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I AM FASCINATED by pedagogy. The way teachers interact with their students, the way they think about learning, and the approaches they take to delivering curricular, are arguably the biggest factors determining students’ experiences of education.

AS A STUDENT, I hated school. And yet, I had many friends who flourished in the same classrooms. So, I have long held the notion that it’s not so much ‘what’ we teach but rather how, when & why we teach (and assess, support, encourage, challenge, scaffold, listen, wait, and so on).

MY WORKING LIFE has therefore been dedicated towards building a better understanding of pedagogy. By working closely with researchers, digging deeply into meta-analyses, witnessing excellent practice in classrooms around the world, and trying out every approach many times over, I have formed (and continue to improve) a set of principles and practices that improve student learning.

SO, I INVITE YOU to peruse this page and decide which topic(s) might be most relevant. I don’t have any prefab presentations – so feel free to choose any mix of topics that ‘speak’ to you. I will then design something specially for your context.

AREAS OF PEDAGOGY

click each one for full details

  • CHALLENGE – creating optimal levels of challenge for all students.
  • DEPTH & BREADTH OF LEARNING – when & how to move students from surface knowledge to deep learning.
  • EARLY YEARS – how staff working with 2-7-year-olds can boost learning outcomes for all children.
  • EFFICACY (Self & Collective) – boosting student (& staff) agency.
  • ENGAGEMENT – identifying what engagement means, how to recognise it and – most importantly – how to boost it.
  • EQUITY – strategies to boost learning for all students, particularly vulnerable groups.
  • FEEDBACK – improving students’ willingness to receive feedback positively and use it productively.
  • GROWTH MINDSET – acting in the belief that it is always possible to improve.
  • HIGH EXPECTATIONS – how & why do students whose teachers have high expectations make three times the normal rate of progress?
  • LEADING LEARNING – how to create alignment with shared goals and grow everyone’s talents.
  • LEARNING PIT – building a shared language for students to articulate their learning journey.
  • LEARNING HOW TO LEARN – teaching students how to become more effective thinkers & communicators.
  • PHILOSOPHY FOR CHILDREN (P4C) – one of the best approaches to developing critical, creative, caring and collaborative thinking.
  • PROGRESS – building routines to emphasise and boost progress so that all students achieve more effectively.
  • QUESTIONING – adapting questioning techniques so that it widens participation and deepens learning for all students.
  • THINKING SKILLS – developing students’ thinking so that it is more effective, ethical, social, creative and judicious.

STUDENT OUTCOMES

I share research insights & practical strategies with staff to help their students become:

  • Articulate
  • Balanced
  • Caring
  • Confident
  • Communicator
  • Creative
  • Critical Thinker
  • Curious
(read more)
  • Ethical
  • Inquirer
  • Intellectual Risk Taker
  • Knowledgeable
  • Reflective
  • Resilient
  • Strategic
  • Wise

RESEARCH CATEGORIES

I investigate meta-analyses to better understand the advice they contain for improving teaching and learning. Highlights include:

Collective teacher efficacy 1.36
Jigsaw method 1.20
Curiosity .90
Success criteria .88
Transfer strategies .86
Classroom discussion .82
(see full list)

CHALLENGE

Challenge is necessary for learning. It causes a ‘stirring of thinking’ (Vygotsky, 1978), leads to a boost in self-efficacy (Ciftci & Yildiz, 2019), and ensures lessons ‘stick’ (Roediger et al., 2011). It is also a necessary condition in developing learners who stive to be inquirers, thinkers, risk-takers, open-minded and reflective. However, challenge also causes a temporary decrease in performance and progress (Willingham, 2021). Thus, students need to believe in the long-term benefits of challenge before they will willingly engage.

Choose this topic if you would like me to cover the Goldilocks’ principle; the benefits and practicalities of desirable difficulties; ways to adapt praise to increase motivation for challenge; and how to prepare students for the inevitable performance dips they will experience when stepping out of their comfort zones.

Books I’ve written that give further research & practical ideas (in order of relevance): TEACH Brilliantly (2024); The Learning Challenge (2017); Challenging Early Learning (2018); Challenging Learning (1st Ed., 2010; 2nd Ed., 2016).

