Saturday, 11 January 2014
Weekly round-up - 11th January 2014
The number of outstanding education blogs has grown exponentially over the last year. It can be pretty hard to keep track of everything. So I've decided to try and collate the best stuff I've seen during the week every Saturday. Obviously this will be subjective - and depend on what I've read - so if your brilliant blog isn't included it's probably just because I've missed it.
This week a major theme has been the validity of lesson observation and the importance of making reliable judgements about teacher performance. Professor Rob Coe wrote a superb piece looking at the statistical reliability of observations and some of the psychological reasons we might have more confidence in our judgement than is justified. He will be speaking about this at an event I'm hosting with the Teacher Development Trust on Monday evening. Tickets have all gone but you can watch via livestream if you sign-up here.
On the same theme Dan Willingham blogged about a fascinating study showing that students perform worse in schools where headteachers do "informal learning walks". However, they perform better when headteachers spend their time coaching teachers.
On Friday evening Labour announced they were looking at re-licensing teachers every five years - if that policy is going to work we will need to find reliable ways to make judgements (Andrew Old isn't keen - I basically agree with David Weston). The same is true of performance related pay. Policy Exchange published a thoughtful report about that at the end of last week. And David Thomas wrote an equally thoughtful blog in response.
This week also saw the launch of Tough Young Teachers. A documentary following six Teach First teachers - five of them in their first year. The programme has been watched by 2 million people - which given BBC3's usual audience is astonishing. As someone tweeted during the programme: teaching is clearly the new rock and roll. My favourite follow-up blogs were Tom Bennett's review and Laura McInerney's five lessons for new teachers.
Tom Loveless asking some very difficult questions for the OECD about Shanghai's PISA performance
David Weston's 10 commandments of successful innovation
John Tomsett with a lovely blog about why family comes first.
Tessa Matthews with a super series of blogs about (anonymous) children she's taught. Here's Luke, Emmy and Jay.