The Hidden Lives Of LearnersWelcome to the PACT book club. This book club focuses on The Hidden Lives Of Learners by Graham Nuthall. It has been designed for PACT staff, but is open to anyone from across the trust and across the world. Below each book club date you’ll find three key questions for discussion. Join the conversation by following the hashtag #PACTbookclub.

Dates for the spring and summer terms will follow shortly.

Monday 24th September 2018, 7.30pm – 8.00pm

Chapter One: What do we know about effective teaching?

  1. Is there a risk that learners can come to know what teachers are looking for and ‘play the game’?
  2. Are there aspects of good teaching that you think are visible to someone who is looking, or will they always be influenced by what is ‘fashionable’ in teaching?
  3. What is the argument for ensuring consistent methods are used by all teachers in all classrooms?

Monday 12th November 2018, 7.30pm – 8.00pm

Chapter Two: Myths and misunderstandings about assessment

  1. Would you be happy to be judged on the results / qualifications your students gained? Is that a fair test of your teaching?
  2. What would you learn about your students if test results were always accompanied with an analysis of motivation? Is there an accurate way of measuring motivation?
  3. Based on your experience, what do you think makes something ‘stick’ in a student’s memory?

Date to be announced

Chapter Three: Understanding how students learn and remember how they learn

  1. How do you ensure that multiple interactions with information or concepts ensure students stay engaged with the content?
  2. Are there any circumstances when simple repetition would be your strategy of choice?
  3. Nuthall says that learning depends on the information students are exposed to, the time given to process the new concepts and the context of the classroom. Which of those do you have most control over?

Date to be announced

Chapter Four: Life in classrooms: the contexts within which learning takes place

  1. Consider the semi-private world of ongoing peer relationships. This is the world where transgressing peer customs may have worse consequences than transgressing the teacher’s rules and customs. Is this something that you recognise from your own experience at school? Is this world as powerful as Nuthall suggests?
  2. How do you ensure all students get access to resources and information during group work? Does the status of some children mean that other children get limited access?
  3. Do you feel that students have the right to an alternative culture that should remain private? Who should have access to this culture? Why?

Date to be announced

Chapter Five: How students learn from the variety of their experiences

  1. What relevant information does a student encounter in a typical lesson (of yours)? What ‘type’ of encounter is it? (reference types 1 – 7 on pages 124 and 125)
  2. Do you plan for students to piece together, in working memory, the equivalent of three complete definitions or descriptions of a concept during a lesson?
  3. Can you give specific classroom examples of students experiencing cognitive overload?

Date to be announced

Chapter Six: Ethnic differences and learning

  1. Could racial prejudice be affecting the learners in your classroom without you noticing it?
  2. How well do students in a minority interact in the culture of their peers?
  3. Can the curriculum have a direct effect on the status and roles of individual children? (page 151)


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