An increasing body of evidence shows how ability labels and ‘fixed ability thinking’ – assuming individuals have a finite ‘potential’ – may limit teaching and learning. In this workshop, Dr Rachel Marks discussed her doctoral research into the language and practices of ‘ability’ in primary maths lessons and the impact these have on children.
Dame Alison Peacock also discussed how she went about creating ‘learning without limits’ in the Wroxham School. There were opportunities for discussion and to participate in constructing and analysing learning activities that motivate children through ‘choice and challenge’ rather than grades and level descriptors.
Rachel is a Senior Lecturer in Mathematics Education (Primary) at the University of Brighton. She taught in inner-city and rural primary schools for five years. In 2012 she completed her ESRC-funded PhD thesis; Discourses of Ability in Primary Mathematics: Production, Reproduction and Transformation. She has since presented and published findings from her study to professional and academic audiences, both in the UK and internationally.
Download Dr Rachel Marks' presentation (pdf)
Dame Alison is Executive Headteacher of The Wroxham School, a primary school in Herts repeatedly rated ‘outstanding’ by Ofsted. It is a Teaching School that has established an extensive Transformative Learning Alliance. Alison’s teaching career spans primary, secondary and advisory roles; in July 2014 she was awarded an honorary doctorate from the University of Brighton. She is the author of the recent DfE report into Assessment Beyond Levels and co-author of Creating Learning without Limits (2012), which explores an alternative improvement agenda identifying key dispositions for school leadership where every child and adult is valued and no one is labelled by so-called ‘ability’.
Download Dame Alison Peacock's presentation (pdf)
Watch the video of the presentations