DEPTH & BREADTH OF LEARNING

Students generally acquire lots of knowledge from a content-rich curriculum, but when and how do they gain depth as well as breadth? After all, to be knowledgeable is a good start but engaged learners should also understand, reflect upon, and be able to apply their learning in ‘real-life’, cross-curricular and complex situations.

Choose this topic if you would like to use: the SOLO Taxonomy to clearly identify levels of learning; the ASK Model to create holistic learning; practical strategies for knowing when and how to move students from surface learning to deep understanding; and techniques to boost transfer and metacognition skills.

Books I’ve written that give further research & practical ideas (in order of relevance): TEACH Brilliantly (2024); Challenging Learning Through Feedback (2017); The Learning Challenge (2017); Challenging Early Learning (2018).

DEPTH & BREADTH OF LEARNING

Students generally acquire lots of knowledge from a content-rich curriculum, but when and how do they gain depth as well as breadth? After all, to be knowledgeable is a good start but engaged learners should also understand, reflect upon, and be able to apply their learning in ‘real-life’, cross-curricular and complex situations.

Choose this topic if you would like to use: the SOLO Taxonomy to clearly identify levels of learning; the ASK Model to create holistic learning; practical strategies for knowing when and how to move students from surface learning to deep understanding; and techniques to boost transfer and metacognition skills.

Books I’ve written that give further research & practical ideas (in order of relevance): TEACH Brilliantly (2024); Challenging Learning Through Feedback (2017); The Learning Challenge (2017); Challenging Early Learning (2018).

EARLY YEARS

Every topic on this page is suitable for K-12 schools, colleges and university students. Many are also very relevant for early childhood settings. My first job in a school was with 1-5-year-olds and I have worked with many hundreds of nurseries, pre-schools, day-care centres and kindergartens as a consultant. Throughout this time, I have developed a range of strategies to help all young children enjoy and seek out learning. Indeed, my book Challenging Early Learning (2018) was written specially for staff working with children aged 2-7.

Some of the key topics I help EY staff with include making the best use of feedback and praise to better support, encourage and challenge young learners; developing a growth mindset in young children and their families; and engaging and enhancing children’s skills of inquiry and thinking.

Choose this topic if  a) you would like to a) understand the best ways to amplify, draw attention and celebrate progress; b) address the principal reasons why progress for some students is disappointingly low (including demotivation, lack of persistence, and poor self-image); and c) build class and school systems for boosting progress, leading to improved achievement.

Books I’ve written that give further research & practical ideas (in order of relevance): Challenging Mindset (2018); TEACH Brilliantly (2024); Challenging Early Learning (2018); Challenging Learning (1st Ed., 2010; 2nd Ed., 2016).

EFFICACY (SELF & COLLECTIVE)

Collective and self-efficacy come from Stanford psychologist Albert Bandura (1977). They are connected to the construct of agency (the ability to make things happen) and to confidence. Many studies have found that individuals (in the case of self-efficacy) and teams (in the case of collective efficacy) who have a strong belief in their abilities to overcome challenges and improve results, do exactly that … achieve more! Little wonder then that efficacy is such an attractive proposition. Unfortunately, though, it is also a somewhat elusive quality unless significant and sustained attention is paid to the mental models and classroom structures at work in your school.

Choose this topic if  a) you would like to a) understand the best ways to amplify, draw attention and celebrate progress; b) address the principal reasons why progress for some students is disappointingly low (including demotivation, lack of persistence, and poor self-image); and c) build class and school systems for boosting progress, leading to improved achievement.

Books I’ve written that give further research & practical ideas (in order of relevance): Challenging Mindset (2018); TEACH Brilliantly (2024); Challenging Early Learning (2018); Challenging Learning (1st Ed., 2010; 2nd Ed., 2016).

EFFICACY (SELF & COLLECTIVE)

Collective and self-efficacy come from Stanford psychologist Albert Bandura (1977). They are connected to the construct of agency (the ability to make things happen) and to confidence. Many studies have found that individuals (in the case of self-efficacy) and teams (in the case of collective efficacy) who have a strong belief in their abilities to overcome challenges and improve results, do exactly that … achieve more! Little wonder then that efficacy is such an attractive proposition. Unfortunately, though, it is also a somewhat elusive quality unless significant and sustained attention is paid to the mental models and classroom structures at work in your school.

