Category Archives: Teaching and learning

A political education.

Why political literacy? Politics is about power and change, how we live our lives and what kind of world we want. The political is not a separate sphere of life, it’s embedded in our everyday experience, as are the ideologies … Continue reading

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Overcoming the barriers to learning

Equity, Diversity and Inclusion at WorldSkills November 2021 These are a few thoughts about how teachers can help learners overcome some of the barriers to their learning. This is not a comprehensive ‘how-to’ guide or a list of tips to … Continue reading

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Stupid gene.

Simplex and Sapiens are discussing human stupidity. Simplex: We agree that people can do some pretty stupid things, yes? Sapiens: Of course. Simplex: And that some people have a tendency to do stupid things more often… Sapiens: I guess… Simplex: … Continue reading

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Reading bell hooks.

‘Teaching to Transgress’ ‘Teaching to Transgress’ is as fresh and powerful in 2021 as when it was first published in 1994. Its messages about teaching as discovery, resistance and liberation are as vital today as ever. Reading bell hooks is … Continue reading

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Seven ways to avoid a Frankenstein education.

Seven ways to avoid a Frankenstein education – Philippe Meirieu. The French educationalist, Philippe Meirieu, in his 1996 book ‘Frankenstein Pedagogue’ reviews popular accounts of attempts to fashion a person to a maker’s design. Such fictional person-making often proves futile … Continue reading

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England’s unexpected exam revolution.

One consequence of the Covid-19 pandemic is that we are embarking on an extraordinary national experiment in the way young people achieve their exam grades in England; switching from a heavy reliance on externally set and marked written exams towards … Continue reading

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Decarbonising education.

The climate emergency is a global reality and the large scale catastrophic weather events we face on a regular basis remind us that it is affecting us in the here and now, while also threatening far more serious impacts in … Continue reading

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‘What if?’ – dystopias in fiction.

Fictional dystopias use the power of ‘what if?’ to change something or extrapolate particular social or technological trends and imagine the impact on people’s lives. The best ones are also good stories, well told, about people; their hopes, fears, feelings … Continue reading

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Learning through conflict.

Education, like all human endeavour, requires conflict, struggle, challenge, disagreement, argument, difference, dialectic, dialogue. If we want to learn or make anything new, we need to reach towards what we don’t know, to seek out the unknown. Education, and life … Continue reading

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Brecht’s radical Galileo

Brecht’s ‘Life of Galileo’ is a great piece of theatre with universal appeal. It’s also a particularly good one for science students because it brings the scientific method to life. Galileo’s struggle to get acceptance for the ‘Copernican’ heliocentric model … Continue reading

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Design for Learning.

Newham Sixth Form College (NewVIc) celebrates its 25th anniversary this year and we are delighted to be unveiling a wonderful new building for our Silver Jubilee. In nearly a decade this is the only substantial new permanent addition to our … Continue reading

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More fictional dystopias

Reading Dystopias offered an introduction to the genre of dystopian fiction through 4 classic dystopian novels. Here are four more which are also well worth reading. Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury (1953) [211 pages] Fahrenheit 451: The temperature at which … Continue reading

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London’s francophone refugees

We are roughly at the mid point of our commemoration of the First World War. Let’s look back just over a hundred years. London before the outbreak of war in 1914 was the greatest industrial city in the world and … Continue reading

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Thinking students and student research.

In his excellent book Think Again (2012), John Taylor makes a strong case for putting philosophy at the centre of our teaching in order to develop students’ ability to think. As he says in his introduction: “Education should be all about … Continue reading

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The social origins of human thinking.

What is thinking? Where does human thought come from? How did it evolve? These are important questions for us if we want to understand what makes humans different from other living things and to make the most of our abilities both as … Continue reading

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