The Optimus blog

The blog that inspires leaders in the UK education sector

Teaching and learning

John Dabell

Teachers can make their mark with written feedback

Effective feedback lies at the heart of the learning process. John Dabell explains why written feedback should be no exception. Marking has been demonised. It has been hijacked by the marking martyrs who rage against the machine. They hate marking and pour scorn on it at every available opportunity...
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Jack Procter-Blain

Every teacher is a researcher of SEND

As teachers, there's no better way to find and apply what works than investing time in research. Exploring research into SEND deserves to be high on your agenda. With so much to sift through, and so little time to do it, research is too often a ‘would-have’ instead of a ‘must-have’ for teachers...
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Elizabeth Holmes

'Alexa, teach me': the future of artificial intelligence in education

Elizabeth Holmes caught up with Miles Berry to discuss the benefits and ethical dilemmas of bringing AI into the classroom. The potential role of artificial intelligence (AI) is something of a new frontier for schools. But should we not be finding out as much as we can, so that we can maximise the...
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John Dabell

5 education myths we need to dispel

Grand ideas can carry a lot of gravitas, but these five educational 'cure-alls' came without a pinch of salt. John Dabell explains why they were too good to be true. One of the most depressing things about attending CPD sessions is when the self-appointed gurus or odd-ball suppliers of Inset refer...
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John Dabell

10 resolutions for new teachers

Feeling frazzled after your first term? Begin afresh by resolving to improve your practice without taking on too much. With the first term under your belt, you are probably feeling pretty chuffed with yourself – and rightfully so. You earned your Christmas break and hopefully you’ve spent some...
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John Dabell

Teachers, here are your professional promises for 2018

A new term can mean a new you if you keep to these pledges for self-improvement throughout 2018 and beyond. That’s another term done and dusted and here we are in a new year already. Where does the time go and when is it half term? When you have been teaching for a few years, it’s easy to slip into...
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Elizabeth Holmes

More smiles, less stick: Chris Dyson on a positive approach to behaviour

At Parklands Primary School, believing that pupils can do their best is the first step to better behaviour. Headteacher Chris Dyson spoke to Elizabeth Holmes about their 'no exclusions' approach. Much has been said recently about behaviour management. From ‘no excuses’ to 'no exclusions', the way...
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Ian Warwick

How to stretch the more able: go off-piste, define differentiation and avoid time-wasting marking

Conference chair Ian Warwick addresses some of the questions posed by delegates at the 'Stretch and Challenge the More Able' event. Like a GPS, teachers are prone to denying students responsibility for their own path-finding We're told the curriculum is about mastering all learning at a child's own...
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Joanna Grace

Pupils with SEND are just the tip of the iceberg

The mark of true inclusion is that all pupils benefit, not just those with SEND. Joanna Grace explains why it's important to see the bigger picture. In my work at The Sensory Projects , I provide training to settings and organisations looking to better understand the sensory world. One day I could...
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Dr Karamat Iqbal

The cost of educational underachievement

The benefits of receiving an education are matched only by the cost of not receiving one. Karamat Iqbal explains why underachievement is potentially life-changing. They say 'You don't know the value of something until it's gone', and education is no exception to this rule. It is easy to say that...
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