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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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’
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
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/
This weeks blogs of the week focus on deliberate practice and its essential role in facilitating learning.
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.
- Challenge – success for all: https://classteaching.wordpress.com/2014/02/27/challenge-success-for-all/
- Great lessons number 3 – Challenge: http://headguruteacher.com/2013/01/31/great-lessons-3-challenge/
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:
- National Association of English Teachers – https://www.nate.org.uk/
- Association for Teachers of Maths – http://www.atm.org.uk/
- Association for Science Education – http://www.ase.org.uk/home/
- Geographical Association – http://www.geography.org.uk/
- The historical association – http://www.history.org.uk/
- Association of Physical Education – http://www.afpe.org.uk/
- Design & technology association – https://www.data.org.uk/
- Association for citizenship teaching – http://www.teachingcitizenship.org.uk/
- Association for Language Learning – http://www.all-languages.org.uk/
BOTW this week is not so much a blog but a report, a summary of report in fact into The Science of Learning.
The summary (produced by Deans for Impact) outlines a number of things a busy teacher should know about how students learn with lots of practical implications for the classroom. It also debunks lots of myths…
Following on from Dave Bunker’s great 15 Minute Forum earlier this term which opened up the debate about forming positive relationships with young people and the role of behaviour management in this process, this weeks blog of the week goes to Dave’s post on the matter:
Why telling new teachers to build relationships is bad advice by Dave Bunker.
A great compliment to Dave’s blog is this post by Katie Ashford on the need for high expectations for all students regardless of their ‘issues.’
Give him a break by Katie Ashford.
I have taught too many kids like Palmer, and whilst I still have a lot to learn about building the strongest relationships and providing the best possible support, I am sure about one thing. If you give a kid a break, you reduce your standards for them, and to do so is to allow them to fall to those low standards. We do care, and caring is a thread inseparable from the complex tapestry of teaching. But sometimes, the most caring thing we can do for a child is to raise our standards even higher.
This weeks blog of the week goes to an older post by Tom Sherrington where he summarises the lessons we can learn from Ron Berger and his book ‘An Ethic of Excellence.’
Image via @GapingVoid
Having spent some time with trainee teachers this last couple of weeks I’ve tried to steer them towards some interesting books that have helped me develop my understanding of teaching and learning. One book in particular that stands out is – Why students don’t like school by Daniel T Willingham. In the book Willingham neatly explains a theory of how we learn and makes the argument that the way schools tend to deliver their curriculum conflicts with the way people actually learn, which may be why schools (secondary in particular) end up trying to ‘get year 11 through’ with last minute strategies rather than addressing the actual problem – are students learning things from year 7 onwards or just covering them?
Just because teachers are teaching does not mean students are learning.
This may be hard to digest, challenging the status quo of how curriculums are traditionally designed. It eeks of the phrase “but this is how we’ve always done it…”
This weeks #BOTW is from Doug Lemov’s hugely successful Teach Like a Champion blog which explains and analyses lots of different teaching methods.
In particular these blogs look into the idea of using student work (both past and present) to model expectations and de-construct answers with students.
Blog 1 – Forget the rubric, use student work instead – In this blog Dylan Wiliam suggests that rubrics quite often mean little to students and that using student work to model expectations instead is far more powerful.
Blog 2 – ‘Show call’ technique – In this blog Doug has captured on video a teacher making great use of student work in the moment to model answers during a maths lesson. If you don’t have access to a visualiser in your classroom you could use the work of students from previous years to model and de-construct success criteria.