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What Kind of Leaders Do You Want? | headstmary's Blog. Advice to New Senior Leaders | headstmary's Blog. Starting to think again about Assessment for Learning. Ready with my boilerplate David Didau dangles a little nugget on Assessment for Learning in his post on Teacher Talk where he says, “ I’m even beginning to doubt the primacy of AfL! ” AfL has been gnawing away at the back of my mind too. I think it has become a victim of “robotic application” that Tom Sherrington describes in the post’s comments. I also think the time might be close to look again at what we are assessing and feeding back on. Getting students to be more involved in their own learning was identified as a key issue by the the Government in the late 1990′s. Feedback to any pupil should be about the particular qualities of his or her work, with advice on what he or she can do to improve, and should avoid comparisons with other pupils. While I would not take issue with any of these points, the following decade increasingly saw teachers delivering boilerplate lessons from templates, often in the form of planning or observation checklists.

SOLO Stations. There seems to an awful lot of excellent posts written about SOLO Taxonomy at the moment, which is obviously absolutely fantastic …..I just thought I’d best write one to keep up with the very high standard of reflection and sharing! The idea for SOLO Stations came from a great blog post from @DVPLearning found here in the post Steven describes a Year 10 PE Revision lesson in which “He then explained what the next task was going to be. This is where teach, do, review comes in! The teacher explained that they needed to move themselves in to one of three groups.

I really like this idea of students having ownership of their learning and choosing where they would start their learning journey. Firstly I needed my Year 7 students to gauge and assess where they thought their learning was at (we were looking at Forces). I explained this in quite some detail – obviously the more I do of this the less time I will need to explain the protocol. Going SOLO: An introduction to the taxonomy everyone’s talking about. This article originally appeared in Innovate My School's September 2012 digital magazine.

The Structure of Observed Learning Outcome (SOLO) taxonomy aims to show pupils how to develop sophisticated responses to questions by getting them to examine their thought-process as their understanding of a topic improves. I began using SOLO in 2011, and it is now integral to my teaching. SOLO defines five stages of understanding for any topic: prestructural, unistructural, multistructural, relational and extended abstract. The first three involve gathering relevant information. The other two are about using that information: linking facts and findings, questioning existing ideas about the topic, and forming new theories. All well and good. But how does it work in practice? SOLO LEVEL: PRESTRUCTURAL (the pupil has missed the point) PUPIL RESPONSE:I think Johnny Depp is a Shakespeare character because we watched a film featuring both of them.

PUPIL RESPONSE:Johnny Depp acts in films. Implementing SOLO. Why we’ve got differentiation wrong. | andywarner78. I hate the way that many of us teachers are encouraged to differentiate, and the way that many teachers understand the term. In contemporary education, differentiation has, for many practitioners, become synonymous with “dumbing down”. Providing easier tasks for “weaker” students, displaying differentiated outcomes (especially of the “must, should, could” variety) and texts where “difficult” words have been removed or replaced to allow the “weakest” to read them, is all symptomatic of a lowering of expectations and the acceptance that many students just can’t access complex material.

To me, this approach is defeatist and is the root of the problem where low levels of literacy are to be found. Acceptance of such a view becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy whereby the students who are only ever expected to reach the “must” objective or who are never exposed to complex vocabulary will never push themselves to grapple with difficult concepts or great pieces of writing. My response? Like this: Outstanding teaching & learning: missed opportunities and marginal gains. I work at an ‘outstanding’ school where the teaching and learning is ‘good’. As such we are squarely in Wilshaw’s sights and almost certainly due an inspection at some point this year. We were last inspected in November 2011 but a lot of goal post moving has gone on in the intervening months.

The new inspection framework is widely seen as a ravening beast out to devour schools that are not delivering to the lofty standards of our hero, the saviour of Mossbourne Academy. In essence, what this means is that if we want to retain the right to put ‘outstanding’ on our headed paper we’d better be able to demonstrate that our T&L has improved since last year. Has it? Well, there’s plenty of wonderful teachers who preside over fantastic lessons every day but, like most schools there’s also several other groups. Clearly this needs to be challenged but not by wielding a stick or telling teachers to try harder. In an outstanding lesson a lot of this ‘noticing’ happens at the point of planning.


Whizzy things. English Teaching. Transition. Pedagoo London presentation. Teacher talk: the missing link. Back in 2008 I was told by an Ofsted inspector that I talked too much. I had always prided myself on being considered an outstanding teacher, and was devastated to be told my lesson was “satisfactory to good”. My attempts to probe this judgement got little further; he offered no criticism of what I’d said or how I’d said it, just that I’d spoken for too long. This came as huge blow to my self-confidence and I spent the next few years reinventing myself as a trendy, progressive teacher. Out with modelling and whole class instruction; in with group work, problem solving and PLTS. It worked. When I started writing this blog back in July 2011 I was very much into experimenting with saying less and less, and making the kids discover more and more for themselves. Signing up to Twitter gradually made a difference.

I started writing about integrating right and left wing teaching in such posts as What’s deep learning and How do you do it? Genre pedagogy – T&L cycle IRE goes a little like this: Demonstrating instant progress in lesson. Expectations | Marginal Learning Gains. Every teacher is involved in the complex business of fostering high aspirations in our learners. Finding a practical way to do this through the learning that we design and how we deliver it can be incredibly challenging.

It is true to say that to do so would constitute far more than a Marginal Learning Gain as if we are able to find a way to establish a highly aspirational culture in our lessons, then this has the potential to pervade whole-school culture. As always, striving for an aspirational culture, the Marginal Learning Gains can be found nestled deep inside what is meant by ‘aspiration’. What is really worth focusing on is ‘expectations’.

Teacher mindset Here’s where the concept of ‘expectation-language’ first originated as MLG was developing…(taken from “How ‘hopeful’ was Dave Brailsford on the morning of the first leg of The Tour De France or on the morning of the first cycling competitions in London 2012? Some enquiry questions may help here: Constructing learning SO THAT it is meaningful and purposeful. Finding ways to make the complexities of learning concrete and clear to learners is a challenge. Ensuring how we design learning that is both purposeful and meaningful is one thing. Deciding just how we translate the often abstract concept of learning we have in our head so that it makes sense and has meaning for others is what makes a quality learning experience.

This is part of my Marginal Learning Gains (#marginalgains) thinking as it involves focusing in on a very small aspect of learning and refining it in order to extract as big a learning opportunity as possible from it. What I have come to refer to as ‘squeezing the learning’. I’ve been grappling with the challenge of how to construct learning outcomes and /or objectives (which I will refer to as LOs from here on) that are both purposeful and meaningful.

For many lessons, LOs often become the empty and unloved dark corner of our learning architecture rather than the engine room of the learning experience we are offering. Teaching Dropboxes. Imagine having a subject folder filled with handy resources, so you don’t have to reinvent the wheel? Now you don’t have to! Below is a list of shared Teaching Dropboxes – that is, a set of shared computer Folders and files, for and by teachers, storing original good practice. Whether these are critical documents, handy pro formas or stunning presentations – if they are useful for the subject, they are in! What they all have in common is a non-commercial share-alike copyright, meaning that anyone who contributes can share the documents, but must give credit and aren’t allowed to sell them. Simply request an invite, and start to share, contribute and enjoy the benefits of a subject in your pocket.

If you are already using a shared Dropbox, or intend to, I would recommend a read of my guide to Sharing Dropbox etiquette. #SLTDropbox For aspiring and existing SLT in schools. #ICTDropbox For ICT Teachers in Primary or Secondary Schools. #DLDropbox #sciDropbox For Science Teachers. #PrimDropbox.