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Yesterday, I wrote a post explaining that important as the quality of teaching in a school is, there are other, more important things on which to concentrate. In response, Katharine Birbalsingh, head mistress of Michaela School tweeted this: I agree with lots of this but @DavidDidau misses a, if not THE most important thing: kids

The post Is love the most important thing? appeared first on David Didau: The Learning Spy.

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As John Tomsett says in his latest blog, “It is generally accepted that the quality of teaching is the most influential factor in determining the rate at which pupils make progress in their learning – broadly speaking, the better the teaching, the more progress pupils make over time.” Here, I want to argue that teaching,

The post Teaching maters, but there are more important things to get right appeared first on David Didau: The Learning Spy.

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Having launched a stream of invective against the use of ‘balance’ as a weasel word in my last post, I want to offer a more nuanced take on what I think balance ought to mean. I see the purpose of a curriculum as being to introduce students to that knowledge which will be of most

The post A broad and balanced approach to English teaching and the curriculum appeared first on David Didau: The Learning Spy.

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Balance is an obviously good thing, isn’t it? After all, who wants to be unbalanced? “What is it indeed that gives us the feeling of elegance in a solution, in a demonstration?” asked the mathematician Henri Poincaré. “It is the harmony of the diverse parts, their symmetry, their happy balance; in a word it is all

The post When “balance” goes bad appeared first on David Didau: The Learning Spy.

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Sitting an exam is, for most people, an inherently stressful situation. People have been sitting exams since at least the Sui dynasty in China (581-618 CE) when prospective entrants to the Imperial civil service took a series of examinations of their knowledge of classic Confucian texts and commentaries. Those who passed the imperial palace examinations at

The post Are the new GCSE exams causing mental health problems? appeared first on David Didau: The Learning Spy.

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We can call everything stored in our long-term memories knowledge. All knowledge is biological – stored in the organic substance of our brains – and everything stored biologically is knowledge. If you call some of the stuff that occupies our minds anything other than knowledge then you have to explain how it would be stored.

The post Teaching knowledge is teaching skill appeared first on David Didau: The Learning Spy.

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A recent blog post made some interesting assertions about knowledge. In doing so it presented a series of opinions as facts. In order to confront the troublesome nature of knowledge we should address  these claims head on and so to do so I will do them the courtesy of treating them as if they are

The post The trouble with troublesome knowledge appeared first on David Didau: The Learning Spy.

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I normally round up my favourite reads at the end of the year but I’ve read so many really excellent books so far this year that I decided to put them out there now. Who knows? Maybe you’ll consider picking one of them up to peruse over the summer. In no particular order… Factfulness: 10

The post The best books I’ve read so far this year… appeared first on David Didau: The Learning Spy.

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Apparently, Mary Bousted, joint general secretary of the NEU teaching union has announced that England is “hurtling forward to a rosy past” with its emphasis on knowledge. She is reported as having said the following: As an English teacher, I have no problem with Shakespeare, with Pope, with Dryden, with Shelley. … But I knew in

The post The problem with dead white men appeared first on David Didau: The Learning Spy.

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Everyone knows what’s needed to turn around a struggling school: strong leadership. In order for it to be deemed necessary for school to be consigned to ‘special measures,’ something has to have gone badly wrong. It’s more than likely true that poor leadership will be at the heart of the problem. So, the school is

The post The illusion of leadership appeared first on David Didau: The Learning Spy.

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