THE JOURNA L Ca m b r i d ge Tea ch i n g Sch o o l N et w o r k : Resea r ch & Dev el o p m en t In co l l a b o r a t i o n w i t h t h e UCL, In st it u t e of Edu cat ion
ISSUE ONE JULY 2018
CONNECTING RESEARCH WITH CLASSROOM
IN ORDER TO ENHANCE TEACHING AND LEARNING
Using Peer Tutoring to enhance the confidence levels of Year 11 for their final Religious Studies exam.
How using Simulations can improve the understanding of conceptually abstract science topics.
Investigating whether the testing effect could increase retention across the course of a GCSE.
Cam br idge Teach in g Sch ool Net w or k : r esear ch in g an d developin g t oget h er
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Th is is t h e Jou r n al f or t h e Resear ch an d Developm en t ar m of Cam br idge Teach in g Sch ools?Net w or k (CTSN).
CTSN is a collaboration of Teaching School Alliances that work together in order to provide the capacity to effectively deliver across whole the Teaching Schools? agenda. (see page 37 for more details). CTSN has organised itself so that each area of activity is overseen by a Strategy Group. It is the R&D Strategy Group (members listed below) which is responsible for what has probably been the best R&D year in recent years - with its collaborative project with UCL, Institute of Education, for middle leaders - 'How do we how it works?', the Research Conference and the publication of this, the first edition of the CTSN Research Journal.
CTSN RESEARCH AND DEVELOPM ENT STRATEGY COM M ITTEE
Ca m b r i d ge Tea ch i n g Sch o o l N et w o r k : Resea r ch &
Ch air : Car olin e Der bysh ir e
Rach el Kelly
CEO, Saf f r on Academ y Tr u st
Not ley High Sch ool
Lead: Cat h er in e Davis
M ar t in Lee
Saf f r on Walden Cou n t y High
Com ber t on Village College
Dev el o p m en t
Adm in ist r at or : Jan e Cat ley
Saffron Walden County High School
Saf f r on Walden Cou n t y High
Audley End Road
Lesley Bir ch
Cam br idge Pr im ar y Edu cat ion
Essex CB11 4UH T: 01799 513030 F: 01799 513031
How Resear ch an d Developm en t im pact s on w h ole sch ool CPD
How can w e in st il a love of r eadin g in ou r st u den t s?
In vest igat ion in t o st u den t s' at t it u des t ow ar ds ph ysics
M au r een Su Par k side Feder at ion Rebecca Gale
Repetition: will it Talkwall: helpstudentsto developing memorisefacts classroomdialogue
Howcanschools Doestestingreally encouragereading aidretentionof for pleasure? knowledge?
DoesPeer tutoring Philosophy:the improve keytounlocking confidence? articulacy?
Cam bou r n e Village Collage Em m a Vin cen t
RA Bu t ler Academ y
Tr u st Joh n -M ar k Win st an ley St eve Fox Alec Hu n t er Academ y
Hist on & Im pin gt on Ju n ior Sch ool
Rach el Haw kes Sw avesey Village College
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14 THE JOURNA L
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FOREWORD Kar en Spen ce-Th om as, UCL, In st it u t e of Edu cat ion
Last year, a report co-authored by UCL Institute of Education, Sheffield Hallam and Durham Universities explored the national state of play in relation to schools?use of evidence and research to improve educational standards and outcomes for pupils. They found that: Whilst some schools are strongly engaged, many are not, and this study suggests that attention needs to be paid to each part of the school and wider education system, including research quality and accessibility; school processes, cultures and leadership; teachers' skills, motivations and
knowledge; and the wider policy environment. It?s clear to me that the research and development (R&D) arm of Cambridge Teaching School Network, led by Saffron Walden County High School (SWCHS), has established a very strong culture of research-engagement, developed and sustained by school and alliance leaders over time and this edition of The Journal is testament to this. The breadth of R&D activity is impressive and reflects the strength of CTSN?s work with National College of Teaching and Leadership (NCTL) and partnerships with the University
of Cambridge, UCL Institute of Education and others. The enthusiasm of colleagues engaged in individual or collaborative R&D is all too apparent and The Journal makes an important contribution in tackling the challenge of mobilising the knowledge gained across the wider educational community so others can learn from it and, importantly, develop practice as a consequence. A huge thank you and many congratulations to all who have so generously shared their work!
