Enhancing worked examples with self-explanation

When using worked examples, it’s really easy to assume that students are engaging with them without making sure that they really are. Reading about using worked examples recently, I came across the self-explanation effect. Although mentioned in Dunlosky’s (2013) ‘Strengthening the Student Toolbox’ (see also, Dunlosky et al. (2013)), alongside interleaving, as a "strategy with … Continue reading Enhancing worked examples with self-explanation

Could less be more?

It seems obvious to state that the aim of teaching is that students will learn, but this statement is deceptively simple. What is learning? Is it different in different contexts (e.g. phases, subjects)? How do we know learning has happened? My aim in this blog is not to answer these questions, but to explore something … Continue reading Could less be more?

Consistency, autonomy, and when to ‘Let it go!’

I’m walking around my department during a free period. Two classes are learning about electrolysis. They’re learning the same content, but the lessons look quite different. Does this matter?* I’m walking around my department during a free period. I see students throwing glue sticks in two classrooms. One teacher doesn’t appear to notice them and … Continue reading Consistency, autonomy, and when to ‘Let it go!’

Assessment, the beginning or the end?

I’ve been reading a lot about assessment recently, particularly formative assessment, and it has made me reconsider some of the focus of all the curriculum work since Curriculum became a thing. I have been, and still am, a convinced proponent of a knowledge rich curriculum. I believe that we should be teaching students powerful knowledge … Continue reading Assessment, the beginning or the end?

Does that make sense? Breaking bad habits

I’ve recently found myself noticing bad habits. My bad habits. Bad teacher habits. Things I know aren’t good practice, but which I do anyway. And I keep doing them even after I’ve become aware of them and thought, “I must stop doing that”. I guess that’s the problem with habits! I started thinking more about … Continue reading Does that make sense? Breaking bad habits

Part 3: Developing and Deploying Subject Knowledge

Parts 1 and 2 of this series discussed the knowledge teachers need - knowledge of the curriculum and ‘teacher knowledge’, or PCK - and the importance of a knowledge rich curriculum. Here, we consider how to develop this knowledge and apply it in planning and teaching. What is subject knowledge? Subject knowledge is often broken … Continue reading Part 3: Developing and Deploying Subject Knowledge

Subject Knowledge and a Knowledge Rich Curriculum – Part 1: What knowledge do teachers need?

In a few week’s time I will be leading a session with trainee teachers introducing teacher subject knowledge and a knowledge rich curriculum. Reviewing my notes from a similar session last year, I thought it might be helpful in refreshing my thoughts to write a summary which has ended up as this series of posts. … Continue reading Subject Knowledge and a Knowledge Rich Curriculum – Part 1: What knowledge do teachers need?