I am a part-time voluntary lecturer at Askham Bryan College teaching Food Science modules. I teach relevant topics to young learners at Further Education (Level 3) and Higher Education (Level 4-6) programmes. Being an employee in a food manufacturing company, one of the concerns that I have is bridging the gap between learning at college and its application to the industry. As argued by Gough (cited in Cotton, 1991), if students are to perform successfully in a highly technical society, they have to be equipped with thinking skills essential to rapidly acquire and process information to solve problems in real-life situations. It is ideal that students acquire skills by doing and expanding their knowledge through involvement.


“Problem-Based Learning (PBL) is a novel approach to challenge learners to focus on real-world problems and resolve realistic dilemmas. Such problems generate opportunities for meaningful activities that engage students in problem solving and higher-ordered thinking in genuine settings” (HAFL, 2012, p.1). Although most disciplines are suitable to this type of approach, few subjects actually take advantage of the PBL method (Burris & Garton, 2007, p.107). During problem based learning, learners are guided through a process that includes objectives, problems, research abilities, solution development activities, and assessments (Torp & Sage, 1998, p.14).


In this specialist paper, I intend to investigate how appropriate the PBL approach is in solving the diminishing performance at the Westfield Dairy Farm at Askham Bryan College.   In this particular instance, learners working in groups were presented with a problem (Mastitis in Westfield Dairy Farm) and asked to examine preliminary data. With my support, the group researched the theory behind the problem. During mind-mapping sessions, each group shared the results of their research with rest of the class, received feedback and continued investigating the problem.

Read the full paper here: Ramana-Sundara_U1276297_Specialist-Conference


Visible Learning and The Science of How we Learn


If you have not had a chance to read the new book by John Hattie and David Yates – there are a great deal of good points and interesting research.Below are some quotes that I found interesting, I hope that you may find some of them interesting to.

Hattie and Yates – Visible Learning and The Science of How we Learn

  • We are motivated by knowledge gaps but not by knowledge chasms
  • Feedback matters a lot. It should always focus on next steps.
  • Knowing what to do matters more than knowing what your level is.
  • Understanding what to do is greatly helped by worked examples which are analysed.
  • Great feedback provides a map – it is a mode of processing but also motivating and ensuring that a knowledge gap is bridgeable and does now become a chasm.
  • Feedback is as much about reflecting on your own effectiveness as a…

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Teaching Thinking and Dialogue

Blog from : Centre for Teaching Thinking and Dialogue (CTTD) at Exeter University

The Centre offers advice and support for the evaluation of teaching thinking and research on teaching thinking. It incorporates the Cognitive Education Development Unit which offers formal recognition to schools that have embraced the notion of cognitive education and implemented it as a whole school policy.

Resourceful and creative learners or PISA success or both?

Bill Lucas in Teach Primary May 2014

Expansive Education Network

When English children are compared unfavourably to those in Finland or parts of China by their PISA test scores (as they frequently are), there is always a temptation for people to suggest that teachers should change tack.  ‘We must focus on the basics of English and maths and stop being interested in this wider learning capability stuff’, is the cry from some.
But such polarizing sentiments are deeply unhelpful and ill-founded. Doing really well at maths and becoming a powerful learner are not mutually exclusive goals. We can and must achieve both. It was in an attempt to reconcile these ‘false opposites’ that Guy Claxton and I coined the expression ‘expansive education’. In our recent book Expansive Education: teaching learners for the real world, we explore the underpinning research for this view (it’s strong) and share examples from across the world of teachers who want outstanding results but not at…

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School in the Clouds: George Stephenson High School

Professor Sugata Mitra’s wish to inspire children and teachers across the globe took shape with the opening
of the first of seven Self Organised gsschoolLearning Environments (SOLEs) on Friday 22nd November 2013 at
George Stephenson High School in Killingworth.

Sugata’s vision to design and develop plans to create a learning lab were first realised when he won the TED prize. Children in locations in north east England can tap into online resources and connect with the other schools in India. The room has created a great deal of interest, not only by the students at school who use the room on a regular basis in a wide range of subjects from PE to Maths, but internationally as well… Skype lessons have taken place from schools in America to India to schools here in the north east.

It is felt that the room has already had a huge impact on teaching and learning, students demonstrate highly skilled independent learning styles and each student who takes part in a SOLE always reflect on how the room allows great collaboration, and student centred learning and indeed removes barriers that a conventional classroom can cause. The shift in the role of the teacher is also something that has injected interest and an opportunity to reflect on pedagogy.


Learning through Landscapes – Learning outside the classroom

From the South Downs National Park new resource toolbox –
A case study showing how Moulescoomb Primary links their school grounds to the heritage and culture of their local area.