THE RIGHT PEOPLE R&D can impact positively on the practices of staff and the learning experiences of students if the right people are involved Karen Spence-Thomas, UCL, Institute of Education Polly Lankester, Deputy headteacher, Saffron Walden County High It was back in 2012 that the Institute of Education (IOE), now part of University College London, began working with Saffron Walden County High School (SWCHS). As one of the first schools to be designated as a Teaching School, SWCHS took part in the National College Research Themes project, which IOE designed and facilitated with Sheffield Hallam University. This was a national research and development (R&D) project, involving around 66 teaching school alliances, exploring how professional development impacted on the quality of teaching and learning. What became clear from that work, for the schools involved and the researchers supporting the project at IOE, was that engaging in and with research has the potential to impact positively on the practices of staff and the learning experiences of pupils in schools, but there?s still a real challenge to be overcome in enabling this to happen as a matter of course (Greany, 2015). A crucial key to success is
ensuring that ?the right people?in schools are involved in driving R&D forward. Chris Brown?s research tells us that it?s vital to involve senior leaders to ensure that R&D connects strategically with school improvement priorities (Brown, 2015). Senior leaders also need to create the conditions for R&D to grow, not just in terms of providing the time and space, though this is crucial, but by creating a culture of enquiry where professional reflection and innovation are nurtured and encouraged (Stoll et al, 2012). As well as senior leaders, though, schools need R&D advocates or champions who understand how to access and apply research in context and how to facilitate collaborative enquiry. Often, these colleagues are middle leaders or lead practitioners, with responsibility for improving teaching and learning. With the right kind of support and professional development, these leaders can become ?catalysts for change?(Louise Stoll in Brown?s 2015 book), helping them to bring
Ref er en ces Greany, T. in Brown, C., ed. (2015) Leading the Use of Research Great professional development that leads to great pedagogy: nine & Evidence in Schools (London IOE Press) Brown, C. (2015) Research Learning Communities: School leaders connecting research to practice. Presented at the British Educational Leadership
about evidence and researchinformed change in staff practice and pupil learning. We?ve been doing exactly this in our ?How do we know it works??programme and this journal showcases the outcomes of some of the projects the participants have completed. In a recent article, drawing on findings from the National College Research Themes project, Toby Greany and Bronwen Maxwell explore the relationship between R&D and professional development (Greany and Maxell, 2017). They argue that collaborative R&D can enhance the ownership of change among participating teachers and ensure that innovations are based on evidence. But they also make the case that, for an organisation to benefit fully from an investment in R&D, there needs to be a careful alignment between R&D and a whole-school CPD strategy so that knowledge gained is ?mobilised?effectively, reaching and influencing the practice of staff across the school. This thinking has informed SWCHS?s approach to CPD.
Management and Administration Society Annual Meeting, Wokefield Park, Reading, 10?12 July.
We wanted CPD to include elements of choice to allow people to explore areas of particular interest to them and as we are a Coachmark Gold school, this strand of our CPD is something we have come to value highly. We wanted to give time to subject specific training, but also, in light of the research on effective CPD we wanted to ensure that staff had the time to read and reflect on relevant research relating to our school priorities and to use that to inform their practice. We also wanted to give staff the opportunity to become Champions of CPD and to
benefit from training to help them fulfil this vital role. In July 2017 we invited staff to volunteer to join the CPD Champions team and started our collaboration with the IoE. The IoE provided training for the CPD Champions team and this supported us to think about how we could best engage groups with the research and with conducting a more robust analysis of the impact of any change to their practice.
Model adopted by the CPD Champions
Greany, T. and Maxwell, B., 2017. Evidence-informed innovation in schools: aligning collaborative research and development with high quality professional learning for teachers. International Journal of Innovation in Education, 4(2-3) Stoll, L. et al (2012) claims from research (Nottingham, NCSL).
