There are multiple supper short chapters packed with first rate tips and insights making it an essential reference as well as one a core text to read and note in full. The graphics leave something to be desired – it pays to get in an illustrator.
This is not a review, though I should compise one. Rather these are my notes taken for two reasons: to provide me with points I can reference when writing up my PGCE to demonstrate ‘further reading’. The second is to provide me with suggestsions on how teach. It helps to have these pointers – real things you can do that teachers know work.
People often mistaken common practice for best practice (p.1) Just because others do it is not a reason to follow suit. The greatest crime is ‘death by powerpoint’. There are presenters who seem genuinely to believe that reading through a series of pages of bullet points, or reading out from a page of text is a worthwhile or effective experience. Teachers teacher better in a power cut. There’s a challenge.
Methods that are known to work.
We must not implement initiatives that ‘could be a wasteful distraction of the very limited time and energy available to teachers’ (p.2)
Written before digital got big, or the Great Pandemic of 2020/2021 the ‘wasteful distractions’ have been PearDeck and Jamboard – apps for the sake of it. My question to a teacher is, how would this play out in the classroom? Would you give each student a pack of PostIt Notes and a fat marker pen and tell them to express a point of view, or provide detail on this PostIt that they then stick on the wall? The results are universally as bad as you can imagine them to be. Few if any students have mastered the QWERTY keyboard so they say little and what they do put up is cryptic – it is not an expression of their learning.
There are many strategies – so which are the most productive to adopt?
What are the alternatives?
A literature review matters. I’d bring back reading and note taking. This can only be done if students are sold what it takes to learn anything. I’d go one further – notes with doodles, with visualisations, with screenshots – even video or record the class if you want.
What works and why?
Not seeing the elephant …
I like this as a way of saying more than ‘not being able to see the wood for the trees’ … where a group of people in the dark when faced with an elephant think in turn that what they are touching is a tree, a spear or a wall … or it could be a hose or a piece of rope.
C2 Learning is making sense, not just remembering.
Learning is an active process of making sense that creates a personal interpretation of what has been learned, rather than a perfect representation of what was taught. (p.8)
I like this, because it is a reminder how in all walks of life we interpret a scene differently. I am faced with it all the time in meetigns where what is said is not reported in the minutes in the way I and others have sometimes interpretted it. By default I record important meetings so that I can create a transcript, listen back and have my own minutes. This of course takes time – you need to be able to trust the person taken the minutes to do so in a complete and unbiased fasion.
Brain > evolving for 6 billion years. 95% non-linguistically. There is so much that I could learn about the brain but I could go down the trap of thinking that neuroscience is the panacea for improving education – it is not. Students do need to be encoruaged to appreciate what the brain is capable of – so many use it for a fraction of what it is capable.
All learning requires us to ‘have a stab’. (p.12)
This tells me to have an open mind and to support all students with whatever they produce. They, not others, should be the measure of success and that always starts with a blank sheet of paper or silience which they have to fill. Even if they write the likes of this:
‘The early Britons made their houses of mud and there was rough mating on the floor’.
Tasks fall into two types
- 1 Reproduction tasks
- 2 Reasoning tasks
Students need to create their own meaning.
QQ. Relevant recall questions
Multi Structural response
The SOLO taxonomy
Surface: discrete separate/closed
Through gaining sufficient familiarity
Note > every subject has its epistemology
If learning is structured around principles this enables the learning to transfer their learning to entirely new contexts. (p.25)
Knowledge is a personal meaning that attempts to represent the way things are – that a topic, and a piece of knowledge about that topic, can both be seen from different perspectives. (p.29)
Whole training – not learning styles (p.30/31)
NOTE > Encourage learners to use unfamiliar styles. This is the opposite to the nonesense that has grown around ‘preferred learning styles’.
Remeber too that Left/right brain is a metaphor not fact only for different thinking styles and functions.
Hermann’s ‘whole brain’ model.
Teachers should try to help students to work effectively in all styles – even if this requires students to move beyond their ‘comfort zones’.
HBDI questionnaire www.hbdi.com
Multiple Modes of representation (p.38)
High quality learning required
Structure: establish structure, meaning then add detail.
Deep understanding : relationships between constructs and building new learning on old.
Feedback: to fill gaps and omissions. Dialogue is an excellent way to do this. Speak to the student.
