#185 Tools and Tips for Teachers: Episode 9 (with Ollie Lovell)

Apple PodcastsSpotifyGoogle PodcastsAnchorPodbeanStitcherPocketCasts

Episode sponsors

This episode of the Mr Barton Maths podcast is proudly supported by Casio Education. Check out the fantastic resources they have available for teachers here: education.casio.co.uk/mr-barton-maths

Episode details

Ollie Lovell is a maths and science teacher from Australia, an author, and my longtime, bitter podcasting rival. We have decided to get together once a month to share three things we have each learned and get the other’s take on it.


  1. Why change needs a deep understanding (08:15)
  2. The power of using critical evidence during CPD (23:10)
  3. Is making feedback into detective work really a good idea? (39:39)
  4. The Derring Effect (55:04)
  5. What have you got worse at? (1:11:24)
  6. I need the toilet (1:20:25)

Episode summary

In this episode, Craig and Ollie discuss various topics related to teaching and learning. They start by recapping their Christmas holidays and discussing the challenges of being new parents. They then explore the idea that change is only sustainable if supported by deep understanding. They also discuss the use of critical evidence in CPD sessions and how to deliver feedback in a thoughtful and gentle way. Finally, they challenge the idea of making feedback detective work and discuss its potential drawbacks. In this part of the conversation, Craig and Ollie discuss the benefits of feedback detective work and the use of deliberate errors in teaching. They also reflect on the aspects of teaching they may have gotten worse at over time and the importance of being open to feedback from students. Finally, Craig introduces the concept of poor proxies as a way to assess school culture. The conversation explores the frequency of bathroom requests as a proxy for behavior and engagement in learning. It discusses the impact of bathroom policies and offers potential solutions to address the issue.


  • Change is more likely to be sustainable when supported by deep understanding.
  • Using critical evidence in CPD sessions can help teachers see the need for change and increase buy-in.
  • Delivering feedback in a thoughtful and gentle way can help teachers accept and act on the feedback.
  • The idea of making feedback detective work may not always be effective and can be frustrating for students. Feedback detective work can be effective in getting students to think more deeply and engage in productive discussions about their work.
  • The daring effect, which involves deliberately making plausible errors, can enhance learning and retention.
  • Teachers should reflect on aspects of their teaching that they may have gotten worse at over time and consider bringing back effective practices from earlier in their careers.
  • Finding proxies, such as specific behaviors or indicators, can provide insights into school culture and effectiveness. The frequency of bathroom requests can serve as a proxy for behavior and engagement in learning.
  • Addressing the bathroom problem requires implementing effective behavior systems and creating a positive learning culture.

Ollie’s stuff

  • Sign up for Ollie’s newsletter here: edthreads.ollielovell.com
  • On Twitter, Ollie is @ollie_lovell
  • Ollie’s website is ollielovell.com 
  • You can check out Ollie’s podcast, The Education Research Reading Room here
  • Ollie’s first book, Cognitive Load Theory in Action, is available from Amazon
  • Ollie’s second book, Tools for Teachers, is available from Amazon

My usual plugs

Leave a Reply