Excellent Explanations (Part 1)

Excellent Explanations Part In this first of a series of blog posts, I want to argue for the power of accurate, clear and efficient teacher explanations in the learning process and why they are so important. Teaching is Explaining: A lesson learnt Part way through my first year of teaching I delivered a maths lesson… Continue reading Excellent Explanations (Part 1)

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3 ways to make sense of ‘teaching mistakes’.

Today, I was observed by teachers in the first year of their training. The lesson they observed was a ‘research’ based lesson on the planets as part of our Space topic. I ambitiously planned for this to be a two step process: my pupils were to come up with their own questions about their planet… Continue reading 3 ways to make sense of ‘teaching mistakes’.

(3) Classroom Relationships and The Power of Warm/Strict

This comic has been used with kind permission from Scott Hubeny. My last two posts (found here and here) have been a bit too theoretical. Here's for something a bit more practical... Stretching over three decades, research conducted by Wubbels (2013) suggests that teachers who combine maintaining high expectations for learning with ‘friendly’ characteristics (such… Continue reading (3) Classroom Relationships and The Power of Warm/Strict

(2) What makes a great teacher – pupil relationship?

In my previous post, I discussed whether teacher pupil relationships have an impact on learning outcomes. What was evident from some of the research out there is that it is essential for productive student engagement, which leads to high motivation in pupils to learn. In a nutshell, it is a fundamental component of the ‘precondition(s) for… Continue reading (2) What makes a great teacher – pupil relationship?

(1) Teacher – Pupil Relationships: How important are they?

Image from tes.com If my school was defined by it’s socio-economic context, it would be destined for poor results, dreadful behaviour and high staff turnover. On the contrary, it is none of these things. The children are polite, kind and they enjoy school (of course there are always a few exceptions). Many members of staff… Continue reading (1) Teacher – Pupil Relationships: How important are they?

Mister Tom the Master Teacher

This post follows on from two previous posts, found here and here about teaching metaphors. This is by no means a new metaphor but I think this character allows a great perspective on our role as primary teachers. Writing about where the story of ‘Goodnight Mister Tom’ came from, Michelle Magorian described how she started… Continue reading Mister Tom the Master Teacher

Seating students for engagement – what does (some of) the evidence say?

In my last post, I raised three issues with group seating as standard in the primary classroom. Of the three considered, only two had any sort of pedagogical value. The arguments related to group seating supporting group teaching and collaboration both at their cores assumed that the configuration of furniture should support teaching. This is… Continue reading Seating students for engagement – what does (some of) the evidence say?

3 issues with ‘group seating’ in the classroom…

      Two days ago I set up my tables and chairs for the new school year. It took me a lot longer and more thinking time than I originally planned. Two years ago I was told to always have my tables set up so that children were in groups of four or six.… Continue reading 3 issues with ‘group seating’ in the classroom…

The Everyday Metaphors of Teaching: ‘Guide on the Side’

In my last post, building on Maxwell’s (2015) work, I outlined the inevitability of metaphor in our discourse as teachers and how understanding this in our profession can help us shed light on what our metaphors exaggerate but also hide. I posed two questions: With what metaphors in mind are we to teach? What evidence… Continue reading The Everyday Metaphors of Teaching: ‘Guide on the Side’

The Everyday Metaphors of Teaching: Problems and Solutions

It's an elephant guys - come on. Metaphor is so deeply embedded into the language of teaching that Greene (1973) argues that it would be possible to organise a history of educational ideas around recurring metaphors. As early as 1553, the classical humanist view of educators was as ‘gardeners’ (Rabelias, 1991). Rousseau (1979) saw the… Continue reading The Everyday Metaphors of Teaching: Problems and Solutions