Monday, 11 March 2019

Behaviour Management: Practical Tips

The link below is to a scan of a page from the current edition of the Impact journal from the Chartered College of Teaching. Lots of good research in this journal but this is a page of immediately practical tips.

Behaviour Management : Practical Tips

Tuesday, 5 March 2019

Mini TeachMeet 14

Jack and Jill : how to read a literary text through a feminist lens (FG)

FG detailed the difficulties in initially teaching a literary criticism method when pupils have a disparate range of texts and so how teaching the techniques on a text that is well-known by all pupils is a good starting point e.g., nursery rhymes.

FG detailed how this might work in practice with a variety of feminist readings of Jack and Jill followed by a recreation of the 3 Little Pigs from a Marxist perspective.

Other examples of scaffolding that might be applied in other subjects might include:
using a simple design when trying new materials initially
producing a piece of art using a simpler medium first
thinking about staging, lighting etc of a simple scene in the styles of different directors
coding using a new technique but starting with a simple problem

Link to doc: Teaching Literary Criticism

SOLO Taxonomy (VLA)

VLA detailed the SOLO taxonomy (Structure of Observed Learning Outcomes) and how she uses this structured higher order thinking in her lessons and signposts to pupils the level of challenge.

She uses the symbols to portray each level of the taxonomy and this is included on worksheets etc as a way of differentiating. Students choose their initial level of understanding and aim to make progress from that starting point during the lesson.

The links below were provided as resources to help embed this in lessons. 

Link to VLA Presentation: SOLO Taxonomy Presentation

Testing in the Classroom: The Importance of Feedback

A blog post from 'The Learning Scientists' this week.

"Some debate exists regarding the most effective way to present testing-related feedback to students. But while each method presents practical advantages and disadvantages, one thing remains clear: test feedback can be a powerful tool for facilitating learning and combatting the negative testing effect.  When we provide feedback to our students, we effectively prioritize both assessment and learning. "

View the whole blog post here: Learning Scientists Original Blog

Monday, 14 January 2019

Every Day Challenge

Everyday challenge

A great blog peace from Class Teaching on every day challenge. Do read the full piece if you can on the link above, but the key strategies it goes on to discuss are:

1. Prioritise learning over performance
The reason plenaries at the end of lessons to prove to an observer that the students in the class have made progress was always a flawed measure, is that all they prove is surface learning, or performance, rather than deep learning.  Learning is mysterious, liminal and invisible. An individual lesson is the wrong unit of time over which to judge learning.  Therefore a challenging curriculum is key to challenging lessons.  It has to be Curriculum first.
2. Space it out and keep coming back
This principle also fits with one of the strategies for learning to come from cognitive science with the strongest research-evidence behind it, distributed or spaced practice.  This is the idea that if you space out your study of a principle over time you will learn it more effectively than if you learn it intensively in a short space of time.
3. Set single challenging objectives
If we are to exemplify high expectations, any objective we share with our students should set the expectation for all.  We certainly shouldn’t limit some in our class to only being about able to cope with certain aspects of the subject matter. 
4. Get them thinking hard
As Professor Coe’s first question suggests, we should plan to challenge our students as much through thought as through action.  We should plan for what we expect students to be thinking about throughout the lesson as much as what we want them to do.  As Daniel Willingham put it in his book Why Don’t Students Like School? memory is the residue of thought, therefore we need to get them thinking about the topic we are trying to communicate.  
5. Know thy subject
If we are to truly challenge our students then we need to have absolute confidence in our own base of knowledge.  Research demonstrates that a deficit in teacher subject knowledge can be a barrier to students achievement
6. Challenging vocabulary
A central tenet of teaching should be that we use the rich language of the subjects we teach.  We should avoid at all costs the temptation to dumb down our language for fear that using the proper terms will terrify our students.  However, if we are to successfully create a classroom rich in historical language, we need to explicitly teach this words.  
7. Set the benchmark early
Use those first few lessons with a class to set the bar of expectation high and handsome.  Show them what you believe students in your class are capable of and get them to produce something similar.  This is useful in a number of ways.  It is something you can return to throughout the year (perhaps the dark days of early January) to demonstrate what they can do when they really put their minds to it.  It also establishes where the bar is in your classroom nice and early.  We know students tend to meet the expectations we have of them so start as you mean to go on.   
8. Share excellence
Once excellence has been achieved and created, make sure it kept and shared.  It is important students understand the level you expect and that the level is achievable within the context of your classroom or department.  The aim should be to immerse them in this excellence through displays and teaching strategies. 
Reflective Questions 
  • Do you plan for students to regularly get stuck and struggle in your classroom? 
  • Do you have high expectations of all the students you teach?
  • Is your subject knowledge strong enough to stretch your students with confidence?
  • How do you ensure students retain what you teach in their long-term memories and retrieve this regularly?
Posted by Chris Runeckles
Extra reading
John Sweller, Cognitive load theory, learning difficulty, and instructional design, Learning and Instruction Volume 4, Issue 4, 1994
Soderstrom and Bjork, Learning Versus Performance, An Integrative Review, Perspectives on Psychological Science, 2015, Vol 10, P176-199
John Dunlosky, Strengthening the Student Toolbox: Study Strategies to Boost Learning, American Educator 2013
Willingham, Why Don’t Students Like School
Coe et al., What Makes Great Teaching?
Bringing Words to Life, Beck, McKeown and Kucan
Chip Heath and Dan Heath, Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Take Hold and Others Come Unstuck

Wednesday, 5 December 2018

Mini TeachMeet 13

1. a. Key word chop (VT)

  • To help pupils learn keywords and spelling
  • 10-15 keywords broken down into 2 or 3 pieces and you then have to piece them together
  • Opportunity to then discuss definitions etc

b. Confidence-based marking

  • Pupils answer a multiple choice quiz but also give their confidence in the particular answers on a scale 1-3. If they are right then they get that many marks but they lose this many if they get it wrong
  • Helps students to stop guessing during multiple choice and really think about all the answers
  • Promotes competition

2. One Pen, one Dice (MHP)

  • MHP shared this game where pupils take turns to work on an activity/worksheet
  • One pupil uses the pen to complete the activity while the other rolls the die until they get a 6, at which point they swap
  • Again this promotes competition and means there is much more effort going into the completion of an activity then if the pupils had just been asked to work through it on their own.

Wednesday, 24 October 2018

Mini TeachMeet 12

1. Critical thinking (VW)

  • VW talked through the material that is being covered on the Y7 critical thinking days
  • All departments should have an overview of what is happening so they know what they can expect of the pupils and be able to draw on the experiences learned
  • Topics include
    • Memory recall
    • Time management
    • Revision techniques

2. The Teenage Brain (JLi)

  • JLi provided useful resources and links regarding the teenage brain.

Wednesday, 5 September 2018

Memory Clock and Revision

A simple way of structuring revision that is appropriate to years 10-13. It involves how pupils structure their time in revision lessons and study periods. The session will include evidence on spacing revision sessions and retrieval practice (exercises that can be built into lessons to aid memory).

Find the presentations from the session here: