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ASP Tips of the Month...

Issue 6

Welcome to the latest edition of the tips of the month flyer. This month we’re focusing on surviving observations and audits. Don’t forget that you can still send us your tips for future issues; next month we’re looking at how to raise achievement through Tutorials...

Classroom / Tutor Checklist

What are the essential items that every teacher should you have at hand in order to deliver an excellent lesson?

Who the learners are? Student Profile and Register.

What the learners are doing? Lesson Plan and Scheme of Work.

     

Why they are doing it? Copy of the syllabus / Lesson Objectives (displayed during session). What have they done? Record of Work, Mark Schemes etc . What are they going to do? Active Learning activities and current assessments etc. How are they going to achieve and be supported? Materials for session. How have they coped/progressed? Grades, assessments and your tracking paperwork. Anything else? What else do you WANT the observer to see?

Crisp Starts

Effectively planning your lesson starts is always a good habit to get into, and here’s a few tips. Nicki.

Pre-Lesson Set Up Room

Brief LSA

Check Resources

Lesson Start

Warm Up or Cool Down Task

Take e-register

Revisit Ground Rules

Big Picture

Monitor Homework

Review / Recap

Address Lateness

H&S Issues

Share Learning Outcomes

It can be nerve wracking having an observer in the room and sometimes we are not ourselves and I have sometimes been known to act unnaturally and pretend they haven’t walked in! Whilst this can be a good tactic to ensure your lesson flows and continues as normal, it can make you more nervous.

Silence is Not Always Golden!

If it helps, take control of the situation a little more. Feel free to direct the observer to where you would like them to sit. Sometimes as an observer we don’t know where to go, so this can help us as well! Also do talk to the observer, invite them to get involved in activities, or join a group. They may not want to be an active member but some benefit from getting involved and seeing first hand what the learners are doing. If you have any documentation you feel they could benefit from seeing, then pass this on to them. The key is to be yourself and let them see the real great learning and teaching that goes on in your day to day lessons. Above all, see it as a chance to show off!!! Nicola.

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Think of it as a “Ladder of Learning”, that your learners can climb with each passing task or activity. Using Bloom’s type verbs are an ideal way of setting the learning Outcomes for the session. Try using words that move from easy (or mastery) tasks such as listing or recalling knowledge, right the way up to harder (or developmental) tasks such as critically evaluating an argument.

Using “Bloom’s Taxonomy”

“Tasks” include everything you ask students to do; such as verbal question and answers to full blown assignments or projects. In order to differentiate, lesson should ideally include a mixture of mastery and developmental tasks. Give it a go, Simon.

Evaluation  Judge, critically appraise  Synthesis  Create, design, invent  Analysis  Consider, compare, follow  Application  Cook, use, calculate, practice  Comprehension  Explain, identify, organise  Knowledge  List, store, describe. 

How to cope under pressure...The email curse!!! I get loads of emails and probably 50% have no relevance to the job in hand. My tip is to suggest organising your in box into email priority... create a 'to read box' and place all non essential circular mail in it and come back to it when you get a chance. Of course this can have pitfalls (delayed mail response) but it can also take some pressure off and help you be more productive in your time of need - or you could put your head in the sand! Hope it all goes Coping With The Pressure... really well, Andy.

Have you got any similar ideas that you want to share? Send your tips to the SASP Team, and we’ll include them in the next issue. Best Tip each month wins a prize!!!

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Thinking on Your Feet!!! One of the best ways to ensure you are fully prepared for an observation (especially a “No Notice” one) is to be able to quickly think on your feet... Ensure you have a range of ideas and strategies that can be implemented at a moments notice to either improve engagement within a group, help individuals who are struggling or stretch stronger learners. Often the sight of an observer or inspector inhibits teacher’s normal quick thinking; this is where planning helps to make sure potential problems are anticipated so you are fully able to deal with them...  Create extra tasks to be used if

needed,  Develop ideas relating to different teaching approaches such as supportive coaching for individuals (this can help for those with behavioural issues) or management of learner involvement, and  Try to remain flexible.