Choose this topic if  a) you would like to a) understand the best ways to amplify, draw attention and celebrate progress; b) address the principal reasons why progress for some students is disappointingly low (including demotivation, lack of persistence, and poor self-image); and c) build class and school systems for boosting progress, leading to improved achievement.

Books I’ve written that give further research & practical ideas (in order of relevance): Challenging Mindset (2018); TEACH Brilliantly (2024); Challenging Early Learning (2018); Challenging Learning (1st Ed., 2010; 2nd Ed., 2016).

ENGAGEMENT

In my latest book, TEACH Brilliantly, I describe engagement as: “when students’ thinking is focused on the topic, action or meaning that is relevant to the progress you wish them to make.” Often though, as Berry (2023) reports, engagement is recognised as students ‘doing their work’ or giving signs of attentiveness in the hope of gaining teacher approval. So how, then, does one recognise genuine engagement and perhaps more importantly, what can be done to boost it?

Choose this topic if you’d like to a) boost engagement beyond the average of 50% of students (according to Yair, 2000; Hodges, 2023); b) know when and how to include the ‘wow’ moment of the lesson for sustained engagement; and c) use strategies to deepen thinking (thus reducing the need for any ‘attentive façade’).

Books I’ve written that give further research & practical ideas: TEACH Brilliantly (2024).

EQUITY

The field upon which students play is not level. Race, culture, gender, socio-economic status, comparative age, and special educational needs can all be used to predict who is likely to succeed and who is not; who is likely to be sanctioned for discipline infractions and who is not; who will graduate, be involved in criminal justice, win awards, receive grants, or be chosen to represent their school.  It shouldn’t, but a student’s identity matters. (The Attainment Gap, 2017; Datnow & Park, 2018)

Choose this topic if you want to a) know how to adjust everyday pedagogical practices – such as questioning, praise and feedback – so that vulnerable students make significant gains; b) discover ‘close the gap’ strategies such as preview and grouping by learning; and c) design learning intentions so that every single student makes excellent progress.

Books I’ve written that give further research & practical ideas: TEACH Brilliantly (2024).

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EQUITY

The field upon which students play is not level. Race, culture, gender, socio-economic status, comparative age, and special educational needs can all be used to predict who is likely to succeed and who is not; who is likely to be sanctioned for discipline infractions and who is not; who will graduate, be involved in criminal justice, win awards, receive grants, or be chosen to represent their school.  It shouldn’t, but a student’s identity matters. (The Attainment Gap, 2017; Datnow & Park, 2018)

Choose this topic if you want to a) know how to adjust everyday pedagogical practices – such as questioning, praise and feedback – so that vulnerable students make significant gains; b) discover ‘close the gap’ strategies such as preview and grouping by learning; and c) design learning intentions so that every single student makes excellent progress.

Books I’ve written that give further research & practical ideas: TEACH Brilliantly (2024).

FEEDBACK

The impact of feedback on student learning is extraordinarily well researched. Hattie (2023), for example, includes 2000 studies about feedback in Visible Learning: The Sequel. This compares with just 22 studies about school choice, 30 studies about screentime and 181 about class size. You might think, therefore, that little more needs to be said about feedback. Yet, in 30 years as a teacher and consultant, responses to the key points I share about feedback tend to be, ‘why didn’t we know this?’ or ‘why haven’t we done this before?’ Not that I’m casting aspersions – far from it. When there’s so much spoken and written about feedback, it’s little wonder that most of us block out the noise and rely instead on well-rehearsed routines! That said, there are small tweaks that can be made that lead to significant gains in student learning.

Choose this topic if you want to a) give feedback in such a way that students understand and use it brilliantly; b) be clear about what matters – and what really doesn’t – when it comes to feedback routines; c) understand some of the best ways to develop students’ assessment capabilities.

