Easy vs Hard. We choose to do these things not because they are easy but because they are hard. – JFK We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit. – Aristotle A teachers’ job is not to make work easy. It is to make it difficult. If you are not challenged, you do not make mistakes. If you do not make mistakes, feedback is useless. - John Hattie – Visible Learning Our attitude to effort is embedded in our language: easy does it, hard luck, easy on the eye, don’t take it so hard.
Why is it that we have come to view things that are ‘hard’ as bad? I spoke to my new Year 10 class today about their upcoming Controlled Assessment and encountered some students complaining that it sounded ‘too hard’. ‘Yes!’ ‘No sir, it’s too easy,’ they chanted in wide eyed bewilderment. ‘Aha. That stumped ‘em. ‘By working hard,’ I told them. You see, it’s fairly easy to settle for a low grade. I know what he means about standards, and about promoting a culture of effort and hard work. Tom Bennett’s Top Ten Behaviour Tips | Wilmslow High School's 'Lookout for Learning' Tom Bennett is a behaviour expert who is a teacher at the Raines Foundation, an inner city state school in Tower Hamlets.
Tom is head of the RS department and Humanities faculty. He is the author of The Behaviour Guru and Not Quite A Teacher, and trains beginner teachers in all aspects of the profession. These are the things that every teacher should be doing in order to achieve order in the classroom. They’re very basic, and open to endless interpretation, but I think that they represent a good place to start with a new class…or an old one you want to reboot. 1. This can be done by a whole lesson of talking; something stuck in their books; a poster on the wall…anything that gets the point across that there are rules in your classroom. 2. Before you meet them, go into the room; sketch out where you want everyone to be. Not only will a seating plan assist you with behaviour, but it will help you to… 3. This is essential- and good manners. 4. 5.
If at first you don’t succeed, keep it up. Inpress_Karpicke_Grimaldi. Blog-stretch-and-challenge-march-2013-version-23. Under the microscope. This year it seems like I have been observed within an inch of my teaching life. It has not been an easy process or one full of much joy. There has been a great deal of tears and much soul searching. This week I received a 'Good' observation after a succession of 'Requires Improvement', so this blog shall take you on the journey I had to get there.
Last academic year I received my first ever 'Outstanding' with my wonderful Year 13s teaching Hamlet for the first time. I am shattered so there maybe grammatical errors present, so advanced apologies to any readers and especially Year 6 teachers who have had to put their pupils through THAT test this week. NB: This lesson plan is for ALL 3 lessons, not just the observed one. Learning intention - where are we going? To be able to compare and contrast the linguistic features of a transcript and a literary conversation We can question the exam question We can plan and organise our ideas, evidence and interpretations of the texts love from And.
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. Lesson observations were given the thumbs up, the kids were having a great time and results were going up. 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. Genre pedagogy – T&L cycle IRE goes a little like this: Student: O Like this: Oral Formative Feedback – Top Ten Strategies. People who have read my #marginalgains blog posts will know I am going over old ground here – intentionally so – as I am looking to dig deeper towards the key marginal gains that have the biggest impact on learning. For me, formative oral feedback and questioning are the two key ‘hinge point marginal gains’ that make for great teaching and learning.
My previous #marginalgains blog identified new teaching strategies for these tow key area ad pedagogy, but here I wanted to use this blog to reflect on what I view as the most high impact formative oral feedback strategies that I have been using in my everyday practice. I want to use my list as a reminder, each time I plan lessons, of the key strategies to use – as it is too easy to forget and slip into autopilot planning, forgetting even our most effective of strategies. In nearly all of these examples the feedback includes all three parties possible in the class: the learner, peers and the teacher. My Oral feedback Top Ten Guided Writing: Explanations: Top Ten Teaching Tips. “There is no pleasure to me without communication: there is not so much as a sprightly thought comes into my mind that it does not grieve me to have produced alone, and that I have no one to tell it to.”