In Sept em ber 2017, ou r st af f ch oose on e of t h r ee f oci (each iden t if ied as im por t an t f or ou r sch ool im pr ovem en t ) an d at t en ded w or k sh ops led by t h e ch am pion s, w h ich in clu ded t im e f or r eadin g r esear ch an d discu ssin g ou r r eact ion s t o t h at an d h ow it m igh t su ggest ch an ges w e cou ld m ake in ou r pr act ice.
h as led t o u s h avin g bet t er en gagem en t w it h r esear ch as a st af f an d bein g m or e aw ar e of ef f ect ive r esear ch m et h ods. We w ill be con t in u in g t o place en gagin g w it h r esear ch , collabor at ion w it h HEI an d r obu st evalu at ion at t h e h ear t of ou r CPD pr ogr am m e w it h a w h ole sch ool f ocu s on m et acogn it ion in 2018-2019. Th in gs t o t h in k abou t f or sch ools con sider in g t h is appr oach : -
How w ill you access in t er est in g an d t h ou gh t pr ovok in g r esear ch ar t icles? Wh at t h em es/ qu est ion s ar e m ost im por t an t t o you r sch ool? Wh at ou t com e do you expect f r om st af f (an d w h at t im e w ill you give t h em t o do t h is?).
Th e IoE su ppor t ed u s t o h ave r eally per t in en t r esear ch in all of ou r session s, bu t also w it h h avin g a r igor ou s appr oach t o ou r per son al evalu at ion . Ou r ch am pion s led w or k sh ops on h ow t o baselin e an d h ow t o evalu at e im pact an d sh ar ed t ools/ appr oach es t o t h is pr ocess. M an y st af f w er e able t o con du ct t h eir ow n per son al r esear ch in t o t h e im pact of a par t icu lar appr oach an d all st af f w er e in volved in discu ssion of r esear ch an d pr act ice an d sh ar in g acr oss dif f er en t sch ool t eam s. Th is appr oach t o CPD
Reading for Pleasure Intervention "How do w e know it w orks?" UCL, IoE and CTSN Project Alison Tarrant, Librarian, Cambourne Village College Given the amount of research that shows the importance of reading for pleasure on a wide variety of outcomes, trying to get reluctant readers to read willingly is of key importance. Initially, the focus of the project was to assess whether interventions for reading for pleasure were having an impact. A pilot programme was initiated to focus on Year 9 male reluctant readers, as this tied into the overall school focus on boys?attainment. As having a reading role model is highly important an adult volunteer was recruited to read with the students once a week for 20 minutes. The sessions were rotated so that no lesson was impacted more than any other, and they ran over the course of a term, totalling eight sessions. All the boys but one turned up to each session, during which the volunteer did a range of
activities such as reading from newspapers and discussing it, as well as recommending books from the library. At the end I asked the opinions of the boys and of the volunteer about the sessions ? and the feedback was positive. The boys were reading more, and were reading a wider range of material. The positive outcome could also be seen in the boys?behaviour ? they had all turned up for a regular meeting out of choice ? they could have simply not attended if they chose to. Due to this feedback, the programme was positively evaluated but it had also highlight key issues. The time out of lessons, the number of volunteers needed, and the time required to plan meant it wasn?t actually viable on the scale that was needed, and so the research took a slightly different direction. A
programme such as this is feasible for a small number of students, so was there research out there that could help limit the number of reluctant readers? Was there something that the school could do to remove or reduce the need of a reading for pleasure intervention policy? Was there something that could be done on a regular basis to maximise the reading potential of our students? Having already read much research about reading, my literature review initially focused on boys?motivation at school ? after all, school libraries don?t operate in a vacuum, and there was much overlap with the attitudinal barriers to reading. A piece of work called ?Building Communities of Engaged Readers: Reading for Pleasure? seemed particularly important. The research itself was based
Ref er en ces Gr ean y, T. in Br ow n , C., ed. (2015) Leadin g t h e Use of Resear ch & Eviden ce in Sch ools (Lon don IOE Pr ess) Br ow n , C. (2015) Research Learning Communities: School leaders connecting research to practice. Pr esen t ed at t h e Br it ish Edu cat ion al Leader sh ip M an agem en t an d Adm in ist r at ion Societ y An n u al
Gr ean y, T. an d M axw ell, B., 2017. Eviden ce-in f or m ed in n ovat ion in sch ools: align in g collabor at ive r esear ch an d developm en t w it h h igh qu alit y pr of ession al lear n in g f or t each er s. International Journal of Innovation in Education, 4(2-3) St oll, L. et al (2012) Gr eat pr of ession al developm en t t h at leads t o gr eat pedagogy: n in e claim s f r om r esear ch (Not t in gh am , NCSL)
M eet in g, Wok ef ield Par k , Readin g, 10?12 Ju ly.
