Do Schools Kill Learning?

Ten years ago, a talk by Sir Ken Robinson was published on TED. Having being viewed over 41 million times on TED alone, it has become one of the most – if not the most – viewed TED talk ever. It was provocatively titled: Do Schools Kill Creativity?  The popularity of Ken’s talk catapulted him into the Public Speaking […]

Developing a Minecraft Mindset

What’s in this post: How I used Minecraft to discuss Mindset with kids for whom mainstream education doesn’t work Access to the materials I created in order for you to do similar if you wish Of late I’ve found myself working with kids from some fairly tough backgrounds. Whether it’s kids who are wards of the […]

Should You *Reward* Good Behaviour?

I’ve been doing a lot of work around Carol Dweck’s Mindset theory of late. This complements the approach I take to engagement in school (or any environment) which I largely base on Ryan & Deci’s Self Determination Theory. The essence of what I explore is that authentic engagement is achieved when: Relationships have been established […]

Snake, Walkmans, Moments & School…

What do these three things have in common,  and why on earth would I waste your time asking you that question? If you’re of a certain vintage you’ll be aware of just how amazing Nokia phones were. What’s that? You can’t remember? Check this out. Of course, Sony Walkmans were so popular even competitor’s offerings were referred to as Walkmans, […]

Stop Blaming ‘The System’

I often get asked to speak about engagement. I outline that four key considerations are essential if we are to genuinely engage kids (and staff) in our schools. They are: establishing good relationships, developing a sense of autonomy, encouraging mastery and having a bigger purpose than just chasing grades. Sometimes I hear that whilst these ideals are admirable – […]

3 Common Myths About Innovation in Education

1. We’re innovative. The kids all have iPads.  To do what? To do what you already did quicker, more efficiently or on a larger scale? In many schools the power of the iFad or whatever technology has been wheeled into the school is compromised by the way in which they’re allowed or – more importantly – […]

#MakeItMatter2Me

I regularly annoy math teachers by questioning why I would need to learn Pythagoras’ Theorem as a kid. Or Calculus? Seriously… does that even exist? And just to prove I’m not being mathsist, why should we care about Shakespeare? Whilst you might this I’m being facetious when I’m doing this, I’m trying to highlight that […]

Do we get Engagement Wrong in School?

I’m really pleased to say that in 2014 I’ll be writing a regular column, School of Thought, for the Australian Teacher Magazine. My first column for 2014 is now up! I say engagement is overused because I witness, all too often, schools confusing conformity for engagement. Measures such as attendance, grades, homework, and adherence to uniform […]

Are the smartest kids also the saddest?

Late last year, the OECD published the latest of their PISA tables. Predictably, many went into meltdown, whether it was due to their country’s position on the table, their respective government’s reaction to the results or those who detest standardised testing. But as this article shows, the tests are not all about numeracy and literacy. […]