Michel de Montaigne quotes (French Philosopher and Writer. 1533-1592) Very recently I responded to a question about great teaching by Joe Kirby (read this excellent blog post) with the answer that explanations, questioning and feedback were the holy trinity of teaching. I have written about questioning and feedback at length, but I have never written about teacher explanations. I thought about why and I considered that part of the problem is that explanations are so integral to everything that we do that we quickly learn our style and then explain away on autopilot pretty much for the rest of our career. Too often we can be distracted in our planning by the tools of learning without giving the required time to the integral act of communicating our subject. Top Ten Tips: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5.
51 ways to introduce learning objectives. Teaching and Learning Bulletin. Four famous theories of learning: a beginner's guide. The names of the four figures explored in this beginners’ guide - Dewey, Maslow, Bruner and Vygotsky - will be familiar to many teachers, but it is worth reminding ourselves what their work has contributed to education over the past 100 years. So here are short explanations of some of their key ideas and a range of practical examples showing how they can be applied in any school today. 1. Maslow’s hierarchy of needs Abraham Maslow (1908-1970) was a psychologist interested in human motivation and development. In his 1943 paper, A Theory of Human Motivation, he proposed that humans have various needs by which they are motivated. He placed these in a hierarchy (pictured below) as follows: Physiological needs such as food, water and sleep;Safety needs: protection from violence and harm;Needs for love, affection and belonging;Needs for esteem; andneeds for self-actualisation (fulfilling potential).
Clearly, Maslow’s analysis of motivation has consequences for the classroom. Physiological Safety. Peer marking and how to make it work in your classroom - TES English - Blog - TES English. English and media teacher Ms Findlater explains the process of introducing peer marking to her pupils. Effective marking is essential. So, too, are time-saving strategies. How can we juggle the two? We want it done well but we can't, and shouldn’t, undertake detailed marking on every piece of work a student produces.
So, how about a strategy that both reduces the mark load and enables students to take charge of their own learning? As a new teacher, I remember ‘doing’ peer marking with a year 9 class a few times. This would, indeed, have been the case at that time. Don't dumb it down Prior to the peer marking task being completed by the students, a copy of the success criteria/mark scheme is shared with them, the same one that I’m expected to use. Show me the skills Students highlight three key words at every level that helps them remember what they’re being asked to assess. Moving on up The students underline the word that describes the level of difficulty within each grade description.
AfL: Tight but loose…. Over the last few weeks there have been some very thought provoking posts on AfL on various teacher blogs. Two in partcilular resonated most with me – firstly, this one from Joe Kirby and then this from Tom Boulter. Both focus on cutting out the ‘gimmicks’ that have polluted the waters of AfL in recent years and get to the nuts and bolts of what it is all about – good teaching. They put me in mind of a quote from Jimmy Page of Led Zeppelin fame, who when asked about how they functioned as a band, answered that they were ‘tight but loose’. Tight as a band playing together, but loose in terms of being able to express themselves creatively as individuals.
This to me, is an approach that schools should take when looking to develop AfL……or great teaching - have a shared understanding of what effective AfL/teaching is all about (the tight bit), but allow teachers to deliver this in their classrooms in different and creative ways (the loose bit). An approach we have tried to implement at DHS. Spirit Levels: Exorcising The Ghost of Assessment Past. National Curriculum Levels are dead. That’s the starting point of this post. In secondary schools, at KS3, they have been dead for 5 years now. They were brutally and fatally assaulted with the disastrous KS3 tests of 2007 and then dispatched with a bullet to the head in 2008 when the SATs were scrapped by the parliamentary committee investigating the previous year’s debacle.
KS2 levels, however, have taken a lot longer to die. Tortured at the rack of a union boycott and broken on the wheel of ministerial dithering they have finally been put out of their misery by the new primary National Curriculum and the relatively grudging acceptance of all political parties that they’ll need to work out an alternative accountability framework for primaries (even if they don’t seem yet to have midwifed this new assessment baby into the world). Nobody much will miss NC Levels.
