My Top 5: ResearchED Secondary English and Literacy

Saturday 7th November saw the first ResearchED Secondary English & Literacy event at Swindon Academy. It really was a fantastic day. Whether you made it to the event or not, here’s my top 5 moments of the day:
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  1. Professor Ray Land opened the day with a keynote talk on Threshold Concepts, revealing why new knowledge can be so troublesome and unsettling for learners at any age. It would be foolish for me to even attempt to summarise Ray’s presentation as it was brilliant in many ways. His research-rooted insight into why students struggle to understand or take hold of such large scale concepts in the classroom was fascinating.
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  2. The structure of the day; the travelling, the cake breaks and the pockets of times waiting for sessions to begin, offered welcome spaces for some geeky, intellectually provocative and nutritious conversations about teaching and learning matters with colleagues both familiar and new.
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  3. The menu of sessions on offer was packed with so many great choices. There was real opportunity to hear some fantastic teachers and leaders share their knowledge of research and how they are applying this to their curriculum design and pedagogy in the school where they work. For me, this included:
    a) listening to Summer Turner share the English curriculum design with a heavy focus on rich literature that she and colleagues have put in place at the East London Science School
    b) learning from Katie Ashford about the importance of rigorous grammar instruction – something we are evolving at our school, so it was great to see that Michaela Community School is one step ahead
    c) soaking up the wisdom offered by Eric Kalenze on the importance of background knowledge (was sorry not to see the end of this, but grateful for technology!)
    It was a shame to miss other great speakers including Phil Stock, Andy Tharby, James Murphy, but am looking forward to catching up with their sessions online when they’re available.
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  4. The priviledge of delivering a session myself alongside some excellent speakers, on the importance of direct vocabulary instruction. I do believe this is one area of literacy that has huge value in the classroom and enhances students’ deeper learning, so I was grateful to have the opportunity to lead on this (blog post soon to follow on here).
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  5. Not wishing to wrestle any credit away from Tom Bennett or David Didau, there’s a warm sense of achievement that I believe those involved can enjoy on days like this. It’s worth reflecting that the ResearchED community is central to this ever-growing grassroots movement, snowballing solely because those people who live and breathe education are passionate enough to ensure that this super profession remains transparent, research-driven and authentic.
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I will blog about my talk here in the next couple of days.

Here’s to the next one!

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Posted on November 8, 2015, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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