Ben Newmark

Vice Principal
Speaking at

Session

So what if nothing we do makes a difference?

As a young teacher I told people that what I did transformed lives. I believed that because of my work poorer children would get higher grades and, as a consequence, become happier. I no longer believe this to be true. Good grades are more a product of environment and genetics than they are teaching and there’s no guarantee that children who get them will end up any happier than those who do not. In my session I will discussing why rejecting consequentialism is no cop out, and how doing so liberates us from the technocratic, bureaucratic and reductive interpretation of education strangling too many of our schools.

Bio

Formerly a VSO Volunteer, a Deputy Headmaster of an international school, Head of Humanities and now a Vice Principal, Ben has been a teacher of one sort or another for fifteen years. He used to believe that what he did changed lives. Now he’s not so sure, but thinks it makes no difference to his work anyway.

Blog: https://bennewmark.wordpress.com

Archive

National Conference 2018

Why target grades miss their mark

Over the last decade target grades have become so embedded in English schools that many teachers are unable to imagine life without them. This is deeply unfortunate because they are far more likely to do harm than good.

In my session I will go through their confused and unplanned origins, why the data on which they are based is likely to be unsafe, and the role played by inspection regimes and politicians in embedding them. The session will also cover, with reference to the work of JL Austin, why these targets are likely to be performative and the worrying implications of this.

I will contend, by using the work of Locke, Latham and Seijts that target grades are Performance Goals and that these are inappropriate for motivating novices.

The session will move on a detailed explanation of why target grades are examples of extrinsic motivation and why this is unlikely to be effective in the context in which we use them, before concluding with some suggested replacements.

National Conference 2017

Why target grades miss their mark

Over the last decade target grades have become so embedded in English schools that many teachers are unable to imagine life without them. This is deeply unfortunate because they are far more likely to do harm than good.

In my session I will go through their confused and unplanned origins, why the data on which they are based is likely to be unsafe, and the role played by inspection regimes and politicians in embedding them. The session will also cover, with reference to the work of JL Austin, why these targets are likely to be performative and the worrying implications of this.

I will contend, by using the work of Locke, Latham and Seijts that target grades are Performance Goals and that these are inappropriate for motivating novices.

The session will move on a detailed explanation of why target grades are examples of extrinsic motivation and why this is unlikely to be effective in the context in which we use them, before concluding with some suggested replacements.