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Forgetting, Foreign Languages, & The Faff Of Non-Uniform Day...

17 March 2019

Hands up if you’d forgotten about Ebbinghaus’ forgetting curve? Or perhaps you’ve never come across the phrase in the first place? Those of you who have been using Teacher Tapp for a long time will know we’ve featured two blog posts about it – in fact, one was the very first blog post tip ever!

So, though just 38% of you said you’d heard of it last week, 60% of you who we can see read at least one of those blog posts could recall it. Proof that reading Teacher Tapp tips makes you smarter!

Red nose, anyone?

Another week, another day where parents dress up children in unusual outfits. This time it was Red Nose Day, which most primary and secondary schools were celebrating in some way, including selling red noses even though children are not so happy about the use of plastic.

Schools have tended to charge £1 for out of school uniform day FOREVER! Given the rate of inflation, it is surprising that schools are still tending to charge £1 for out-of-uniform days, which was a standard charge even twenty years ago!

You can see differences by types of communities served: the only schools to have broken the £1 barrier are low-FSM secondary schools. Many high-FSM schools charge less than £1.

Do teachers think there are too many out-of-school uniform days? (like Becky does)? It turns out newbie teachers LOVE them and want more of them. It’s the more experienced teachers who seem a little less enthusiastic. (And it was good to see that almost every single headteacher felt they had EXACTLY the right number. Phew!)

Breaking up the Baker days…

Many of you are old enough to remember the introduction of ‘Baker days’, as part of the 1988 reforms, in which the government STOLE 5 days of teacher holiday to force them to do collective professional development.

Since then, things have changed a bit, and we’ve noticed that secondary schools have started switching to other CPD arrangements, such as after-school twilight sessions.

This new fad seems more common in some regions than others. Is this an example of ideas spreading among local schools, or is someone advising schools to switch? (Or is it related to transport?!)

Un poco más español por favor

The EBacc has done little to stem the long-term decline in GCSE languages in schools. Can anything else be done? Most of you hear students talk about how languages are ‘too hard’, so you felt that reducing the content of the GCSE curriculum might encourage take-up.

The linguists overwhelming agree the ‘difficulty’ of the GCSE is an issue. A quarter of them would prioritise simply adjusting grade boundaries to ensure students stood an equal chance of achieving as good a grade as they do in other subjects.

Just 47% of students now study a modern language to GCSE. The majority of you feel this figure should be higher.

Surprisingly, our primary teachers are most likely to believe everyone should study a language to 16. Whereas our linguists aren’t so different to others in their beliefs about how many should study languages.

One strange dilemma for language departments is that primary students show up at secondary school having learned a variety of different languages to different levels. It isn’t possible to accommodate this, so it is an area where coordination would seem to be a good idea.

Which language should we pick? SPANISH! (Though once again the linguists disagreed and opted for French.)

And finally, we know you love the daily tips so here’s a reminder of last week’s…

What neuroscience should teachers know?

Doug Lemov’s review of Forgetting How To Read

What does it mean to really understand?

Unplanned seating (an experiment)

Kirschner, Sweller, & Clark: seminal argument against discovery learning

Why forgetting is important