Welcome to Filling the Pail by Greg Ashman


I am Greg Ashman, a teacher, blogger, writer and podcaster. My new blog posts are all at Substack and you can sign-up for free. This site now houses blog archives up to roughly the end of 2020. I’ve written two books – The Truth about Teaching and The Power of Explicit Teaching and Direct Instruction. If you Google my name, you will come across various articles I have written for different sources. My podcast lives here

My most popular blog-posts in this archive are What is Explicit Instruction? and 5 Principles of Education.

If you click on the menu button at the top of this page you can find videos of some of my talks. You can contact me below:


9 thoughts on “Welcome to Filling the Pail by Greg Ashman

  1. Ann in L.A. says:

    As to #3, I was planning on writing something about that this morning after an experience yesterday at the 13-year-old’s school. Because of rehearsals for the school play, the majority of his classmates were away from class. So, the school had a student teacher/school employee come in to the class to do an activity. From the sound of it, she was working on a research project and was using the students to collect data…

    …on learning styles.

    She had the kids talk about and think about what learning styles they had and how they best liked to learn.

    When my kid told me this at the end of the day, I wanted to bang my head on the steering wheel. This teacher is going through ed school to get their degree, and is clueless. I was yelling in the car wondering whether she ever bothered to do a basic literature search.

    It shouldn’t be that a parent (actually an aunt) with only an interest in education theory knows more about an utterly debunked theory that than a so-called educator who is enrolled in ed school.

    • Michael Pye says:

      I did my PGCE as an evening class as I work in a college. We never looked at raw research or direct comparisons among competing theories. (We did learn how different ideas like constructionist and behaviorism came about). Until each individual takes the plunge and starts learning how to find (let alone review the evidence) all someone can go on is someone else opinion. To make matters worse most don’t think evidence based practice is anything more then someone eases viewpoint. (Yah anti-science, though the naff quality of most qualitative studies/inappropriate uses of action research reinforce this).

      I am still waiting to meet a teacher who says they like learning styles who can accurately describe the theory (Usually VAK). It is hard to convince someone if their definition of Learning styles is nothing other then mixing up different teaching methods. (Still hardly ideal).

  2. Laura Glisson says:

    Hi Greg,
    Have you ever considered producing a podcast of your blog? I really enjoy reading your blogs and listening to what you have to say – audio versions would be so helpful for my long drives to and from schools in WA.
    Not sure if it’s possible, but I would listen!

    • Chester Draws says:

      Please no. I can’t stand podcasts. They take so much longer to deliver the same information.

      Also, I frequently print out your posts and save them for posterity. I even re-read them while looking at specific topics.

      And I often follow the links the first time round too.

  3. This is quickly becoming one of my top blogs to follow. I am embarking on a journey to evaluate my teaching under the light from properly evidenced research. Little of that was ever shown to me or required as I trained to become a teacher. It is astonishing, but even more so are all the teachers that do not think pedagogy can be studied scientifically. But thanks to you and many others, I feel that I’m on my way to a much better practice. Now I only need to find the time to read all this research.

    Henrik, sort-of-new teacher from Sweden

  4. Greg Esres says:

    Your bio is out-of-date, since it contains this:

    I have written an ebook (see the sidebar link) and I am currently writing a normal book for a publisher in London.

    I think you’ve written two books now. And even this post seems slightly dated in that regard, too.

  5. Simon says:

    Hi Greg,
    I am a 50+ yr old Teacher Trainee (science) crawling through my last few weeks of a SCITT as the World manages a pandemic. I’m reading your book “The Power of Explicit Teaching and Direct Instruction” which I am loving. Your chapter referencing top-down teaching (for teachers) versus bottom-up is spot on! The Teacher Training I am experiencing is, in my view, needlessly overwhelming because it is taking the top-down approach. This book has been so refreshing and your writing has given me much more context to a lot of the academic literature than months of lectures.
    Thank you.

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