Be very careful that you are running your sessions according to your published timetable. If you have made a local arrangement with your learners to change the times as stated on the timetable then this must be cleared with your line manager or head of skills and it must show on a revised published corporate timetable. For example, you may have agreed with your learners not to have a 15 minute afternoon break so that they can finish 15 minutes earlier, but this cannot be done without obtaining the necessary authority. It will also confuse an observer who may be expecting to see a full 60 minute session but is actually only able to observe for 45 minutes. Observers plan their observations around the published, corporate timetable and will not be aware of any local changes you have made with your learners. Ian.

Stick to Timetable; Always!

The key to thinking on your feet is to plan to be adaptive where necessary and don’t turn the session into a demonstration of your ability. The session should only demonstrate an accurate teaching and learning process. Best of luck, Nick.

Be a person, not a robot! The observer would like to see you “enthuse” the learners. Doing anything extraordinary or trying to complete lesson activities exactly as planned can throw your off rhythm. The students will feel the difference (they always do), so relax and be yourself. Good luck, Ewan.

I, Robot!!!

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Things We’ve Noticed This Month from Supporting Teams! Looking at Lesson Plans… 

Learning Outcome Box: Use Blooms in learning outcomes box to move learners from easy (mastery e.g. list, define, explain) to difficult (developmental e.g. apply, distinguish, evaluate) tasks. Skill for life box: Copied from SoW. This box appears twice on the LP (e.g. in the top row next to learning outcomes, and then in the column after learner activity: This can be copied from one to another to save time!!). Individual targets box: Ideally should include  (1) identify who needs support and what they need support with (e.g. written work). This may also be recorded in the group profiled, and  (2) explain what teaching strategies could be used to support the learner (e.g. provide handouts in advance / give exemplars of written work). Alternatively this could also be further explained in the activity section of the LP. Health and Safety box: This should be completed particularly for practical sessions but can be copied from one LP to the next, as is likely to be similar (e.g. learners should store bags under desk, Laptop cables should be secure and under desks, Appropriate clothing should be worn at all times, Learners should follow general health and safety guidelines for industry when setting up and completing tasks). Learning activity box:  Incorporate warm-up/review activities at the beginning of the lesson, while register being taken to help learners settle and be active straight away in lesson, and check learning from previous sessions. This could include “board blast” / ”thought shower”; “20 things you can recall from last lesson” (this could be concepts or skills).  When using feedback as an activity try to build in opportunities for target setting e.g. learner identify one thing that they could do better next time / next lesson.  Try to include some differentiation in this box. Activity could be explained in terms of ALL/SOME/FEW or learners MUST/SHOULD/COULD. Also extension tasks could be identified. You probably do /say this anyway but try to make it explicit on the lesson plan.  When recapping at end of lesson, be explicit about how the actual activity links to learning outcome (e.g. how can you check that all learners have participated or achieved these?). Checking and Assessing Learning box: These could be copied from the scheme of work, and need to be clear as to strategies that are being used (e.g. observation of practical skills; completion of tasks; relevant responses to Q&A; accuracy of answers on handouts). Review and evaluation: Comments about learners progress in the previous weeks lesson, should ideally be copied into the individual targets box on the next session’s lesson plan.  Send your Tips to: 

ASP Tips of the Month...

