This approach to teaching critical thinking (CT) makes use of the ‘descriptive-not-prescriptive’ principle I introduced in this article for Innovate My School. In other words: teach by showing them (the students) what they already do rather than telling them what they should be doing but aren’t. Though I will talk about philosophy sessions, as that is my background, the principles and procedure that you will find outlined here apply to any teaching context where the teaching of CT skills will be of value, whether maths, English or P.E.
For our pupils to become able and confident mathematicians in Primary school, it is essential that they have a bank of key number facts they have learnt stored away, which they can draw on at any time. However, we must work to incorporate new ways to help them memorise these facts so that they have them at their disposal whenever they’re needed.
‘Too much to do and too little time’ is a cry I often hear in schools, and yet how is it that some people have enough time and other people don’t? An ex-colleague used to say: “If you want something doing, give it to a busy person”. So is it that busy people are better with time management, or could it be that they have less to do than they are letting on?
A boarding school pupil from Berkshire has become a star in China after appearing on the popular Super Brain 2016 memory challenge show in front of over 100m viewers late last month. 13-year old Henry Bole, a year 9 pupil at LVS (Licensed Victuallers' School) Ascot, narrowly lost out to a 21-year-old Chinese university student in a China vs United Kingdom edition of the programme. Henry had been trained by way of extra tuition from his mentor James Paterson, a teacher at leading independent all-ability school.
Deliberate questioning sparks curiosity, unlocks learners’ ideas and helps them to think deeply, gain clarity and make more sense of a range of topics, issues and concerns that are important to themselves, relationships, society and the environment - in short, the fast-changing world in which they are growing up. With the aid of a framework based upon Rudyard Kipling’s poetic “I keep six honest serving men” - WHAT? WHY? WHEN? HOW? WHERE? and WHO? - lessons can become lively and interesting. Children and young people explore, examine and reflect upon both positive and negative aspects and viewpoints of matters, problems and values and then see where their delving takes them.
I love technology. I also love teaching. You would therefore think that teaching using technology would be right up my street. However, I often hear of technology being used for technology’s sake and it makes me cringe. When applied effectively we can all agree that edtech is an incredibly effective and engaging tool. But what about the more traditional approaches to education; should we throw out decades of proven pedagogy because “there’s an app for that”? I have spent the last academic year working with small groups within my school experimenting with fusing traditional methodologies with technological advances. Pedagogy smashing if you will. What follows is a short record of some experiments from this year.
I am constantly fascinated to read new reports on how music is so good for us all! I love to read about how music helps all sorts of aspects of our lives – from improving our coordination to developing our memory, to helping us to relax and lower our blood pressure to encouraging our imagination and creativity, to help us focus and to improve our literacy and numeracy. Music is such a crucial, essential part of learning, not just for youngsters, but actually for us all.
Every day we learn more about the brain. While psychologists develop ever more sophisticated models of how we think, neuroscientists are mapping the physical and chemical architecture that underpins these thoughts. Is it possible we may finally have some real insights into how our students learn rather than well researched guess work? It is still early days but young teachers today may see the biggest intellectual sea change in education since Binet’s IQ test in 1911 and Piaget’s theories in 1920. This article summarises a few useful ideas to work on in the meantime!
Since around the year 2000, teaching has often been cited as one of the most stressful professions to be in. In 2010 the NUT recorded an enormous 81.2% of teachers admitting they experienced some kind of stress, anxiety or depression at work.