Primary Blogging

Collecting blogs about primary education

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Signals and Noises in the EduSphere


344x253xSignal-to-Noise-Ratio_jpg_pagespeed_ic_FrPej_zOIU Signal to Noise: Note to self. It pays to reduce the noise before you amplify the signal.

In the last few weeks, I’ve encountered a fascinating range of modes of engagement with fellow professionals.  I’ve been struck by the extent to which the mode of communication we employ affects the quality of discussion and the depth of understanding we achieve.

In a high quality  exchange we learn what other people’s perspectives are but we also refine our own models and world views in the process; we identify common ground among the areas of disagreement and establish the territory of co-existence and consensus. We also allow for challenge and opposition whilst retaining a spirit of common intent and mutual respect.

In low quality exchanges, ideas are not given time to find their form before they’re fed into the threshing machine of public critique.  Fuelled by adversarial rhetoric, subtle and complex ideas are battered into their most basic…

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Baby, I’m a STAR (Interviewee)!!

kevenbartle's Blog

Okay. I’ll admit it. Sometimes I write blogposts just so that I can crowbar in some favourite choons of mine. And this one is a case in point.

Kind of.

I’m also writing it because, every so often, I get a DM from someone asking me, from my vantage point as a school leader, about an interview they have coming up for a leadership post. Today I’ve had another such request, from an ex-student who became a colleague at my previous school. She was looking for advice for an interview she has for her first leadership post, as a Deputy Head of Department.

Having given her some thoughts about what to expect with regard to issues such as curriculum, staff development and the inevitable accountability questions, we chatted a bit about the human side of the interview process, particularly in terms of the nerves that always accompany such an event…

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Should we learn from Shanghai – if, what and why

Chrismcd53's blog

Today I had the pleasure of meeting with colleague from Shanghai who was hoping to forge links between schools in UK cities and schools in China.

Her perspective was fascinating, in short one of the main drivers for this was that the Chinese authorities have come to the conclusion that their education system is brilliant at producing youngsters who can do well at tests but far less effective fostering skills such as creativity. The Chinese authorities have recognised this and concluded that things must change.

Change? Change?! Hang on a minute – in the UK we are changing to be more like the Chinese system. Evidence for a need to make such a change lie, so we are told in the PISA league tables:

Of course, creativity is difficult to measure – but it is a skill that is valued all the same.

As my visitor walked around my…

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Daisy, Daisy… is she both Right and wrong?

All Change Please!

One of traditional far Right-wing teachers’ current favourite party games appears to be identifying what they describe as the myths of progressive teaching and learning. They then tweet to each other in utter disbelief and with great smugness when they encounter someone who has not been persuaded by their dogma – their self-assuredness and unwillingness to even consider views other than their own is frightening. Meanwhile the national press picks up on their sensationalist claims which it publishes with delight, giving the general public the mistaken impression that our schools are full of free-thinking, do whatever you like, so-called progressive Marxist teachers. And, as All Change Please! has already observed in RU a trendy teacher?, in reality, teachers of the type they seek to exterminate just don’t exist – they are just too busy in the classroom getting on with the job to even consider the matter.

In the…

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Are writing skills transferable?

hyde and rugg

By Gordon Rugg

The short answer is: “Not really”.

The reasons for this answer take us through the literature on expertise, and through some little-known byways of history, including Caesar shouting “Squirrel!” and the strange case of the mesmerised trees.

Those byways should be a lot better known, because they have deep implications for education policy in theory and practice. This article unpacks the issues involved, and some of the implications.

Caesar, a squirrel, a tree, and Mesmerheader pictureImages from Wikipedia and Wikimedia – details at the end of this article

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The Yo-Yo Man

The Diary of a Not So Ordinary Boy

When Sam was born, I was stuck.  I don’t mean that I didn’t know what to do and I had to ask someone for help, that sort of thing.  No, I mean that I was physically stuck.  If the doctors had had their way I would have been hooked up to blood transfusions and been literally rather than metaphorically tied, but me being me, I wasn’t.  Instead, I was wobbling around the ward waiting for what seemed like an eternity to go home.

It’s a strange fact that the maternity ward, like every other hospital ward when you are feeling better, is the most boring place on the planet.  There is nothing to do.  Having expected to be in and out in a flash, I, like many of my similarly confined peers, had not thought to bring any entertainment with me.  There were no smart phones, there was no…

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Game of Shadows

the primary head's blog


According to Dr Avis Glaze there are 21 trends for the 21st century that will have a profound impact on education and therefore the whole of society. During her talk at #ILConf2014 we were asked to pick our top trend. I chose number 16.

A spotlight will fall on how people gain authority and use it.

I chose this as it seemed to me to be a worrying example of locking a stable door after the horse has bolted, set up a meth lab, organised a red wedding and is now trying to become president of the United States.

For any cats without a Netflix subscription let me explain. The authority has already been gained, in shadowy darkness, and the spotlight, by shining on how it is being used, has been turned on too late.

You just have to cast your eyes over the ‘Trojan horse’ headlines concerning those…

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