What is progress?
1. Forward or onward movement
towards a destination: “the darkness
did not stop my progress”.
2. Development towards an improved
or more advanced condition: “we
are making progress towards equal
What is progress?
• Is it inevitable?
• Can it be both rapid and sustained?
• How can you measure learning?
Two definitions of learning:
1. The long-term retention and transfer
of knowledge and skills
2. A change in how the world is
We believe “engaging in learning activities…transfers the
content of the activity to the mind of the student…”
But “as learning occurs, so does forgetting…”
“learning takes time and is not
encapsulated in the visible here-and-now
of classroom activities.”
Graham Nuthall (2005)
The input/output myth
Threshold concepts in English
• Understanding the relationship between grammar and
• Understanding the effect of context, both on writers and
• Understanding the need to use supporting evidence for ideas
• An awareness of the ways in which language can affect
• Understanding how the structure of a text can produce
different effects and meanings
• Understanding that texts can be subjected to analysis to
reveal a variety meanings.
Overlapping waves theory
1. At any one time children think in a variety of ways
about most phenomena;
2. These varied ways of thinking compete with each
other, not just during brief transition periods but
rather over prolonged periods of time;
3. Cognitive development involves gradual changes in
the frequency of these ways of thinking, as well as
the introduction of more advanced ways of thinking.
• Nuthall (2005).The cultural myths and realities of classroom
teaching and learning: A personal journey. Teachers College
• Siegler (1998) Emerging Minds: The Process of Change in
• Meyer & Land (2010) Threshold Concepts and
• From my blog:
– The Myth of Progress
– Assessing what we value