"Because we’ve always done it that way is no reason to always do it that way."
One of the things we pride ourselves on in Independent Thinking is helping teachers reimagine what their working lives can be like if they look at old habits with new eyes.
In this way, we can work less, achieve more, and spend time on the things that really make a difference and not on the things that don’t. Like homework and marking, to name two of the chief culprits.
Which is where experienced teacher and independent thinker Mark Creasy came in to our lives.
In keeping with so much research in this area, Mark was increasingly calling out homework for being another one of education's Emperors with no clothes. All teachers seem to be under a moral and professional obligation to do something that not only adds little value, if any, to children’s academic success, it can also have negative consequences (as any parent suddenly faced with having to help their child prepare for yet another spelling test when it should be bed/bath/wine time will testify).
With rare experience in both primary and secondary phases and at leadership as well as classroom levels, Mark is ideally placed to reevaluate what works and what doesn’t. He also has the creativity, the wisdom and the courage to make the changes needed to make everything better.
When it came to the thorny homework issue, Mark ripped up the rule book to create a process he called Unhomework, the eponymous title of his first book for the Independent Thinking Press. It’s not working outside of school hours that is the issue with the tasks being set, it is the tasks themselves. Change the way we approach such work and make the work meaningful, project-based, longer term and generally more engaging and worthwhile, and everything changes.
Thank you very much for the course, it was great. It fits very nicely into my area of development (culture for/of learning) and as such I will be trying to persuade the school to move in this direction
I feel inspired to try a little harder to get it right and make it fun at the same time. Thanks so much for your time and hard work.
The book is a great read stimulating and thought provoking. I love that it gave me some ‘scientific’ backing to many of the things I have held closely and felt passionate about when teaching children and adults alike
Mark has a similar disruptive approach to the marking of books. A teacher with his Sunday afternoons to himself, rather than get them to do the work and leave him with all the marking, he has rethought what goes on in his lessons to ensure the children are spending a great deal more time marking and evaluating their own and each other’s work.
Trust the children and then train them well is, in many ways, right at the core of Mark’s thinking. That and refusing to what’s always been done just because it’s always been done.
Apart from his practice as a creative practitioner in a variety of school settings, Mark is also passionate about making sure we get education right for children who, like him, come from more challenging socio-economic settings. It is something he wrote about with passion and eloquence in his contribution to our most recent collaborative book The Working Class.
If you are looking for an entertaining, no-nonsense, straight-talking speaker offering practical advice based on the work he is doing in his own classroom, then Mark Creasy who is who you need. And reclaim your Sunday afternoons into the bargain.
Mark has been with Independent Thinking since October 2013
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