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Schools and teachers are constrained by accountability and assessment regimes. However, in my experience schools and teachers have a great deal of agency - they can and do respond very differently to similar external pressures. For example ...continue reading "Teachers have more power than they think"


Collins English Dictionary defines curriculum as "all the different courses of study that are taught in a school, college, or university".  This is a rather narrow definition, focussing as it does on the explicit curriculum. I am going to redefine curriculum as what students need to learn (with my focus being specifically on what school age learners need to learn). ...continue reading "Some thoughts on curriculum"

Collins English Dictionary defines pedagogy as "the study and theory of the methods and principles of teaching". Personally I think that is too teacher centric, so I am going to use pedagogy to mean the theory and practices of (effective) ways to support human learning. ...continue reading "Some thoughts on pedagogy"

We know that summative assessment drives practice in schools. We also know that current forms of summative assessment inhibit both curriculum and pedagogical innovation because of their focus on 'knowledge' (as viewed in a knowledge based curriculum). The challenge is to find new forms of summative assessment which satisfy the criteria against which they will be judged. Those criteria should include: ...continue reading "Characteristics of effective summative assessment"

What is a knowledge based curriculum?

I was in a school recently that described itself as having a 'knowledge-based curriculum'. Walking round the school with the head the key elements of this, which seem to be common across most secondary schools that I have visited, were: ...continue reading "Why is a knowledge based curriculum no longer fit for purpose?"

By Roger Broadie

Having spent 35 years of my life trying to help schools embrace the digital revolution, that has so dramatically changed almost every other aspect of life, my conclusions on why schools seem so resistant have come as a shock. But there have to be reasons why ...continue reading "The digital revolution is irrelevant to schools"

Michael Merrick (@michael_merrick)
Scratch the surface of the ‘21st century skills’ brigade, & the justification you always seem to get revolves around serving the market/business/tech sector. Which is more dystopian (and properly Gradgrindian) than any school getting a bit over-zealous with a knowledge curriculum

I feel this needs a response of more than 280 characters. So here it is ...  ...continue reading "21st century skills are important because …"


This post attempts to summarise a Twitter thread about how to encourage student questions which went viral in August 2018. @MrsSasser ’s initial post explained how apparently small changes in the way she asked students if they had any questions had a massive impact on the number of questions that they asked. ...continue reading "Helping students to ask questions"

Educational alignment - purpose, policy, practice, visionWe know that alignment matters in education (Butler et al 2018), particularly between purpose, policy, practice and your educational vision, as represented in the diagram above. However, ...continue reading "Educational alignment (and sociocultural theory)"

In my previous post on sociocultural theory I attempted to explain the three analytical levels of context (constitutive order, arena, and setting). The setting is about people in action - it is about the interplay between the identities of the people involved and the opportunities made available by the arena.

Your identity is ...continue reading "Trying to explain sociocultural theory – part 2 – identity"