Issue 7

Welcome all, to the very latest edition of the tips of the month flyer. This month we’re focusing on the Tutorial, and have some great tips to help you get the most from your sessions. Next month we’re pooling our tips to help teams who are getting prepared for Internal and External Verification! Here’s an exercise in groups where learners are given a list of things they are left with on Tips from Construction Team... an island after their ship goes down - the learners have to debate in a group until they have worked out the priorities. When the group has what they believe is a solution they debate with the next group and it goes on until the class has a solution - you then give the SAS version of the solution and the whole class debates the rights and wrongs - We have a paper version but not the electronic one if anyone would like it!!! Also, we have held inter-trade sports competitions during early tutorials - always popular, but not half as popular as repairing our broken Scaletric set - the learners have to fix the cars and track and then set it up for races between learners until we have a class champ. Any more help, just ask… we don’t bite you know! Andy. We all know Sharing the Workload & Improving Individual Tutorials: individual tutorials take time to prepare and complete. The idea behind sharing the work load is to make tutorials not only easier to prepare and complete but also to increase the specific value to the learner. Learners should be given a checklist a week or so before the tutorial which could include: targets (SMART), aims, progress, goals and planning. From this checklist the learner would be asked to prepare for the individual tutorial session. After a little practice learners should start to bring detailed information which can be utilised to ensure all aspects of the tutorial process are thoroughly discussed and evaluated within the slot. It can also be a good idea if applicable for the learner to write notes or perhaps type up the tutorial within the session. This not only enables the tutor to solely concentrate on the discussion and questions but can also give the learner an increased feeling of ownership over the tutorial process. Try it, and let me know how you get on ~Nick.  Send your Tips to: 

Here’s a pretty sensible, but often forgotten tutorial tip ~ remember that these times are just as important to learners as the regular sessions they attend. For example, try to ensure they are well planed and that you have all supportive resources in place before the beginning of the tutorial. Plus, be aware of what precisely each learner requires and what goals they have on completion of their course. Learners often use this time to discuss issues and talk through ideas and decisions they may have made for the future, so if you’re as prepared as best you can be with what qualifications and specific requirements they may need to obtain these goals, you’ll avoid breaks and the learners losing interest. A simple, yet effective tip I hope, Libby!

Wise Words!

A “tip” that I was reminded about from Virgil Officer in Teacher Training this morning is as follows: Situation: Learner needs to develop confidence skills and finds it difficult to talk in group situations. The tip here is to set them very short, achievable targets to help develop their confidence. For example, they will be expected to answer one simple question verbally in the next session; the week after their target will be to answer a more detailed question verbally; the following week they will be required to act as group spokesperson and verbally summarise main feedback points from a group discussion. The tutor’s feedback will need to be supportive and encouraging.

Building Confidence...

Give it a go, and then thank Virgil in person!! Ian!

It takes a little bit of time to prepare but the Easter Egg hunt is great fun. I have got some rhyming clues that Easter Egg Hunt! I have used for the last few years and changed slightly and added to (so last years group do not know where the eggs are hidden) which if you are interested I could share. You can either make sure everyone gets a prize (with a small group) or the first person to get to the egg gets it. I usually make the questions Performing Arts themed and use the places within the college that they are familiar with. The learners love this and it gets their brains ticking at the same time! Have fun, Victoria! Have you got any similar ideas that you want to share? Send your tips to the SASP Team, and we’ll include them in the next issue. Best Tip each month wins a prize!!!


Another good tip for tutorials is getting feedback from our learners is a critical way in which we can improve our teaching practice and give them the best possible learning experience. Tutorial is the ideal opportunity to do this with your learners in small, informal groups. I find it useful to set the scene with tutees before getting feedback. In particular, learners need to feel that their comments and ideas will not only be taken seriously, but also that (sensible) suggestions will be put into practice.

Getting Feedback

On the flip side, it is important that learners understand that this isn’t just an opportunity to slate a particular lesson or tutor, and that their comments need to be both objective and realistic!!! In the context of tutorial, it is perhaps most productive to ask learners open-ended questions (rather than restricting their responses to simple ‘yes’ ‘no’ answers). I’ve suggested some useful questions below, but you may want to add others that are specific to your area / group of learners.    

What activities or techniques do my teachers use that help me to learn? What aspects of my classes do I really enjoy and want to take part in? What aspects of my classes do I dislike and not really want to take part in? What resources or activities could your teachers use in classes and how would these help you with your studies? You could also spend a couple of minutes at your next team meeting feeding back your findings to other subject tutors in your area. Just a thought! Good luck, Nicki!

