Our last T&L Hub meeting of the year was based on the theme of creativity and we looked at the use of pictures/photos in lessons. The session gave some ideas on how to use visuals in class and time was then given to staff to create their own resources, which will be shared at our next Teach Meet CPD on 18th June.
Last week’s CPD was a big success. It was really nice to share good practice in an informal way. We had 10 workshops on offer – see below for further information.
Workshop 2 – Higher Level Thinking Skills Developing higher level thinking skills in pupils CPD
Workshop 3 – AfL & A Level Teaching Teach meet AfL
Workshop 4 – “The Doughnut” doughnut template
Workshop 8 – Independent Learning INDEPENDENT LEARNING whole school cpd
Workshop 10 – “Take Away” Homework nandos-takeaway-homework1
Many thanks to the staff who delivered a workshop.
Revision Game (with Magenta Principles!):
You play in teams (3-4 probably works best) and each student writes down 3 different things on separate pieces of paper – this could be keywords, characters, themes, topics. These pieces of paper all get put into one central bowl (so if you have a class of 20 students you’d have 60 pieces of paper in your bowl, you need a few in there but depending on ability of class you could adjust this by saying write down 2-4 instead).
For round one the bowl gets passed to the first team who have one minute to pick out and describe as many of the pieces of paper as possible – only thing they can’t say is the name or spell it out. They can only pass one, at end of minute count up score and that team keeps hold of the ones they have successfully described, bowl gets passed to next team for another minute and so on until bowl is empty. Scores are tallied for each team and then all papers are put back in bowl and whichever team finished round 1, the next team along starts round 2, where they now have a minute to describe the thing on paper but only using one word – so they will have to choose carefully but if they have a good memory should remember some of what’s in bowl. Round 3 all papers back in bowl again and this time teams have a minute to act out the words in a minute. Thought this would transfer well to classroom as everyone has to listen and try to remember what’s in the bowl.
Monday’s T&L Hub meeting was dedicated to revision skills. We all understand the importance of revision. Most pupils work hard at it, but they don’t always work well at it so the session looked at how we could adopt a 4 step approach to scaffold pupils’ learning and give them time to practise. We discussed the need to demonstrate, model and explicitly teach revision skills to our students and shared several quick ideas which force pupils to do something with the information they have (knowing vs understanding) and engage with and reflect on their notes. See ppt for ideas. T&L Hub Meeting Revision_Skills THW KS4 REVISION SKILLS
Ideas shared at the meeting:
- Carousel – different questions
- Rotate & improve exam questions
- Checklists (Red, Amber, Green)
- Revision cards
- Breaking down tasks/topics
- Flip learning
- Create your own questions
- Relay questions
- Analysing markschemes & answers
- Identify types of skills in exam papers
- Vocab fan
- Hot seat
- Teach one another
- Put it to music / mime etc
- Speed dating (1 minute to tell as much as possible)
- Word “table tennis” starter
- Group take a different topic and they create an A4 fact/info sheet on that topic
- Split paragraphs between a group and they reduce and feed back
- Past exam questions: practise, practise, practise!
- Bare bones: key words around a topic: displayed in a very reduced format (colour, diagrams, sketches can be used)
- Asking questions (person who answers to ask another question to another pupil. Pupils must know the answer to the question they ask)
- Phone Apps, revision websites
- 12 days of revision – plenaries, starters, whole morning session
- Get students to amend their own revision timetable/plans as they go…
- Help them get the basics right and be realistic – plan in breaks etc
- Involve students who are good at revising – get them to model/explain to others.
- Subject specific practical activities in tutor time – meaningful rather than theoretical
- Encouraging familiarity with exam paper (layout, wording etc)
- Seven monkeys (see T&L blog for examples)
- Plan revision activities/practice into SOW lower down the school
- Start revision techniques early in year 10? All the way through school right from year 7? Revise as we go along?
John Hattie: 10 myths about student achievement (excellent post on the Iris blog)
John Hattie: His 10 myths about student achievement
John Hattie’s 15 year meta-analysis of over ¼ of a billion students worldwide has enabled him to identify what really aids student achievement. In an interview with Sarah Montague for BBC Radio 4, he dispels some popular myths about what does and doesn’t matter in your school.
