Learning captured through conversation…

For many years I have kept half an eye on the ideas and opinions expressed by Graham Brown-Martin, someone who passionately explores new possibilities in the world of education and is not afraid to expose root causes and disrupt the status quo.

My initial conversation with Graham, referred to as robot man by my wife.

Although I view much of his work with interest, one recent piece, Assessment is not a spreadsheet, it’s a conversation, made more of an impression than usual.


By chance, just before the Christmas holiday, I was asked to pick up a new TV cabinet from one of my wife’s friends. Someone I knew quite well as I taught her son when he was in Year 2 (6-7yrs old), a time in my teaching career when I was endeavoring to bring learning to life through realistic learning contexts. It was also a time when I was busy developing systems to capture learning, in real time, in order to prove the value of a range of learning experiences and link them to curriculum requirements and statements of attainment.

The quick trip developed into a stop for a cup of tea and a fascinating catch up with one of my ex-pupils (now 16yrs old). Someone who loved to bring in his ‘Encyclopedia of the Universe’ and discuss black holes and time travel, during morning break.

The new TV cabinet in situ, just in time for Christmas.

As I left, I promised my wife’s friend that I would look through my archive for any clips that showed her son learning all those years ago.

As I searched archives that date back almost 10 years I had quite forgotten the extent to which I had tested out my new method of assessment, with my own class at the time, and the amount of content I had collected.


As I reviewed the clips, I realised that I had a unique collection that was far more than just evidence to justify my teaching approaches against curriculum requirements. I had captured a series of conversations between myself and a seven year old who was learning new concepts and ideas quickly, illustrating how much is really missed when relying heavily on snapshot standardised testing.

I currently don’t have time to blog at length but, over the next few months, I intend to upload various clips I have collected and provide a brief written narrative on the intended learning outcomes, along with consequential learning captured through conversation…

(Thanks to Emma Talbot for her support and her son for granting permission to comment on the learning demonstrated through the clips)