17 Jul 2018

The joy of reading!

The joy of reading!

It is hard to believe that our first year as a Research School is drawing to close; and what a year it has been! For me personally, being part of the Sandringham Research School team has made me step outside my comfort zone and develop new skills but it has also enabled me to really reflect on my own teaching and continue to mould and shape my practice.

One of the real joys of the year has been working with Kate Mouncey and Caroline Creaby to develop two brand new three-day training courses: Effective Feedback to Maximise Progress and Maximising Progress in Linear Exams – we are running both of these courses again in the next academic year. As part of this process, I was able to immerse myself in research and books in all the name of planning. I revisited books and articles I hadn’t read for a while and discovered new readings I hadn’t come across before.

Here is a quick list of some of the books that really helped to shape our thinking this year:

Embedded Formative Assessment (2011) – Dylan Wiliam

I first read this book a number of years ago, loved it, and it has sat on my bookshelf since. However, when we started planning the Effective Feedback course it came into its own and provided the ultimate guide to formative assessment. The chapters on providing feedback that moves learning forward, activating students as owners of their own learning and activating students as instructional resources for one another were the clear foundations upon which we built aspects of the course. It is also a really accessible read, clearly outlining the evidence and research on formative assessment and providing practical strategies to embed in your classroom.

Memorable Teaching (2017) – Peps Mccrea

This small, but perfectly formed, book provides such a clear and concise overview of the evidence around memory and learning that we gave a copy to each of the delegates on our Linear Exams course. Peps identifies 9 principles of memorable teaching and presents each in a different chapter.

Each chapter then provides an overview of the evidence and actionable principles that can be used in the classroom, along with a list of additional reading.

Making Every Lesson Count: Six principles to support great teaching and learning (2015) – Shaun Allison and Andy Tharby

I first read this book when it was our Education Book Club read a couple of years ago and found the way it was organised and written so engaging and utterly grounded in the reality of day to day teaching.

It has been incredibly useful in many aspects of our work this year: the chapters on feedback and questioning underpinned key aspects of our Effective Feedback course and the chapter on modelling was an integral part of or Metacognition workshops. Many colleagues have borrowed this book from me over the last couple of years and all have loved it!

Research papers and other reads:

Two papers everyone refers to and we were certainly not immune – Rosenshine’s Principles of Instruction and Dunlosky’s Strengthening the Student Toolbox – have played key roles in much of our thinking and planning over the year.

Hattie and Timperley’s The Power of Feedback is also a fascinating analysis of the research into feedback and its impact on learning. This was such a useful grounding in the evidence in this area.

The Sutton Trust’s (2014) What Makes Great Teaching? is another great summary of the research underpinning effective pedagogy which we referenced in our training courses.

Kate Mouncey has been really influenced by the work of Sweller on cognitive load, with this article, Cognitive Load During Problem Solving, being particularly useful.

On my summer reading list:

I have just treated myself to a copy of Responsive Teaching (2018) by Harry Fletcher-Wood and intend to read this while lying on a sun lounger next week! I have really enjoyed reading the blogs on Harry’s website Improving Teaching so am hoping that this book is as useful. Caroline Creaby has written a review of the book here.

Slow Teaching (2018) by Jamie Thom is also on the summer reading list. From an initial flick through, it appears to be evidence-informed and has caught my attention by including chapters on well-being.

I am also intending to re-read Graham Nuthall’s (2007) The Hidden Lives of Learners. When I first read this I was completely enthralled and found it thought-provoking, but somewhere along the way my initial enthusiasm and ideas from reading this got lost. I am hoping to rediscover this during the summer.

Have a wonderful summer break!