To organise a team building session for a group of disruptive students who had not yet gelled (or any group of students) - start with a string exercise. Students sit in a circle, one holds a large ball of string, the tutor asks a question of the group, (ours was "Why are you here" ) the student with the string answers the question then says another persons name before throwing the ball of string to them. Before each student throws the string they loop it around their finger and so as the ball is passed from person to person it makes a web. The team building part is working together to Team Building Task... get your peers out of the tangle the string has made and back to your seats. The staff also learn a great deal about the students. What are you waiting for? Give it a go… Sarah.  Send your Tips to: 

Ask the learners to set their own targets for the tutorial session. Make sure they are Novel Target Setting Task. SMART targets. At the end of the session get them to review their targets and reflect on what they have done. You could ask, “Did you complete the target? Were they too easy or hard? Should you have broken it down into more targets?” Keep the targets for the next session and use the reflection to set the new one. Give it a go & let me know how you get on! Richard.

To save time in completing the learners ILP’s you could modify the ILP template with as much information as possible before incorporating the learner-specific information (making it right for you!)...

Thinking on Your Feet!!!

 

Tutors need to work with the academic team in order to finalise the lecturers and subjects/units for the entire academic year. Set SMART assignment deadlines for the academic year.

Once the ILP merge has been completed  Task the learners (especially L3) with evaluating the units they will be studying and developing their own Target / Aspirational Grades – these should take into consideration their required final grade/UCAS points needed for progression onto HE, etc.  Use the VLE drop-in boxes to encourage the learners to complete Section 1 and then each Term for updating their personal / career plans  Keeping all ILP’s on the central server (CDC02) within your own business area enables other teaching staff to update the ILP’s with their review notes and Success Grid marks. The result should be that you only need to spend a maximum of 5-10 minutes per learner in discussing any academic issues, updating the assessment and review notes and completing the “Success Criteria grid”  The end result being that you only need to print off the two pages relevant to that Review period and then get the learner to sign the required pages. If you want to use the file I have; get some more help, or if you get stuck, why not pop over to WGC to see me… I’m always glad to help, Paul K.

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In one tutorial, agree on a topical theme in the news. Students can then spend the next week looking at newspapers and internet sites to fully remain informed about any developments about the chosen topic. When the next tutorial arises, there can be a discussion on the topic, with students presenting their own views and opinions.

Topical News...

This will enhance a student’s holistic education, and (hopefully) make them more informed about world affairs. Surely this is better than just being able to discuss reality T.V shows and the football! A sure fire way to get your learner’s interest, Paul S. Ask learners to carry out an internal SWOT Analysis on themselves. The SWOT Analysis needs to be based on their views regarding their performance in term 2. From here, the learners could set up an action plan which highlights ways they could improve with targets & timescales for term 3. The tutor can then set up 1:1 meetings to discuss the targets and review them regularly. I’ve used this a lot, so hope it works for you, Viren.

Little SWOTs


At the end of a session to recap what learners have learnt, I give them a piece of paper and get them to write a question about the session to ask another peer. This gives a competition theme to the activity where they have to choose a person to ask, my learners really enjoy it. It works really well and gets the learners to think for themselves, so give it a go, Sally.

Peer Learning Check! Sometimes students struggle to communicate face-to-face in group tutorials. Use forums on Oaklearn to allow more members in your tutor group to have a voice. You set the forum, the students start the discussions. We've used them in the past and a lot of students came out of their shells. You may also want to try using blogs Private Blogs! that only teachers can read. This way students can raise individual concerns even when they're not scheduled for a one-to-one appointment. They may also find it easier to tell you some things in this way. Try is and see for yourselves, Ewan and Darren Morgan, from Sports.

Have you got any similar ideas that you want to share? Send your tips to the SASP Team, and we’ll include them in the next issue. Best Tip each month wins a prize!!!

