Another chat over the custard creams

One of my most read posts has been A chat over the custard creams – a light hearted piece which I’m told raised a few smiles. I thought I’d do a follow up…..

  • So, Miss Pedagogy. You see the problem?
  • I do, Mrs Head!
  • I’ve managed to talk the governors round to introducing Project Based Learning in the lower school. Not just me, of course. I’m really grateful that Mr Verynaive was elected staff governor and put on the curriculum committee.
  • (Shocked) Mrs. Head! We don’t call it that!
  • Of course! Sorry! The Facilitation of Learning Committee. Chaired by Mr Meanswell.  He attended a fantastic course on the knowledge free school.
  • Really? You mean it was called that?
  • Oh no! It was called  “Forward looking governors in forward looking schools.”! Brilliant, eh?
  • Great, Mrs Head. So what’s the issue?
  • Well, firstly, I’m a little worried that results might drop.
  • That’s easily sorted, Mrs Head. Compulsory after school and holiday  interventions in KS4 to make up for anything they might have missed out on at KS3.
  • Good idea! Secondly, I want to put on the website that our staff are engaged with research.
  • But that’s great, Mrs Head. Don’t worry, I’ll make sure they get given a list of suitable articles. And Mr Verynaive has volunteered to pilot the idea with his class in the summer term. Followed by the student voice survey asking the children how it could be made even more fun! That’ll keep the staff on their toes!
  • Yes that’s great, but what about Mrs Stuckinthemud and Mr Awkward?
  • Coasting teachers who refuse to engage with research!
  • But that’s just it, they do engage with research. They’re on Twitter! They question our ideas!
  • I see the problem, Mrs Head. They’ll read the research we don’t want them to read!
  • Yes. You know, that annoying thing from the EEF. And that paper from Kirschner!
  • It’s all right. we’ll counter it. I’ve got some good research from the 1970s in favour of it.
  • Brilliant. Now then, KS4. The move to introduce APP grids in each subject.
  • Ah yes. Problem is, staff in some subjects say descriptors might not be appropriate for marking essays.
  • What? Never heard such a thing! Everything must be broken down and classified. Everything!
  • Some of them are expressing an interest in this thing called comparative judgement…
  • Damn these modern ideas! I’ve heard of this and it’s terrible! Those poor students! How can anyone write an essay or story without descriptors to tick off?
  • Well I gather a lot of people do and indeed have done so in the past…..
  • But they need to know what to do to improve! How can the poor students do this unless they have criteria to tick off?
  • I believe you show them exemplars Mrs Head. That way, they can see that things that work in one essay are not necessarily appropriate in another – it depends on context.
  • Ridiculous! If the descriptor states “use longer sentences” that’s what they do!  How on earth do you mark them?
  • I gather staff simply take essays and say which one is better. The computer eventually ranks them. You can add some exemplars to the set if you wish. Apparently for essays it works much better than ticking off a list of descriptors…
  • Dreadful! Thank goodness the exam boards are sticking to descriptors then!
  • I agree Mrs Head. But this could change…
  • Oh, Miss Pedagogy! Life was so much easier when teachers didn’t do their own research and just read what we told them to!
  • I know, Mrs Head. Sadly, it’s the world we live in today……
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