And yet!!! The reasons for this haunting are multi-layered, but relatively simple. And as for KS3? Like this: Like Loading... Teaching repertoire to learning repertoire. Visible pedagogy One of my most memorable responses when I asked, “What do you like most about these lessons?” Was the reply from a Year 7 pupil who answered without hesitation, “I like the plenary that Miss always does.” On hearing this, a wave of excited reassurance washed over me and I followed up with, “That sounds great, so what happens when you have the plenary?”
Just as quick, the pupil confidently said, “That’s the bit where we get to pack up.” By thinking of pedagogy and the design of learning activities as akin to the exoskeleton of lessons, we can share the relevance (the ‘so what’?) Making our pedagogy visible to learners is a fantastic way to deliberately involve them in the process of learning. Jim Smith (@thelazyteacher), often talks about creating a sort of bingo card for learners to record all the different activities and ways they are asked to show their learning that they encounter during a series of lessons. A learning script Making the untypical typical Like this: 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: Improving Teaching Not Simply Measuring It | headstmary's Blog. The Difference Between Instructivism, Constructivism, And Connectivism - The Difference Between Instructivism, Constructivism, And Connectivism by Terry Heick We spend so much time in education trying to make things better. Better policies. Better technology. Better standards. Better curriculum. Better instruction. Better assessment. Better response to assessment data. And too with research, teacher collaboration, school design, parent communication, and so on. So while viewing a presentation from Jackie Gerstein recently, I was stopped at the very simple distinction she made between instructivism, constructivism, and connectivism.
So as you focus in your PLC or staff meetings on better “research-based instruction,” you’re looking at ways to improve how to better deliver instruction–more to understand how to better “give learning” than to cause it. Instructivism is definitely more teacher and institutionally centered, where policy-makers and “power-holders” create processes, resource-pools, and conditions for success. Gerstein’s definition’s appear below. Instructivism. Do you know how Generation Z pupils learn? I write this post having spent the morning on Skype to China, talking about their attempts to get teachers responding to Generation Z learners. In order to equip us with a creative and enterprising workforce, this generation needs 21st century teaching and learning.
As a nation with the largest manufacturing output in the world, China has realised if students are educated using rote-learning and conventional teaching they won’t develop creative, enterprising people like Steve Jobs. That is their goal. I wrote last year about Gen Z but now I want to focus on how they learn and the implications it has for educators. If you’re not familiar with the term, let me explain. The oldest are leaving school, the youngest are just starting it.
They are the first children of the 21st century who have grown up in an entirely digital world. They are radically different to previous generations but we risk educating them in the same way. Do your schemes of work reflect this? Jones-Student-Centered.pdf. Taking the ‘temperature of learning’ in lessons: a few tried and tested strategies | @mrocallaghan_edu.
‘Progress’ appears to be the buzz word in schools at the moment, especially during lesson observations. The new Ofsted framework specifically looks at how teachers enable students to make progress in lessons and over a series of lessons. I believe progress is only as good as the learning objective you measure it against, so making sure your learning objectives are clear and differentiated is vital. This should not be a hoop you jump through for observations but a means to take the ‘temperature of learning’ in a lesson. The information obtained from students can then be used to direct the course of the rest of the lesson. Below is a range of strategies I have used in lessons to try and get students to take a more active role in their learning and take some ownership of the progress they are making. 1. This is very easy to set up and use in lessons. 2.
This works by displaying a scale on the board under a learning objective with a happy face at one end and a sad face at the other. 3. 4. Going SOLO: An introduction to the taxonomy everyone’s talking about. Questioning – Top Ten Strategies | huntingenglish. Gathering Evidence that Flipping the Classroom can Enhance Learning Outcomes. The 5 minute Lesson Plan | GrabnGrow. Plenary-prefect-tl-update-article-jan-08. Great Lessons 1: Probing. Visible Learning visualized in a beautiful infographic | Visible Learning.