‘But you never taught us that, Miss!’ Thinking about how to prepare Key Stage 3 pupils for their end-of-year exams at the beginning of the academic year 

This is the first in a series of weekly blog posts in which I show how a journal article or book has inspired me to improve my teaching practice. Each post ends with a practical resource or activity. Today I show how an article by Nick Dennis (2016) inspired me to improve my planning of assessment activities, a year in advance,…

Does revision always mean reduction?

‘Which one was Canning Miss?’ ‘He was the Tory Prime Minister in 1827.’ ‘Oh.’ [Frowns]. ‘He’s the one who had the duel with Castlereagh – the one who completely missed.’ ‘Oh yeah! Him! He was the liberal one who the old fashioned ones didn’t like, wasn’t he? The bloke who liked Catholics?’ My Year 12…

“Your brain is like a forest”: being transparent with pupils about ‘desirable difficulties’ in learning information

It’s revision season in our school. We have some excellent resources on ‘active revision strategies’, and we’ve taken the principles of a ‘knowledge-rich curriculum’ seriously. I personally have learnt a lot from Christodoulou’s excellent  book ‘Seven Myths About Education‘ (2014). Yet what we are perhaps lacking in is enough transparency about the importance of struggling when revising for…

How to lose a game in school

“In a competition, the winners and losers both lose” – The Dalai Lama.  I have created many history-related games for use in the classroom, including two published in the journal Teaching History (issues 149 and 154). I look forward to the point in the Scheme of Work when I can use the games with the students,…

The impact of personality in the classroom

What is the impact of personality on teaching? Does personality matter when it comes to teacher effectiveness? Should I try to change any elements of  my personality in order to be a better teacher? To begin my short study on personality, I began with a rather dated American study by F. Tyler, which had the promising…