“Ability ain’t a thing!” as Lucy Rycroft-Smith points us in the direction of this article surrounding ability thinking. Research from Carol Dweck et al. shows that students and teachers having a fixed mindset with regard to ability is damaging and leads to the labels we place on children as being self-fulfilling prophecies.
“Ability is a thing… it’s just widely misunderstood” according to the blog here from David Didau. A counter argument.
Achievement often leads to motivation but motivation doesn’t always lead to achievement. “At the end of the day, the research reviewed shows that the effect of achievement on self-concept is stronger that the effect of self-concept on achievement” Daniel Muijis and David Reynolds (2011). Let’s get rid of posters on growth mindset and generic assemblies and concentrate on allowing students to experience success – one of the key drivers of intrinsic motivation.
Active practise: the key to vocabulary from Teach Like a Champion. The idea of not playing “guess what’s in my head” when teaching vocabulary. Teach the definition and then get students practise using the vocabulary in different contexts. More here from Teach Like A Champion, also here (part 1) and here (part 2) from Tom Needham.
Amir Arezoo – A deputy headteacher and maths teacher in Yorkshire who’s blogs are excellent – https://theleandepartment.wordpress.com/ and https://mrarezoo.wordpress.com/. Hear him on the Mr. Barton Podcast here.
Analogies are useful when introducing new concepts to make the abstract more concrete but there must be a point when we allow the student to move towards the abstract and away from the analogy. Blog here. Another here, specific to Science from Nick Rose
Ask the Cognitive Scientist – The American Federation for teachers website has a fantastic set of articles named “Ask the Cognitive Scientist” – here is one on visual, auditory and kinesthetic learning styles – one of the biggest fads to grace education.
Aspirations – raising aspirations of children and families of those children is so important at every opportunity. Some children have low aspirations due to a lack of confidence and due to never seeing or feeling successful. We can change that! Article from SecEd here. Report from the Department of Education here. Findings from 2016 Cambridge study here.
Assessment isn’t a swear word – the way assessments are used is really important. They should be used to diagnose student areas for development and then to plan intervention to be carried out within planned curriculum time. Blog here from Blake Harvard. 5 Core Strategies here from Dylan Wiliam – the king of formative assessment. Blake Harvard writes a blog here about how to get students to reflect on how they know what they know. Blog here on breaking useless assessment habits here from Stephen Tierney. 5 tips for using assessment effectively here from SchoolsWeek.
Assessing doesn’t have to involve testing and not all tests are assessments.
Atomisation of content – the breaking down of a unit into sub-concepts, each of which can be taught explicitly and then connected later. This blog from Kris Boulton is superb (My Best Planning Part 1).
Attendance is one of, if not THE most important areas for a school to get right. Students who have a 90% attendance still miss 1 day every 2 weeks! “If your child has 95% attendance s/he will miss 10 days of school this year and 50 days during their time at school. With only 90% attendance s/he will miss 20 days and that’s 100 days during her/his secondary education. These lost school days can’t be replaced.” There is aNudging Better Attendance blog from Stephen Tierney @leadinglearner here. Article from the Guardian here. Report from DofE (2013) here.
Attention – “pupils remember what they attend to.” Peps McCrea.
Automaticity is vital to free up space in working memory for critical thinking and problem solving. We want students to have deep, durable knowledge that is readily accessed upon request. Daniel Willingham talks about this here.