Category Archives: Teaching and learning

An Impossible Choice

This has been a week of blog posts on the subject of what people call ‘accountability’ but what we might also fairly term ‘compliance’. The announcement came last weekend via The Telegraph. A ‘crack down’ on heads ‘cheating’ the system through … Continue reading

Posted in Government, Motivation, Teaching and learning | 2 Comments

The Cult of Clever

1. Only some people can gain entry to The Cult of Clever, but everyone must believe. 2. We have studied at the Special Places. Therefore, we are special. 3. We are cleverer than you. Therefore, we can say what you … Continue reading

Posted in Blogging, Learning, Teaching and learning, Writing | 2 Comments

Every Teacher a Writer

When you teach, you write with your words (and your body). You weave a story with images, or wrap thinking around a metaphor. You give an explanation, or a guided demonstration. And you use multi-sensory resources to help build the … Continue reading

Posted in Blogging, Creativity, Teaching and learning, Writing | 5 Comments

An Education

What is ‘An Education’? Some say education is about making people cleverer: about ensuring that people have access to lots of knowledge. I can’t see anything to argue with in that (although I don’t think teaching lots of knowledge necessarily … Continue reading

Posted in Children, Creativity, Parents, Reading, Teaching and learning | Tagged | 9 Comments


I guess we’d all like to leave our mark on this Earth. To scratch a line on the cave wall. An echo for when we are gone. There are many ways we can do this: through kindness, humanity, charitable works, … Continue reading

Posted in Creativity, Teaching and learning, Writing | 1 Comment

This is How I Teach

“Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire.” Experience, think, read, write, more experience, more thinking, more reading, more writing. Start again at experience. I teach teachers. It’s my job alongside writing books and … Continue reading

Posted in Behaviour, Children, Communication, Creativity, Flexibility, Motivation, Pedagogy, Risk taking, Teaching and learning, Writing | 3 Comments

Willingham on Willingham

Sometimes the direct approach works best: you just need to ask nicely. I’ve had a brief exchange of emails with the very courteous Daniel Willingham (or Dan). I decided to write after posting this about evidence based teaching. Here’s my … Continue reading

Posted in Evidence, Teaching and learning | 1 Comment

Searching for the Silver Bullet

You can test for ‘most efficient’, but ‘best’ is a value judgement. I’ve been trying to work out why I’m nervous about all the talk of teaching as an ‘evidence-led profession’. I get all the arguments about why it’s a … Continue reading

Posted in Children, Evidence, Flexibility, Teaching and learning | 1 Comment

The Smoking Room Conversation

Get this: there was a smoking room at the first secondary school where I taught. A real live genuine room inside the building where teachers could smoke. Not just a cupboard either, but a room with comfy chairs and its own sink. … Continue reading

Posted in Behaviour, Children, Communication, Teaching and learning, Writing | Leave a comment

Making my own Mistakes

I love these words: learning, experience, complexity, uncertainty, experimentation, creativity, communication, language, children, family, love, community, connections, commonsense, intuition, emotion, engaged, sideways. These words are popular right now: certainty, knowledge, rigour, measure, progress, evidence, data, outstanding, standards, efficient. We are … Continue reading

Posted in Creativity, Evidence, Knowledge, Pedagogy, Risk taking, Skills, Teaching and learning | Leave a comment