Brad's Blog

Great teaching not great teachers

Wednesday 31st July 2019

The personalisation of teaching is very common. Speaking at the Global Teacher award ceremony in 2016 the late Professor Stephen Hawking named and praised his maths teacher Dikran Tahta for his lively and inspirational lessons and commented, "When each of us thinks about what we can do in life, chances are, we can do it because of a teacher. Behind every exceptional person, there is an exceptional teacher. Today we need great teachers more…

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Time for a challenge

Wednesday 31st July 2019

A lack of challenge for learners is a regular theme in Ofsted inspection reports. The following quotations arise from a very recent college inspection report (June 2019) and contributed to a 'requires improvement' grade, "Too many teachers do not routinely challenge the most able learners with stretching targets and activities." In addition the inspectors commented, "Teachers are not skilled enough at ensuring that learners and apprentices think deeply about topics." This is a common…

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Applying Ofsted 2019

Wednesday 31st July 2019

over the past decade, in particular, although in the case of the Pedagogical Content Knowledge (PCK) we are going back to Shulman 1986, the Pygmalion Effect dates back to1968 and the Ebbinghaus 'forgetting curve' the whole way back to 1880. However, it is the more recent research findings arising from neuroscience in relation to learning and memory that have influenced the inspection and wider education agenda. In 2007 the OECD report,…

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Success in Six Weeks

Tuesday 2nd May 2017

In 2015-16 over 33,000 students dropped-out of their college programmes within the first six weeks. It is a rising trend. In 2013-14 29,000 dropped out followed by 32,000 in 2014-15. Level 1 courses suffer the highest drop-out rates with 10% within the first six weeks followed by Level 2 at 8% and Level 3 at 4%. Some of the students may join other programmes but a significant number become NEET at significant…

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Adult Education's vital role

Tuesday 2nd May 2017

We are all living much, much longer and this raises a vital role for Adult Education to help maintain our physical and cognitive health into old age and help combat the onset of dementia. As our bodies age and we slow down and become physically weaker so do our brains. Neurons that die are not replaced and gradually our brains begin to shrink and our ability to process information diminishes. We lose about 1% of…

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Asking the right questions

Tuesday 2nd May 2017

Questions are the primary way we gauge student understanding as lessons unfold. The answers give us immediate feedback and in the most effective lessons prompt a mix of restatement, reframing or extension of key learning points to help identify and correct misconceptions. Ideally we seek to build a dialogue to help students assimilate new information and by probing assumptions and evidence promote reflection and deeper thinking. There is considerable research evidence underpinning…

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The greatest gift...

Monday 30th January 2017

The greatest gift we can offer our students is the gift of confident public speaking. It is perhaps the most significant employability skill of all. The common hallmark of those who rise to the top of our professions is 'presence' i.e. the ability to command a room and to articulate ideas and opinions in a clear, fluent and persuasive manner. We can teach confidence. We can teach effective public speaking but all too often our…

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Great Lessons

Monday 30th January 2017

Discover two new CPD programmes within the workshops page. Great Lessons draws upon the latest academic evidence-based research of what works in terms of effective teaching, learning and assessment. Whereas Great Learning focuses upon the increasingly urgent need to address the learning deficit experienced by young people from disadvantaged backgrounds. The latter was powerfully exposed on 16th November, 2016 by the release of the government report, 'State of the Nation 2016: social mobility in Great…

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From Good to Outstanding

Monday 30th January 2017

"Really inspired by your presentation yesterday." Off to a good start for the New Year with receipt of the above email commenting on my presentation of the CPD programme 'Good to Outstanding in Manchester yesterday. I also offer this programme under the title, 'Stepping-up to Outstanding' and it may be tailored towards vocational programmes, A-Level provision, WBL or Adult Education as appropriate. The programme addresses the fall in the number of colleges receiving 'good…

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Auschwitz Memorial Day

Monday 30th January 2017

I visited Auschwitz in October, 2016 and walked the railroad track into the camp and stood on the ramp where the notorious selections took place. Immediate gassing and cremation for most and for those who were selected to enter the camp a slow death from starvation and hard labour. It represented a deliberate attempt to murder the entire Jewish race but also other minority groups who were deemed not to share Nazi Germany's Ayran culture…

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