Books I’ve written that give further research & practical ideas (in order of relevance): Challenging Learning Through Feedback (2017); TEACH Brilliantly (2024); Challenging Early Learning (2018); Challenging Learning (1st Ed., 2010; 2nd Ed., 2016).

GROWTH MINDSET

Growth mindset holds a curious position in education. Some claim is it another bandwagon like learning styles or brain gym (for which there is no reliable evidence) – despite decades of precise and careful research, five published meta-analyses and 325 peer-reviewed studies. Others say the effect sizes (d = 0.08 to 0.28) are too small to invest time and effort even though many of these effects came from 2 x 25-minute web-based interventions (Yeager, et al., 2019).

The reality is: the impact of being in a growth mindset can be considerable. Learners tend to be more receptive to feedback; to proactively seek out ways to improve; and to approach challenging tasks with a positive and strategic outlook. Most significantly perhaps, people in a growth mindset are better able to bounce back from setbacks and failure.

Choose this topic if you want to a) understand the nuances of the research as well as the urban myths to avoid; b) know the school and classroom set-ups that encourage a growth mindset and those that get in the way; and c) choose the best strategies for creating a culture of student – and staff – growth. Having co-presented with Carol Dweck at more than 30 conferences, I am in a great position to help you with all this!

Books I’ve written that give further research & practical ideas (in order of relevance): Challenging Mindset (2018); TEACH Brilliantly (2024); Challenging Early Learning (2018).

GROWTH MINDSET

Growth mindset holds a curious position in education. Some claim is it another bandwagon like learning styles or brain gym (for which there is no reliable evidence) – despite decades of precise and careful research, five published meta-analyses and 325 peer-reviewed studies. Others say the effect sizes (d = 0.08 to 0.28) are too small to invest time and effort even though many of these effects came from 2 x 25-minute web-based interventions (Yeager, et al., 2019).

The reality is: the impact of being in a growth mindset can be considerable. Learners tend to be more receptive to feedback; to proactively seek out ways to improve; and to approach challenging tasks with a positive and strategic outlook. Most significantly perhaps, people in a growth mindset are better able to bounce back from setbacks and failure.

Choose this topic if you want to a) understand the nuances of the research as well as the urban myths to avoid; b) know the school and classroom set-ups that encourage a growth mindset and those that get in the way; and c) choose the best strategies for creating a culture of student – and staff – growth. Having co-presented with Carol Dweck at more than 30 conferences, I am in a great position to help you with all this!

Books I’ve written that give further research & practical ideas (in order of relevance): Challenging Mindset (2018); TEACH Brilliantly (2024); Challenging Early Learning (2018).

HIGH EXPECTATIONS

Expectations refer to the “inferences that teachers make about the present and future academic achievement and general classroom behaviour of their students” (Good and Brophy, 1997. p. 79). When we hold high expectations, student outcomes range from high to very high (effect sizes of d = 0.50 to 1.44); whereas when we hold low expectations, this drops dramatically (effect sizes of d = -0.03 to 0.20). Some of the notable characteristics of high expectations include expecting improvements for all students (not just those with good attitudes or prior success); challenge that is closely matched to individual needs; using fluid grouping based on current learning; and spending less time on crowd control and more on formative feedback.

Choose this topic if you want to a) understand the ten most important values and strategies that will lift expectations; b) build students’ confidence and interest in their studies in line with teachers’ rising expectations; and c) how to accelerate learning for every single student.

Books I’ve written that give further research & practical ideas (in order of relevance): Challenging Mindset (2018); TEACH Brilliantly (2024).

LEADING LEARNING

Leadership is an attitude, not just an appointed position. By choosing leadership, everyone gains – staff and students. As Viviane Robinson (2007) shows in her meta-analyses, the five dimensions making the biggest difference are providing big picture goals of learning; aligning everyone towards these goals; learning how to learn together; engaging in analysis; and selecting and developing the tools needed to reach these goals.

As an experienced leader, firstly in a range of school and district contexts then as the founder and director of seven independent consultancies in seven countries, I bring deep understanding of this fascinating approach to growing human potential.

