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Showing posts from May, 2011

I believe that children are the future. So; no change, then. Brain Gym, Bad Science, and the generational story of stupid.

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Excellent article in today's Guardian from the excellent Ben Goldacre, who writes (again) about the car-crash of stupid that is Brain Gym, and the fact that, despite its reliance on the kind of science normally found in the average Green Lantern comic, it persists in being adopted by schools that really should know better. There's nothing more I can add about Brain Gym, other than to say that anyone who still believes it has any utility beyond keeping credulous writers in employment deserves to be placed in  a corner wearing a conical hat.

But there's a point that deserves examination: Goldacre's optimism that, despite the persistence of- often adult- participants in the kind of moonshine and snake oil that so entrances educational experts, the future holds a possible golden age of intelligence. Why? Because as he puts it:

'Information is more easily accessible now than ever before, and smart, motivated people can sidestep traditional routes to obtain knowledge an…

Education news: differentiated just for you.

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LSE 'saves the children of the future from the poorhouse.'

Homeless orphans in London's East End were today said to be Mexican-waving in joy at the news that the LSE, one of Britain's top tertiary educational institutions, had foregone the maximum fees of £9000 for students per annum, and had instead opted for a much lower £8,500 instead.

'I just can't believe it,' said 16 year old Darren Baker, from his cardboard box under London Bridge that he shares with his family of twelve brothers and sisters. 'This is like all my Christmases have come at once. Previously I had thought that Russell Group institutions would be cruelly priced out of my reach. But now, but now,' he said, struggling with tears, 'I know that it'll be £500 quid less for the LSE. They don't know how much this means to me. Really, they don't.'

A spokesman form the University said, 'This sends out a clear message that the LSE welcomes students from all backgroun…

Some general behaviour advice for running a classroom. It's not bloody nuclear physics, incidentally.

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Feeling Flash Thursday: NUT, the BG, and INSET with the TES

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As Johnny Vaughan might say, 'London- why are YOU feeling flash?' Well today I'm going to allow myself a sliver, a tittle of feeling flash for four reasons.

1. The NUT will be giving away a copy of my first book, The Behaviour Guru, free to all qualifying teachers in England and Wales as a joining incentive- for the next three years. I am indecently chuffed, and enormously grateful for the chance to get what I hope is plain speaking, common sense advice out to as many new teachers as possible.

2. Book number 2: 'Not quite a Teacher' slammed into the Top Million or something today, and it's my first book out on Kindle. I fully intend that the third book (which I'm writing as we speak) will be available for instantaneous download directly into your central cortex, or something.

3. I'm doing a training session this Saturday for the TES in London, working with some people on behaviour management, which I always love. And the sandwiches are fabulous. One plac…

Praise pours in from fictional characters for my new teacher training book.

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Fans of poorly phrased pedagogic advocacy and unsubstantiated educational research rejoice! After the excitement of the Royal Wedding and the death of Voldemort (check: Google), 2011 brings another pivotal paperback event for everyone's calender. 

My new book, 'Not Quite a Teacher' hits the book stands tomorrow (out in paperback and Kindle: can Kindles be hit? 'streamed', possibly) after a long incubation period in the laboratories of my mind. I wanted to write something that I would have found useful before and during my entry to the profession. Also, although I've enjoyed a lot of decent writing about education, I came across the following problems:

1. Some teacher training books appeared to be aimed at prospective therapists, with their emphasis on 'understanding how the kids (or 'learning participants' were feeling, and what they were trying to communicate with their behaviour. How odd, I thought.
2. Some are structurally quite useful, but suffe…

It's exam time again! But don't mention the grade inflation.

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Glenys Stacey is upset about Grade Inflation. She's not upset that it's happening; she just doesn't like the term. She thinks it's 'unhelpful'

Who is Glenys Stacey? She's the Chief Executive of OfQual, the body who 'regulate general and vocational qualifications in England and vocational qualifications in Northern Ireland,' that's who. Or in other words, she's in charge of ensuring that examinations are fair, rigorous and properly administered. And what is Grade Inflation? It's the idea that, over time, the effort and ability required to achieve a given level of attainment will reduce slowly. In other words, exams are getting easier. You might have heard it described as 'dumbing down' although that syndrome is an alleged symptom in many other areas than education. (See: ITV News.)

So why is she upset with the term? "I don't find 'grade inflation' to be a very helpful expression," she says.  'Inflation&…