in primary schools, but the themes and suggestions throughout confirmed the experiences and prior knowledge of the researcher. This paper highlighted that reading for pleasure isn?t something that can be enforced ? it has to be a cultural change. As a Librarian there is a lot of specialist understanding which goes into designing programmes but very little of this is communicated to the wider educational community. However, this research made it clear that building a reading community has to be a whole school endeavour, and it prompted the researcher to consider the overarching themes that threaded through the individual program- mes, and communicate this beyond the library. The research formed a framework called ?Making CamVC a Reading Community?which placed each of the activities and programmes that was running into the framework. This was then shared with the Principal, the SLG for Curriculum and the English department so that they could use this knowledge to maximise their reading lessons, which were held fortnightly. At the start of September 2017 all Year 7 students took an Attitude to Reading survey
that allowed me to have targeted discussions, and made their teachers aware of students who may need extra encouragement.
and reviews making it a teaching resource rather than just a reference document (link bottom left).
St u den t lear n in g an d pr ogr ess
The pilot showed that with a bit of extra engagement, and with someone who knows the students there is potential for all students to increase their enjoyment of reading. The boys?opinions changed, and they were more likely to challenge themselves in their reading. It also made them more inclusive in thinking about reading (some boys didn?t count reading news or magazine articles).
The research project highlighted that it is important to know who your reluctant readers are as you can change minds with the right material, accessibility and persistence if reading is a part of the school culture. It has made the teachers more inclusive in terms of how they engage with reading ? allowing re-reading and making sure they include graphic novels and information books. The realisation that talking about reading is as vital as reading itself has changed some practice significantly. All staff should have the ability to recommend books and this led to a recommendation for an information and a fiction book were included with each staff bulletin, and a resource called ?Reading Grids?which chart good books from 0-5 through to adulthood. This resource meant teachers could more easily make recommendations that were accessible for their students, and included links to book trailers
Wor k s cr eat ed as par t of t h e r esear ch pr oject : Reading Grids (accessible if your institution is a member of the School Library Association) https://www.sla.org.uk/login.php?uh=&rtn=reading-grids.php&e=10&a=1otherwise a page is available here:
Not e I had to leave this project unfinished as I moved jobs. However, on leaving a pupil gave me a note. This was a Year 10 student who I had been working with over her four years at the college, and she was not a keen reader. We had been on a reading journey together ? from when she was insistent she couldn?t read, through a wide range of material, through to the term before I left when she was so engrossed in a book she wouldn?t allow herself to be disturbed by anyone, and immediately wanted the sequel. On my last day she gave me a note that thanked me for my patience and persistence, and said she?d seen her grades go up as a result. School libraries can have an impact on student attainment, as many research projects from around the world show. Hopefully the inclusion of library staff in this network means we might get some much needed evidence from the UK. For t h e pilot t h e dat a t h at w as collect ed in clu ded: -
Surveys at the beginning and the end Teacher feedback Volunteer feedback Student reading habits
For t h e m ain r esear ch: -
Attitude to Reading survey Teacher feedback Student reading habits
