There was once a farmer who was famed for his carrots. Every year he sowed carrot seeds all over his farm, tended the plants lovingly and always harvested a bumper crop. Once all the carrots were harvested, he would weigh them carefully on his scales. The heavier ones were taken to market, the less heavy … Continue reading Carrots
In 1948 two philosophers sat down in a BBC studio to debate the existence of God. The Jesuit priest F.C. Copleston and the mathematician Bertrand Russell locked horns over one of life’s ultimate questions in the most gentlemanly way imaginable. Copleston advanced an argument based on Leibniz’s principle of sufficient reason, which he defined as … Continue reading Things which can’t be got
In a recent set of guidance on the teaching of sex, relationships and mental health, the Department for Education clarified its position on political impartiality in schools. The document reminds headteachers of their responsibility to ensure that, ‘where political issues are brought to the attention of pupils, they are offered a balanced presentation of opposing … Continue reading A Political Act
Encountering cultural literacy It took me much longer to get round to reading E.D. Hirsch’s Cultural Literacy (1987) than it should have done, considering its seminal status in curricular thought. I was reluctant at first because of Hirsch’s less than positive reputation within the teaching profession (e.g. Sloan, 2017) and I think there was part … Continue reading Truthfulness and Cultural Literacy
In case you hadn’t noticed, things haven’t been easy over the last few months. Like so many others, I’ve been up and down with workload and anxiety. What I hadn’t properly grasped until recently was that a lot of my ‘down’ has actually been caused by anger. The angry monster has been stalking me relentlessly … Continue reading Angry
I have become slightly obsessed with multiple-choice questions (MCQs) in recent months. I first considered them properly when I read Daisy Christodolou’s book Making Good Progress (2017) a couple of years ago, and have learned more about them through the Assessment Lead Programme from Evidence Based Education (both the book and the programme come strongly … Continue reading A Remote Possibility: Using multiple-choice questions to build conceptual understanding at a distance
‘A high temperature and a persistent cough.’ It’s a short phrase which has embedded itself in our consciousness in recent weeks. We all know the tell-tale symptoms of COVID-19 and our minds flit to them at the merest hint of feeling under the weather. A lost voice does not feature on the list as far … Continue reading Can coronavirus make you lose your voice?
Few of us would dispute the importance of questioning in the classroom, but it is less well explored as a leadership tool. I would argue that a well-chosen question is of great value when posed by a senior leader to a head of department, and that improving our questioning for leadership is a very worthwhile … Continue reading Leading Questions
I was struck by the recent Teacher Tapp results on pupil progress meetings, which indicated that three quarters of respondents have experience of them and that over half consider them useful. I have sat through many of these meetings, often as the senior leader in charge. I was always uncertain of their value and these … Continue reading Are pupil progress meetings worthwhile?
Order beneath the chaos One day I dried the dishes for my mum. I would have been 16 or 17 and, believe it or not, this wasn’t as rare an occurrence as you might think. The reason the occasion stands out in my memory is not because of my act of drying the dishes, but … Continue reading A Deeper Dive