Disclaimer: I am not here to discuss the actual subject content for each board as this will happen once they have been accredited and I find that each teacher I speak to thinks different things should/shouldn’t be included anyway (this is a debate for another time). This is a post I put together for my Head of Faculty and other teachers in my department justifying my reasons for considering a switch in exam boards for both GCSE and A-Level.

This year the specifications are being updated (note the positive wording) for Religious Studies and most of the RE world has been focused on this unfolding. Whilst I would love to relax and wait for accreditation to happen life is moving faster than that. We currently teach GCSE over three years and therefore our new Year 9’s will be sitting the new specification, starting their course in September and in…

View original post 898 more words


Esse Quam Videri

It was inevitable. Given the buzz around character education, mindfulness, mindset and metacognitive strategies etc it was only a matter of time before teachers started trying to assess these sorts of attributes. I came across this sincere attempt to chart progress in areas such as mindfulness and also loving kindness and compassion.

I have reproduced the blog’s suggested progression in ‘loving kindness and compassion’ below:

Their Journey so far Loving kindness and compassion
6 Regularly enjoys giving and receiving acts of loving kindness. Is regularly compassionate towards others and looks to help people in distress. Looks after the vulnerable in the school and looks to help them by talking and playing with them.
5 Is beginning to see how acts of kindness are beneficial to the giver and receiver.Beginning to understand the concept that we all suffer and that we shouldn’t look to add to people’s suffering.
4 Is beginning…

View original post 1,484 more words

Esse Quam Videri

There is a funny thing about the skills versus knowledge debate. It is odd that anyone presumes many people would seriously argue for what is obviously a false dichotomy, a choice between skills or knowledge. On the other hand I do know that many people decouple skills from knowledge. They try to teach generic skills with subject matter chosen largely for its suitability as a vehicle towards teaching those skills. Thinking skills, learning to learn and twenty first century skills are education buzz words.

However, there is actually quite a large volume of research suggesting that:

  1. Skills are the product of fluency of knowledge in a specific area.
  2. Skills learnt in one area don’t transfer readily to other areas.

The idea that it is very possible to teach generic skills such as critical thinking or creative thinking is so seriously contested by the research [this article is a clear…

View original post 1,716 more words

Clio et cetera

We hear a lot about ‘understanding’ in education: it is a common curriculum and assessment term, particularly in ‘generic’ models such as Bloom’s Taxonomy. It is very common for people to talk about ‘conceptual understanding’ in a wide range of subjects: in history education the idea of unpacking ‘conceptual understanding’ has been the major focus of history education researchers over the last couple of decades.

But what actually is understanding?

Sadly, the Oxford English Dictionary is not too helpful here, providing 14 major definitions of the term, and none of these terms seem to get that close to what those working in education mean when they start talking about ‘understanding’ or ‘conceptual understanding’. So let’s pick this apart in a bit more detail. In this blog post I’m going to look at three common definitions of ‘understanding’ and I’m going to take these apart a bit in order to suggest…

View original post 1,299 more words

Canciones para el Fin de Semana

Dulce nana en el exilio

Durme, durme es una de las canciones de cuna más conocidas del folclore tradicional de los sefardíes, los judíos expulsados de España en 1492. Esta es una de las mejores versiones, interpretada en ladino o judeo-español, por el conjunto turcoJanet and Jak Esim Ensemble. Además de excelente músico y arreglista, Jak Esim es un reconocido investigador de la música sefardí, habiendo publicado múltiples ensayos y artículos en enciclopedias y revistas especializadas.

View original post

Canciones para el Fin de Semana

Vibrante Han-Na

El tercer movimiento del Concierto Nº 1 para violonchelo de Joseph Haydn es una de esas piezas euforizantes que siempre escucho cuando quiero subirme el ánimo. Aunque se creía perdida, hasta que se recuperó ¡en 1961!, actualmente es una de las obras más conocidas del repertorio del maestro austriaco. Cuántas maravillosas obras de arte como esta habrán desaparecido en los avatares de la historia y nunca podremos disfrutar… Haydn es uno de los grandes compositores de la historia, muy famoso y reconocido en su época pero, con el paso del tiempo, se eclipsó tras la genialidad de Mozart (al que llegó a tratar) o de Beethoven (del cual fue profesor). En disco y en Youtube se pueden encontrar grandes interpretaciones (Sol Gabetta, Lloyd-Webber, Yo-Yo Ma) aunque destacaría las de Rostropovich y su mejor alumna, la coreana Han-Na Chang. Existe otra versión de cuando Han-Na tenía sólo 13 años, pero…

View original post 37 more words


I regularly see tweets on Twitter proclaiming that “All can succeed” and learning should not be limited for any student and from a few years ago “Every child matters”. To some extent I include any ‘Growth Mindset’ references in this.

These annoy me. I’ve never thought any differently, and I have to assume that all teachers have at some point in their lives, thought the same. I believe that all students in front of me can and will learn whilst in my classroom. No excuses. No growth mindset needed; they will. And everything I do will support this expectation.

So, it leads me to ask when did some teachers start to NOT believe these things? Why have they been highlighted as so important that teachers are pronouncing them almost as though they are controversial views? When did teachers stop thinking that all the children that they teach can learn/achieve and/or…

View original post 818 more words