Archive for the ‘Blog related’ Category

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A belated note on 14 years of blogging

March 25, 2021

Last October (on the 24th) I reached the 14th anniversary of my first blogpost. From the 24th to the 26th I wrote a blogpost every day. This distracted me from my usual practice of writing a blogpost about the previous year’s blogging, and I remained distracted for quite some time and I haven’t really been blogging lately.

That time has come to catch up. In my 14th year of blogging I wrote about:

Teacher Autonomy

Exclusions

Internal Exclusions

Behaviour

Achievement For All

CPD

Exam grading in a pandemic

Reforming the education system

Principles

RSE guidance

I think this probably accurately reflects the education debate in that time. Progressive education is losing the debate in terms of pedagogy and curriculum, with schools embracing a knowledge rich curriculum and moving away from inquiry learning. It is gaining ground in the debate over discipline with perfectly normal practices like exclusion and internal exclusion being demonised, and all manner of outdated therapeutic ideas being suggested as alternatives to setting and enforcing rules. The “Culture War” is impacting on education, with progressives being the first to claim that only their ideas can fight racism. The government’s manifest failures over replacing exams during a pandemic has also opened the door to those who wish to introduce less fair methods of assessment.

In other news

  • I appeared in this podcast with Greg Ashman which is well worth a listen.
  • I was reported to the police for warning my Twitter followers about an online troll who contacts teacher’s schools if she disapproves of what they say on Twitter. While I eventually established that warning teachers about this is not illegal, it took time and the support of The Free Speech Union to do so.
  • I was offered a permanent contract at my current school, which I accepted after years of temporary contracts with different schools.

A further distraction from blogging was the US Presidential Election. I became fascinated with the attempts to overthrow the election by alleging fraud. In particular, I studied the way false information was introduced and disseminated on MAGA Twitter. I spent a lot of time seeing what happened when I corrected factual, and in particular, statistical inaccuracies on the part of people alleging fraud. Reflecting back on this time, seeing how conspiracy theorists reject facts as propaganda and appealing to the idea that nobody but partisan actors disagrees with their account of events, made me consider if any part of the education debate shows the same tendencies. Does anyone spread false information? Does anyone invent statistical anomalies to suggest a non-existent problem exists? Does anyone use only “approved” media sources? Does anyone suggest completely lunatic solutions to problems that don’t exist? Does anyone identify “experts” who are actually complete lunatics?

I think the answer is that the MAGA of edutwitter is the anti-exclusions movement. They do spread false information. They do attack the motives of everyone who challenges them. They do suggest crazy alternatives that would never work. They do get their claims uncritically accepted in more partisan parts of the media. For that reason, I intend to spend a lot more of my time on Twitter just getting the facts about exclusions out there. There appear to be as many people on edutwitter who think ethnic minority students get excluded at a higher rate than white British students as there are people on US Twitter who think Pennsylvania counted more postal votes than they sent out.

I’m sure there’s plenty of other things I could mention. Thanks to all the support from my social media followers. And thanks to my fiance. Gwen, for totally supporting my avenging.

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Top rated posts in 2019

January 1, 2020

The following posts got the most views in 2019. Many of them weren’t actually written in 2019, so do check the date before reading.

  1. The silliest feedback from work scrutinies
  2. Definitions of Progressive and Traditionalist
  3. Why I’m leaving the NEU
  4. Year Zero
  5. Noise
  6. The Darkest Term: Teacher Stress and Depression
  7. How to Destroy NQTs
  8. Good Year Heads
  9. A Brief History of Education Part 2: The 1944 Education Act
  10. How To Find Out If Your Teacher Is Gay
  11. Tough questions about behaviour
  12. The Top Five Lies About Behaviour
  13. Seven Habits of Highly Defective Headteachers
  14. What happens when a school listens to campaigners against internal exclusion?
  15. The Worst Behaviour In School Corridors
  16. Academic and non-academic subjects
  17. More on School Chain Shaming
  18. The campaign against discipline
  19. School Chain Shaming
  20. More popular than “Ban The Booths”

Happy new year.

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Top rated posts in 2018

January 1, 2019

The following posts got the most views in 2018. Many of them weren’t actually written in 2018, so do check the date before reading.

