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Episode 114: Neurosceptic

Unfortunately, Alison could not join us tonight, held up by work, so we riff through some topics that catch our eye.  The conversation is dominated by the theme of neuromyths and our forlorn hope that learning styles might have been the route to some pedagogical nirvana.  A journey we undertook in good faith, but there’s only so much bad science a teacher can swallow and remain sane.  The story began with the BBC programme “All In the Mind” that opens with an item about how teachers, through the best of intentions, are purveying a number of neuro mythologies.  The programme is still available:

Also mentioned is Frank Coffield et al (2004) literature review on learning styles: here

New curriculum workload story in Scotland as reported by the BBC.  Raises question about how innovation and workload and the poverty of our imagination.

Episode 113: Only fonicking!

Tonight we are joined in conversation by Louisa Hussey, Acting headteacher of Cropwell Bishop Primary School in Nottinghamshire, England.  Louisa  is a brilliant teacher and passionate about her job, as you can tell from the conversation we have about recent developments in English primary schools.  Phonics teaching features and Matthew reminds us about the old ITA and his experience with it – does this explain a lot?

Also, in the news tonight we discuss:

positive discrimination for encouraging more male teachers into the profession proposed by the NASUWT, story in TESS here

Revision tips -what works? Only 2 main methods apparently.  Summary in this blog and full paper can be downloaded here

Episode 112: “superiors inspect inferiors”

Sir Ken Robinson doing one of his engaging TED talks.  Ken Robinson, TED talk: How to Escape Education’s Death Valley




Unfortunately Fearghal is unwell tonight so Matthew and Steve talk through some news stories.  Matthew lays short odds on Steve doing Gove stories, he is not disappointed, and introduces a timer to limit our ramblings.

Does the government really want innovation in free schools? By Rachel Williams in the Guardian

Teachers resistant to CfE’s new thinking, say experts, TES article

Leadership methods ‘stifle innovation’, Keir Bloomer in the TES

Gove’s claims of teenagers’ ignorance harpooned by retired teacher by James Ball, in the Guardian

Jimmy Wales: Boring university lectures ‘are doomed’, by Sean Coughlan BBC News education correspondent

Summer-born pupils ‘should have exam scores boosted’, by Judith Burns BBC News education reporter










Episode 111: The night the kettle died

Tonight we begin a really interesting conversation with Alison McLoy, DHT at Kirkintilloch High about parental involvement. We say start, since once the conversation began it became apparent that there are still  many questions and avenues to be explored on this theme.  So we look forward to Alison’s return to discuss this further, May 29th.

Good golly, it’s Molly, could be one title for the podcast as we get a puppy interruption as michief Molly jumps on Steve’s lap and chews the headphones, in between planting kisses.

In the news: Headteachers and stress, article by Steven Robbins, in “Educational leadership programmes in the UK: Who cares about the school?”  Management in Education, 27, 2, 50-55

Matthew loses sleep over BBC journalism about sleep deprivation

Barry Schwartz “The Paradox of Choice: Why More is Less”

Episode 110: The Seventh Hat

Tonight we talk to Graham Leicester, Director of International Futures Forum. He is a former member of HM Diplomatic Service and has subsequently developed a special interest and wide experience in areas of governance, innovation, education and the arts.  Graham talks about his latest work with Scottish schools, and futures thinking in the public service in general: Transformative Innovation.

The International Futures Forum site here

Link to the book Transformative Innovation in Education

An interesting background article written by Graham here


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