pedagogy · Philosophy of Education

On extreme instructivism and the social construction of evidence

I was struck by Lorraine Hammond’s recent piece for The Conversation, favourably comparing explicit instruction with inquiry learning. Hammond describes inquiry as “based on a theory of learning called constructivism” and: (…) a type of learning where, before students are shown the essential information, they are asked to practise a task, and then discover and construct some or all of the essential… Continue reading On extreme instructivism and the social construction of evidence

Ofsted · pedagogy · Philosophy of Education

On Ofsted’s definition of learning and designing an alternative

Introduction This blog, outlines the problematic nature of Ofsted’s definition of learning, offering an alternative 1. Ofsted defines learning as: (…) an alteration in long term memory. If nothing has altered in long-term memory, nothing has been learned 2. Learning causes alterations in memory but so does forgetting. You could easily replace learning with forgetting and Ofsted’s definition would work equally as well. Ofsted suffers… Continue reading On Ofsted’s definition of learning and designing an alternative

Blog · pedagogy · Philosophy of Education

On curriculum objects and designing learning experiences for the early years and beyond

In our previous blog, Ruth and I discussed the use of the discovery method.  I want to revisit that blog,  and the knowledge object 1 + 1 = 2, and cast a material lens1 on the nature of curriculum knowledge. As Ruth points out, this approach is particularly relevant to the early years because of… Continue reading On curriculum objects and designing learning experiences for the early years and beyond

Philosophy of Education · Powerful knowledge · Progressivism

The social reality of powerful knowledge

In my last blog, I discussed the academic/non-academic subject divide in education. In two recent blogs, Old Andrew defines an academic subject as: (…)  one where mastery of it was best characterised by further study. The people who are best at history, are historians and they study history. Following Bernstein, I argued that subjects require a field of knowledge… Continue reading The social reality of powerful knowledge

Philosophy of Education · Progressivism

Traditionalist and progressive knowledge: causally related but analytically distinct

Introduction In this blog, I would like to offer a view of the progressive v traditionalist dichotomy through the lens of structure, culture and agency. I am also going to argue that ideas can exist as material objects in the social world. There is a proviso; the ideas must have the potential to be understood.… Continue reading Traditionalist and progressive knowledge: causally related but analytically distinct

Ofsted · Philosophy of Education · Policy · Progressivism

On the value of ideas and the search for causality in the classroom

Can an idea be “real” like a light bulb or a torch? Does the text of a book contain something more than just symbols on a page? Do ideas have a causal effect measurable by empirical science? I was pondering these questions whilst watching the world pour opprobrium on Donald Trump’s comments about Muslims. Few… Continue reading On the value of ideas and the search for causality in the classroom