There are certain concepts in chemistry that students must understand if there are to develop an expertise in the discipline.  We can call these “threshold concepts”. These threshold concepts should be considered as a portal to further understanding and, according to Meyer and Land (2003), should be: Transformative - once understood, it should cause a [...]

As Stern, Ferraro and Mohnkern point out in “Tools for Teaching Conceptual Understanding: Designing Lessons and Assessments for Deep Learning”, the biggest pitfall that teachers face when introducing a new concept is that they are tempted to introduce it as a fact. This means it becomes a definition to be memorised, rather than a concept [...]

This time last year, I set myself the goal of being one of the most effective teachers in the school. I wanted to be one of the teachers that people would talk about when people ask them what are great examples of classroom practice. Needless to say, I failed. I am not the most effective [...]

Magpies

Magpies

In  European folklore, the "thieving magpie" is renowned for stealing shiny things (interestingly, this unfortunate perception of the bird has been debunked). This is, obviously, not a good thing for people! I sometimes feel like a magpie in my teaching and learning. I get attracted to shiny classroom ideas, tricks, books, thoughts and much more. [...]