Set up a spelling programme: In Week one create a list of words used in the course – Spelling & Numeracy Tips depending on level but no more than 10. These words should preferably link in some way e.g Dyspnoea, Apnoea, Tachycardia Bradycardia. In Week 2 spelling test any words that are incorrect put back on the new weeks list. In Week 3 short dictation using the words learnt in the first week. This can be built into a story week by week. This seems to work best over a term. It is designed to be used individually but I have used it in groups successfully. Alternatively, try money management: Set up a budget sheet with the learners. Use each column to identify where they spend money. Ask them to fill in all the columns and add them up (numeracy) and keep this record for a week or month. Then ask them to identify where they could make savings and see where their money goes. A nice activity, and one guaranteed to help with basic skills, Anne. Here’s a great activity that some of you might remember from the New Teacher’s induction sessions last term, which works well with many groups of learners. Use this drawing of a Jelly Baby Tree or make your own. Show it to the class and ask learners to choose one figure that expresses how they feel at this moment. Ask them to share with the group which one they have chosen and why. It might be at UCAS time, or even at the end of the term. Next, hand out coloured paper and coloured pens. Ask the group to draw/paint a picture that expresses who they are (or add to the tree). When everyone has finished ask people to pair up and explain their picture to their partner. The partners then introduce each other to the group using the picture. A fun way to get learners to share with others, and also a way of being creative without really thinking about it! The image is also at, so Jelly Baby Tree... go on, have a go. Simon.

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ASP Tips of the Month...

Issue 9

Welcome to the latest edition of the tips of the month flyer. This month we’re focusing on tips to help you challenge your learners. Don’t forget that you can still send us your tips over the summer for future issues; next time we’ll look at how to get the best out of Peer Observations. Until then, happy “tipping”...

Up Your Sleeve? Here‟s a tip for increase the challenge for learners by having a few „tried-and-tested‟ questions up your sleeve to use during Question-and-Answers sessions or when planning small discussion groups. Nicki B. KNOWLEDGE: To encourage learners to recall, restate and remember information they have learnt, ask questions like… “What is…?” “Where is…?” “How did… happen?” List 7 questions you would like to answer about... COMPREHENSION: To encourage learners to grasp the meaning of information by interpreting or translating what has been learnt, ask questions like… “How would you compare and contrast…?” “Explain what is happening in…” Outline a plan for finding out all you can about… APPLICATION: To encourage learners to make use of information in a context different from the one in which it was learnt, ask questions like… “What approach would you use…?” “How would you organise…?” “How would you use… ?” Make a model or diagram showing something important about…. ANALYSIS: To encourage learners to break information they have learnt into component parts, ask questions like… “Can you list the parts…?” “How would you categorise…?” “What‟s the function of… ?” Compare and contrast at least one aspect of your work with that of another. SYNTHESIS: To encourage learners to create new information and ideas using what they have previously learnt, ask questions like… “What would happen if…?” “Can you invent…?” “How could you change… ?” Compose a story or series of drawings to show fact about…. EVALUATION: To encourage learners to make judgements about learned information on the basis of established criteria, ask questions like… “What is your opinion…?” “Why was it better / worse that…?” “How would you select… ?” Order 5 facts from the most important to the least important, giving reasons for your choice.

A nice challenge we use is to get the learners to write their own

Peer Exams exam. Give the learners a scheme of work/ syllabus and either

the learners pick an area and write 5 questions with answers (including trick questions if they want to make a point about reading questions correctly!) or get them to create an entire cribbed exam - best exam from each group gets given to other group and visa versa. All the best, Andy.

The use of self set and tutor led mini deadlines can be a very useful tool to challenge and stretch individual learners and groups. Deadlines can be set within modules, on complete programmes or within personal tutorials. The mini deadlines need to be specific to the learners and some guidance will be required to ensure that they are realistic and attainable. SMART targets could be used and this could easily be linked into the standard tutorial system. A main point to this system is that the mini deadlines should be small and only cover short periods of time. If applicable larger targets could be broken down into small sections or mini targets. The learners should be set mini deadlines regularly and they should be used to challenge, test, question and encourage experimentation within learning. Mini deadlines may be set for a whole group and then the learners could make them individually specific. This individual specificity will also allow for some evaluation and self reflection which will model the next set of mini deadlines and hopefully make them more challenging. This is designed as an ongoing strategy and may take some time to establish with learners, however if well planned it can be extremely useful and learners will begin to challenge themselves. Try it for yourselves, Nick H.

