Monthly Archives: April 2013

What can we learn from Dylan Wiliam and AfL?

What can we learn from Dylan Wiliam and AfL?.

read this and then take heed to ignore any AfL policy your SLT tried to impose into every lesson using a strict doctrine of prefromatted .ppt slides, scripted questioning, or contrived lesson plan proformas. This is especially important if your school tried to instigate all of the above because they were freaked out that Ofsted might loom at any moment and the management of the school is questionable.


I should be writing reports…

but I am mind-numbingly bored.  When I was a pupil at school reports were hand written and teachers moaned.  Teachers moan about much.  If you don’t like moaning, don’t become a teacher.  But with the invention of cut-and-paste we still moan.  I am embarrassed to say that many of the reports I write are cut-and-paste jobs.  Sometimes, in order to save time they become find-and-replace jobs merely substituting one student’s name for another.  This is the reality of a classroom teacher.

So, my attention wanes and I find myself searching the internet for anything which will interest me.  I am a history teacher.  I have been teaching for three years in an inner London comprehensive school we shall call ‘Crowning City’. Naturally, this caught my eye:

‘Robert Tombs, professor of history at St John’s College, Cambridge, wrote in a recent report for the think-tank Politeia, “The ‘skills’ required [for learning history in schools] are often hollow and mean little to those forced to acquire or indeed teach them.” Worst of all, the GCSE examination questions designed to test these meaningless skills lead to the worst kind of teaching to the test. Generations of 16-year-olds are being taught that the most important thing to know about history is how to parrot the phrase, “this source is biased because . . . “‘ The full article is by Matthew Hunter and can be accessed here:

In my experience, true.

geography lesson chat

In a way it seems apt to start with a post written by another teacher.  One of the aims of this blog is to expose the ‘foma’ or harmless untruths within our education system.  I will add more detail about the school within which I work during another post.  But here is an example of a conversation during a lesson with a certain stereotype of student.  Chance of changing views: zero.

Mehmet Quiz:- Which of these statements would have come from Mehmet’s during a lesson about gender inequalities in Uganda.

a) Let’s get together and empower the women of Africa.

b) It’s a women’s job to cook, clean and look after children because it is tiring being a man.

c) I feel sorry for women.

Teacher: But women do all the farming, cooking, cleaning, firewood collecting, water collection and child rearing.  What do men do?

a) Probably nothing as their society sees men as more important than women.

b) They are probably working from 2am to 11pm as taxi drivers like my dad [Mehmet was studying a picture of people pushing bikes on dirt tracks.  Completely random statement and out of context].

c) The lazy b**** nothing.

Teacher: Did you take no notice of assembly? [This assembly happened to fall on International Women’s Day and was about persisting gender inequality around the world].

a) Yes, I think it is awful that this day and age 90% of the poorest people around the world women.

b) “I was bl**** outraged- its all lies. Modern women get paid at least £6.50 an hour what is their problem?”

c) I think I am feminist.

Teacher:- It was INTERNATIONAL Women’s Day.  What about women in more oppressive societies?

a) I think we should look at bottom-up development strategies.

b) All lies-it was what we should be like.  I wish it was ten years ago when all women did housework.  Miss, you probably don’t have a husband as you work.

c) Let’s form a revolution and empower the undervalued.

What was he his closing statement to this discussion?

a) I am going to tell all my friends and start a campaign to help the oppressed in society.

b) All a woman has to do his say her husband hit her and she takes the man to court and WINS-JOKES!

c) I am so upset I want to cry… those poor poor women.

Scores:  If you answered mainly:

As: According to Mehmet you are extremely deluded.


Cs: Mehmet would think you need sectioning under the Mental Health Act.

Spare period spent well.