Bibliogr aph y All Party Parliamentary Literacy Group Commission. (2012). Boys' Reading Commission. London: National Literacy Trust. Clark, C., & Rumbold, K. (2006). Reading for Pleasure: a research overview. London: National Literacy Trust. Cremin, T., Mottram, M., Collins, F. M., Powell, S., & Safford, K. (2014). Building Communities of Engaged Readers: Reading for Pleasure. Oxon: Routledge. Department for Communities and Local Government. (2006). Raising attainment in Education. London: Department for Communities and Local Government. Didau, D. (2014). Closing the language gap: building vocabulary. The Learning Spy. November 16, 2014. Duncan, S. (2009). What are we doing when we read? - adult literacy learners' perceptions of reading. Research in Post-Compulsary Education, 317-331. Education standards research team. (2012). Research evidence on reading for pleasure. London: DfE. Hempel-Jorgensen, D. A. (2017). Understanding boys' (dis)engagement with reading for pleasure. Milton Keynes: Open University. Hirsch, E. (2003). Reading comprehension requires knowledge - of words and the world. American Educator. Howard, V. (2011). The importance of pleasure reading in the lives of young teens: self identification, self construction and self awareness. Journal of Librarianship and Information Studies, 46-55. Lancaster, A. (2012). Showing Impact: Mapping and Tracking Students' Reading in the secondary school library. Swindon: School Library Association. Lloyd, T. (2011). Boys' Underachievement in Schools Literature Review. Belfast: Centre for Young Men Studies. Nikolajeva, M. (2012). Guilt, empathy and the ethical potential of children's literature. Journal of Children's Literature Research , 1-13. Ricketts, J. (2012). Reading: Assessment and Research. London: GL Assessments. Ryan, P. (2013). Storytelling is a primary act of the mind. School Libraries in View, n/a. Twist, L., & Clarkson, R. (2015). Techniques to get your boys reading. London: NFER. Twist, L., Sizmur, J., Bartlett, S., & Lynn, L. (2011). PIRLS 2011. Slough: NFER.
REAL DATA, REAL ENTHUSIASM ? A M asters project looking at students' attitudes tow ards physics Dan Crittenden, Teacher of Physics, Saffron Walden County High There is currently a lot of interest in students?attitudes towards science and this originates from a lack of well qualified people with STEM skills in the national workforce. The Social Market Foundation estimates that there is a shortfall of around 40,000 STEM graduates in the UK each year whilst Engineering UK estimates that the shortage in engineering skills will cost the UK economy ÂŁ27 billion a year from 2022 (IOP, 2018). Despite this, the numbers of students studying A-level physics declined by 41% between 1985 and 2006 (Barmby, Kind and Jones, 2008) and although between 2010-2016 this rose by 15% (IOP, 2018), it still does not mean that enough students are studying the subject past the compulsory school age. Telling people that I studied physics is usually met with responses like: ?you must be really smart?, ?you don?t act like a physicist? or even worse (especially by those students wanting to be engineers, electricians or plumbers) ?where is any of this going to be useful??. In the influential Beyond 2000 report the authors identify that a main problem with the pre-report approach to science curriculum is that learners see science as a content heavy, detached body of knowledge (Millar & Osbourne,
1998). One of the recommendations for change is a need for students to become scientifically literate citizens able to engage with an increasingly science-based technological base. ?Young people need an understanding of how scientific inquiry is conducted ? to help them appreciate the reasoning which underpins scientific knowledge claims.? (Millar & Osbourne, 1998, p.2015) It is clear from the drop in post compulsory uptake students? attitudes towards physics need to change. Prompted by this, I have been undertaking a masters degree this year into the use of authentic particle physics data on students attitudes towards physics.
