#026 Nick Rose: Mindset, Misconceptions, Differentiation

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On this episode of the Mr Barton Maths Podcast, I spoke to Nick Rose.

Nick is a former science teacher who now works as a researcher for TeachFirst . He runs the excellent Evidence into Practice blog, and is the co-author of one of my favourite education books: What every teacher needs to know about Psychology, which he wrote with David Didau. Nick is particularly interested in applying psychology to teaching, and as a former A Level Psychologist myself (although I chose it more because there were only 3 lads on the course and 15 girls), and someone who is fascinated in how students think and behave, I was particularly interested in talking to him.

In a wide-ranging interview we covered the following, and more::

  • How did Nick’s scientific background and study of paranormal activity affect the early days of his teaching career when confronted by things such as Brain Gym and Learning Styles?
  • How did Nick plan not just a sequence of lesson, but an entire course?
  • What did Nick learn from a lesson on half-lives that did not go to plan?
  • Then we dive into some of Nick’s favourite areas of research, beginning with something I could happily talk about all day – misconceptions
  • Is creating cognitive conflict an effective way to overcome misconceptions, and indeed can we ever truly overcome them?
  • Should we only teach correct procedures, or should we expose students directly to misconceptions as part of the learning process?
  • Then we move onto differentiation, looking at the many meanings of the term and some of the associated difficulties in building it into our teaching
  • Next up is the concept of a growth mindset – is there any scientific validity in it, and crucially what can we do as classroom teachers to promote a positive way of thinking in our students?
  • We touch upon motivation, and why success is an important factor for learning. I will discuss more on this during my Takeaway after the end of the interview.
  • Finally, Nick reflects on some of his favourite pieces of research before selecting three cracking websites for us to check out

You know what I am going to say here – I think this is another must-listen. Nick drops little piece of gold dust throughout the interview. Mindset and psychology in general are topics that we have only touched upon in previous episodes, and it was both fascinating and enlightening to delve deep into them with an expert such as Nick. Along with my interviews with Daisy Christodoulou, Tom Bennett, Dylan Wiliam and the Bjorks, it could well be another one to share with you non-maths colleagues.

The usual mention of my research page. I have linked to and provided my own practical takeaways to over 100 papers that have changed my approach to teaching, and I will be adding the ones Nick discusses in this interview. You can find the page at mrbartonmaths.com/teachers/research/. And the usual plea, that if you enjoy what you hear, then please give the podcast a quick rating or review on iTunes. I have peaked at number 12 in the global Education chart, and am currently working on a petition to get all “learning language” podcasts banned so I can sneak into the top 10. Who needs languages anyway?…

On Twitter Nick is @Nick_J_Rose
His excellent blog can be found at: evidenceintopractice.wordpress.com
His phenomenal book is What every teacher needs to know about Psychology

Nick Rose’s Big 3
1. American Educator
2. Dan Willingham blog
3. ResearchEd

My usual plugs:

Thanks so much for listening, and I really hope you enjoy the show!

Craig Barton

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