Tes - The education podcast The Tes podcast brings you all the latest news, reviews and opinion from the world of education

June 15, 2018  

With the World Cup now underway, the Tes team don their boots and shin pads for a kick-about with the week's education news.

The team explore whether international football depresses GCSE results. They also discuss why grammar school expansion could prove an anticlimax for Number 10, and whether psychology could bring an end to the reading wars.

Tune in and enjoy:

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June 15, 2018  

This episode of the Tes FE Podcast was recorded live at the Festival of Learning Awards, at the Royal Society of Arts in London. Tes columninst Sarah Simons chats with five of the inspiring award winners, who have used lifelong learning to transform their lives. 

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June 8, 2018  

A year on 2017's general election we reflect on what the result meant for education: the loss of momentum on grammar schools, and the on-going issue of funding and teacher pay.

We also discuss the issue of so-called underperformance of Northern schools and the dedicated 'safe spaces' helping schools to focus on wellbeing and mental health. 

Tune in and enjoy. 

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May 31, 2018  

This week, we talk about a new report assessing the success of free schools, and secrecy around the conflicts of interest of the minister who oversees them.

We also discuss an investigation into why academies can choose who moderates their writing SATs but maintained schools cannot, and examine the case for letting pupils experience failure in the classroom. 

Tune in and enjoy.

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May 30, 2018  

In this week's TES FE Podcast Ruth Spellman, Chief Executive of the Workers’ Educational Association (WEA) the UK’s largest voluntary sector provider of adult education in England and Scotland, joins TES columnist Sarah Simons. They discuss the government's review of post-18 education, flexibility for prison governors to select appropriate training for prisoners in their care, and the gender pay gap in colleges. 

 

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May 30, 2018  

“I can easily see why teachers would feel a little negative about group work,” says professor Christine Howe. “They must surely think it’s hard to do well, so why should I bother?”

Howe is a developmental psychologist and professor emeritus in the faculty of education at the University of Cambridge. She has spent the past twenty years researching how children develop conceptual knowledge, peer relations and communicative competence through working together in groups, and in the latest Tes Podagody podcast, she explains that teachers should not be intimidated by group work. By meeting certain criteria, she says, it’s possible for anyone to make a success of it.

“The crucial thing is that everybody is actively engaged, there are a range of different opinions and these opinions are shared and negotiated,” says Howe.

“It doesn’t matter that much whether the way in which [students] resolve their differences is productive in terms of moving their understanding on then and there...What we’ve found in our research is that the very process of negotiating ideas, giving reasons for differences of opinion and so on will stimulate the students to think about what they’re saying and, perhaps many weeks later, it will twig.”

Howe also discusses some of the biggest misconceptions that exist around group work, how research in the field has developed over the years and what teachers can do to make their group tasks more effective.

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May 25, 2018  

This week, we discuss exam season and whether or not the government's exam reforms have had their intended effect.

We also talk about Ofsted missing both internal and statutory targets, and are 'carrot and stick' behaviour policies too simplistic in their approach and failing the most at risk students? 

Tune in and enjoy.

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May 23, 2018  

 

“If you look at what most good teachers do, they are using direct instruction, but if you say to them they are using direct instruction they look at you as if, and this is a Dutch phrase, water is on fire, and they say ‘No I am a progressive’,” says professor Paul Kirschner, University Distinguished Professor at the Open University of the Netherlands. “They have a blind spot, they tend to see the straw man of direct instruction.”

Kirchner is one of the world’s leading researchers into instructional design and on this week’s episode of Tes Podagogy he explains that direct instruction is widely misinterpreted in schools. He believes most teachers see it as “drill and skill, authoritarian, isolated fact accumulation, one sized fits all” when it is nothing of the sort.

“What is direct/explicit instruction? You have to set the stage for learning, you have to make sure learners have the pre-requisite knowledge to learn, which can also include creating a learning context for them. You have to make sure there is a clear explanation of what is expected of the them and what you want them to do - to give them the procedural knowledge to carry out what they are doing. You have to model the process, show them how it is done, and try to explain what you did and why you did it. You have to provide guided practice time. That gradually gives way to independent practice. Finally, you should assess it, formally, informally, and formatively throughout,” he explains.

He believes these tenets are applicable across a broad range of pedagogical tools and techniques, including many more commonly seen as progressive. For example, he gives a detailed explanation as to why group work can be extremely effective if the tenets of direct instruction are in place. He also says discovery learning can be direct instruction if following the principle points.

Indeed, he warns against just trying to teach one way only, labelling this ineffective and akin to being a fish and chip restaurant.

“They only have one way of cooking, which is frying,” he explains. “A good chef does not limit themselves to just one technique, tool or ingredient and neither should a teacher. The teacher should be making use of everything they have to achieve effective, efficient and enjoyable learning.”

In the episode, he also ruminates upon why direct instruction has got such a bad name. Partly, he blames the likes of Sir Ken Robinson and progresso Sugata Mitra for pushing a narrative of a pedagogy fit for the 21st Century.

“21st Century skills is the biggest piece of snake oil that I have ever come across,” he says.

 

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May 22, 2018  

In this episode of the TES FE Podcast, columnist Sarah Simons chats with David Russell, CEO of the Education and Training Foundation. They discuss the complexities of a potential FE funding crisis and the 'body language' of the FE sector, as well as why Applied General qualifications are worth fighting for. They also explore how assessment could be made more inclusive. 

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May 18, 2018  

This week, we discuss Sats and the impact the tests have on primary school pupils. As Sats come to an end, GCSEs season begins, and we talk about the introduction of the grade 9-1 GCSEs, and the social media backlash many exam boards now face.

We also talk about the use of emojis in the classroom – pupils love them, but do teachers? And is there any hard proof of their effect on pupils' learning?

Tune in and enjoy.

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