Challenging Learners with the use of Mini Deadlines You Try Teaching Then!

For your more advanced learners, take a week off from teaching them! Seriously, get them to be the lecturer for a week. They will need to read up on a given subject, prepare learning and teaching materials and consider how they are going to get everyone to learn, and then deliver the session (or part of a session with someone else). This will challenge your learners and get them to investigate a particular aspect of the subject in depth. Good luck, Paul S.  Send your Tips to: 

Game, Set and Match? Matching cards and card sort activities can become more challenging if a couple of spurious (or ‘false’) cards are included in the mix, particularly if they are not obviously wrong. This requires learners to give much more thought to what the correct answers are, rather than just matching up which they might even be able to by accident. Cheers, Ian L.

Knowledge Football... Here’s a great game I found in the Teacher’s Toolkit, called “Verbal Football”. Explain to your group that the aim of the game is to challenge knowledge and understanding. Divide the class into two teams and appoint two Captains (stronger learners for a start!). Explain that the success of the game, as in real football is all about serious training.

This involves the team going over a particular topic over and over again, checking facts and understanding of the team until they are second nature. Give them as much time as you see fit. When the training period is over, all books and notes are put away, and captains toss a coin to see who kicks off. The team who kicks off are asked a question by the teacher. Anyone can answer and they have 5 seconds. If they answer correctly they “pass” the ball and have retained possession, to be asked another question. To score a goal, the team must make three successful “passes”, and then answer a killer question to score (this could be a harder question only for one learner). If a player answers a question incorrectly, they have been tackled, and play passed to the other team. If the question is unanswered in 5 seconds, the ball is “loose” and if the other team can answer within 5 further seconds, they win the ball back. Once a person has answered a question, they cannot answer another until a goal is scored. It is up to the Captain to monitor this one. Foul are committed is players shout out answers when it is not their team’s turn, answering when ineligible, and especially for arguing with the referee! The referee can use Yellow and Red cards, and can even send players off!!! You could take it in turns to get the learners to be the referee, and even write the questions. And if your group hate football, you could always try other sports and vary the rules. Have fun, I know I did, Simon. Have you got any similar ideas that you want to share? Send your tips to the SASP Team, and we’ll include them in the next issue. Best Tip each month wins a prize!!!

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Cotton Wool Doesn’t Work... Many learners with learning disabilities and or difficulties are rarely challenged. Most are "wrapped in cotton wool" as staff think they may break! Sessions can be designed where learners are challenged within a safe and secure environment. Drama and music sessions can develop to include loud bangs and crashes, make the learner jump! take them out of there comfort zone, within a few weeks I have found they come to anticipate this part of the session, allowing them to transfer this skill into every day life and not react so much to the unexpected. Drama and sensory stories can also include spraying learners with water as they "swim" in a stream, crashing into bean bags when they go through a storm at sea. All these activities need to be delivered by staff who are very familiar and whom the learners feel safe with. Try it out, and let us know how you get on, Libby.

For Level 3 learners, ask staff from your department’s foundation degree team to deliver an HE lesson. This will help to challenge their critical thinking as well as give them a flavour of HE learning. You should also set them a related independent task which will help to challenge their research skills. You could try this during tutorial? Ewan.

Higher Ed. Initiation...

Hi everyone, writing on boards works very well with confident learners who start to disrupt the class and need to be challenged. Most of the time they struggle with spelling and start to listen and take part where they feel less confident and enjoy the challenge of feeling in charge... Why not give it a go, Sally.

Learners Using the Board... Learners who are late for class and have no valid reason (especially for a 9.00 am start) could be given the task of planning and carrying out the recap for the start of next class'… Might make them try harder next time, Viren!

Missing Out?

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Tip of the Month, numbers 6, 7 and 8  

An omnibus edition of the Tip of the Months from the ASP team.