The Optimus blog

The blog that inspires leaders in the UK education sector

The Optimus blog

The blog that inspires leaders in the UK education sector

John Dabell

John trained as a teacher 20 years ago, starting his career in London and then teaching in a range of schools in the Midlands.

In-between teaching jobs, he trained as an OfSTED inspector and worked as a national in-service provider, project manager, writer and editor.

He has written many educational books and children’s books.

Latest blog posts

John Dabell

Most able, most appropriate?

What's in a label? For John Dabell, much less than teachers might assume. He explains why it's time to focus on pupils' potential rather than on pigeonholes. We are pretty good at giving ourselves labels. Ask someone who they are, and they will label themselves a teacher, a father, perhaps a...
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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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John Dabell

Preparing for SATs: what works?

It's the time of year for preparing Year 6 pupils to be 'SATs-ready'. John Dabell offers suggestions for success. Every Year 6 teacher in England has the unenviable task of preparing pupils for the highlight of the year: the Key Stage 2 SATs! SATs preparation can be emotionally draining, and we don...
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John Dabell

Bringing video-based CPD into focus

Watching how we teach is a great way to revitalise lesson observation and feedback. John Dabell provides some advice for getting started. We have witnessed a significant shift in our perception of lesson observations; from something to be feared to an opportunity to engage in open and productive...
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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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John Dabell

How to recharge your teaching batteries

Summer is a welcome break for even the most resilient school leader. But when you get your life back, what do you do with it? Did the end of term leave you quanked, forswunk, and ramfeezled? Has your mojo run off and left your body to cope all by itself? Fear not, the summer holidays are here and...
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John Dabell

Why lazy teachers are the best

Working hard or hardly working? John Dabell explains why putting the power in pupils' hands is the best way for teachers to look after their own wellbeing. I'm a lazy teacher – a really lazy teacher. Many of my colleagues are too. We don’t mind admitting it either. In fact, we’re very proud. You...
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