Choose this topic if you want to understand a) the mental models that are needed to grow towards your vision as well as those that are likely to be hampering your efforts; b) how to deal with resistance so that they become your mission’s strongest advocates; and c) how to achieve a balance between management (dealing effectively with the present) and leadership (deciding and designing the future).

Books I’ve written that give further research & practical ideas (in order of relevance): Challenging Mindset (2018); TEACH Brilliantly (2024).

LEADING LEARNING

Leadership is an attitude, not just an appointed position. By choosing leadership, everyone gains – staff and students. As Viviane Robinson (2007) shows in her meta-analyses, the five dimensions making the biggest difference are providing big picture goals of learning; aligning everyone towards these goals; learning how to learn together; engaging in analysis; and selecting and developing the tools needed to reach these goals.

As an experienced leader, firstly in a range of school and district contexts then as the founder and director of seven independent consultancies in seven countries, I bring deep understanding of this fascinating approach to growing human potential.

Choose this topic if you want to understand a) the mental models that are needed to grow towards your vision as well as those that are likely to be hampering your efforts; b) how to deal with resistance so that they become your mission’s strongest advocates; and c) how to achieve a balance between management (dealing effectively with the present) and leadership (deciding and designing the future).

Books I’ve written that give further research & practical ideas (in order of relevance): Challenging Mindset (2018); TEACH Brilliantly (2024).

THE LEARNING PIT

Doing a search online for the ‘Learning Pit’ results in hundreds of millions of hits. As its creator, this makes me a happy man! However, with this popularity comes a few problems. It is, after all, much more than just a nice image to encourage students to step out of their comfort zone. Used effectively, it can also help to improve questioning (teachers’ and students’ questions), collective and self-efficacy, resilience, dialogic teaching and metacognition. Indeed, if you really want to jump in with both feet, it can guide and improve inquiry and concept-based teaching.

Choose this topic if you want a) your students to be more willing to step out of their comfort zone; b) your students to build a shared language of learning that will support their group work and metacognition; and c) you want learners who are inquirers, communicators, open-minded, caring, risk takers.

Books I’ve written that give further research & practical ideas (in order of relevance): The Learning Pit (2020); The Learning Challenge (2017); TEACH Brilliantly (2024); Challenging Early Learning (2018); Learning Challenge Lessons: Elementary (2018); Learning Challenge Lessons: ELA (2019); Challenging Learning (1st Ed., 2010; 2nd Ed., 2016).

LEARNING TO LEARN

When students link ideas, concepts, skills, and theories together, they form a more complete understanding of the world around them. This facilitates the move from surface to deep learning. If these connections also reach across disciplines, then transferability is enhanced. All of this leads to students learning how to learn.

Placing these qualities at the heart of lessons should include classroom discussion, exploratory talk, effective questioning, and transfer strategies.

Choose this topic if you want your students to a) build a shared language of learning that supports their group work and metacognition; b) ask better questions and participate more effectively; c) learn how to be principled, caring and reflective citizens; and d) become more effective thinkers and communicators.

Books I’ve written that give further research & practical ideas (in order of relevance): The Learning Challenge (2017); TEACH Brilliantly (2024); Challenging Early Learning (2018); Encouraging Learning (2013); Challenging Learning (1stEd., 2010; 2nd Ed., 2016).

LEARNING TO LEARN

When students link ideas, concepts, skills, and theories together, they form a more complete understanding of the world around them. This facilitates the move from surface to deep learning. If these connections also reach across disciplines, then transferability is enhanced. All of this leads to students learning how to learn.

Placing these qualities at the heart of lessons should include classroom discussion, exploratory talk, effective questioning, and transfer strategies.

Choose this topic if you want your students to a) build a shared language of learning that supports their group work and metacognition; b) ask better questions and participate more effectively; c) learn how to be principled, caring and reflective citizens; and d) become more effective thinkers and communicators.

Books I’ve written that give further research & practical ideas (in order of relevance): The Learning Challenge (2017); TEACH Brilliantly (2024); Challenging Early Learning (2018); Encouraging Learning (2013); Challenging Learning (1stEd., 2010; 2nd Ed., 2016).

