Pendulum swing

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Pendulum swing?


On 26 Nov 2014, at 20:27, Mundher Adhami wrote:


Is the pendulum swing to failed old practices slowing down ? 


A government-sponsored report out this week has EEF’s conclusions (page 13) on school practices. It is not the DfE, and seems to contradict dogma.


The BBC website highlights the issues but not able to explain things like Metacognition and self-regulation.




Michael Shayer wrote on 27 November 2014
It is impressive that they gather evidence in this way.  And in our work we are in fact doing all of the things that have high effects (feedback depends on on effective our mediation this:  that is why I want research done on it (Alan).

Hence their support of us:  but this means we  must show explicitly (to them in the first place) how we are using each of these things in our practice.


So the Sutton Trust indicates that the things that give major effects on achievement are:

Behaviour interventions

Collaborative learning

 Early years intervention


 Thus the naïve behaviourist – e.g. the Government – will think.  Fine, so let us give them PD on  Collaborative learning and also, separately,  Feedback. And unless the teacher has some way of being aware of the hierarchy of difficulties in the subject he/she is teaching, they are hardly likely to provide their students with relevant feedback.

Yet Johnson & Johnson (1981) showed that collaborative learning only yields effects of some value if it is combined with some form o[1]f learning theory. I think we need to show explicitly that CA practice features all of these, in integrated form, and also to claim that this is the only way to make our knowledge of what are the major effects into learning that is genuinely of the Vygotskian N + 1 principle, and effective on the progress of children’s ability to learn.

First, the whole classroom practice, from Let’s Think in groups of 6 in Y1 to whole class use of CASE in Y7 & 8, is structured as a behaviour interventionLet’s Think explicitly provides both this, and feedback, directly through the presence of the teacher among the 6 children. In CASE the intervention is indirect, through the mediation used by the teacher in Acts 2 and 3 – small-group work, followed by whole class sharing of ideas. Likewise the other face of mediation is feedback, which here has the virtue[2] is being given immediately in context, both in any suggestions made to the groups in Act 2, and also in the planning for, and conduct of, the whole-class sharing process in Act 3.

Metacognition also features on the BBC site, though it may not occur, yet, as a systematic feature of CA activities.  Comment?

Finally, both Let’s Think, and TM Y1 and Y2/3, provide the early years intervention that should affect the whole process of learning of children through Primary school.

[1] Effects of cooperative, competitive, and individualistic goal structures on achievement: A meta-analysis.

Johnson, David W.; Maruyama, Geoffrey; Johnson, Roger; Nelson, Deborah; Skon, Linda

Psychological Bulletin, Vol 89(1), Jan 1981, 47-62.

[2] Hence the importan





On 28 Nov 2014, at 18:01, Mundher Adhami wrote:

I feel we are getting better in metacognition. More time nowadays is given at end of LT lesson trials in PD days to pupils in pairs or groups working for a few minutes on some generic questions. Because of need for evidence of progress these are now sometimes collected and placed in a journal. Because of tablets and photos and visualisers etc., looking back quickly at what we’d just done and finding what personally or collectively was worthwhile has become simpler and fruitful.


I am just back from another good day at Grafton.  It is for Y2-4, and the pace and focus and the the whole practice seemed much better than last time and previous similar courses. Including in Metacognition terms.




Sarah Seleznyov wrote on 1 December 2015


I would say that whilst metacognition is embedded within LT, feedback (in the definition used on the EEF website) is not




Michael Shayer on 2 December 2014-12-07


I think I am suggesting that the principle of feedback is achieved, instantaneously rather than deferred to later comments, when goodmediation occurs.  The teacher has spotted in the transactions of a small group that they are taking themselves on a wrong track (blind leading the blind) and directs their attention to a more profitable line of investigation.

Or, by having made a good plan while observing the groups (Reed Gamble’s advice – to make such plans) she then manages /administrates the whole-class discussion in such a way that the insights coming from each group are presented in an order that peer-peer feedback occurs



Sarah Seleznyov 2 December 2014-12-07


I am in total agreement, but feel that when schools read this, they will think we are not talking about feedback as they recognise it.  It has unfortunately taken on a much more simplistic meaning than was meant in the original Black Box document.