Time and repetition. Six encounters with at least many examples.
Multiple perspectives and representations
C3 Motivation (p.41)
Attribution theory motivation
Maslow’s theory of motivation
Motivation = expectancy x value
NOTE Value of selling education constantly
NOTE Value of successful role models : Jake & Emma in Uniformed Services.
If we attribute success to factors in our control, then we are more motivated and more successful.
Mental black …
Untapped potential p.47/p/48
Effort rewards (p.49)
Maslow’s Hierarchy (p.50)
Students learn by:
Challenging goals : effort with a sense of direction is required if the memory is going to take any of it in and for that memory to last.
Active learning : anything but passive watching. No wonder students get distracted or fall asleep. If they won’t take notes, then have them create mind maps or doodle. Anything is better than nothing. Get them a fountain pen.
Feedback : on what they have done. A teacher cannot feedback on a blank expression or empty notebook.
Reference for Dweek.C.S. (2000) Maslow A. H. 1970
C4 What works?
Experimental Group / Control Group
John Hattie’s table of effect sizes
We must compare initiatives and implement the best.
Clearly communicating learning initiatives
Enhanced by feedback
Rank / Influence / Mean Effect Size
Reciprocal Teaching (p.65)
Whole-Class Interactive Teaching
NOTE > Feedback must be informative not merely evaluative – build on what they are doing and open your heart to their efforts. Judge them and they could give up.
Class size < 10-15 is a simple win.
1 to 1 = effect size 2:00. But who gets a private tutor these days?
C6 Marzano’s theory-based meta-analysis
What can work in a primary school can work just as well in university. (p.71)
NOTE > Improving your teaching tends to widen the gap between the advantaged and disadvantaged.
NOTE > The teacher’s role is to motivate students by encouraging them to see the value of what they are about to learn.
Self-system effect 0.74
Self and others
Nature of the world
Purpose in life
Strategy and methods (p.77)
1.32 same but different
1.24 Graphic representations
2.55 Direct teaching of deeper learning that require students to think deeply themselves
1.16 Deductive strategies
1.14 Experimental theory – they generate a hypothesis about the knowledge
1.13 Highly specific feedback
Things that work (p.78-79)
Marzano (1998) p.80
Some but different
Explicit instruction of difficult materials
Extracting general principles from effect-size (p.82)
Try thee methods
Then keep asking
‘Why does this work?’
C8 Part III (p.85)
Feedback or assessment for learning
The pattern I try to apply is my Personal Hygiene class
Present = Read Write Listen
Apply = Produce/Product
Feedback = Discuss
Black and Wiliam (1998)
Can Do > Find this and celebrate it
Can’d Do > Find this and get the student to fix it
Medals and missions
Targets for the next piece of work
Mastery of learning
Students are not likely to score until they know where the goal posts are (p.94)
NOTE > Spoof and peer assessment help students develop this ‘feel’ for good work and know how to produce it.
Informative Feedback (p.97)
‘These are your goals, this is what you do well, and this is how to get better’.
Clear assessment criteria and goals.
Medals: what they have done well.
Students feel accepted, and their efforts are recognised and valued.
Effort / Take Risks
9. Whole-class interactive teaching (p.103)
Have it both ways – both constructivist and behaviourist. (p.105)
Graphic organisers and other visual representations (Effect size 1.2 to 1.3)
Why do visual representations work? (p.133)
> See the wood for the trees.
Recalls is visually triggered
The visual language is probably closest to the brains’ natural language ‘mentalese’
html: research on thinking maps
Why visual representations work (p.133)
Diagrams cannot contain all the detail so the learner is forced to isolate the key points.
Only structured information can go into long-term memory.
Recall is almost always visually triggered.
These methods work because they require students to pick out key points and to structure their understanding and so make mearnings (p.133)
Study a website – make a mind map (p.134)
CF Hyerle, D (1996) Visual Tools for Constructing Knowledge, Alexandria, Virginia, ASCD
P.136 C.11 Decisions, Decisions
P139-140 Lovely description of a game with cards deciding how to deal with someone who has had an electric shock.
Cards in order
On a spectrum
C12 Cooperative Learning
ALl kinds of strategies and ideas.
C13 Reciprocal Teaching
C14 The Seven General Teaching Principles and PAR
Present > Apply > Review
We will only use a method well if we know why it works.
