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Teaching and Learning

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My lesson observation feedback.

On Friday the Head of Maths observed my Year 7 lesson.  Today I had the feedback. It was incredibly useful; the whole process has been extremely positive.  The context is that, although I’ve taught A Level and GCSE maths several times, I’ve never taught Set 3 in Year 7 before.  I’m a novice in this … Continue reading

The Big Questions.

I am thinking of starting a series of blogs about the key issues, the big questions,  that we wrestle with in our school – and probably in every school.  So far, I have just sketched out what some of the big questions are. This will then become the homepage for this series -when I get … Continue reading

No Excuses and the Pinball Kids

Several recent blogs and twitter discussions have explored the idea of a ‘No Excuses’ behaviour policy.  As ever, I have huge problems with discourse that forces people to adopt a position from a binary choice; for or against; with us or against us.  I find myself agreeing with people on both sides of this debate. … Continue reading

Speaking frankly, oracy should be given more time.

On Tuesday 8th November, there was a publication pile-up drawing attention to the importance of oracy in the school curriculum. Staff at Highbury Grove contributed to all three: Firstly, the free online book Speaking Frankly was published by the English Speaking Union, a project coordinated by their Director of Education, Duncan Partridge.  Andrew Fitch, our Director … Continue reading

10 Teaching Essentials

This post is a companion to 10 Teaching Pitfalls. In writing this, I’ve been thinking about two sets of teachers. Firstly, I’ve been thinking about various very strong teachers I’ve known, including those who taught me, to consider what ‘essentials’ they might have in common.  (Something I’ve done many times before e.g. in this early … Continue reading

10 Teaching Pitfalls

This is a companion to 10 Teaching Essentials.   In addition to trying to deliver on the 10 Essentials, I’m suggesting that teachers should seek to avoid these pitfalls.  To some extent, the two lists mirror each other – positive and negative ways of expressing the same ideas – but, not entirely.   Most feedback I … Continue reading

How much teacher autonomy is healthy?

I’m sure you all see a bit of yourself in John Keating, striding across the desktops inspiring the pants off your eager students day in, day out; fighting the straight-jacket of conformity; punks in the world of prog rockers; mavericks defying the powers that be…..  We all want to do our own thing right? To … Continue reading

Rethinking marking and feedback. It’s all about the response.

  At HGS we’ve been thinking hard about how to make sure teacher feedback has maximum impact and, recently, I’ve been revisiting some blog posts that continue to inform my thoughts on this important area: ‘Close the Gap’ Marking:  a whole-school approach used at Saffron Walden High School, focusing all feedback on student response. Marking … Continue reading

More carrot and more stick; more love, more warmth, more discipline.

Ahead of the start of this term, I was reflecting on where we need to go next to raise standards at Highbury Grove.  Everywhere I look to find schools that are doing better than we are by some measure I see that they appear to be more disciplined; they secure stronger engagement with their expectations; … Continue reading

The Joy of Teaching SRE

I’ve written about teaching SRE before – in this post and in this piece for the Guardian Teacher Network.  It remains one of my favourite lessons to teach for lots of reasons.  Mainly it is because students are so curious and happy to be engaging with the content which is very rewarding.  It feels like … Continue reading

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