  1. The EEF were even more wrong about ability grouping than I realised
  2. Finding or advertising a teaching job on Twitter with #teachingvacancyuk
  3. School Shamings: Why they are unnecessary and who is to blame for them
  4. The Darkest Term: Teacher Stress and Depression
  5. Good Year Heads
  6. Definitions of Progressive and Traditionalist
  7. Seven Habits of Highly Defective Headteachers
  8. How to Destroy NQTs
  9. The “teacher led” College Of Teaching. Part 2
  10. How To Find Out If Your Teacher Is Gay
  11. Why is the EEF getting it so wrong about ability grouping?
  12. The Progressive Narrative on Behaviour. Part 1
  13. If we are not careful, history will repeat itself on exclusions
  14. 10 “unbelievable” things that used to be common in schools
  15. Are school shaming and trolling now accepted as normal?
  16. A Brief History of Education Part 2: The 1944 Education Act
  17. The Worst Behaviour In School Corridors
  18. The most pointless activities from teacher training
  19. The Chartered College Of Not Actually Teaching
  20. Born Bad
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A Guide To Scenes From The Battleground

September 2, 2018

I have updated this guide for the holidays.

This blog is about the state of secondary education. There is an introduction to it here:

And some reflections on it here:

Here is a summary of my main points:

Here are a few posts written purely for a laugh (although some of them perhaps make a point at the same time):

The following posts sum up what is typical in schools these days in various respects:

Behaviour:

Curriculum:

Teachers and Managers:

Special Needs:

School Life:

Miscellaneous:

As well as the advice for teachers included in many of the other posts, I have written advice specifically for new teachers:

These deal more directly with my own personal experiences, or the experiences of others:

I have also written a number of posts exploring and explaining how this situation came to be, discussing the arguments in education and suggesting what can be done.

Background:

Apologia and arguments:

Progressive Education:

Behaviour:

Initiatives:

Education Policy and Current Affairs:

Phonics

OFSTED:

The College of Teaching:

Children’s Mental Health

School shamings and witch hunts

Teaching and Teachers:

Educational Ethics and Philosophy:

Education Research and Academics

The Curriculum

Here are some videos I found on the internet which I thought were interesting, or relevant, enough to present in a blog post. Some will probably no longer be available, I hope to correct this where possible when I get the chance.

I wrote about some of the myths that are spread to teachers, often in INSET or during PGCEs:

I have also outlined what I would expect from schools willing to do put things right:

Here are my book recommendations:

This may be of interest if you are considering writing a blog or are looking for blogs to read:

You may also have found me…

Here’s an idea for using Twitter to advertise teaching jobs:

I have also written sections in the following three books:

Please let me know if any of the links don’t work.

Finally, I can be found on Facebook (please “friend” me) or Twitter (please “follow” me).

If you want to keep up with education blogging other than mine, or to see some of these same concerns discussed by others, then you should follow my sister blog, The Education Echo Chamber. The blog is here. The twitter feed is here. The sister blog to the sister blog is The Echo Chamber Uncut which automatically shares all UK education blogs. The blog is here. The twitter feed is here. There are details of some “mini Echo Chambers” here.

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Top rated posts in 2017

January 1, 2018

The following posts got the most views in 2017. Most of them weren’t actually written in 2017, so do check the date before reading.

  1. The Darkest Term: Teacher Stress and Depression
  2. A Myth for Teachers: Jobs That Don’t Exist Yet
  3. Good Year Heads
  4. How to Destroy NQTs
  5. Charlie and the Inclusive Chocolate Factory
  6. The Rise Of The Progressive Trolls
  7. How Educational Progressives are still trying to silence those who disagree
  8. Seven Habits of Highly Defective Headteachers
  9. The Chartered Teacher Programme: Another stick to beat teachers with
  10. Academic and non-academic subjects
  11. Don’t let phonics denialists move the goal posts after PIRLS 2016
  12. Teachers are divided by values, not just methods
  13. How To Find Out If Your Teacher Is Gay
  14. A blogger all teachers should be following: @greg_ashman
  15. Why all the research on teacher qualifications is worthless
  16. Children are human beings, not labels
  17. Is Growth Mindset the new Brain Gym?
  18. The Obligatory Michaela Post
  19. 3 ways phonics denialists will try to fool you
  20. What happens when schools don’t permanently exclude?

