Considering how to see what learning looks like – conceptual change

Full On Learning

On concepts & narratives of learning

In keeping with my commitment to post-as-I-think as opposed to posting-when-I’m-finished-thinking, here’s what I’m working on at the moment, and still working on. I have created the diagram at the bottom of this post to aid discussions around the design of the curriculum in relation to models and narratives of learning.

All this began a very long time ago, starting from my exploration into what is meant by ‘conceptual thinking’ and how we structure learning so as to deepen ‘conceptual understanding’. For a very long time (and we’re talking years/ decades here) I have been interested in:

  • The cognitive development of conceptual understanding: How abstract concepts become tangible to learners so that they gain a secure understanding of them


  • The metacognition of conceptual understanding: The actual process involved in developing the understanding of these concepts so that learners have a greater understanding and awareness of how they acquired this new knowledge so that they might…

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Pros and Cons of Action Research and Participant Action Research (PAR).

Crow1234's Blog

Kurt Lewin  was the social scientist responsible for giving  this research paradigm the name Action Research.
He believed Action Research went through a circular process. That the researcher began by “identifying a general idea” this was followed by “fact finding, planning, action, evaluating, plan second action”. However  new approaches  will use  Action Research as a form of “problem Solving”(citied in Action Research paper).

Action Research has several definitions, one definition is:
“research orientated towards direct practice” (taken from Action Research paper pg1).
While Carr & Lewin define Action Research as “a form of self reflexive enquiry” carried out by practitioners  whose purpose is to “improve the rationality and justice of their practice ” ( Carr & Kemmin 1986:162, cited in Action Research pg 1).
Action Research evolved from Post Modernism when  social scientists epistemology and ontological beliefs began to change. Through research findings they realised that people/participant/s experienced their world…

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The pressure of mistakes



Yesterday I felt the pressure of performance. Once a week I rehearse with Batala London: a samba reggae drum group that I’ve been a part of since moving to London. Numbers were low at yesterday’s session so as one of only two ‘hep’ (repinique) players, the pressure was on to hit every beat on time, in tempo.

Now, the leader of our group yesterday was certainly nothing like Whiplash’s Terrance Fletcher, which, as an aside, is a great film – one I’d certainly recommend. Instead, the pressure came from me.

Making mistakes is a crucial part of learning and certainly I’ve made many in terms of my journey into drumming. Yet making mistakes in front of others feels different. Making mistakes so publicly, when so exposed, feels highly pressurised.

Alongside playing, yesterday I led the band for the second time. Being stood in front of around…

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Dear Parents…

Ramblings of a Teacher

Dear Parents,

When you receive your child’s report this year, things might not look as clear as they once did. Having spent years getting your head around levels and sub-levels, I’m afraid they are no more. And as much as this might come as a shock to you, believe me, we as a profession were no more prepared for it.

It comes at a time when – as you’ll know – so much else has changed in our schools. Teachers the length and the breadth of the country have been doing our utmost to provide the smoothest and most effective transition for your child as we move from one national curriculum to another, but it hasn’t been easy.

It means that when you receive the report on the attainment of your child at the end of this academic year, the picture may look very different from the past. Children who were comfortably…

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Conservative victory means England’s school system will look like few others in the world


Chris Husbands

No-one foresaw the scale of the Conservative victory – it exceeded even the limits of the party’s own expectations. Now, a majority Conservative government comes to power – unexpectedly and with sufficient lead over a divided and, for Labour and the Liberal Democrats, demoralised opposition. What will this newly confident government mean for education in general and schools in particular?

The Conservative education manifesto was long on aspiration. It promised that England would lead the world in mathematics and science; that there would be a place in a ‘good’ primary school for every child; that every ‘failing’ or coasting school would be turned into an academy to drive up standards; that universities would remain ‘world-leading’; and that further education would ‘improve’. But translating these – rightly aspirational – goals into policies will bring some difficult challenges.

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Words for the way we talk

Music for Deckchairs


January 28th, 1986 the Challenger Space Shuttle finally took off after many delays and concerns about safety. The parents of female astronaut Christa McAuliffe were watching from the stands, news cameras trained on their upturned faces as the shuttle explodedScreen Shot 2015-04-29 at 10.44.49 am

Etched forever” is a meticulously pieced together account of the reactions of all those who prepared for the launch and then witnessed the explosion, from the NASA ground support to the families to the President to all the bystanders. So many stories woven together by a technical malfunction with its own story, that had been assembling itself over time while all the human stories came together.

This is “For and Against Knowledge (for Christa McAuliffe)” by US poet Sharon Olds

“If you don’t have to ask it,
Fine, but I have to ask it.
If I were her mother or husband, I would
Have to go through the center of…

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