Seven principles common to high-quality learning and achievement.
1) Students must see the value of the learning.
- Know the goals and outcomes
- Believe in them
- Maslow’s theory of motivation
- Love needs
2) Students must believe they can do it.
3) Challenging goals
- Reasoning not just reproduction
- High participation rates
- Variety and fun
4) Feedback and dialogue
5) Establish the structure of information and so its meaning
6) Time and repetition
- Six encounters at least
7) Teach skills as well as content
- Prevent-Apply-Review (p.171)
- Build into learning designer
C15 Feedback through interactive dialogue
CF Getting feedback (p.175)
Depending on the precise strategy you adopt can make a big different to the proportion of students who participate in your class (p.175)
C16 Teaching methods for the orientation phase
Present > Apply > Review
Recall and check relevant prior learning. (p.194)
- Build new learning on old
- Improve weaknesses
- Build a structure
- Set or negotiate goals
- Motivate the learner
- Write down everything they already know about a topic you are about to teach about.
- Tell a story – See Kim Tasso for methods.
- Curriculum map (p.200)
- Set goals
If the goal is challenging and requires reasoning this will ensure that students learn both while they are listening to you or watching the video.
Negotiate goals (p.205)
First Five Minutes (p.206)
Recall prior learning
Give structure for the new learning
Set a goal
C17 Methods to present new material
Present Apply Review
… with goals and feedback
28 Methods for Teaching without Talking (p.209)
Petty says that ‘Natures teachers is curiosity’. I would qualify this – human children take a long time to raise for a reason. Try everything is the suggestion – not eveything will work. And give everything a chance at least three times. Note and share these experiences. They can be groupd into three types:
Require little preparation or resources
Require handouts, videos or the Internet
Require preparation time.
- Teaching by asking : who? what? why? how? In pairs or small groups for 3 to 20 minutes each.
- Class Brainstron : what? why? how? Putting the responses on a board for all to see. Clarify, anything goes.
- Thought Experiment : or empathy. Imagine yourself in a given situation.
- Round : each person has a minute – used to ellicit a range of points of view.
- Snowball – to ensure participation i) each person writes down their response ii) share what they have written in pairs or threes and pick the most important iv) one idea emerges from each group and is explained to everyone. A fun variant of this was to use balloons to write on … as the ideas were reduce a balloon was burst.
- Asking with pair explaining : i) each group is given two questions ii) divided further they come up with and answer iii) cross-fertilize by one member of each group explaining to the others iv) as a group explaining to the other.
- Export witness : students alone or in a group figure out an answer. A speaker makes their case for the group while others pick holes in it. cf FOG index (p.216) and reading age.
- Asking with resources : use method 1 to 6 with a response – especially ‘snowball’ for the quality of dialogue.
- Cooperative learning : A range of resurces – give students differing roles. A range of questions. Though provoking questions to answer. Students should have to construct their own understanding of different challenges.
- Key points and questions : unfamiliar or challenging resources, identify key points, reduce this to one key point per groups. Share process and outcomes with students.
- Does it work? From the resource figure out how a thing works. Name an unanswered question
- Interrogating text : i) skim read, ii) formulate important questions iii) pick out key points iv) agree to an answer to the formulated question.
- Transformation : take a leaflet and turn it into a radio item. Take. a TV item and turn it into a leaflet. Take a chronology and tell it as a story or redesign as a mind map.
- Peer explaining subtopics : two topics, one each, working in paris one explains to the other. Then together they provide a joint response to the two topics.
- Headings : fill in the ‘blanks’ for headings and subheading.
- Student graphic organiser : mind-map, Venn Diagram or infographic.
- Student visual presentation : creating an audience for their work helps motivate students. (p.220) any visual representation. Their choice with text.
- Transform graphic organisers : organiser for another topic.
- Decision, Decisions : true and false summary cards. Decide which cards are true and which false.
- Student presentation : having worked on a subject pairs / small groups present one aspect of this.
- Pairs work out ‘how to’ exemplars : exemplars, work it out for themselves.
- Peer teaching : explaining to eachother how to complete a task.
- What’s wrong here : spot the errors, marking work. Students are used to seeing errors – their own! Develop skills and fix errors.
- Question pairs : Q&A from the text from a webinar etc: reciprocal teaching.
- Snowballing questions : (p.233) Working together to produced the best answer.
