There is a lot to be said for direct instruction as a pedagogical method, and I do not believe it is the demon that it is often made out to be. Whilst I certainly believe that student-led learning has a place, so too, does direct instruction. It is our job to make a professional judgement on which pedagogical practice to choose in each context. Student-led might for topic x with this cohort, but next year’s cohort might gain more benefit from direct instruction. Both have a place amongst our repertoire of techniques, we just need to work out when to use each.
While moving my blog from Squarespace to WordPress, I witnessed some worrying things. I was horrified to see the extent to which I had relied upon group work, philosophy circles and multimedia to engage pupils. I considered, briefly, expunging these articles from my blog. But I decided, ultimately, that it was more honest to leave them. I have, you see, been on a journey.
When I first met Joe Kirby,Katie Ashford, Bodil Isaksen and Kris Boulton in 2013 to write an e-book for Teach First starters, I was their polar opposite. While they talked about knowledge and instruction, I raved about student-led lessons and pupils’ personal interpretations. We had common ground only on curriculum choice: the one thing that united us was the idea that kids should be taught great literature. We were desperately divided on how to teach it.
By September 2014, Michaela Community School had…
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