Factors affecting student achievement – Hattie’s take:
1. Class Size – Reducing class size does enhance student achievement but only by a marginal amount. Our preoccupation with class size is an enigma; what’s really important is that the teacher learns to be an expert in their own class, no matter what size it is.
2. Types of Schools – Academies, grammar and state schools don’t actually differ too much inside, what’s more important is good leadership within your school; look at who has control over how teachers are chosen and how they progress after being selected.
3. Uniform – Conversations about school uniform are distracting; it doesn’t matter if uniform is compulsory or not as it makes no difference whatsoever to student achievement. Your school should decide whether you want to enforce a uniform or not but waste no further time debating it.
4. Homework –Homework has been found to have no effect on the progress of primary school children. To get it right without getting rid of it, children at primary level should be given less projects and more activities that reinforce what they learnt in the lesson that day instead. Whilst homework does make more of a difference to secondary schoolchildren, too much emphasis is placed on it; 5-10 minutes of practising what was taught that day at school has the same effect as 1-2 hours does.
5. Extra-Curricular Activities – These are powerful in terms of helping children learn. The best predictor of health, wealth and happiness in adult life is not academic achievement at school but the number of years schooled; extra-curricular activities can be a fun and inviting way to get children to enjoy school and want to spend more time there learning.
6. Home Environment – Does TV have a negative effect on a child’s progress? Not directly, suggests John. The problem with a child watching too much television is that it stops them from spending that time learning in more productive ways, such as by reading or developing their communication and relationship skills.
7. A Child’s Birthday – John has found that where a child’s birthday falls in the school year has an effect on their progress initially, as there is a big difference in the ability of a child who is 5 years 1 month and one who is 5 years 11 months. However, no difference is found after 2-3 years of schooling. What has a more dramatic effect on a child’s academic achievements, he claims, is whether a child makes a friend in their first month at school.
8. Streaming and Teacher Talk – John insists that whether your school is streamed or not, what must be recognised is that children learn better from their peers than from the teacher or a book. If a child is struggling to grasp a new concept, they are more likely to understand it if another students explains it correctly.
We teach children to be passive and listen in the classroom, whilst a great teacher does the opposite: letting their students be active both in what they know and what they don’t. Effective learning is about exploring ideas, making mistakes and adapting to them; not just sitting and listening to explanations from the teacher.
9. Testing – John has no problem with testing per se, but he does advocate that tests at the end of the year aren’t beneficial as by then both the teacher and the student have moved on from that particular topic. If tests are to be used, they should be done to practice and reinforce what has recently been taught.
10. Student Expectation – John Hattie claims that telling a child ‘do your best’ is the worst thing a teacher or parent can do. A successful teacher establishes a student’s expectations of their abilities but then dispels those expectations by telling them they can do better. What a student achieved yesterday should never be okay tomorrow.
How can we improve the UK education system?
When asked what the UK education system needs to learn, John answered that we need to get rid of the mentality that if a student doesn’t succeed, it’s because they were incapable, and replace it with, if a student doesn’t achieve, it’s because they didn’t put in the effort or weren’t properly supported.
What John wants to make clear is that a student’s ability to achieve academically primarily comes down to teacher expertise. How teachers think and make daily decisions and judgements is the most important thing within a school. To learn more about this attitude, have a read of ‘6 Traits of Successful Teachers’ and ‘25 Things Successful Teachers Do Differently’.
John finishes the interview with a clear message: schools need to stop thinking about things that don’t really matter and instead talk about teacher expertise, passion, diagnosis and practice. This then, might help us to reach his goal for the UK: to make all our teachers more like our top 20-30%.
You can find out more about John and his work on his website.
What do you think about John’s responses to these school issues? Do any of his findings surprise you, and why?
Monday’s training Day saw part 2 of our journey on improving feedback at THW. As a school we have worked hard on ensuring that the feedback that we give to students is of high quality and moves them on with their learning.
Our next step is now to focus on student response. Indeed, “we can spend every hour god sends slavishly marking, but if we do not give students an equally significant amount of time to reflect and respond to such feedback then our time becomes rather pointless! In the long term, students will understand the purpose of our written feedback if they understand how they can and why they should respond to it. If students see and feel the improvements to be gained from drafting and responding to feedback then our marking time will have a transformative value.”
Have a look at the 2 attachments for some practical ideas which will help you make sure that feedback is more work for the recipient than the donor!