"What will be on the exam Ma'am/Sir?"

2021 April 2 Monday 12:12

Not all subjects can be compartmentalised into neat topics; definitely chemistry. It has been apparent from review of students' revision work during this last term that there continues to be a fundamental mis-understanding of the importance to develop conceptual comprehension of the basis topics such as bonds, structure, the beauty of the periodic table. Regrettably, it is too late to remedy the situation, but whose most at fault? The so-called "ed-tech" revolution was/is supposed to render obsolete the subject matter expert teacher. Even though the extant student has so much technology to access information, it is depressing to observe such failure to utilise effectively. The mobile phone has killed motivation to surpass difficult tasks.

Webmention: Fallacy of educational research

Reply to: Tom Bennett

That a physicist can gain the ears of investors, politicians, educational theorists, is another example of the weakness of the teacher profession. Not sure why Prof. Mitra is worthy of such criticism; there are many more before that have published dubious educational research, of dubious value (except career progression). Perhaps the imminent "optional exams" fiasco of gce a(s) certificates is merely a test to see how many parents and delusional students can be duped into four, five, six year degrees so that the strategy of perpetual debt slavery can continue. It remains a surprise that part of the grand "Ponzi" scheme of aspiration escapes revolution.

An ephemeral entity

2021 April 4 Sunday 11:03

Although no longer as popular, citc continues to enjoy content via a simple command terminal software ('newsboat' if curious). During an occasional purge of old/irrevelant/un-interested atom/rss feeds (currently ca. 2600 from a recent high of 2900), it reminded how easy it is for information to be lost in the way of abandoned blogs, closed servers, broken storage media, etc. (e.g. see: clir article about digital longevity (pdf)). It's sad to delete an rss feed of a blog that has useful historic information, but seemingly abandoned (often in favour for proprietary platforms)

Webmention: The value of spontaneous testing

Reply to: Sarah Donarski

(As an example of the aforementioned observation, this author now appears active on the birdsite. Fortunately there are now non-ecmascript alternative such as 'nitter' (e.g. Sarah Donarski notice the option of an rss feed! :) and 'rainbowstream' for those that prefer the command terminal). Although by default sceptical about educational research, it is nice to encounter some articles that at least prompt further inquiry to improve personal practice.

After reading the article cited (doi: 10.1007/s10648-013-9248-9) am now thinking to incorporate a "high-order" question as a plenary activity for the gce a(s) students. It should have some "low-order" content to explain within lesson for the lower ability students to start, whilst the others can begin the more difficult aspect. Initial thoughts so far, how often to do this task and are sufficient extant questions available, or time needs to be invested to create questions? In the first instance will use extant subscription resources, then use chemistry libretexts for further inspiration.

The reference to Bloom's taxonomy has also reminded to read again about solo taxonomy which appears less utilised but in this case also useful to consider in future lesson design.

Thoughts on the "p-16" student

2021 April 9 Friday 10:23

Transition from gcse to gce a(s) is well documented; interestingly, an internet search revealed the most common subjects where this "gap" is most significant to be maths, chemistry, sciences in general. Review of recent exam results suggests that some have listened to the advice given and improved quality and quantity of independent study prior to lessons. Unfortunately, not all have realised and it will be too late to change attitude within the extant institution. Those going onto university will experience the scandal of paying £ 9 000 to learn study habits that were available freely during P-16 study...

Webmention: A review of UK edchat conference , 2021

Earlier in this job, advised to consider the power of good relationships with students. The confidence shown by all the presenters viewed, reminded of this advice and also a bit of self-analysis: is one's own poor social, relationships skills is significant hindrance to otherwise good teacher practice? Is it viable to be affable, yet aloof in order to maintain a suitably safe boundary between teacher and student (not forgetting colleagues also!) ? Don't know...

In (some) answers to the review questions posed:

  1. Some teachers are able to do more pastoral work beyond their core subject; feel somewhat inadequate in comparison;
  2. Unable to view all presentations, but those about social justice, strategic purpose of education, review of personal emotional care were informative;
  3. A personal goal will be to offer a bit of personality with both students and colleagues, but without inauthentic diversion from private self by nature;
  4. Although the vast majority of education is the standard primary and secondary school environments, it would be useful to hear other environments, e.g. further education
  5. There were some interesting reminders of self-help resources such as instructional coach and assessment for learn pedagogy, sometimes forgotten from the initial teacher education content!;

Back to BibTeX

2021 April 12 Monday 12:12

In a previous life, maintained some good discpline (actually more a necessity) to record each document in a BibTeX database. Then forgot about it; fast forward a few years and now want to use it again. It was a bit of a surprise that a simple template could not be found quickly; below is one such file:

Hide example BibTeX file See example BibTeX file
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							author="",
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						@article{2017t,
							author ="Thomas, Gregory P.",
							title  ="‘Triangulation:’ an expression for stimulating metacognitive reflection regarding the use of ‘triplet’ representations for chemistry learning",
							journal  ="Chem. Educ. Res. Pract.",
							year  ="2017",
							volume  ="18",
							issue  ="4",
							pages  ="533-548",
							publisher  ="The Royal Society of Chemistry",
							doi  ="10.1039/C6RP00227G",
							url  ="http://dx.doi.org/10.1039/C6RP00227G",
							abstract  ="Concerns persist regarding high school students{'} chemistry learning. Learning chemistry is challenging because of chemistry{'}s innate complexity and the need for students to construct associations between different{,} yet related representations of matter and its changes. Students should be taught to reason about and consider chemical phenomena using ‘triplet’ representations. A meta-language to discuss chemistry learning with students regarding these representations and their use is therefore necessary. This paper reports on a classroom intervention in which the teacher used the term ‘triangulation’ as an expression to stimulate metacognitive reflection in students to consider the importance and use of these representations for their learning of chemistry. Students understood and could elaborate the meaning of triangulation. However{,} their views of the importance and reported use of cognitive processes associated with it varied across individuals. Despite the variation{,} this study highlights the potential of developing students{'} metacognition by explicitly engaging them in considering means of representing the chemistry subject material they are being asked to learn{,} and how they might learn it using strategies and activities that are aligned with the nature of that material."
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Really annoyed that the css to hide the example BibTeX file above, didn't work but does successfully in a example "test" file. Never mind, life is too short... Anyway, the file is published here in case anyone wants to use.

Time to go, for some retail therapy! :)

Erratum: css correction

Earlier, expressed annoyance at the frustration of css not providing the style as it is supposed to do. No sooner than publication of said post, realised that as is more often the case, novice user error is at fault: the option to hide or show content requires enclosure of the necessary html elemnts within a specific '<div>' element.