The Confident Teacher

Simple Questions to Support Change

Making positive changes in schools is incredibly hard work. It typically involves lots of teachers who are naturally inclined to protect their hard-won habits. As such, it is crucial to draw upon their experience and expertise, whilst recognising their beliefs, challenges, and sensitively handling their natural hesitations.  By asking simple questions about the acceptability, the appropriateness, and …

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Why ‘disrupting education’ doesn’t work

There are trillions of choices teachers make when they teach. This dizzying complexity makes teaching rewarding, tiring, stressful, and sometimes even thrilling.  Understandably, faced with the complexity of the classroom, teachers are necessarily creative, but they also seek out stability and tranquillity. For many teachers, hearing calls for ‘disrupting education’, or the mention of radical reform …

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10 things to know about teaching and learning

There is lots to know about the brilliantly complex act of teaching and learning. Here is my list of 10 things to know in the plainest terms possible: 1. Pupils knowing stuff helps them to learn more stuff (background knowledge). 2. It is effective and efficient to explicitly teach pupils the stuff (explicit instruction). 3. …

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The Curriculum Spiderweb

As curriculum is complex, we routinely seek out a plethora of handy metaphors and analogies to make sense of it. And so, in recent years curriculum has recently been described with a multitude of metaphors, such as a boxset (more Game of Thrones than the Simpsons), a voyage of exploration, or curriculum as narrative.  Each metaphor has explanatory …

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Is it time to KO the Knowledge Organiser?

What if tools commonly used in the classroom threaten to inhibit the learning they were developed to support? Too often, a well-meaning teaching tool can get detached from the thinking which made it useful and so its original ingredients for learning are long lost. Commonly, after a couple of years, institutional memory loss in schools …

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