engaging traditional ?text-book? contexts like using rollercoasters when teaching about forces actually are. Certainly far more students ask me about modern physics than rollercoasters. This led me to come up with the use of authentic physics data, such as data from CERN or from famous scientists, and have kids use it as a context in which to investigate physics. The research on attitudes towards science led to two broad categories of attitudes: attitudes towards school science (teacher, learning situations, post-compulsory uptake), and attitudes towards science as a subject (as a discipline, work of scientists and science for a career) (Bennett and Hogarth, 2009)
My research has attempted to link the body of research on context based approaches to science curricular and in particular that appropriate contexts for learning science can include the work of scientists or research taking place in the field (Gilbert, 2006) and that context led approaches should look to give students awareness of data and its limitations, how explanations are developed and the work of the scientific community (Millar & Osbourne, 1998). In my own classroom I?m never actually certain how
The main bulk of the project was a case study of seven extracurricular sessions based around a theme of modern particle physics where a large component involved the use of authentic physics data. These ranged from Rutherford?s discovery of the atomic nucleus through to the subatomic model and how particles are discovered and finishing by looking at dark matter discoveries. Sixteen year 10 students followed the programme through in its entirety and in session data through observation,
evidence from staff helped me to evaluate the success of the sessions and look into the enablers and barriers in implementing authentic physics data experiences in a school setting. Doing educational research in your own classroom gives the data a relevance and a personal importance. Although the research is small-scale and interpretivist in nature, it has the advantage in that you have the insider knowledge of your school and that this allows you to evaluate the finer nuances of the situation despite its lack of system wider generalisability. It really is a specific casestudy. It?s important to recognise that yes students did choose to attend or not and that because of that they already have quite positive attitudes towards science. My current findings are really positive, and whilst I?m still working on the finer details it is worth sharing my first tentative findings. Using a well-established and rigorous likert scale attitudinal questionnaire developed by Bennett and Hogarth (2009) students did not show any large statistically significant increase in their attitudes towards school science. Now this is perhaps not surprising since students in this group have quite positive attitudes already. What was surprising is that after the intervention the reasons that students gave for their positive attitudes had shifted. In particular a few were most stark. When asked if their science teachers make them more interested in science 8 students pre-intervention said it was
because they made them think whereas 15 students post-intervention agreed that their science teachers made them think. A shift was also seen in agreement with this statement in that 7 students agreed because their science teachers show them how what they study in science related to the outside world pre-intervention but 11 post-intervention. There were also many more agree statements that showed positive shifts in agreeing that they would study physics because they like the maths and theory with six students pre-intervention but 11 post-intervention. Perhaps most pleasing of all is that students?attitudes towards science outside of school had showed a statistically significant shift towards positive attitudes. A Wilcoxon signed rank test was conducted on the pre- and postdata for each student, this takes into account the paired nature as well as the size of the sample and gave a p value of less than 0.05 which makes this result statistically significant. Again, in looking at shifts in their reasons for agreeing with statements it was most pleasing to notes that only six students pre-intervention thought that the government should spend more money on scientific research because it advances the frontiers of knowledge compared to fifteen students post-intervention. Interviews from both staff and students have been inductively coded and key themes drawn out. Many of these have highlighted the enjoyment of these sessions, the authenticity of discovering science as well as the relevance to them as students interested in
Although much work still remains in looking at the finer details of my data, it is encouraging to see that this research could play small part in being powerful to others too. It has certainly made me more critical of what I do in the classroom and encouraged me to be innovate in my practice. It has also firmly reminded me that teaching is a personal engagement process and that individuality in the classroom is crucially important. It has been a real privilege to share my joy for physics with these students and an added bonus that it has positively shifted students? attitudes towards science is the cherry on the cake. I?m hopeful that through engagement with research post-compulsory uptake in physics increases in our school and that research-informed practice means that nationally this trend steadily increases too.
Ref er en ces
Barmby, P., Kind, P. M. & Jones, K. (2008). Examining Changing Attitudes in Secondary School Science.International Journal of Science Education, 30(8), 1075-1093.
Gilbert, S. (2006). On the Nature of ?Context? in Chemical Education. International Journal of Science Education, 28(9), 957-976.
Bennett, J., & Hogarth, S. (2009). Would You Want to Talk to a Scientist at a Party? High school students? attitudes to school science and to science. International Journal of Science Education, 31(13),
physics. To quote one student: ?Learning about this now, where I can use the physics from class to do something cool, will make me more interested in lessons because I?ll look forward to what I can learn later on.?whilst another noted ?It?s nice to know what they [physicists] want to learn rather than what they?ve already learnt.?. In interview many students commented on their shifted views about the nature of scientific enquiry and that the sessions had opened their eyes to how new ideas are come to. This shines a light on the power of a GCSE STEM club and potentially a missing component in much of school science. If in future, the opportunity to use authentic data to show the nature of physics arises, perhaps as a department we should take it.
