Virtuous Practice

Challenge Pits – Which Zone Are You in Today?

True learning doesn’t happen without a challenge. We must stretch (not strain) ourselves to increase our standards and abilities. As Anders Ericson points out, if you never push yourself beyond your current best, you will never improve. When we challenge ourselves to achieve just beyond our current best, we go into what is sometimes referred […]

[Assessment] From Effort to Agency

Most schools report on something we might loosely call effort. It’s a way of measuring a student’s contribution to the learning process. How schools do this varies greatly. But the intent is the same. We want students to engage in the type of behaviours that are likely to lead to greater growth and achievement. Below […]

From Effort to Agency

Effort – A student’s perspective As a student, I’d get a report card at the end of each semester that had two grades on it: one for achievement and one for effort. The achievement grade told me how much I’d learned and the standard I’d achieved. School was about learning, so the achievement grade represented […]

Has the tide turned on Growth Mindsets?

Most school-based Growth Mindset interventions don’t work! As schools struggle to find Growth Mindset interventions that work, a growing tide of criticism has forced psychologist Carol Dweck to defend her theories. A recent article in TES (“Carol Dweck: where growth mindset went wrong”) gives her response. I’ve been warning that the tide will turn on Growth […]

Teaching students to create and use feedback

Over the past few weeks, we have been exploring the Five Elements of Effort. We began by noting that although we are interested in student “effort”, we often lack a coherent definition of what we mean by “effort”. “Effort” is often associated simply with the amount of time and energy a student expends on a […]

There are only two types of learning: More or Better

In my mind, there are only two types of learning: learning to do more or learning to do better. As educators, it is critical we recognise these two very different types of learning. Moreover, we must ensure our students understand the difference between the two and that we nurture their relationship with learning to do […]

The Five Elements of Effort

Have you noticed a difference between how we assess student performance and how we assess student effort? We tend to use more formative assessment methods for performance and more summative assessment methods for effort. Let me explain. In my experience, most schools evaluate student effort using a linear scale from low to high or unsatisfactory […]

Learning From Mistakes is Over Rated

There’s a lot of talk these days about mistakes. So much talk, in fact, we could be forgiven for thinking that learning is all about making mistakes. But to think this way would be a mistake! With all the hype surrounding mistakes, we lose sight of the fact that mistakes – although a natural and […]

The three ideas every educator needs to understand. (And the one book that brings them all together!)

I believe there are three key ideas every educator needs to understand if they are going to help students thrive in the 21st century. Not that all of teaching and learning can be distilled into three ideas; there’s much more. But without these three ideas, I believe your teaching practice – and, therefore, your students’ […]

How good is your hindsight?

It’s easy to feel knowledgeable about an event after it has happened. “Monday’s expert” will tell you all about how the weekend’s game was lost and how it should have been won. The best decisions or the real reasons seem obvious in retrospect. Hindsight, as they say, is 20/20. But what if it wasn’t? What […]