Monthly Archives: April 2018

Blog of the Week: 27 April 2018 – Going data naked


Numbers don’t actually exist. There is no actual number three somewhere. It is not a thing. There is just ‘threeness’, a relationship between things that we learn to recognise; that this small cluster of cubes is similar to that small cluster of counters in a way we learn to call ‘three’.  The cubes themselves are not three; we declare their threeness when they are associated together in a certain way.  We learn what three means through repeated exposure to clusters exemplifying this relationship and thus come to learn what three and not-three look like.  But there is no spatiotemporally locatable prototype ‘three’ against which all other instances of three can be verified.

Pupil progress is a bit like that.  We tend to act as if ‘Progress’ is a real, tangible thing that really exists. Worse than that, we even believe that we can measure it.  This is an illusion.


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Blog of the Week: 20 April 2018 – Knowledge in the classroom

Teaching it Real


When I joined in with twitter’s educational world a couple of years ago I was struck by how much discussion there was on the role of knowledge in the curriculum. We were still feeling the reverberations of Gove’s reforms to the national curriculum and the new GCSEs were being prepared ready for teaching. Whilst there were many voices saying that they welcomed this move to a more rigorous and knowledge focused curriculum there were many dissenting voices.

Their arguments tended to fall into a few broad and overlapping points.

  • It was a backwards step. We had moved beyond this way of looking at education.
  • This form of education wasn’t needed for the 21st century. We needed to focus on the skills that employers wanted. Not knowledge.
  • It was actually harmful and Gradgrindian. Dictating what kids learnt like this was a form of abuse.

What I find interesting is that over…

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