As part of the Learning Environment Focus Group we have spent time over the last 2 terms reviewing our use of display areas and worked on improving the use of display to impact on T&L.
We have looked at the following areas:
– improving the subject specific displays in classrooms to support T&L (we are using areas outside of classrooms to display pupils’ work, mainly corridors)
– engaging students in learning via reflection/evaluation boards
– improving questioning to link the learning environment and the Mike Hughes CPD
– promoting our subject area
– celebrating our work
- The effective teacher is flexible/adaptable/responds to what students are achieving and moves learning forward intuitively.
- Students receive information, are given the opportunity to process this information and then apply it through challenging activities.
- Consider the balance of student talk vs teacher talk.
- If students are ready, don’t be afraid to move on.
- Use their answers to questions to ascertain their understanding of prior learning, then move on at a pace that suits what the learners can do.
- In practical subjects ensure students are aware of the big picture in terms of end ‘product’ and skills. Provide written support/prompt sheets if necessary. Ensure during ‘release time’ that students know what they have to do to do so but more importantly ensure that they are thinking/getting better/moving forwards in their learning & skills. Use intervention appropriately, don’t intervene unnecessarily, use intervention to change the direction of learning and to facilitate momentum and rhythm to the lesson. How will students show what has changed during the lesson/independent work – how is this made audible/visible?
- Allow for mistakes to be made then deconstruct to move learning forwards. Make learning challenging – get students to think to remove the opportunity to be passive (link here to inset with Mike Hughes). Give students time to reflect and refine – avoid unnatural time limitations that impinge on learning.
- Consider how objectives are set to ensure student ownership/student buy in – impact of this stage of the lesson – if learning is ongoing, how might the setting of objectives reflect this?
The excellent training session delivered by Mike Hughes earlier this school year raised some important questions and provided some interesting food for thought. How refreshing to hear that learning should be the core of what we do, not ticking boxes (although unfortunately they still need to be ticked somehow!). In order to achieve this, there is no need to reinvent the wheel, we just need to add “bits of polish”, make “tiny changes” and “tweak” what we do so that the following questions can be answered:
– “How much learning has taken place?”
– “What can they do when they leave the room that they could not do at the start?”
– “If I had not done this would the learning have been impaired?”
Are our students OCCUPIED or ENGAGED?
(ie: “Read page 7” or “Read page 7. What’s the most interesting sentence?”)
Which is key to effective & meaningful learning?
Learning can only take place with dialogue. Yet, if the task isn’t well-designed, the quality of the dialogue is poor.
This again highlights the importance of questioning in the classroom.
Examples of “good” questions taken from Mike’s website:
• Why not?
• Can you add to that?
• What do you think of that answer?
• Can you give me a reason / example?
• Which was the hardest?
• Did you have to do… differently as a result?
• How did you get to that answer?
• What was the thinking behind…?
• How would Einstein/Shakespeare/Pythagoras answer that?
• If that’s the answer, what’s the question?
• What haven’t I asked yet?”
2 examples of task which lead to better dialogue:
– Diamond 9 with a key question designed to get the pupils talking (“Who’s the key character in Romeo and Juliet”?)
– The heart of the matter (arrange information from really important / relevant to not so important – if 2 things are connected link them up to show deeper understanding)
What is the difference between UNDERSTANDING & KNOWING?
(ie: can pupils remember the teacher’s words or can they explain what they have learnt in their own words?)
In order to show that they know, pupils need to do something with the information given.
“Magenta” Principles: Pupils demonstrate their understanding
- Reduce (“Underline the 6 key words”, “What’s the most interesting sentence?”)
- Change (“What animal would Juliet be in a Walt Disney film?” – change into a poem, mime)
- Replace (“Can you answer the question without using the word…?”)
- Add (“Can you think of a word that isn’t there but could?”)
- Connect Diamond 9 & Heart of the Matter
We talked about lots more than that but I hope I have managed to capture the main themes of Mike’s session!
Following on from the CPD – some of us have tried to adapt some of Mike’s principles. See below for some inspiration!