Malcolm Swan – a few memories about my PhD supervisor

Malcolm was a kind-hearted supervisor. His real passion was designing mathematical tasks. I was lucky enough to become his PhD student at the Shell Centre in the University of Nottingham in 2010. The Shell Centre provided me with funding to evaluate the impact of the Bowland Professional Development materials on secondary mathematics teachers’ beliefs andContinue reading “Malcolm Swan – a few memories about my PhD supervisor”

Trolling, abuse and harassment on Twitter: the context of education (eduTwitter)

I will begin with a little context, for those of you who are not involved in education and social media in the UK. The issues of trolling, abuse, harassment, free speech on social media are general, so it is probably worth you tolerating an explanation of context to begin. Following this are my own views about how to deal withContinue reading “Trolling, abuse and harassment on Twitter: the context of education (eduTwitter)”

The learning styles debate: a triumph of rationality over criticality

A number of well-meaning and well-intentioned neuroscientists and psychologists signed a letter in today’s Guardian saying that the concept of Learning Styles has no evidential base. Learning styles are well and truly debunked. https://www.theguardian.com/education/2017/mar/12/no-evidence-to-back-idea-of-learning-styles I don’t disagree. What alarms me is the prioritisation and politicisation of this issue. Learning styles have been attributed, as a bêteContinue reading “The learning styles debate: a triumph of rationality over criticality”

Blob life: overwhelmed by knowledge

Yesterday, at about 4pm, work kind of ground to a halt. I found myself distracted, with a nagging feeling that I should be revising a paper, but not actually being able to bring myself to it. I did the pretty routine job of dealing with emails, emails that did not require much conscious thought. Satisfying inContinue reading “Blob life: overwhelmed by knowledge”

I am a grammar school dropout

As the new Prime Minister, Theresa May, floats the idea of a return to grammar schools, the debate about social mobility rages. And I tweeted I went to grammar school, that I left at 15 with one O Level. https://twitter.com/SteveWatson10/status/762583186798960640 But my story is not so straightforward. It is a story about me, grammar schools, comprehensives,Continue reading “I am a grammar school dropout”

Honest, ill-judged or deeply cynical? Nicky Morgan at the NASUWT conference

At first sight, a brave act. Following what has already become a deeply controversial education White Paper, proposing the forced academisation of all schools in England, Secretary of State for Education, Nicky Morgan addressed the NASUWT annual conference this morning in Birmingham. A tough gig by anyone’s standards. I am a little puzzled why sheContinue reading “Honest, ill-judged or deeply cynical? Nicky Morgan at the NASUWT conference”

It’s good to talk

This I wrote earlier this year in response to furious ‘debates’ on twitter about pedagogy. I decided to post it on my blog in response to this tweet. This is not the only piece of research that establishes that evidence alone does not change people’s views. This study has many implications for education research: "WhyContinue reading “It’s good to talk”

Political activism and the educator

The Labour Party leadership campaign this summer motivated me to become more politically active. Jeremy Corbyn’s campaign represented a chance for greater democracy and fairness. I felt that for the first time in my life there was a chance that things could change. Importantly, I believed I had the power to contribute to change. Within a shortContinue reading “Political activism and the educator”

Into the VAK uum

This is a response to Peter, but also some more general points about VAK and learning styles. I acknowledge that there is much evidence that using VAK learning styles is not that useful in schools. However, the evidence is equivocal. Most importantly, there is so much more to learning theory. If then, as it has beenContinue reading “Into the VAK uum”

Mass debate about education: my top 1000 priorities for schools

New in at number one (as correctly prompted by Sue Cowley) Children’s mental health. Improvements in social justice and reductions in inequality. Increasing democratic participation and decision-making for students, parents, communities and teachers. Increasing democratic accountability of schools to local communities. Improve professional standing of teachers, ensure appropriate work-life balance, fair pay and conditions. Teacher well-beingContinue reading “Mass debate about education: my top 1000 priorities for schools”