IOP. 2018. Why not Physics? A snapshot of girls?uptake at A-level. London: IOP Millar, R., & Osborne, J. (1998). Beyond 2000: Science Education for the Future. London: King?s College.
REPETITION: HELPING STUDENTS TO M EM ORISE AND APPLY EQUATIONS? Teachers are battling w ith changes to an ever more demanding National Curriculum. These reflect the continuing focus of the government tow ard a core know ledge-based curriculum, influenced by notable educationalists such as Hirsch and Willingham (DfE, 2017). As part of this renew ed emphasis on facts, the Physics GCSE requires students to memorise more know ledge than ever.
This looks positive for both classes generally, as students are definitely remembering more equations at the end compared to the beginning, showing the effect of practice. The lower attainment group has made slightly more progress compared to the higher attainment group overall from beginning to end, although disappointingly they are still getting most of the equations wrong. I was worried that the
repeated testing would be tedious so I asked the students this in the post interview. Interestingly they said it was boring but remained convinced about the value of the repetition, almost justifying the fact that it was boring.
What is interesting about this data is that I decided to look at the number of problems the students had attempted in the lower attainment class (it was a hard test!) I was expecting this number to go up as they memorised more equations. What I found is that they were actually attempting less problems, but on the ones they did do they were more likely to succeed. So out of the problems they tried, students made roughly the same progress as the higher attainment class. These results might show that
students are much more aware of their own ability as a result of the intervention, possibly enabling them to play more to their strengths. This also came through in the interviews. Without prompting, students insisted on feeling more confident about their ability to solve calculations problems. I have yet to analyse the higher attainment data set.
This additional structure in students?work is one of the ?side effects?I was hoping to achieve, and potentially is what helped students improve their scores on the test. Organisation is especially important for students that struggle with the subject in my experience, so this would make sense.
repetition cannot be alleviated somewhat by using tools such as Kahoot! Additionally, students? confidence when problem solving increased, they more frequently used a strategy rather than just applying a random mathematical operation to numbers. It seems like our government may have a point after all? surprisingly? So, let?s start them off: rather than our students viewing memorising equations as a huge unmanageable chunk, build up a monthly quiz that incorporates the equations learned up to that point. Let me know how it goes.
In terms of problem solving, the results are positive, although the lower attainment class did not make as much progress as they did on the equations:
Janna Stammeijer, Teacher of Physics, Saffron Walden County High Wh at ?s t h e pr oblem ?
So h ow can w e h elp t h em ?
Opposers to these reforms argue that rote learning (memorising without understanding (Willingham D. T., 2009)) does not enhance understanding and risks losing enjoyment in learning (ATL, 2013). In Physics specifically, teachers like to argue that it does not improve problem solving which we see as essential to the subject.
Much of the work done on improving retention has focused on the comparison between massed practice and spaced repetition. For example, splitting a course into clearly separate, tested topics with little recap describes massed practice. Spaced repetition is returning to ideas repeatedly and testing content taught in previous topics.
From my own experience and supported by literature (Angell et al., 2008), students find memorising and recalling equations one of the hardest things about the new GCSE. We all know that unless we practice, we forget things over time. However, it is not as universal as you might assume. For instance, gross motor skills such as riding a bicycle exhibit hardly any forgetting, whereas foreign language is forgotten quickly first, then remains mostly constant (Baddeley, 1997, p.176) Memory of equations is more similar to foreign language, so students will really need to work on retaining memory.
