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Have felt worse

My Research Ed London 2017 Takeaway

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This was my first ResearchEd event. I found it fascinating. I cannot write or speak as intelligently as most of the big education hitters who were speaking or who will write about the day and you will be better off reading their thoughts and presentations and books than this if you want some in depth insight. So instead I have simply listed my impressions and half-formed thoughts below.

  • You have to set off really early for a Saturday morning to get to London.

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  • There are a LOT of teachers who are prepared to give up a day of their week end unpaid to learn how  to better at their job. This makes me feel good.
  • If the ‘no phones out in lessons’ was in force 100’s of people would have been queueing to reclaim their devices from Mr Bennett at the end of the day.
  • Ben Newmark (@bennewmark and http://www.bennewmark.wordpress.com ) speaks and writes excellently on why target grades are a great harm to pupils and teachers alike. The targets we are giving are performance targets which might work only if the person is committed to it and they already know how to achieve it. But more probably they are not effective in helping improving people’s abilities. It’s as though knowing more is not part of the process at all. Ben suggests instead subject specific learning goals. But with a generation of SLT now unable to run schools without targets and tracking of targets at the heart of what they do I worry this alteration might be hard to achieve.

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  • The room for my second session choice was jam packed without even standing room so I nipped next door instead not knowing either the title or speaker. Turns out this was a good move. I may not be teaching KS1 or 2 reading and writing but I now know about the problems of the multiple genres involved and came away wanting to know much, much more about cognitive load theory. Thank you very much Tarjinder Gill ( @teach_well and http://www.teach-well.com)

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  • SLT at my school keep mentioning Daisy Christodoulou ( @daisychristo and @www.thewingtoheaven.wordpress.com ) and a while back I read and loved 7 Myths of Education. Suggestions like “Democracy requires every citizen to have knowledge and understanding of the world beyond their immediate experience.” really excited this geography teacher. I was also taken with what she said about writing good multiple choice question and how to use them as feedback. The question on the left (photo below; please excuse the quality) is a better one than the one on the right because it contains only one possibly correct answer. We should produce questions that have “unambiguously wrong but plausible distractors” – writing the answers out by starting with the wrong ones is the trick. But, I do worry that her overall message now risks being diluted as she has left education to work for a company who sell the very product, comparative judgement) she claims helps teachers job to do their job better. Finally I must apologise to Daisy for accidentally playing the Test Match Special commentary during her talk – I was only trying to check the score and I got Henry Blofeld in error.

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  • Middle of the day break and I discovered “Standard hot lunch” means a cheese sandwich and a really delightful biscuit
  • Carl Hendrick ( @C_Hendrick ) and Robin MacPherson ( @robin_macp ) spoke on bridging the gap between research and practice. It was the most practical session I attended. They recommended that to move away from being the researched to doing the researching, the key for teachers is to start with reading research. Then in school to try to create a space where a few teachers can reflect together on what they have learnt. If I can find a space in the busy weeks this is exactly what I would like to do. Following Tarjinder Gill’s talk, I have already started with this article on Cognitive Load Theory. Thank you gentlemen! I also appreciated amongst all the ideas flying around at ResearchEd, their reassuring slide on the basics we need to get right.

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  • I next learned that you can’t expect every one of 8 sessions to be completely relevant and useful to your own situation at present. At least one is likely to leave you disappointed. But hey! onto the next one.
  • I was really interested in what Alex Quigley ( @HuntingEnglish ) said. We can make a huge mistake if we assume that a pupil who doesn’t understand a lesson is not academic, when it may just be they don’t yet have the ‘wealth of words’  necessary to stand a chance of understanding. This is definitely worth looking at in geography. We may not have the range of vocabulary science pupils have to get through, but we need to make sure we aren’t excluding pupils from learning because we overlook this problem.

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  • I gained a really clear insight into the problems pupils have learning well on their last lesson of the day. I was filled to the gills with ideas and thoughts. It was almost like my working memory (see I have read that cognitive load theory article, I wasn’t lying) was chock-a. There I was with the Head of OFSTED right in front of me and I cant remember a word (apart from the reassuring part on teacher workload) of what she said. Sorry Mrs. Spielman.
  • Finally a really big ‘Thank you’ to all my colleagues who shared the long uncomfortable school minibus journey into London and back and who I hope will also share some discussions with me in the weeks and terms to come on our excellent day out.IMG_6798
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2 thoughts on “My Research Ed London 2017 Takeaway

  1. Pingback: rED17 Blogs, presentations, video links | A Roller In The Ocean

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