What would you do differently if your most cherished beliefs about education turned out to be wrong?
This is a book about teaching but it is not a manual on how to teach. It’s a book about ideas but it is not ideological. It is a book about thinking and questioning and challenging. Much of what we believe about education is unexamined. In iconoclastic style, the author, David Didau scours current thinking on education to expose bad ideas masquerading as common sense before presenting an alternative view on how we might think about teaching.
The main thing Didau believes we’re wrong about is the belief that we can “see” learning. Like many other beliefs in education this is so deeply embedded in the way we see the world we don’t even think about it: it is a self-evident truth. Pretty much every lesson taught by every teacher in every school depends on the idea that we can see learning happen. But if we’re wrong about this, what else might we be wrong about? If it’s true that learning is invisible, where does that leave our assessment for learning, lesson observation and the whole concept of ‘outstanding’ teaching? The author suggests an alternative to the quick fix culture so prevalent in schools: making learning deliberately difficult. He considers the perceptual and cognitive illusions that keep us in the dark, and he presents an alternative understanding of learning and progress. He also introduces the science of how people really learn and suggests ways to implement this approach in schools. He examines the consequences of shifting our understanding of how learning occurs and discusses some of the mistakes we’ve made about grading differentiation, motivation and creativity.
About the Author:
David Didau is a freelance writer, blogger, speaker, trainer and author. He started his award-winning blog, The Learning Spy, in 2011 to express the constraints and irritations of ordinary teachers, detail the successes and failures within his own classroom, and synthesise his years of teaching experience through the lens of educational research and cognitive psychology. Since then he has spoken at various national conferences, has directly influenced Ofsted and has worked with the Department for Education to consider ways in which teachers’ workload could be reduced. He is the author of the hugely successful titles The Secret of Literacy, in which he urges teachers to ‘make the implicit explicit’, and What If Everything You Knew About Education Was Wrong?, in which he turns his attention to the myriad unexamined assumptions that underlie education and explores how schools might realign their practices with how children actually learn.