"Big issues"

Let’s be honest about this - not all blog posts are of equal significance. Some are topical - but become less so with the passing of time. Some are of specialised interest - and their significance is very much in the eyes of the beholder.  But some deal with “big” ideas - concepts that are worth protecting from the obscurity of the archives file.  This is my selection of those posts (minus posts listed on the other pages).

I spent a long long time researching effective schooling and 21st Century skills.  There is a wealth of material out there - containing much common ground.  I developed a simple mnemonic to help guide educational practice - remember the mnemonic, implement it, and you will be following the recommended practice of many educational theorists.

The more I practice the luckier I get.
Carol Dweck’s amazingly simple “growth mindset” approach should, in my opinion,  be included in every teacher training course.  It is worth noting that this “simple” approach is actually at odds with a lot of current practice in schools - essentially it replaces meaningless grades and extrinsic motivation with teaching personal growth,  achieving goals and a belief in effort rather than innate ability.

When a myth becomes a legend
Essentially a challenge to the entrenched notion of “learning styles”.  Just because a belief is wide-spread doesn’t mean it is correct.

Project Based Learning - meaningful action or merely activity?
In support of the notion of project based learning - what are the essential features that lead to effective learning rather than just “group work”?  Basically in support of PBL and somewhat at odds with traditional subject based delivery.

The Crayola Curriculum Continues
How well do lessons align with curriculum objectives?  How much teaching is really “busy work” in disguise?  Includes a discussion of the volume of photocopies used in classrooms.

How to win the best schools competition - don’t play the game!
It is widely reported that Finland consistently out performs the rest of the western world in terms of performance on PISA testing.  Ironically, Finland makes minimal use of “high stakes” testing. A discussion about the usefulness or otherwise of such testing programs on school performance.

“Well duh!” – Alfie Kohn
What are some of the firmly entrenched but difficult to defend aspects of modern education?
Includes a slide show made to illustrate a chapter from Alfie Kohn’s book “Feel bad education”.

What can QWERTY teach us about education?
At first glance it may seem that the humble keyboard layout has minimal connection with education. But the  QWERTY layout is a survivor – despite having outlived the reasons that it was devised.  The same can be said for much of our educational practices.

Educational reform - start with asking the right questions
Educational reform is a huge task.  Where is the best place to start? Perhaps by asking some very basic questions that are fundamental to the nature of learning.   This post is based on an academic paper that addresses this issue.