Depth Over Distance

Far too much of the school model is built upon the principle of coverage. The teacher’s primary duty is to get through the curriculum in order to prepare their learners for exams that similarly prioritise the testing of memory. When you prioritise curriculum coverage, you do two things that undermine lifelong learning: You imply thatContinue reading “Depth Over Distance”

Check your work!

How to check your writing effectively. Teachers often tell their students of the importance of checking their work. “Always check your work.”“Make sure you leave enough time to check your answers.”“Don’t forget to read back what you’ve written.” But telling has very little effect when students don’t know what it means or how to doContinue reading “Check your work!”

Is Critical Thinking Domain Specific?

There is an increasing and welcome push for teaching Critical Thinking in schools, but there is also a staunch resistance. The opposition is built, as far as I have observed, on two main pillars:  There’s already enough on teachers’ plates without adding one more thing; Critical Thinking relies on domain specific knowledge. I’ll address bothContinue reading “Is Critical Thinking Domain Specific?”

What I Mean When I Say No Homework

As with most things on Social Media, I tend to express a significantly simplified version of my position on Homework in most interactions. I present myself as being anti-homework, and broadly speaking this is true. But it is of course nowhere near a full, nuanced explanation of my opinion. The truth is, I think thereContinue reading “What I Mean When I Say No Homework”

Conversations about Handwriting

I’ve found myself engaged in three different conversations about handwriting this week, so I thought I’d offload some of my thoughts here. 1. Cursive This one, granted, is an ongoing debate among teachers as a whole, not just a conversation I’m having, but it has been brought back to the fore lately on the backContinue reading “Conversations about Handwriting”

Are you a Conquerer or an Explorer?

As the old adage goes: “Opinions; everyone’s got one!” (That’s the clean version, of course!) But it’s not just *what* opinions you hold that matters; it also matters how you got them. One important distinction that I’ve always been very conscious of is between Formed opinions and Received opinions. Formed opinions being conclusions that youContinue reading “Are you a Conquerer or an Explorer?”

Conformity or Respect?

I recently had a conversation with some teachers about rules in the classroom. I started by asking them what rules they would establish in their classrooms, and I gave them some time in groups to write up their lists before comparing and discussing and narrowing them down to a single list that all groups agreedContinue reading “Conformity or Respect?”

The Layered Trouble with Learning Styles

I’ve written many times about the problem of learning styles, but today I want to examine a new wrinkle in the old problem. 1. Learning Styles as an approach to teaching has been thoroughly disproven and debunked. Yet still somewhere between 50 and 80% of teachers believe that it is real and should form theContinue reading “The Layered Trouble with Learning Styles”

The “No Grade” Paradox

The idea of “going gradeless” is still new to most teachers, and still not attractive to many. But it is growing in popularity quite rapidly, and an increasing number of teachers now agree that a no-grade approach to teaching and learning is something like an ideal. However, many teachers also consider it one of theContinue reading “The “No Grade” Paradox”

What are Schema, and why do they need to be Activated?

Having heavily interconnected schema is a very powerful way of both remembering new things and applying knowledge in novel ways. In this post, I’ll explain both of these points in more detail.