I have finally sorted how we know learning has happened

Hmnnn… It has annoyed me ever since I read the work of folk, such as David Didau @learningspy, have that suggested we could not see learning and that performance had a somewhat unexpected and contrary connection to learning.

As with most teachers, I expect, I had always assumed that if I followed a model something like:

  • teach it
  • check a few kids using questions
  • show a few examples and then
  • let then practice
  • check that they were doing it right

that this process would result in learning and would be evidence that learning had taken place.

Then along come two pieces of evidence. The first is that performance now does not of itself give us a very secure view that the thing being learned will last over time. A quote that exemplifies the issue is

“Teaching takes place in time and learning takes place over time.” Professor John Mason

There is a ‘now’ of teaching and a ‘later’ for learning to have happened, or not!

The second is that a good performance now may well mean less effective learning will take place over time. So if we try to secure great performance while we are teaching a child that may well limit the security of the learning that should result from our teaching. I will probably explore why this might be in a later blog.

So we seem to be left with no way to monitor how effective our teaching is and has been because we first can’t rely on a learner’s performance to tell us and also if we get a good performance that may will indicate insecure learning later.

The ‘solution’ in the next blog.

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