What makes great teaching? Over Trusting?
If I am unsure of my own opinion, I search for comment and perspective from a huddle of trusted educationalists. Educationalists kind enough to unravel their own thoughts and practices online, open to us to read and challenge. Alex Quigley and Shaun Allison had already written up their Sutton Trust summaries. Tom Sherrington and John Tomsett (gallivanting global trotters, invited to the Sutton Trust/Gates Foundation Summit in Washington DC) managed a short-ish post too. All the main news groups had posted.
- Teachers warned that praise can make pupils complacent – The Independent – 31 October 2014
- Ability groups and too much praise can harm pupils – The Times -31 October 2014
- Education study finds in favour of traditional teaching styles – The Guardian 31 October 2014
- Lavish praise from teachers ‘does not help pupils’ – BBC News 31 October 2014
- Popular Teaching Methods May Harm Education – Sky News 31 October 2014
These articles (and most of the comments) read positively and yet something didn’t feel quiet right, something about the recommendations irked me. Dig a little deeper through the “effective teaching” Twitter search timeline and there were a handful slightly
cynical questioning tweets.
There is no one infallible recipe for success in the classroom…there’s as much art as science in effective teaching
What makes effective teaching is extremely hard to identify but don’t do this?!?!
Why haven’t Buzzfeed published a “21 Things We Learned From The Sutton Report On Effective Teaching” story yet?
Yay! The Sutton report is now a ten point tick list.
The scholarly work and its recommendations are “useful,” and it is not the report itself that irked me. Perhaps like the comments above would suggest it was the quick assertion that the recommendations could be presented as a recipe of effective teaching. Worse the forth coming lists “Thou shalt not praise: the seven deadly sins of teaching.” I can see the intuitive appeal of lists, in much the same way I can see the intuitive appeal of learning styles, and we know, only too well, how precarious that opinion capsized.
Prof Coe is a credible, genuine and open public speaker. He is also very collaborative, generously sharing his presentations. Indeed you can read Sutton/Gates super summit presentation hot off the press here. After hearing Professor Coe outline how complex teaching was, and hence how complicated educational research is, I hope we haven’t over-simplified teaching.
Effective teaching may benefit from you knowing your onions. Instruction may matter and beliefs count (or at least having some matter). Making it challenging before making it easy may be better in the long run (though the class may be unsettled for longer?) Relationships that build a challenging class climate may trump effective classroom management and synthetic praise may undermine the credibility of genuine praise. Meantime ability setting seem to be getting a moral beating and who remembers learning styles anyway?
So, the inevitable lists of do’s and don’ts. Hard first. Followed by the easier question. I have been learning too.
Spot the red herring.
|Eight teaching don’ts:||Seven teaching dos:|
|Eight teaching don’ts:||Seven teaching do’s:|
Effective teaching; the right choice at the right time, based on evident learner needs.