With limited curriculum time, it is essential to reflect on the competing time taken up by explanation, practice and feedback.
This post covers: Why biology is more than just facts; Why I write my own 'textbooks'; How I write my own Biology 'mastery' textbooks - in 6 steps; An example of one of my textbooks. 1. Why Biology is more than just facts "Biology is just lots of facts." I hate this statement - one … Continue reading Writing Biology Mastery Textbooks
Systems in schools often fail for two reasons. Firstly, the workload-to-impact ratio is unfavourable. Secondly, the culture in the school hasn't united staff to pick fruits from trees growing in the same philosophical soil. Both of these contribute to an increased workload that can be diminished; the second and third of my three Cs of eliminating … Continue reading Workload: solutions part II – why do systems in schools fail?
In my previous post of this series, I explained why high workload is not only damaging to a teacher and his pupils in a given year - for it forces him to spread his limited resources thinly - but is also damaging to his longevity in the profession. I expressed that a framework of ethical leadership … Continue reading Workload: Solutions Part I
Workload is a huge concern for teachers. In many cases, teachers are doing work they know is not impacting their pupil. This is both frustrating and demotivating. In other cases, some school leaders are explicitly or implicitly signalling to teachers that in a profession like teaching, we must make personal sacrifices if we are to … Continue reading Workload: Insights from Evolutionary Theory
Assessment has seen a lot of evolution recently. New accountability measures across Key Stages recently has forced schools to re-consider their models. To adapt, a few teachers in my science department have been reading Daisy Christodoulou's lucid new book on assessment: Making Good Progress? We have also been reading various books, blogs & research papers to help us … Continue reading Evolution of Our Science Assessment Model: CogSci & Christodoulou
Dual-coding is a very effective tool in teaching when used correctly. For me, the use of an academically rigorous piece of writing supported by a simple but clear image has a powerful impact on pupil learning. Equally, a verbal explanation to go along with a simple image has huge merit. I don't claim to be an … Continue reading Dual-coding in Science
In the denouement of one of my favourite films, Ratatouille, restaurant food critic, Anton Ego poignantly states: "Not everyone can become a great artist, but a great artist can come from anywhere." Anton Ego Given the right conditions, if someone has it in them, they can thrive to achieve great things. If that same person (or rat) … Continue reading Social Mobility – Purpose of Schools?
When I began teaching, I used to use questioning for two main reasons. Firstly, as a way of eliciting ideas I desired pupils to construct. For example, if I was teaching pupils about experimental design, I might ask them why they thought we have only one independent variable in an experiment and lead pupils to … Continue reading Evolution of my Pedagogy III: Questioning
I've been refining the way I teach equations in science for a while now, and think I've found a way that is reaping good results. The key principles are as follows: No matter what the content or equation, I always get pupils to follow one method. It works for every equation in Biology, Chemistry and Physics. Drill pupils … Continue reading Equations in Science