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What Teacher Tapped This Week #45 - 6th August 2018

6 August 2018

OK, I think it’s safe to say this week that almost all Teacher Tappers are away and on holiday by now.

BUT – there is still tapping to be done, AND we are running an amazing giveaway over the summerFor every question you answer throughout August you will get a raffle ticket to win THE TEACHER TAPP CANON. Also, spot prizes for users who have long answering streaks.

RIGHT, onto results! This week we’ve looked at…

1.The Moon Problem

Teacher Tapp’s chief science nerd, Alex Weatherall, was alarmed to see a discussion on Good Morning Britain in which someone suggested the moon was liquid and the landings were a hoax. He wondered if any teachers watching the show had agreed. So we asked a question about it.

This caused two main reactions:

  1. This is a TERRIBLE (and offensive) question, and

  2. ?  1 in 10 teachers believe the moon landings were a hoax

On the first point, a lot of people were unhappy about the question and we get why. Use of the word ‘belief’ in the question makes it sound as if the moon landing is a matter of opinion rather than a matter of scientific fact. In doing so, the argument from many tappsters was that it ‘legitimised’ a debate which should never be entertained.

The fair point was raised that we would never ask if people “believe” that 2 + 2 = 4. However, we have asked maths questions before and if we asked: ‘Do you believe that 2+2 = 4, or 5, or 16? ‘ then it’s unlikely people would feel we were legitimising a debate that says the ‘real’ answer is 16.

But the moon landing isn’t a maths equation and the responses showed that people felt it was more akin to asking about a controversial issue – vaccination, or climate change – than to asking about a sum.

It was therefore a lesson in controversial issues and the problems they will sometimes call for our polling. Ultimately, some topics are sensitive, particularly where beliefs conflict with science. We don’t ask any question lightly, but we’ve definitely taken note on this one and recognise that some topics are probably not best tested via multiple choice questions in a survey.

With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

BUT, this still leaves us with the issue of ? 1 in 10 teachers thinking we haven’t landed on the moon.

Except, that’s not quite what the results show. ‘Neither agree nor disagree’ can be a measure of ambivalence (feel equally between the two) or it may also signal another feeling – for example, a person may click this rather than ‘I don’t know’ (which was also an option).

Our polls, and those we have seen elsewhere tend to show women as being more ambivalent in their answers. This is true on many issues. Men are much more likely than women to use the ‘strongly’ agree or disagree measures; women more likely to use central choices.

We found this held true on the moon question. Women were much less likely than men to pick ‘strongly disagree’ and were more likely to pick ‘don’t know’. Ambivalence is therefore not necessarily suggesting that someone believes the moon landings were a hoax, it may simply be that they didn’t want to show a preference in the question.

We found that science teachers felt most strongly.

This supports the idea that the more scientific knowledge you have, the more confident you feel in your answer. Hence, it’s not simply a matter of blind faith. Knowledge makes a difference.

The higher percentage of women in primary teaching means the higher proportion of neither agree/disagree and ‘I don’t know’ answers, reflects the broader trends of women (see ab0ve).

So, there’s that. A moon fiasco.

2.Londoners escape the city, Yorkshire people stay home

For a set of people who spend all day with 30 other humans, teachers are surprisingly introverted souls! A perfect day for teachers is a silent day at home with no one around, or a walking trip in beautiful surroundings.

People in Yorkshire and the Humber seemed particularly keen to stay home (dark yellow), while London folk were particularly keen to get into the countryside (pink).

After co-founder Laura spent last weekend back home in the northwest and walking around shops with her family, she’s not surprised they came top of the shopping list!

3.Spot the headteachers on holiday

Have you ever had that moment when you’ve seen someone in a supermarket, or a restaurant, or a new neighbour and you’ve thought: ‘they’re definitely a headteacher’. And not just because they were wearing a lanyyard.

