the rich get richer and the poor get poorer…

….could this catchphrase be replicated with the quest for knowledge or for exam success?

Maybe. A bike ride home often gets me thinking. I shall post this info into the melting pot blog but some may not read it. You might not read this either but it’s a bit too big for the portal notice board.

The new curriculum certainly requires us to focus on knowledge accumulation and what is clear is that children who know lots of things learn new things more quickly. A student who has a wealth of knowledge to draw on and to compare with, will pick up and associate new information as if they were ‘born to learn’. They seem to quickly master new material and think more effectively. What is actually happening is that the new information being presented during the course of the lesson, (which resides in and around short term memory) hunts for previously learned information to ‘associate’ with. This blog post explains this in more detail . Those with no cash in the bank so to speak can’t make the association and soon that new information drifts away. The rich get richer and the poor get poorer. How we deposit a little early cash in the bank account of the poor learners to get them started is, in my mind, about the most important thing we can do if we are ever going to raise the performance of the ‘struggling third’ by the time they get to year 11.

Many of the staff in the meeting tonight suggested that making sure that regular testing and memory checks were going to be an area for their work moving forward. This explains why that is a very good idea As the curriculum changes to emphasise what students actually know and can consequently apply to questions a fair distance whence that information was first seen. In some cases more than 18months previous. Given that the initial ‘typical’ forgetting curve is about 4 days, we have a big challenge ahead. Here is a link that describes how a knowledge based English scheme (no PE unfortunately!!!) might look and another about how we might go about assessing a ‘unit’ of knowledge in order to refine it. Another about key questions we should probably be asking ourselves This succinctly debates the knowledge v skills question.

From a personal point of view my summer task, now my portal site is ready, is to build an assessment resource library to ascertain exactly where students are at any given point. Progression in my course from next year will be mastery rather than Half-termly based. This blog post makes so much sense and explains why

During the meeting the need for ‘reading around the subject’ was also seen as a key thing for students to do. Could the same be applied to us as teachers? Should we model this practice to our students and regularly read around our subject of choice, teaching?

With advent of the blog and people who reduce and kindly repackage the vast amount of information available to us this has become a varied, more bite sized and genuinely interesting part of what should be an expectation of ourselves. As most who have ‘delved’ say, twitter and edu blogs are about the best source of cpd out there. And it’s all free. You will never be able to read even 1% of what is available. You just pick what you like and drop what you don’t. To deal with our new challenge and more importantly to give all our students a chance in this more ‘stretching’ environment we need to be even more on the ball. We can never read enough but is our own reading and research one of the answers? What’s good for the goose…..

There are fantastic books out there for deeper enthusiasts some of which I have pointed you towards previously. This link should give you a list to keep you going

For those who prefer to listen or watch try these for starters

from Mr Willingham which will probably change what you thought before watching it (learning styles don’t exist) a quick summary of the work of Kahneman which might explain why we sometimes avoid thinking – ‘cos it’s hard !!!

My last suggestion which I have made at least once, ok maybe more than once, is to buy, read and re-read Willingham. It’s on sale on Amazon šŸ™‚

Dan x


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s