- Independent learning : (p.223-234) go figure!
- Spectacles : considering each methods from a set of criteria. So learning content withouth input from the teacher.
- Marketplace : questions known, work in teams to create posters, each student has a different coloured pen. Each group has a ‘market stake’ for their poster. Share what they found out. Test without posters. Return to posters to mark their own work. (p.227) Effective management of active learning strategies. (see pp227-233)
C18 Methods for ‘apply’ phase : deep meaning from hard thinking
Present Apply Review
Students have been persuaded of the purpose and value of what they are about to learn. (p.234)
Deep learning requires learners to form constructs and get feedback.
Challenging goals are vital event for low-level learning (p.235)
Activity above all else.
Cut content to the very bone, get the skeleton (structure) of the topic understood, then add the flesh later.
NOTE > If you persist in telling students everything you know you will swamp short-term memories, confuse your students and obscure the very key points and principles you are trying to explain.
However – all the learning provided this way was always followed up with complementary reading and an essay.
Challenging tasks and informative feedback works (p.236)
Direct practice of the main lesson objectives.
Existing constructs are built upon as a result of a task set being completed = feedback on this and the construct improved. (p.237)
How to plan a student activity (p244)
C19 Feedback methods : assessment for learning
Towards a right answer
Correct punctuation and grammar
Getting it right eventually
A review or practice task is set. That is meaningful, open, challenging, and eventually involves reasoning as well as reproduction. Its aim is to explore the students; understandings and misunderstandings to get these improved. (p.247)
The student works on a task which makes their construct ‘visible’ group task, but a dispute turn of the execution students on their own would have been more engaging for each of them.
Lots of methods and p274-75
Why feedback matters
C20 Methods for the ‘review’ and homework phases
Students work towards goals.
Learning is summarised and clarified
Students require ‘many encounters with material in different contexts’ (p.277)
They take notes and you ideally ‘check and correct’.
Summaries and handouts
Teach note taking which is central to understanding
As I did with the Personal Hygiene Poster (p.279/280)
C21 Teaching thinking skills and intelligence
Thinking skills (p.285)
NOTE > Knowledge is only useful if relevant to the task
Violinists and 10,000 hours (p.289)
Study skills of the 10-12 year olds (Palinscar and Brown 1984)
16-17 years producing work for a 10 year old.
Skills to teach (p.292)
Synthesis, creativity and evaluation
Testing a hypothesis
What would happen if?
Exactly what I am doing with podcasts (p.301)
Read, Think Plan
Research / Brainstorm
Plan the report
Begun with the vital content
Then add the detail
Where do you want them to be
How do you get them there?
C22 What do the best teachers, schools and colleges do?
Set challenging goals
Knowledge of learning
‘They make lessons uniquely their own by changing, combining, and adding to them reading to their students’ needs and their own goals.’ (p. 313) How does self-paced learning achieve this online?
Develop student interest
Engender deep interest
Classroom time precious
Went beyond the syllabus
Chose the most challenging options
Note making, not taking
Group work = reasoning
C23 Your own evidence : reflection and experimentation
‘In the end it is your teaching, your students and your context that counts’. (p.319)
‘Circumstances are always changing in education and we must adapt to survive’ (p.320) Just think how this applies to lockdown and remote teaching of 2020/2021.
Identify the problem early
Use research to convince others
Evolution not revolution
Start where you can
Involve the students
Change as you go along
Theory is uss your own construct (p.321)
Feedback as ‘reality check’
Seven principles that underlie excellent teaching.
Hillier, Y (2002) Reflective Teaching in Further and Adult Education, London, Continuum.
C24 The rational curriculum
More comprehensive and useful than Bloom’s taxonomy
David Moseley et al. (2005) (p.326)
Strategic and Reflective Thinking
Info gathering > Research, asking questions, books, Internet
Building Understanding > Atomistic/Holistic analysis
The creative process (p.344)
Inspiration – ideas
Clarification – focus
Distillation – strategise (p.334)
Perspiration – best ideas
Incubation – pause
Evaluation – review
Fit for purpose
‘You can’t argue a person into preferring broccoli over peas if they have tried them and think the reverse’. (p.343)
Vicious and virtuous circles (p.346)
The three-legged stool
C25 Management and leadership
‘If you want to make enemies try to change something’ Woodrow Wilson