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.

Being strict

By @Rory_Gribbell

A teacher explains the benefits of enforcing the rules; that it is possible to be strict
without an austere classroom atmosphere.Taking behaviour management seriously helps to improve focus and learning.
“Being strict allows you to construct an inspirational classroom culture, whatever that might look like.”

Benevolence as restraint in PE – four years on

By @LeeA1990

This blog is an analysis of whether gender stereotypes are promoted in PE. The author considers a number of issues, including the choices of sport for boys and girls, and whether PE lessons should be single-sex or mixed. He points out how some of the language that can be used in PE (such as “manning up”) can send the wrong messages and considers his own attitudes and whether he might expect less from girls he teaches.

Have you ever heard a child say ‘sorry’?

By @iQuirky_Teacher

A primary teacher discusses her experience that students who behave in the wrong way – and are corrected by the teacher – often do not say “sorry”. She considers this to show low expectations.

“It is not enough to ask children to do the right thing when they are caught doing the wrong thing. We should also expect them to think of others and one of the ways we show we are thinking of others is by apologising.”

They check your planner?

By @MrHistoire

A story here to make one appreciate one’s own managers. Apparently, in some secondary schools, teachers are compelled to have their planners examined. The ridiculous nature of this system, and the way some teachers get round the imposition, is described. The effect on morale of this excessive scrutiny is considered, and it is suggested that letting teachers get on with their job might do more to improve their effectiveness.

A two-axis model of approaches to learning

By @greg_ashman

The teacher who writes this blog is currently studying the psychology of learning for his PhD. Here he considers the role of accountability in learning. In particular, he considers it as a factor that may explain why some forms of discovery learning (like that of PhD students or research academics) may be highly effective and some forms of explicit instruction (like lecturing students) are relatively ineffective, even though, in general, explicit instruction is far more effective than discovery learning.

Freedom from fear, ditching the career

By @Bottoms_bray

Bottoms_bray, close to retirement and working in a school in special measures, describes how not seeking promotion and not needing too much approval from above helps him to teach more effectively. “For my mid-career colleagues: try to teach as if you were old, had no career to nurture and could retire next term. You will enjoy it more, stress less and listen to your own hard-won experience.”

What’s the point of knowledge if you don’t use it?

By @BodilUK

A hymn to the value of knowledge for its own sake. While learning may have practical benefits, and people may argue for schools to better realise those benefits, knowing about the world is a good in itself, not a means to an end. We should “simply laud learning in its purest form”.