One reason might be because teachers are ‘always on’. They never know when pupils might spring up and surprise them. For example, this week asked:

Imagine you are on holiday at an all-inclusive hotel with a plan. You plan to spend most of your time on the complex. On the first day, you see a family with 3 children you teach are also at the hotel. 


Amazingly, 11% of you said you’d try to avoid the family for the entire holiday. No headteachers said this, however. All would speak to the family. (Which is actually quite sweet, when you think about it).

59% of teachers said they ‘d speak once and then try to avoid, but 26% said they’d chat to them all through the holiday. You’re a kind bunch, tappsters.

Last week we also asked our panellists if they were looking after any children in the holiday. Our theory was that people who are looking after children might feel differently about the way children should be treated on holiday compared to those who are free of such responsibility. 

It does seem to be that people with children are more likely to chat to pupils’ families (green) and those without are more likely to constantly avoid (red).

Next, we turned up the annoyance dial:

But headteachers strike again! With 50% of secondary heads saying they would tell the children off compared to just 20% of secondary classroom teachers. At primary, 36% of heads leapt in with a ticking off, as did 27% of classroom teachers.

Quirk: senior and middle leaders were the most likely to choose to leave the pool area rather than deal with the behaviour.

Having your own kids also seems to make you more likely to tell other people’s kids off. 

One can only imagine the feist levels of headteachers on holiday with their own children!

4. Did You Read 63,000 Books Yet?

There’s a meme on social media designed to make you think you should be reading thousands of books this summer – while also eating healthy, getting fit, taking lots of beautiful photographs of yourself, aaaand oh, doing some planning too!

So, to put a semblance of realism on things… here’s what people expect to read over the summer hols. All power to the 28% who think they will read 2 or fewer books!

And even more power to the people who are looking after children over the holiday and yet are planning to get through 9 or more books. Good luck!

And before anyone says that it’s the young enthusiastic teachers who have the most time to read…

Millennials are too busy snapchatting. Or something.

5. Curriculum resources

The government is giving £7.7m to schools to encourage them to create and share knowledge-based curriculum resources. Putting aside the ‘knowledge’ bit, the policy opens up questions about the ethics of paying schools to share resources.

The rules around which lesson plans and resources can/can’t be sold are vague at best. And 10% of teachers told us they are NOT allowed to freely share the curriculum resources they’ve developed with other teachers. Half of those can share within their trust or teaching school alliance, but not more broadly. The other half appear unable to share at all.

If schools are paid to create resources and then they are able to stop the free sharing of them, they could then sell the resources to bring in extra income for the school. Indeed, that was the original model behind the teaching schools alliances. But it means there’s a cash transfer from one school to another for an activity that teachers typically do as part of their job. It also raises the question, why aren’t the goods freely shareable to anyone who needs them, given they’ve all been paid for by the state?

We found a great deal of division over the idea governments should select schools to create and share curriculum resources – 29% agreed, 26% were in the middle, and 25% disagreed. 

on the issue of whether schools should be able to sell curriculum resources created by teachers, the panelists were more negative. 26% felt it was okay for schools to sell the materials, 20% were in the middle, but 53% disaagree (28% strongly). 

It is still rare for teachers to sell their own resources online. Only a very small percentage said they had ever done it.

So you can see why they might also not think it fair that the school sells the materials either.

That said, views were only slightly different across the groups:

And it seems that teachers who currently sell their materials are the ones who most strongly feel schools should NOT be able to sell curriculum goods. (Possibly because it would mean their individual business would be affected).


6. Finally, as ever, we learned that you really love our daily tips, so here are the links for last week:

Cool revision trick

The art of influence and persuasion

8 things to do in every lesson

Exit tickets (with gifs)

What’s the one piece of education research that changed your life? 


Right folks – over and out for another week…

In the meantime, keep sharing what we are doing. Here’s a powerpoint slide (with script), a PDF, and a black-and-white one-pager to help.

Remember, we need more of you before we can do the really exciting and detailed analysis!

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