pedagogy · Policy · Progressivism

Singapore and PISA: a policy warning for England

In this blog,  I consider whether Singapore has implemented Western ideas better than the West, which arguably has resulted in significantly improved PISA results. Based on a tweet (see below), Greg Ashman suggested I had an unusual take on Singapore’s PISA success: (…) Katharine Birbalsingh commented on Finland’s decline in performance in the Programme for International… Continue reading Singapore and PISA: a policy warning for England

pedagogy · Policy · Powerful knowledge · Progressivism

On the sacred and profane of powerful knowledge

Introduction School’s minister, Nick Gibb, frequently talks about the national curriculum in terms of a canon. In ancient Greek, a canon referred to a measuring rod, which could offer a symbolic description of the current education system.  The canon of the medieval education system was the gospels; the trivium introduced the medieval elite to the word of… Continue reading On the sacred and profane of powerful knowledge

pedagogy · Progressivism

An argument for discovery learning in early years classrooms

In this blog, I intend to address the issue of discovery learning. Critics have claimed that discovery learning has been the dominant ideology in education for much of the past 50 years. Some consider it to be the cause of many of the problems suffered by education during that period. I want to address the… Continue reading An argument for discovery learning in early years classrooms

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 offer a view of the progressive v traditionalist dichotomy through the lens of structure, culture and agency. I am 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. Consider hieroglyphics; for a considerable period… 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