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 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…
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…”
I wanted to write a definitive post for NQTs but was struck by how many useful posts already exist. Instead of repeating what others have already written, this post will serve to index some great advice from some remarkable people. The is predominately for new teachers but will also serve as a timely reminder to all teachers at any stage in their careers.
- It is completely normal | Sue Cowley | @Sue_Cowley | Blog
- ‘Crowd wisdom for NQTs’ iBook | Rachel Jones | @rlj1981 | Blog
- A letter to my NQT self | Chris Hildrew | @chrishildrew | Blog
- Contemporary educational ideas all my staff should know about | Tom Sherrington | @headguruteacher | Blog
- The pedagogy postcards series | Tom Sherrington | @headguruteacher | Blog
- This much I know about why all of us must improve our teaching | John Tomsett | @JohnTomsett | Blog
- Back to school series | David Didau | @LearningSpy | Blog
- Some quick tips for NQTs and Trainees | @OldAndrewUK | Blog
- What I wish I knew then | Mark Anderson | @ICTEvangelist | Blog