Here are my slides and an accompanying YouTube video of me chatting away about Bertolt Brecht. Some of it might be of interest to those currently teaching and/or studying Brecht’s theatrical theory and practice. I hope some of you find it to be of use! Plus if you spot any “deliberate” mistakes please alert me … More Teaching Brecht
A curriculum can sometimes seem like one damn thing after another, especially if taught in blocks or thought of as a journey connecting different topics as you go from A to Y with Z being an exam. In an A level course with a syllabus demanding certain topics be studied, end of term exams, a … More Organising Knowledge: On Triangles and Ts and Russian Dolls.
The aim of education is the knowledge, not of facts, but of values. – William Ralph Inge “The Training of the Reason” Do we know that torturing or killing a person for entertainment is wrong? Or is it that we just find it unpalatable? Is it merely guesswork on our part, is truth, outside of … More On A Knowledge-Rich Curriculum
Today’s identity politics has another interesting feature: it teaches students to think in a way antithetical to what a liberal arts education should do. When I was at Yale in the 1980s, I was given so many tools for understanding the world. By the time I graduated, I could think about things as a Utilitarian … More The Narrowing Curriculum
The Sutton Trust report ‘Life Lessons, Improving essential life skills for young people’ (Oct 2017) makes interesting reading. There is much to discuss within its pages. One of the things that stood out for me is the need to teach written and spoken communication ‘skills’* including debate, argument, speech and the art of conversation. When asked … More If Teachers Want Confident Pupils They Should Teach Them to Communicate Well
In these days of very little time or space on a timetable it is still heartening to know that some schools are trying to make a space where children can be taught in a way that celebrates education for its own sake. Paradoxically this approach might have benefits beyond education, as Stefan Collini puts it: … More History of Thought
I think the three ‘Rs’ of Reading wRiting and aRithmetic should be expanded to the four Rs and include Rhetoric or oRacy, in other words: talk should be an essential core component of a good education. Schools should do their utmost to ensure children read well, write well, do their sums well and talk well. … More Classroom Talk, Some Thoughts on the EEF Report…
Here are the slides in PDF format from my talk at the Telegraph Festival of Education at Wellington College on 22nd June 2017: You Can’t Teach The Best That Has Been Thought and Said
Here are the slides in PDF format from my talk at ResearchEd Rugby on July 1st 2017: The Conversational Classroom #rEDRugby
Traditional education is problematic. If it was perfect then there would be no cogent arguments against it. As Dewey made clear, what he termed as progressive education was a reaction due to “discontent with traditional education.” This discontent is based on important ideas. Dewey described traditional education being, “…in essence, one of imposition from above and from … More The Problems With Traditional Education.