A quick blog about some of the changes to my thinking in writing my own textbooks.

1. SLOP not mastery. I’m still really interested in mastery but it needs a LOT of work. I think we need really careful consideration of both the structure of scientific knowledge and the questions we can set. It seems to me we might need a significant restructuring of the curriculum in order to build knowledge meaningfully using the mastery model… I’ve got reading to do on this but in the meantime…. SLOP! Or “Shed Loads Of Practice”. Or how about SLOPWIFF? Shed Loads Of Practice With Immediate Formative Feedback? I’m mad keen on giving the answers that same lesson, for something approaching deliberate practice as described by Ericsson in “Peak”.

2. Fluency. I’ve only just realised that some things are better taught for fluency first and understanding second. I’ve been influenced by Kris Boulton, Dani Quin and Hin-Tai Ting here. And many other topics may suit maybe something like a spiral-type model, as in teaching for fluency and then dropping a bit of understanding in, then more fluency, then a bit more understanding… I think electricity has a lot to gain from this. Previously I was trying to write books for understanding before fluency and now I think this isn’t right for some areas. I’ve made some SLOP work for circuits to build fluency, sharing here:

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B1EnIwSSbgTgaXVXNmJsVGM5MjQ/view?usp=sharing

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3. Format – I’ve dropped the idea of using the same font as the exams. I think reading Daisy Christodoulou’s “Making Good Progress?” influenced me here. Wrong to think that exam practice is best preparation for exams. Best to teach the science in the best way possible, including the best format. Some of my groups will be intimidated by lots of dense text on a page. I’ve tried out the font “OpenDyslexic” – don’t @ me! You can download my new waves textbook in this font here https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B1EnIwSSbgTgeFVUTGhCNmNBaVU/view?usp=sharing

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As always I hope the files I’ve shared will be useful to some people, if you spot any howlers etc. please give me a shout! Thanks R

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