TLAB Notes

Took a while to get there, what with train cancellations, but it was worth it.

Lots to think about, though various themes/books seemed to be being hammered home. Nuthall’s Hidden Lives of Learners and Berger’s Ethic of Excellence were heavily plugged.

Notes from what I saw:

Sarah-Jayne Blakemore

  • Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience at UCL
  • focused on development of social cognition and the factors affecting decision-making.
  • late arriving but conclusion seemed to be that a lot of research shows teens are greatly affected by peers whereas adults typically are not, or are influenced far less.
  • Peer-learning presumably needs to take account of this. She mentioned the paradox of adolescence, i.e. that you are most prone to take risks at your healthiest time of your life. A pack mentality is a great indicator of increased risk-taking so question is how peer attitudes affect risk-analysis.

There’s a talk of hers below which covers some similar things

Ken Brechin, Cramlington & CPD

  • Bible seems to be Daniel Muijs’s book Effective Teaching.
  • Big questions were: “Is your CPD having an impact?” and “How do you know?”
  • Various ways of measuring impact – analysis of student data through to anecdotal evidence – but context affecting currency. Main thing is to make sure you know what you want CPD to achieve.
  • Spoke to various punters – all agreed that CPD often not great in schools. Seemed usually to be an expensive, hard to argue for OSIRIS course and then no sharing of what learnt
  • Ray Healey on Creating and Extension Culture in Maths

    • Emphasised value of a whole department thinking it’s worth it, rather than being one member of staff’s bolt-on
    • Good extension questions are: simple, attractive, accessible, have maths merit, are open-middled and manageable
    • Need to create culture of engagement: e.g. maths is learned not innate, encourage strategic thinking, avoid sounding like the expert
    • Some useful resources are:

    Cristina Milos

    • Took us through a typical “IB/Inquiry learning” Primary lesson, from planning to delivery to assessment
    • Powerful stuff – big thing for me was seeing the various Hidden Lives/Daniel Willingham books being made real
    • Ironically harder to write notes during but felt learned more
    • More here
    • Barbara Oakley on Learning how to Learn

      • Professor of Engineering
      • Very non-maths background, went into military, so question students ask is how did she manage to become an engineer.
      • Lots of familiar stuff on Dweck’s Growth Mindset and Spaced Learning from a different angle.
      • Focused and Diffuse modes of the brain important – Edison, for example, used to try to come up with ideas by sitting in an armchair with a handful of ballbearings. Awake he was “focused”; as he nodded off he slipped into diffuse mode (and the ballbearings hit the floor to wake him up)
      • Importance of Pomodoro technique to stay focussed.
      • Repetition useful – If you don’t repeat learning frequently, vampires suck away the knowledge before it has stuck.
      • Procrastination is addictive and a response to literal brain-pain when faced by the unknown.
      • Sleep is vital – it basically seems to flush toxins out of the neural pathways to allow more growth (learning) to happen.
      • More on all this can be found in her book
        A Mind for Numbers or in her TED talk.

        Jonathan Peel has helpfully scanned in her tips here

      Other notes online/slides from talks