Why bother with ‘turn & talk’?
The Learning Spy | Brain food for the thinking teacher
by David Didau
6d ago
Beyond the notion that it's nice for students to chat, or 'do oracy,' is there any real merit in getting them to talk to each other during lessons? Recently on Twitter, Barry Smith got in touch to go over all the things he sees that regularly go wrong with 'turn & talk': Kids don’t ..read more
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Messy markbooks: how to monitor participation in lessons
The Learning Spy | Brain food for the thinking teacher
by David Didau
5M ago
Since taking the plunge with mini-whiteboards (see this post) over the past few years my ability to know whether students are paying attention, thinking and practising has dramatically increased. Because I'm usually teaching groups of children I've not met before, I always draw out a seating plan and make sure I have everyone's names ..read more
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Attention, meaning & consolidation: matching technique to purpose
The Learning Spy | Brain food for the thinking teacher
by David Didau
5M ago
It's become increasingly clear to me that training teachers on how to use pedagogical techniques is of limited use. Over the past year or so I've lost count of the times I've watched a teacher act on feedback, improve how how they are, say, cold calling, or using a visualiser or mini-whiteboard, and yet ..read more
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Earned autonomy and shared responsibility
The Learning Spy | Brain food for the thinking teacher
by David Didau
5M ago
Having just gotten around to reading Matthew Evans' blog, The Earned Autonomy Trap, I feel moved to break my blogging silence of the past few months. In my book, Intelligent Accountability, I present earned autonomy as one of the principles required to balance trust and accountability and help create the conditions for teachers to ..read more
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In defence of accountability
The Learning Spy | Brain food for the thinking teacher
by David Didau
1y ago
This weekend saw Joe Kirby publish a thoughtful blog in which he calls for an end to Quality Assurance. I agree with Joe's analysis of the cause of poor accountability - or QA - but not his suggested solutions. In his blog, Joe says that "QA warps time, trust, thinking, teaching, leadership and learning ..read more
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OAT English curriculum project
The Learning Spy | Brain food for the thinking teacher
by David Didau
1y ago
Since January 2020 I've been working for Omiston Academies Trust as their Senior Lead for English. Over that time I and the amazing team of lead practitioners I lead have created what we think is a fantastic English curriculum. Not only have we been working on a book which will explain the entire process ..read more
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When retrieval practice goes wrong (and how to get it right)
The Learning Spy | Brain food for the thinking teacher
by David Didau
1y ago
Whenever a practice becomes mandated there seems to be a tendency for it to lethally mutate. When I first started writing about retrieval practice (or the testing effect as we used to call it) many people were surprised by the finding that attempting to dredge something up from memory was a more effective way ..read more
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Using mini whiteboards in English
The Learning Spy | Brain food for the thinking teacher
by David Didau
1y ago
According to TeacherTapp, 72% primary and 45% secondary teachers use mini whiteboards (MWBs.) There are big variations between different subjects in secondaries with 69% of MFL and 57% science teachers claiming to use them but just 28% of English teachers. Why might this be? Are MFL and science lessons just better suited to using MWBs ..read more
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Implementing English: five useful teaching strategies
The Learning Spy | Brain food for the thinking teacher
by David Didau
1y ago
Working across 43 schools means I get to see a lot of English lessons and talk to a fair number of English teachers. I've learned from every single one of our schools and, working with my colleagues in the English lead practitioner team, have been working to combine and refine many of the great ideas ..read more
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Flat packed curriculum
The Learning Spy | Brain food for the thinking teacher
by David Didau
1y ago
“It is so easy to be wrong – and to persist in being wrong – when the costs of being wrong are paid by others.” Thomas Sowell Why do we buy so much flat pack furniture? First, it's many times more affordable than bespoke hand-made furniture, and second, it also saves us the not inconsiderable ..read more
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