collaborative group work, but in the suggestion that this is a reason for group seating being the standard organisation when these two teaching strategies feature so infrequently in classrooms.”
(italics my own, from: So the two core questions are: What methods could be used? What is the best way to seat pupils to maximize classroom learning? The evidence Note: Kennedy-10 ER attribution. Ideas Generation and Behavioural Insights | The Ripple Effect. Here is the ideas grid I use when working with local authorities to co-produce ways of using behavioural insights. Each effect has a ‘how can we use it?’ Challenge; we use it to develop ideas. Some of the ideas generated feel counter-intuitive, some feel run-of-the-mill, some feel like breakthroughs straightaway.
We play them back, and pick the ones that feel like the best bets to build into a trial approach. Behavioural effects are chunked into four main groups: Norm effects: making your target behaviour seem normalEase effects: making your target behaviour easyReward effects: increasing the sense of reward for your target behaviourObligation effects: helping people feel an imperative to choose your target behaviour This is the full list.
If you’re involved in improving public services, feel free to use this grid yourself. I’ve been using this since 2010, with a few tweaks over the years. Tell people who'd be interested: Like this: Like Loading... Why did a small, badly designed experiment make me change my teaching forever? – Walden Education. It was obvious to me that my students had suspect ideas about note-taking. What was not so obvious to me that I have some deeply ingrained assumptions about it too. The following is my attempt to describe a small investigation I carried out with my Psychology classes. Whilst the results were not what I expected, I can genuinely say that it has made a significant difference to what I do on a regular basis in my lessons.
Objectively, most of the ‘findings’ in this project were things I knew already. Ironically, this little episode of ‘discovery’ teacher learning has led me to adopt a more ‘traditionalist’ approach to my teaching. The challenge: I have a number of well-meaning pupils whose approach to studying defers learning (i.e. understanding and committing to memory) to an undefined future date.
It seemed fairly clear to me for with some of my own students, ‘thinking hard’ has become detached from the act of writing. I had a cunning plan. I have three year 12 Psychology groups. Process: KS2 KS3 Maths Guidance 2017. Some Good News for Group Work? You may not know it, because our media didn’t report it: nor did our ministers shout it from the rooftops, but we did rather well in the PISA international comparison tests on Collaborative Problem Solving.
Of the 32 OECD nations, we were somewhere between 8th and 12th place (there’s always a 5% margin of error in the marks, so we can’t be certain exactly where, though that doesn’t stop people plonking us randomly on a slot between the two). We did pretty well in Science too (@15th of 70), though Maths and Literacy were lower – broadly in line with the OECD average. And all were way higher than our score for well being which was one of the lowest. So why is no-one celebrating this good news about collaborative problem-solving? Perhaps it doesn’t fit in with government policy and ideology – we only have to look at what has happened to the place of soft skills in our curriculum to see they are simply not a priority and have not been for some time. Nick Gibb 2017 Michael Gove 2014 OR. 1. 2. Why does sharing learning intentions matter? Blog: Using a painting to start an inquiry.
Blog: Using a painting to start an inquiry This blog was originally posted on imaginative-inquiry.co.uk Over the weekend I read an excellent blog by Harry Fletcher-Wood called, ‘Starting a Lesson With Initial Stimulus Material’. Harry’s blog got me thinking about how I use images with students as a way to generate thinking, grab their interest, and communicate knowledge. This blog is my response. Harry uses three examples of images to illustrate his approach; the second is this one of Henry VII. Harry suggests we could start by asking the students to make inferences: “What can you tell about Henry VII from this painting?” He calls this a ‘classic starter’ but warns of its limitations, “…examples like this can be restrictive, relying, as they do, on students’ guesswork and often limited prior knowledge. I agree with this entirely, however I don’t think the problem is with the stimulus, so much as with the question.
This is an open question, asking the students to look rather than guess.
Effective interventions. Metacognition. Cognition. The real way to instill a love of learning. Secondary teachers and leaders: are you finding that your new year 7s just can’t get enough of that there learning? I dare you to randomly google ‘primary school’ and ‘love of learning’ to see how many and what type of results come up; it seems like pretty much all the primary schools are instilling a love of learning – not just any old love of learning, but a lifelong one at that.
So, with these big bold claims being added to mission statements up and down the land, you’d think there would be some official evidence somewhere? Is there a ‘love of learning’ assessment, perhaps? Are the secondary schools experiencing wave upon wave of pupils who are just chomping at the bit to learn? No, I didn’t think so either. When I was at primary school, I loved eating lunch, holding my coat in the air on the windy day with the aim of flying up into the sky, playing the recorder, quiet reading and maths.
I was (relatively) good at all those things. Which came first? Who’s with me? Like this: Another poorly-conceived EEF study? 10 Tricky Questions for Teachers.