PHILOSOPHY FOR CHILDREN (P4C)

The underlying principle of P4C is for students to experience rational and reasonable dialogue about things that matter to them and their teachers. All participants work together in a ‘community of inquiry’. The aim for every participant is to become clearer, more accurate, less self-contradictory and better aware of other arguments and values before reaching a conclusion.

It is fair to say that P4C underpins everything I do within education. My major at university in the early 1990s was in P4C. My practice has appeared in TV documentaries (1999 & 2016) and in 2010, I co-founded P4C.com, an online resource and collaboration cooperative. Often, I combine P4C with other areas of pedagogy (for example, dialogue, challenge or mindset) but when invited to share P4C in its ‘pure’ sense, I am always delighted!

Choose this topic if a) you would like your students to develop critical, creative, caring and collaborative thinking; b) you would find it useful to understand which resources and inquiry structures make P4C relevant for students of all ages; and c) you’d like to see me using P4C with your students (you are welcome to record these demonstration lessons).

Books I’ve written that give further research & practical ideas (in order of relevance): The Learning Challenge (2017); Challenging Early Learning (2018); Encouraging Learning (2013); Challenging Learning (1st Ed., 2010; 2nd Ed., 2016).

PROGRESS

Researchers used to think that intelligence and ability were mostly determined by genetics and that experiences and environment led to only moderate adjustments. They thought this was particularly true for students with special needs. A breakthrough in the 1980s showed IQ scores rising across whole populations which could only be explained by improvements in circumstance (particularly health, living conditions and quality of education).

Though it is still true that some students are further behind than others, it is now clear that every single student can make excellent progress from where they are starting. Indeed, it is this belief that is at the heart of holding high expectations for all students.

Choose this topic if a) you would like to a) understand the best ways to amplify, draw attention and celebrate progress; b) address the principal reasons why progress for some students is disappointingly low (including demotivation, lack of persistence, and poor self-image); and c) build class and school systems for boosting progress, leading to improved achievement.

Books I’ve written that give further research & practical ideas (in order of relevance): Challenging Mindset (2018); TEACH Brilliantly (2024); Challenging Early Learning (2018); Challenging Learning (1st Ed., 2010; 2nd Ed., 2016).

PROGRESS

Researchers used to think that intelligence and ability were mostly determined by genetics and that experiences and environment led to only moderate adjustments. They thought this was particularly true for students with special needs. A breakthrough in the 1980s showed IQ scores rising across whole populations which could only be explained by improvements in circumstance (particularly health, living conditions and quality of education).

Though it is still true that some students are further behind than others, it is now clear that every single student can make excellent progress from where they are starting. Indeed, it is this belief that is at the heart of holding high expectations for all students.

Choose this topic if a) you would like to a) understand the best ways to amplify, draw attention and celebrate progress; b) address the principal reasons why progress for some students is disappointingly low (including demotivation, lack of persistence, and poor self-image); and c) build class and school systems for boosting progress, leading to improved achievement.

Books I’ve written that give further research & practical ideas (in order of relevance): Challenging Mindset (2018); TEACH Brilliantly (2024); Challenging Early Learning (2018); Challenging Learning (1st Ed., 2010; 2nd Ed., 2016).

QUESTIONING

The number of questions asked by teachers on average is between 300-400 (Tienken et al, 2009) and 100-350 (Clinton & Dawson, 2018). Unfortunately, however, these questions are most commonly asked within the classic IRE pattern – Initiate-Respond-Evaluate. This approach tends to engage only one third of students (Cazden, 2001). Thankfully though, there are small tweaks that can be made to significantly outcomes – but they take practice and patience. Consideration should also be given to whether ‘cold calling’ helps, how to use pace and wait times to improve participation, how to build up and respond to students’ questions, and ways to widen participation so that it’s not just the usual suspects who respond. Advice, supported by evidence, about all of this can be woven into professional learning sessions.

Choose this topic if  a) you would like to a) understand the best ways to amplify, draw attention and celebrate progress; b) address the principal reasons why progress for some students is disappointingly low (including demotivation, lack of persistence, and poor self-image); and c) build class and school systems for boosting progress, leading to improved achievement.

