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

In classroom learning

Owen Carter

Eight principles of effective teaching

Eight ideas from cognitive psychology that you should think about putting into your teaching. Lists of effective teaching are ten a penny – some useful, some not so much. There are some great ones: Tom Sherrington has put together a really useful (and practical) set of principles , Shaun Allison...
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Evie Prysor-Jones

Supporting pupils with behaviour issues: classroom strategies for teachers and teaching assistants

There are many misconceptions surrounding the role of teaching assistants in a classroom. Research has shown that effective partnership between teacher and TA can greatly benefit provision. Observe and record It can be useful to conduct classroom observations that focus on a pupil’s behaviour and...
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Owen Carter

Review: Ouroboros by Greg Ashman

Is education eating its own tail? Owen Carter reviews Ouroboros by Greg Ashman. Ouroboros is a very, very interesting book. The name refers to the ancient symbol of a snake eating its own tail: applied to education, it means that fads, trends and all the worst of teaching gimmickry come round time...
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Owen Carter

What we’re missing when we talk about teaching

We love to debate the rights and wrongs of progressive and traditional approaches to teaching. But if we want to influence practice we really need detail. The progressive versus traditional approach to teaching is one of those debates that’s here to stay. Sometimes, it gets stirred up. This...
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Owen Carter

Growth mindset: what might a research-informed approach look like?

Mindset really does matter, but impact in one setting doesn’t always translate to impact in another. Some concepts in education just seem intuitive. Who wouldn’t agree that people learn in different ways, and should be taught accordingly? Or that the curriculum should be relevant to young people’s...
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Owen Carter

Make your teaching better

What works in the classroom? Unfortunately it’s not so simple… Imagine the perfect classroom. Kids happily engaged with the task at hand, shiny faces intent with concentration. No gum under the tables, no notes passing hands and no unwanted interruptions. A serene teacher presides over it all. Well...
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Elizabeth Holmes

Improving practice to support more able pupils

Elizabeth Holmes outlines what schools need to consider to ensure teachers are equipped with the right tools to support more able pupils. Supporting the individual needs of children is what great teachers do every day. It would be unthinkable to expect to go into a classroom and ‘deliver’ an...
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Owen Carter

What does research-based classroom practice look like anyway?

A bunch of very intelligent people joined us at Optimus HQ to discuss one question: is research-based classroom practice realistic and is it desirable? Owen Carter reports on some of the conversation. Research-based practice is a term that’s interested me for quite a long time. So it was a delight...
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Katie Renton

Action research: challenging and improving teaching practice

Teachers are constantly challenged to improve and reflect on their practice. Katie Renton, junior content executive at Optimus Education, looks at how teachers can improve pupils’ experiences in the classroom through action research. Professional development in schools must create an overt...
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Owen Carter

EAL teaching: ways to build vocabulary

Are you looking for resources and ideas to help support your EAL pupils? EAL teacher and educational sociolinguistics researcher, Hamish Chalmers, is back with a second webinar on EAL teaching. Schools are struggling to cope with the increase in the number of pupils with English as an additional...
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