Happy new year.

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11 Years Of Blogging

October 25, 2017


Yesterday was the 11th anniversary of my first blogpost.

I haven’t done very much blogging this year, although I’ve started again recently. I’ve tended to spend more time on Twitter as that reaches a wider audience and there has been good reason to keep active there, as it has become more hostile to anyone opposed to progressive education.

In fact most of my news for the year would have to be about the social media fightback by progressives. After years of losing ground, there seems to have been a major change of tactics among progressives. Instead of claiming to be the authorities who are being ignored by upstarts, they have rebranded themselves as victims of oppression by evil right-wing traditionalists who must be opposed by public shaming and abuse.

When in December, an Australian educationalist argued that criticism of learning styles was a racist attack on the poor, I dismissed it as an irrelevance. 

But actually this became pretty indicative of the rest of the year. Progressives stopped appealing to their own authority, and started trolling. Anyone who had a different perspective was a racist and a bully. Every school that tried to tighten up on discipline was engaging in child abuse. Every school that departed from progressive education was denying SEND students of their human rights. That, alongside personal abuse, and claims that those who opposed them were the true bullies, became the dominant progressive narrative of the year. Initially, I documented this (also here) calling on the “mainstream” progressives to disown the trolls. By the end of the year a lot of the previously “mainstream” progressives had adopted the same tactics. I’ve had to block more people in the last year than the rest of my time in Twitter put together. Progressives who work as consultants or lecture on university courses appear to have concluded that, as long as their hatred is focused on educational traditionalists and individual schools, it won’t harm their careers to call people names on social media.

There has also been a rise in the number of people trying to get tweeters into trouble by tagging in their employers or pretty much any authority figure into tweets. People tagged into hysterical condemnations of traditionalist edu-tweeters this year include the NSPCC, the Norfolk police and, my own favourite, one tweeter even reported me to Marvel Comics and the actor Benedict Wong (from Doctor Strange). My advice to any non-progressive edu-tweeter, be very careful about entering any kind of debate if your employer is mentioned in your Twitter bio or you are using your real name.

It would be easy to dismiss this stuff if people who behave like this weren’t influential in education, but as I said, but a lot of hostility and even some abuse, has been from people who work in teacher training. I’ve written a couple of posts this year about educationalists who try to silence debate

This has focused my attention on what people actually encounter when training to teach.

Other topics I’ve covered this year have included:

Behaviour Consultants

Obedience

Michaela School

The Great Debate

Some good things from this year:

Anyway, thanks to everybody who has been supportive, particularly my other half, Gwen, who completely supports my avenging, and my colleagues at work who have shown a real interest in social media.

Here’s looking forward to another year of blogging.

 

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Top Blogs of the Week : Schools Week (March 2016)

March 25, 2016

Schools Week have published my review of the best blogs of the week.

Andrew Old’s top blogs of the week 14 March 2016

Attachment theory: why teachers shouldn’t get too excited about it

By @Nick_J_Rose

Recently, I’ve noticed an increasing tendency for people to try to explain poor classroom behaviour in terms of attachment theory, or even by speculating about attachment disorder. This post explains the theory and the disorder(s). It also explains why poor behaviour in the classroom is unlikely to indicate an attachment disorder and cautions teachers against making amateur diagnoses.

Continued in:
Andrew Old’s top blogs of the week 14 March 2016

Andrew Old’s top blogs of the week 14 March 2016

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Top Blogs of the Week : Schools Week (February 2016)

February 12, 2016

Schools Week have published my review of the best blogs of the week.

Andrew Old’s top blogs of the week 8 February 2016
Parents

@sheep2763

This post is the account by a primary Senco of the large number of parents she had to speak to in a day. All of these parents raised concerns or problems that she had to deal with…

Continued in:
Andrew Old's top blogs of the week 8 February 2016
Andrew Old’s top blogs of the week 8 February 2016

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A Guide To My Favourite Bits of The Education Blogosphere

January 16, 2016

I’ve been relatively quiet recently on social media (honest), and I’ve tweeted far less (really) and barely blogged since before Christmas. Much of that time has been spent on my various side projects in education blogging, which often don’t tend to get the publicity they actually need and nothing like the readership of this blog. So I thought I’d give a quick guide to those parts of the education blogosphere that I am either involved in, or I’m most interested in and encourage you to get involved in them too.