Books I’ve written that give further research & practical ideas (in order of relevance): Challenging Mindset (2018); TEACH Brilliantly (2024); Challenging Early Learning (2018); Challenging Learning (1st Ed., 2010; 2nd Ed., 2016).

THINKING SKILLS

All students can be taught to be better thinkers. ‘Better’ in terms of being more effective, ethical, social, creative and judicious. By improving their thinking, students become more active inquirers, more open-minded and balanced, reflective and principled.

Of the strategies that I have expertise in, I would recommend selecting from these options: Higher Order Thinking Skills (HOTS); de Bono’s Lateral Thinking techniques; Thinking Through series from Newcastle University; Philosophy for Children; and of course, the Learning Pit. Between them, these approaches to thinking help students learn from mistakes, value discovery and design, engage in playful exploration, and develop critical, creative, caring and collaborative skills.

Choose this topic if you wish to a) learn practical, analytical tools that teach students how to think more critically; b) build a set of lateral thinking strategies that will boost the creativity of all students; and c) identify how best to help students socially construct understanding.

Books I’ve written that give further research & practical ideas (in order of relevance): The Learning Challenge (2017); Challenging Early Learning (2018); Encouraging Learning (2013); Challenging Learning (1st Ed., 2010; 2nd Ed., 2016).

THINKING SKILLS

All students can be taught to be better thinkers. ‘Better’ in terms of being more effective, ethical, social, creative and judicious. By improving their thinking, students become more active inquirers, more open-minded and balanced, reflective and principled.

Of the strategies that I have expertise in, I would recommend selecting from these options: Higher Order Thinking Skills (HOTS); de Bono’s Lateral Thinking techniques; Thinking Through series from Newcastle University; Philosophy for Children; and of course, the Learning Pit. Between them, these approaches to thinking help students learn from mistakes, value discovery and design, engage in playful exploration, and develop critical, creative, caring and collaborative skills.

Choose this topic if you wish to a) learn practical, analytical tools that teach students how to think more critically; b) build a set of lateral thinking strategies that will boost the creativity of all students; and c) identify how best to help students socially construct understanding.

Books I’ve written that give further research & practical ideas (in order of relevance): The Learning Challenge (2017); Challenging Early Learning (2018); Encouraging Learning (2013); Challenging Learning (1st Ed., 2010; 2nd Ed., 2016).

STUDENT OUTCOMES

If there are student outcomes you are particularly working towards, then this guide should help you choose the right blend of topics.

Articulate (being clear, coherent & easily understood)

I recommend asking me to put together the best selection for your context from: 4) strategies to boost engagement; 9) raising expectations; 10) the Learning Pit; 11) some of the best practices from Philosophy for Children; 15) improving questioning; and 16) building students thinking skills.

Balanced (being interested in a wide range of interests and topics)

I recommend selecting from: 2) extending the breadth and depth of learning; 6) boosting equity; 11) the Learning Pit; 13) Philosophy for Children; and 16) thinking skills (particularly critical thinking dimensions).

Caring (being empathetic, kind & considerate)

I recommend selecting from: 2) extending the breadth and depth of learning; 6) boosting equity; 11) the Learning Pit; 13) Philosophy for Children; and 16) thinking skills (particularly caring and collaborative dimensions)

Confident (being comfortable in your own skin)

I recommend selecting from: 1) encouraging students to step out of their comfort zone more willingly (challenge); 5) approaches to building self-efficacy; 6) boosting equity; 8) encouraging students into a growth mindset; 9) raising expectations; 11) going through the Learning Pit; and 14) emphasising progress.

Communicator (listening with interest & sharing ideas with clarity)

I recommend selecting from: a) strategies to boost engagement; 4) strategies to boost engagement; 9) raising expectations; 10) the Learning Pit; 11) some of the best practices from Philosophy for Children; 15) improving questioning; and 16) building students thinking skills.

Creative (being playful, innovative & exploratory)

I recommend selecting from: 2) extending the breadth and depth of learning; 6) boosting equity; 11) the Learning Pit; 13) Philosophy for Children; and 16) the creative dimensions of thinking skills.

