Why focusing on children’s strengths is vital for their mental health

  Every week is mental health awareness week Last year ago I wrote about the importance of relationship in promoting mental health. In mental health awareness week 2017 I published the article again as my contribution, specifically about what practical support for children to add to our general awareness of their need for support. In schools we need to critically examine what we do to […]

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Rambling in the brambles

Scientists at the Royal Botanic Gardens in Kew claim today that there are 390,900 species of plants on Earth with 2,034 new species being discovered in 2015. The total number excludes algae, mosses, liverworts and hornworts and includes 369,400 flowering plants. 21% of known plants are at risk of extinction and the unknown will become extinct in private. What do you make of that? The […]

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Waving, not drowning

You know that feeling you get when you think you know what you’re doing and then someone points out that you don’t and it’ll end in disaster? One minute you’re up. ‘This is a great idea, I’m so clever, it’s hard to do but I’m making it work!’ your inner voice whispers. The next minute you’re down. ‘Oh no, I’ve got it all wrong, now […]

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Teacher research – making a start

The concept of research in education is very open with a wide spectrum of activity and an equally wide range of areas of inquiry. This openness encourages multiple perspectives and helps us to reflect on our own position. But it can and does lead to misunderstandings when it comes to the detailed work of doing research. I think that teaching and research in are inseparable […]

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Doing Research – what does it mean for teachers?

Traditionally educational research has placed university researchers as the knowers and teachers as the doers, with the knowers studying the doers. Lay users, teachers and policy makers, can then take the products of research as findings and recommendations, to improve schools and schooling. Research conferences, research journals and libraries are filled with educational research studies of this type but it seems that few practitioners read them […]

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The Research Quality Myth

For research to be taken up by teachers it has to be of high quality. In assessing the quality of research, lay users, notably policymakers and practitioners, face two problems; 1) How to assess research findings in the way they are presented, in the specific language and beliefs of a field of research. 2) How to relate these findings to what they already know, in […]

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It’s not rocket science

The ‘O’ word. I am following up Tim Taylor’s reflective piece this week about the relationship between research and teaching.(1) Taylor makes the point that ‘research in the social sciences is different to research in the natural sciences. Ontologically different, meaning they involve fundamentally different phenomena,’ different phenomena existing in different realities. The Ofsted Chief Inspector knows this and says that dealing with disruptive behaviour […]

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Critical thinking and critical values

  I’m returning to this topic, long after the Twitter heat is off and maybe too late to be of much use to fast moving bloggers. It all seemed to start with Willingham’s article; somebody read it and told The Education Secretary Mr. Gove about it. He said; ‘Daniel Willingham again makes the point powerfully in his work when he points out that, “research from […]

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I no therefore I can. Or knot.

There’s an old country joke that you probably know. A Lost Driver stops to ask the way from a gentleman walking along the narrow lane. The Walker has the knees of his moleskins tied with baler twine and the band of his battered felt hat decorated with two cock pheasant tail feathers. The Lost Driver pulls up beside the Walker and opens his window. ‘Good […]

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Paradigm – loose ends, tidy thinking Part 2

  Knowing about knowledge Part 2   Superficially it seems that we know enough about knowledge to be able to talk about it fluently. It comes in two forms: procedural and declaritive. Procedural knowledge can be directly applied to a task, for example solving a problem, and the knowledge is formed by doing the problem solving task. Declaritive knowledge here could be called knowledge about […]

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Paradigm – loose ends, tidy thinking Part 1

Knowing about knowledge Part 1   Ontology-Epistemology-Axiology-Pedagogy – a teacher’s paradigm. I’m writing this series of pieces as reflective research; I believe that writing is research, not merely a product of it.  It certainly helps me to clarify my own thinking and I’m grateful to you for your reading of it. The purpose is to get a better understanding of pedagogy in theory and practice, as […]

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Being pragmatic about teaching

  Two responses to my last Elephantological posting: Neil Gilbride (@nmgilbride) “Aw, no Pragmatic Realism in that piece, such is life” and Karl Bentley (@bentleykarl) “amazing blog post re pedagogy – hell to pragmatism, why what we do is equally, if not more, important”.  Thanks Neil and Karl. I set out with this series of Elephantology blogs with the hope that we could have a […]

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What’s your Paradigm?

  ‘What’s your paradigm, if you don’t mind me asking?’ I’m using some good material at www.erm.ecs.soton.ac.uk: (an e-learning resource about research) in talking about this particular Elephant. ‘Paradigms can be characterised through their: ontology (What is reality?), epistemology (How do you know something?) and methodology (How do go about finding out?) (Guba (1990), These characteristics create a holistic view of how we view knowledge: how […]

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The Dodo Verdict

I’ve been working for a Local Authority Educational Psychology and Specialist Support (EPSS) service for 16 years. I’m called an Advisory Support Teacher. In written documentation it is stated that the service we provide is based on sound psychological principles. In the last few years we have been trying to tighten up the interventions we offer to support children who are struggling in school for […]

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