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.
It’s what you do, not how you label it that matters. What is the difference between ‘disciplinary’ and ‘substantive’ knowledge and what other ways might there be of organising knowledge? In this excellent article Christine Counsell explains that: “Substantive knowledge is the content that teachers teach as established fact – whether common convention, concept or … More Ofsted and Knowledge.
Here is a video of a talk I gave in the Netherlands, and the accompanying slides should you wish to follow the fun. You can download a pdf of the slides below… (might take a bit of time to download… Hopefully not too long)
Describing our viewpoints on the world, Mary Midgley used the analogy of an aquarium with a number of murky windows through which people could peer. If we think of the aquarium as a whole as ‘reality and truth’ and each window being a perspective through which we can gaze upon that reality, we can begin … More Cultural Mobility
Initially appealing, at least to me, the idea of cultural capital has begun to worry me. Though not coined by someone who admitted to being a Marxist, Pierre Bourdieu did draw quite heavily on Marxist thinking when it came to expounding his thesis. It is about power. Simply put, if you speak posh, go on … More Some Problems with Cultural Capital and Social Mobility
Knowledge organisers are gathering momentum in a number of schools. This is a good thing. Some people have misgivings about their reductive nature but many can see how they assist pupils in getting to grips with basic subject matter and being able to memorise key bits of information. There are many different designs of knowledge … More A Knowledge Organiser and the Trivium
“Education is what survives when what has been learned has been forgotten.” Is a quote often attributed to Einstein which is actually from a piece by BF Skinner called “New methods and new aims in teaching”, in New Scientist, 22(392) (21 May 1964). The quote was retweeted into my timeline today accompanied by a tweet … More Nothing Will Come From Nothing
Angela Rayner’s speech to the Labour Party conference contained many interesting ideas. The National Education Service, of course, echoes the UK’s beloved NHS: The next Labour Government will create a National Education Service, a cradle-to-grave system supporting everyone throughout their lives. It would start in the early years, where we know it has the most … More Knowledge Belongs to the Many, Not the Few
In her thoughtful essay ‘The Crisis in Education’, Hannah Arendt addresses the difficulty of teaching in the modern world. If you go into teaching with the sole purpose of making a real difference, changing the world one child at a time, you might end up doing nothing of the sort. A revolutionary or radical attitude … More The Need for a Progressive Attitude
A level results day is always a bittersweet day for me, school left me when I was sixteen and by the time many of my friends were getting their A level results I was working on a market stall selling, amongst other things, whoopee cushions and fart powder. Both products with clear results. But I … More A Level Results Day and the Polymathic Adventurer!