Critical Thinker (being analytical, observant & reasoned)

I recommend selecting from: 2) extending the breadth and depth of learning; 6) boosting equity; 11) the Learning Pit; 13) Philosophy for Children; and 16) the critical thinking dimensions of thinking skills.

Curious (asking questions & showing a keen interest)

I recommend selecting from: 4) engagement; 7) designing learning intentions based on students’ interests and curiosity (part of feedback); 11) the Learning Pit; 13) Philosophy for Children; and 15) questioning.

Ethical (building trust & being fair)

I recommend selecting from: 2) extending the breadth and depth of learning; 6) boosting equity; 10) leading learning; 11) the Learning Pit; 13) Philosophy for Children; 15) questioning; and 16) thinking skills.

Inquirer (asking the right questions at the right time for the right purpose)

I recommend selecting from: 2) depth & breadth of learning; 4) engagement; 11) the Learning Pit; 13) some of the best practices from Philosophy for Children; 15) improving questioning; and 16) building students thinking skills.

Intellectual Risk Taker (being willing to step outside your comfort zone time & again)

I recommend selecting from: 1) encouraging students to step out of their comfort zone more willingly (challenge); 5) approaches to building self-efficacy; 6) boosting equity; 8) encouraging students into a growth mindset; 9) raising expectations; 11) going through the Learning Pit; and 15) questioning.

Knowledgeable (expertise in a wide range of specific & generalisable insights)

I recommend selecting from: 1) encouraging students to step out of their comfort zone more willingly (challenge); 6) boosting equity; 8) encouraging students into a growth mindset; 9) raising expectations; 11) going through the Learning Pit; 15) questioning; and 16) thinking skills.

Reflective (understanding yourself, your ideas & your learning journey)

I recommend selecting from: 2) extending the breadth and depth of learning; 7) the metacognitive aspects of feedback; 11) going through the Learning Pit; 12) learning how to learn; and 15) questioning.

Resilient (being able to ‘stick at it’, bounce back & overcome obstacles)

I recommend selecting from: 1) encouraging students to step out of their comfort zone more willingly (challenge); 5) approaches to building self-efficacy; 6) boosting equity; 8) encouraging students into a growth mindset; 9) raising expectations; 11) going through the Learning Pit; and 14) emphasising progress.

Strategic (making choices to increase progress towards agreed goals)

I recommend selecting from: 2) extending the breadth and depth of learning; 10) leading learning; 11) the Learning Pit; 13) Philosophy for Children; and 16) the critical thinking dimensions of thinking skills.

Wise (see the bigger picture, balancing short-term with long-term goals & self-interest)

I recommend selecting from: 2) extending the breadth and depth of learning; 5) approaches to building self-efficacy; 7) feedback; 9) high expectations; 11) the Learning Pit; 13) Philosophy for Children; and 16) thinking skills (particularly critical thinking dimensions).

Research Themes

As well as the key areas of expertise described above, I also offer support in developing the following approaches to teaching and leadership. Definitions of each term can be found at VisibleLearningMetaX.com. This is also where I have taken the effect sizes from (the higher the ‘score’, the greater the probable effect on student learning – although there is a story behind every headline)

Collective teacher efficacy 1.36
Jigsaw method 1.20
Curiosity .90
Success criteria .88
Transfer strategies .86
Classroom discussion .82
Self-efficacy .65
Feedback .62
Teachers not labelling students .61
Metacognition strategies .60
Appropriately challenging goals .59
Creativity .58
Strategy monitoring .58
Flipped classrooms .57
Concentration-persistence-engagement .53
Philosophy in schools .53
Clear goal intentions .51
Critical thinking .49
Feedback (timing) .49
Questioning .49
Self-control .49
Feedback (from tests) .48
Differentiation .46
Positive self-concept .46
Attitude towards content domains .45
Cooperative learning .45
Peer assessment .44
Parental involvement .42
Peer- and self-grading .42
Teacher expectations .42
Formative evaluation .40
Goal commitment .40
Collaborative learning .39
Motivation and approach .38
Growth vs. fixed mindsets .15

JAMES NOTTINGHAM

Consultant, Author, Keynote Speaker

This site represents two tradenames:

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