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 ResearchEd Rugby on July 1st 2017: The Conversational Classroom #rEDRugby
Late last year I had a long conversation with Peter Hyman in which we looked at areas of agreement in our education philosophies and areas where we disagree. This conversation took place within the walls of Windsor Castle, a most un-revolutionary backdrop, steeped in history, a place beautifully unencumbered by 21st Century thinking, unless you count the aeroplanes … More School 21, A ‘Conversation’ With Peter Hyman.
AQA state that: A-level Government and Politics enables students to develop their critical thinking skills and enhance their ability to interpret, evaluate and comment on the nature of politics. For a teacher this is quite a challenge, especially in ‘politically charged’ days like these. Days in which the ‘politically impartial’ speaker of the House of … More Katie Hopkins, Denial, and Teaching ‘Critical Thinking’
The only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilised community, against his will, is to prevent harm to others. His own good, either physical or moral, is not a sufficient warrant. JS Mill This week saw Milo Yiannopoulos banned after discussions with the DfE’s Counter Extremism Unit from … More On Milo and Free Speech in Schools
Creating a culture of speech in your classroom means having everyone doing it, not simply those that are willing – do not let students ‘hide’. Andrew Fitch, from the book: Trivium in Practice In a piece for the TES, Jonathan Simons, head of Education for Policy Exchange, wrote about the importance of debating: To debate, participants … More The Importance of Debate in Schools
Should a classroom be a safe space? Let’s unpick that a bit, should it be a space in which mortal danger can occur? Should it be a space from which a child is lucky to get out alive? If we take it to mean this then yes, a classroom should be a safe space, but should … More A Classroom Should not be a Safe Space
Remember that you are a human being with a soul and the divine gift of articulate speech: that your native language is the language of Shakespeare and Milton and the Bible; and don’t sit there crooning like a bilious pigeon. Henry Higgins to Eliza Doolittle. Pygmalion by George Bernard Shaw. It is also the language of … More Voices Joined, Not Silenced.