Blog of the week | 14th February 2016

Blog of the week goes to an excellent post from David Didau who provides a useful summary of a recent research report into learning called: ‘Learning about learning: What every teacher needs to know.’

The research picks out 6 things teachers can do to make a difference:

  1. Pairing graphics with words. Young or old, all of us receive information through two primary pathways — auditory (for the spoken word) and visual (for the written word and graphic or pictorial representation). Student learning increases when teachers convey new material through both.

  2. Linking abstract concepts with concrete representations. Teachers should present tangible examples that illuminate overarching ideas and also explain how the examples and big ideas connect.

  3. Posing probing questions. Asking students “why,” “how,” “what if,” and “how do you know” requires them to clarify and link their knowledge of key ideas.

  4. Repeatedly alternating problems with their solutions provided and problems that students must solve. Explanations accompanying solved problems help students comprehend underlying principles, taking them beyond the mechanics of problem solving.

  5. Distributing practice. Students should practice material several times after learning it, with each practice or review separated by weeks and even months. This is sometimes called the ‘spacing effect’

  6. Assessing to boost retention. Beyond the value of formative assessment (to help a teacher decide what to teach) and summative assessment (to determine what students have learned), assessments that require students to recall material help information ‘stick’. This is usually referred to as the ‘testing effect‘.

Read David’s full post here: http://www.learningspy.co.uk/psychology/learning-is-liminal/

Read the full report here: http://www.nctq.org/dmsView/Learning_About_Learning_Report

#neverstoplearning

Blog of the week | 31st January 2016

This weeks #BOTW comes from Matt Davies a secondary MFL teacher who describes how he is setting the bar high for all students and supporting them through scaffolding. Here’s a snippet from Matts post…

But challenge is difficult. I am the first to admit that I get things wrong, gauging work either too hard or easy at times. But I would like to think I am flexible and can adjust in these circumstances. The key thing though is that the bar is high always regardless of the students starting point. As Andy Tharby and Shaun Allison discuss in ‘Making every lesson count’, to not set the bar high is to disadvantage students who might be deemed less able (for example) and it is therefore about how we scaffold tasks and make them more accessible.

Read the full post here: https://mrdavismfl.wordpress.com/2015/12/21/challenge-and-scaffolding/

#neverstoplearning

Blog of the week | 24th January 2016

#BOTW this week goes to William Enemy’s post called: Knowledge organisers- more clarity than learning objectives and great for building retention.

In the post William talks about how he has used knowledge organisers in Maths and his post details the practical application of them (which can be applied across curriculum areas).

#neverstoplearning

Blog of the week | 29th November 2015

This weeks blogs of the week look at challenge and how this can be achieved in various different ways across the curriculum. Both posts nicely summarise what is meant by challenge and ‘challenging work.’ They also provide a number of strategies to use in the classroom tomorrow.

  1. Challenge – success for all: https://classteaching.wordpress.com/2014/02/27/challenge-success-for-all/
  2. Great lessons number 3 – Challenge:  http://headguruteacher.com/2013/01/31/great-lessons-3-challenge/

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Blog of the week | 1st November 2016

Middle leaders are the engine room of school improvement.

This weeks BOTW is a selection of posts that focus on middle and wider school leadership. The posts below outline some of the qualities of successful teams and ask some reflective questions about leadership. 

  1. Leading a winning team by Shaun Allison
  2. Middle leadership by Dr Dan Nicholls
  3. Difficult conversations by @LeadingLearner

#neverstoplearning

Blog of the week | 18th October 2015

This weeks BOTW comes from the ever resourceful blog of Shaun Allison – ClassTeaching.

The post in particular is called – Subject knowledge matters and is a summary of why subject knowledge is important for effective teaching but also provides lots of resources and ideas for improving your subject knowledge. My favourite tip is: ‘get advice from an expert.’

The school was able to secure some support from the ‘Institute of Physics’ in the shape of a superb ‘Teaching & Learning Coach’ Colin Piper.  Colin was a fantastic resource.  He met with Bex on a regular basis, went through the topics she was going to be teaching at a very high level, broke it down and explained the best way to teach it.  He would also discuss misconceptions and how to address them, as well as unusual and interesting practicals and demonstrations to support her explanations.

Below are a few organisations that provide support for teachers to improve their subject knowledge:

#neverstoplearning