Richard Knight – Group Work and Classroom Management

Justin Lewis – The Theory and Practice of Independent Learning

My role involves working with the whole staff to identify the learning processes we believe our students need to develop.

Are these processes also inter-linked with different teams in CHS? Maybe as a staff we can develop a more consistent learning model for our students, which could aid their shift towards achieving “Visible Learning” inside our classrooms, and ultimately fulfil their potential … and pass our next Ofsted!

I have been asking staff around school; how they believe the students learn in lessons, and a consistent response is noted… they usually teach for the rest of the day and pass me in the staff room the following day saying… “I’m still thinking about it… it’s a tough one… but I’ll get back to you when I have the answer!”

Please add your comments on this blog, with your own views on learning processes, and we can work to ‘unlock’ the processes of Independent Learning together.

I have my own views on subject specific processes, but these were questioned, when talking with students who had learned to play the keyboard via Youtube instructional videos, in their free time and without any actual music notation! If most students can access the learning better in this medium then could I make instructional videos of the practical music they need for the Curriculum, play it on my white board – which students would follow to unlock the motor-skilling aspect, whilst I would be free to work with individuals who have a different learning style / support / feedback to students or work with them on developing creative aspect of the curriculum?…Maybe I’ll try it and blog the findings.

Could this model be used in other areas and teams around school – could D & T use this for any of their lessons, and free up the staff to work with individuals?  (AR has already offered his services in helping departments with filming if they wish to pursue it).

Are there more opportunities where this could challenge and engage our students, in different areas of the school?

Laura Perry – Learning Spaces

I am looking at different ways to use space in my lessons to give students more autonomy and encourage collaborative work. I hope to encourage this in other classrooms initially by making videos available of students using space in different ways and by encouraging colleagues in to come and watch different activities in action.

Adam Robbins – Technology

I am experimenting with some quite ambitious approaches to the use of technology in the classroom. In fact, I am trying to explore things beyond the classroom and particularly want to focus on how technology might revolutionise how we plan and prepare lessons, and also how technology might hold the key to more meaningful and sustained programmes of independent study for our students.

As things stand, I am exploring the following areas

1. Students’ use of blogs, wikispaces and google docs to manage, record and share their work.

2. Teachers’ use of blogs to set tasks and share all resources.

2. Options for online peer marking and collaboration .

3. Online options for marking students work (including providing audio rather than written feedback on work.

4. Using mobile phones in the classroom.

5. Breaking away from Powerpoint. The next generation of ‘presentation’ tools.

I would be delighted to help any colleagues pursue their own experiments in these, or indeed any other, technological areas.

Sally Rogers – Challenge, Pace and Differentiation

For me, I believe encouraging independent learners is one of the most crucial aspects of teaching (and therefore learning). To be independent learners, students need some motivation, some intrinsic desire to progress. With this is mind, I found the sessions on Challenge the most interesting part of the OTP program and it is this topic that I will be focussing on in the team.

So what can I offer? Well, a genuine interest in understanding how we can challenge our students to achieve the best that they can, and a willingness to seek out and try new approaches in my own lessons. I am happy to share my successes and failures, and you can follow these on the blog. I will post resources that I think may be useful, feel free to adapt as you wish. Most importantly, if you would like some support in trying out new ideas I can talk through lesson plans or activities, or even come into lessons. These would not be “observed” lessons with a judgement, just a chance for informal discussion with someone who was in the lesson.

I found a useful working definition of challenge to be “A test of ones abilities or resources in a demanding but stimulating undertaking”. My focus is now on exploring how we can appropriately challenge students in the classroom, with the goal of students making maximum progress, using the following key areas:

  1. Making challenging tasks inherently rewarding and not just “difficult”
  2. Supporting students so they feel confident in tackling the challenge
  3. Encouraging students that if they are not successful in the challenging task this can still be a useful experience upon reflection.
  4. Making students aware of when they are being challenged.
  5. Defining “pace” as number of learning events per lesson rather than number of activities per lesson – this can mean less activities but encouraging a deeper level of understanding.
  6. Differentiating tasks so individual students are appropriately challenged – challenge is very personal.

Kate Stobo – Assessment & Feedback

The starting point for my work on assessment and feedback at Chosen Hill is that most teaching innovations have some positive effect of student achievement but most influences merely impact on the probability of the presence of feedback and challenging goals:  achievement is enhanced as a function of feedback.  For us to become expert rather than just experienced teachers, one of the things we can do is to improve the frequency and quality of feedback given to the students in our classrooms.

Looking forward

My focus is now on exploring the questions below with a cross curricular, entirely non-judgemental perspective.

  • What kind of feedback should be taking place in our classrooms?
  • How could we obtain more feedback from students?
  • How can we improve the quality of feedback?
  • How can we ensure we act on this feedback to raise achievement?

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