Still Thinking is the website of Dr Barry Hymer. Barry is professor of psychology in education in the Education Faculty of the University of Cumbria. An experienced teacher, educational psychologist, trainer and consultant, Barry Hymer has delivered keynote and workshop presentations at over 500 national and international conferences, and worked in a training and consultancy capacity with nearly two thousand schools and LAs. In his present role within HE Barry retains a limited capacity for direct work with schools and other clients (see consultancy page) via Osiris Educational: HERE

Barry Hymer’s work aims always to respect the capacity of teachers and students to take ownership of their learning agenda, in a way which allows them to realize their personal and educational values in their own practice.

Barry’s latest books are the P4C Pocketbook (with Roger Sutcliffe), Dilemma-Based Learning in Primary School (with Deb Michel), the Gifted & Talented Pocketbook, The Routledge-Falmer International Companion to Gifted Education (co-edited by Tom Balchin, Barry Hymer and Dona Matthews) and Gifts, Talents & Education: A Living Theory Approach (co-written by Barry Hymer, Jack Whitehead and Marie Huxtable).

If you require any more information than you can gather from this site, please feel free to contact Barry Hymer by using the link.

View a short taster from the Carol Dweck 2010 Tour

Latest Blog Entry.
There’s an April Fool’s joke still doing the rounds amongst teachers, which purports to be a new assessment initiative from Mr Gove: students will be assessed for their response to the experience of failure. This will require the manufacturing by teachers of a sharp deterioration in their students’ examination results, and the consequent assessment of students’ reactions to these ‘failures’.

Like all good jokes of this sort, there has to be an element of plausibility at its core. A few of my correspondents have told me that they’ve lost faith in their capacity accurately to distinguish the Education Secretary’s actual initiatives from good jokes, but of all his recent initiatives and thought-experiments, I for one would be keen to see this fraudulent one come to fruition! Why? Because our openness to failure and resilience in the face of it are crucial to achievement in every domain. Learning happens most vigorously when we persist with challenges that fall (just) outside our current level of expertise, and we receive or self-generate focused feedback about our response to these challenges. The learning dispositions that result from sustained engagement in these challenges – persistence, resilience, creative connection-making, etc – are what our formal education should be about. And results won’t suffer – they’ll accrue exponentially and over the life span.

Of course many a sound educational principle suffers when it encounters the dead and scarcely nuanced hand of state dictate, so I shouldn’t be too effusive about the possibilities of this joke. But many of the most outstanding schools that I’ve had the privilege of working in are already straining to ensure that the educational diet of their students – and staff – has a high proportion of grit. One such school, a wonderful primary school in Buckinghamshire, explicitly teaches their children to FAIL – i.e. to see any knock-back as simply a First Attempt In Learning. And that’s no joke.

Have a wonderful Summer Term.
Posted on: 12-04-12