Our second 20th anniversary with Tom Sherrington

We were delighted to welcome Tom Sherrington as our keynote speaker at our second celebratory  birthday event on Tuesday 8th October in Suffolk. Tom shared many of his key ideas with us from his book The Learning Rainforest. The purpose of the idea behind the rainforest metaphor is to highlight that a goal in education should be canopy of excellence for all students and teachers.

  • What do we need to do to allow schools to flourish?
  • What should we be doing in the classroom?
  • What is the purpose of a school?
  •  What are we passionate about as a school?

Tom believes that schools should not be planning for the moment but should be planning for rigour so creativity can come later as rigour and depth needs to be in place so that 21st Century learners can be creative.

The cultural capital which is the rich tapestry of knowledge needs to be shared with students in our schools. Taken from Martin Robinson’s Trivium 21c, Tom outlined the idea that teaching should be structured around what was called grammar; dialectic and rhetoric which can be expressed as know;explore and communicate.

  • How are students learning?
  • How do they learn?
  • How do they express their learning?

Tom suggested that as teachers we really need to check what students already know and are they just completing a task or are they actually learning and how do we know?

Why do students forget what teachers have just said? Tom suggests that is retrieval practice which is key to memory and students need to practise remembering in order to help make sense of the knowledge for themselves.

Teachers need to be very clear about what students need to know and then ask do you know? Individual facts and words need to be built into bigger things and as teachers we need to understand that repetition of learning is not a bad thing.

Tom’s keynote was thought provoking and stimulating as he asked the audience to consider their assumptions about learning. If you want to read more about Tom’s views about education and his advice to teachers then you can find his blog here https://teacherhead.com/about/


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