I have had the privilege in the last week listen to intelligent and passionate speakers debating a wide range of issues at the HowTheLightGetsIn festival in Hay-on-Wye. On Monday these included two debates about feminism: one focused on the diverse approaches taken by different feminist activists, and the other specifically about the gender biases in science, historically and today.
I also attended other debates about equality, “meritocracy” and free speech, among others. These were all fascinating conversations that I felt lucky to be a part of. I was able to ask questions at the end of these debates, and on several occasions to speak with the debaters face to face immediately following the events.
I also had the further privilege in the previous week of interviewing candidates for Deputy Head of Science roles in the department where I begin my first Head of Science post in September.
It occurred to me today that the situation in which I find myself puts me in a perfect position to pursue the goals I see as vitally important in science education when I begin my new job in September. To explain why requires a little more context regarding the department I will be leading.
Continue reading “Teaching future feminists”
- Everyone has the right to their own ambitions
- Nobody has the right to define anyone else’s level of ability
- Everyone deserves dignity, respect and space to express themselves
- A teacher’s job is to teach as effectively as they can
- A student’s job is to learn as much as they can
- Hard work and grit are to be celebrated
- No one should be lazy or rude
- Language is powerful and creates our world
- There is only one Earth, and we all live on it. Respect it
- Think for yourself
If I am to maintain my integrity in my work life, my actions need to match my values.
This is a first attempt at putting those values into language and I hope to refine them and most importantly to act in line with them, without worrying about who might be upset!
My school has produced a first draft proposal for a new assessment framework relating to the new GCSE grades, and looking to move to a system without levels.
The gist of it is: a student comes into school, and based on their prior attainment they’re set a ‘projected grade’. This is the minimum expected GCSE grade (e.g. grade 5).
Teachers will use this to set a professional target.
In each year, the same grading system will be used, so a student should in theory progress from grade 5 in Year 7 to grade 5 in Year 11, with each subject setting the standards against which these judgements will be made.
As I spent some time on my response to this first draft proposal, I thought it would be worth sharing more widely. Below is my response. I’d be interested to know what you think.
Continue reading “Assessment without levels – prologue”
Curiosity comes first
Embrace the mess
(Thanks to Ramsey Musallam, via TED http://on.ted.com/cxcI)
More or less in order, these have been read in the last three years or so, and have had major impacts on how and what I think:
Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (1991) Flow: The psychology of optimal experience
Daniel H. Pink (2009) Drive: the surprising truth behind what motivates us
Matt Ridley (2010) The Rational Optimist: how prosperity evolves
Daniel Kahnemann (2011) Thinking, Fast and Slow
Carol S. Dweck (2006) Mindset: how you can fulfil your potential
Jim Collins (2001) Good to Great: why some companies make the leap… and others don’t AND (2006) Good to Great and the Social Sectors
Patrick Lencioni (2004) Death by Meeting: a leadership fable about solving the most painful problem in business
Daniel T. Willingham (2009) Why Don’t Students Like School? A cognitive scientist answers questions about how the mind works and what it means for the classroom
John-Paul Flintoff (2012) How to Change the World
Read a longer time ago, but had a lasting influence: Continue reading “A (non-fiction) reading list – but no descriptions, yet”
This is the literature review on p5 of this research report called “Focus on Formative Feedback”, published in 2007.
I’ve posted this so I can refer to it if anyone asks me where the evidence comes from next time I assert that students should not regularly have graded feedback!
In a nutshell:
- Meta-analyses have shown negative effects of feedback on student achievement in many cases
- This is if the feedback is, for example
- Seen as ‘critical’
- Linked to grades (that allow students to compare performance with peers)
- An interruption
Continue reading “Marking without grades”
Written as part of #blogsync3: “Wasted investment? Why do so many teachers leave the profession in the first 5 years?”
To find other posts on this topic, please visit share.edutronic.net/teacher-attrition/ Rather than write about the reasons that teachers leave the profession, I thought I would suggest how it could be avoided.
Why people leave teaching (paraphrased from another post in this month’s #blogsync by James McEnaney)
- They made the wrong decision – teaching is not for them
- They find other opportunities more suited to them
- A major life event makes it impossible to stay with the job
- They become disillusioned because of
- Being micro-managed
- A lack of support from senior management
- Being stifled by systems that put constraints on their creativity and innovation
How the issue of ‘disillusionment’ be addressed?
Middle and senior leaders must find that happy balance between providing guidance and direction, while putting trust in teachers and supporting their ideas.
Continue reading “How can disillusionment be addressed? #BLOGSYNC”
[Note: This is the text of an email I sent to the science teaching staff at my school in November 2012, after reading one of the school’s weekly Staff Bulletins containing no references to learning. I am pleased to say that these Bulletins now regularly contain references to learning, and to a new teacher-led Teaching and Learning Forum]
What we want: students who are resilient; who carry a ‘growth mindset’; who feel challenged and motivated; who are happy; and who know how to learn.
What this will look like: students are happy
Continue reading “Ideas to improve learning”