I should probably start by mentioning this blog. It’s been going over nine years and there is a guide to all the posts here. I am hoping it will be more active this year than last year, and it will remain the first place to keep up with my opinions and issues that have interested me in education.

Most of my other projects are under the “Echo Chamber” banner. These have been built around publicising the best of the education blogosphere, or simply promoting all UK education blogs. The Echo Chamber blog can be found here and is my attempt to share the best of the education blogs. The growing nature of the blogosphere has made this a bit of an impractical task, and there is plenty of work still to be done to improve that service, but if you like what you find on this blog, then this should be a way of finding similar blogs. Non-UK blogs that I like can be found on the Echo Chamber International Blog.

As well as my selections, the Echo Chamber also tries to help you find your way through all the UK education blogs. My latest count found over 3000 education blogs written by people in or from the UK. Various lists can be found here and it includes a spreadsheet where you can add details of your own blog. To get some perspective on the whole of the blogosphere, there is Echo Chamber Uncut which attempts to link to every new post from every UK education blog with a working RSS feed. You may find it impossible to keep up with it, but you can browse it looking for things of interest. If you use the “search” facility it should help you find posts on topics that particularly interest you. There are also “mini-Echo Chambers” that share posts from bloggers from particular sectors or teaching particular subjects. If you teach the relevant subject then you should probably follow one of these blogs:

There are also mini-Echo Chambers for:

I’m always looking to expand the number of mini Echo Chambers, but these efforts have become somewhat bogged down in an attempt to create an Echo Chamber covering all the primary blogs. I hope to complete that soon, and then I will be looking for volunteers to create blogs for other subjects. So, if you are a teacher of MFL, geography or any other unrepresented subject, who also uses wordpress, please get in touch. Details of all these Echo Chambers (including Twitter accounts) can be found here.

The newest part of the Echo Chamber is a diary of events for teachers which can be found here. Please comment or use Twitter to contact @annaworth if you have any events to add. I am also thinking about what else should be added to the Echo Chamber in the future.

Another blog I run is Labour Teachers. If you are a Labour supporting teacher, please get in touch if you help write for it. However, in the interests of balance here are a list of the main party political education blogs.

Labour

Conservative

Liberal Democrat

The newest blog I have created is Starter For Five, a blog compiling advice for new teachers which can be found here. You should be able to follow it to get advice as it is posted. You can also add advice from this form here. Please make use of this.

That’s pretty much it for things I run, but other people have created some great resources for teachers. Let me point out a few places of interest.

  • Staffrm is a blogging site for teachers. It specialises in short posts and a generally positive vibe. It’s a particularly good place to start if you want to begin blogging.
  • researchED is an organisation for helping teachers find out about (and challenge) education research. It holds regular conferences.
  • Teachmeets are events for teachers (often free) in which teachers share ideas.
  • Knowledge organisers (for collating subject knowledge).

Obviously this is all my own personal guide to what’s out there for teacher bloggers, and I have concentrated on my own work and my favourite sites. Feel free to suggest what else is important in the comments.

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Top Rated Posts in 2015

January 1, 2016

The following posts got the most views in 2015. A lot of them weren’t actually written in 2015.

  1. The Darkest Term: Teacher Stress and Depression
  2. How to Destroy NQTs
  3. What OFSTED Actually Want
  4. A Myth for Teachers: Jobs That Don’t Exist Yet
  5. Good Year Heads
  6. It Seems I Won’t Be Joining The College Of Teaching
  7. Nobody Believes in Learning Styles Any More, Do They?
  8. A Guide To Scenes From The Battleground
  9. The arguments against the phonics screening check have been discredited
  10. The College Of Not-Actually-Teaching
  11. Is this the most clueless OFSTED report ever written?
  12. What OFSTED Say They Want
  13. Is Phonics Being Implemented Correctly?
  14. More OFSTED Good Practice that isn’t
  15. The Return Of The Most Annoying Question In Education
  16. A Very Short Summary of the Phonics Debate
  17. There’s One Thing Worse Than Green Pens
  18. Enough With The Green Pens!
  19. Never Forget: Learning Styles are Complete Arse
  20. Does teaching philosophy to children improve their reading, writing and mathematics achievement?
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