I compared the effect of repeated testing on 12 equations with a higher and a lower attaining class (I don?t like labelling but let?s stick with this for now). As a physics teacher, I also wanted to see whether knowledge of equations actually impacted students? work on calculations. For this, I gave students a pre and post test of GCSE Physics past paper calculation problems. I also interviewed three students from each class. At the start of the intervention, students spent twenty minutes memorising equations using flashcards until they were getting each correct consistently. I did five repeated tests like mini quizzes on the 12 equations, the amount of days in between each equation quiz increasing. With results:
Ref er en ces Angell et al (2008) An empirical-mathematical modelling approach to upper secondary physics. Physics Education, 43(3) ATL. (2013, April 16). Retrieved from NEU ATL section: www.atl.org.uk/Images/national-curriculum-consultation-april-13.pdf Baddeley, A. (1997). Human Memory Theory and Practice (revised ed.). Hove: Psychology Press of Taylor and Francis Ltd. Cepeda, N. J., Coburn, N., Rohrer, D., Wixted, J. T., Mozer, M. C., & Pashler, H. (2009). Optimizing distributed practice: Theoretical analysis and practical implications. Experimental psychology, 56(4), 236-246. Department for Education. (2017, April 11). Nick Gibb: England?s education reforms. Retrieved from gov.uk: http://dera.ioe.ac.uk/28897/1/Nick%20Gibb_%20England%E2%80%99s%20education%20reforms%20-%20GOV.UK.pdf Hirsch, E. (1999). The Schools We Need: and why we don't have them. .New York: Anchor Books.
So w h at can w e m ake of all t h is? In conclusion, I think even tedious repetition of equations in quiz form has a generally positive effect on students?ability to recall equations. Of course, there is nothing to say the boring nature of
One change in the way the lower attainment students laid out their work was that they wrote out more equations on their test after the intervention:
Willingham, D. T. (2009). Why don't students like school?San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
LEARNING TO TALK A research project at Saffron Walden County High School led by the University of Cambridge and the University of Oslo using Talkw all to develop dialogue in the classroom Sarah Boggis - Teacher of English, Debbie Chadwick - Teacher of Science and Sarah Makepeace - Teacher of Geography, Saffron Walden County High
As the project progressed, it became increasingly clear to us that ?Dialogue is more than ?just talk?. It involves teachers and learners commenting and cumulatively building on each other ?s ideas, posing questions and constructing interpretations together ? (Alexander, 2008).
21st century students are growing up and being educated in a fast-paced, ever changing and increasingly technologically focused world. Yet, whilst technology enables them to access a plethora of information and experiences, its use may detract from the one skill which, it has been argued, has a profound influence on a student?s uptake of the education they are offered: oracy (Warwick and Dawes, 2018). Oracy is a key component in the ?soft skills?set deemed a necessary attribute in an increasingly digitalised society. The ?ability to use the oral skills of speaking and listening?(Wilkinson, 1965) is argued by Warwick and Dawes as one that all students have the right to be taught. Building on the research of Mercer and others (Mercer & Littleton, 2007; Mercer & Hodgkinson, 2008) on the teaching and learning of dialogue in schools, Saffron Walden County High School (SWCHS), along with Honywood School, another Essex secondary comprehensive school, took part in the Digitalised Dialogue Across the Curriculum (DiDiAC) research project, led by the University of Cambridge and the University of Oslo. This focused on how a web-based microblogging software, called Talkwall, could impact on the teaching and learning of dialogue in the classroom. Three classes of Year 7 students and teachers, each from a different subject - English, Geography and Science - were involved.
Est ablish in g Gr ou n d Ru les f or Talk
Figu r e 1: A r eason in g t est it em in t h e st yle of Raven?s pr ogr essive M at r ix
Students were put into groups of four and two baseline tests were carried out at the outset of the project: one individual and one a group-based task looking at the four aspects of reasoning. The individual and group tests, based on the Raven's matrices tests, were designed to be of comparable difficulty but were not the same.
In order to determine quality standards for talk, ground rules for talk in the classroom needed to be decided upon in collaboration with the students. We began by asking students to consider what they thought about the purpose of talk in different contexts. Each class then devised a set of ground rules for talk that they could refer to in lessons every time they were given a dialogic task; this became fundamental when asking students to be dialogic (Dawes, 2008). The top six rules for talk, taken from the SWCHS English, Geography and Science classrooms, were:
Furthermore, at the outset of the project, SWCHS teachers reflected on their practice, completing audits which helped to identify common traits of their use of dialogue in the classroom. We were in accordance with many research findings on students?collaboration in groups (see Blatchford & Kutnick, 2003) and agreed that: -
THE SWCHS RESEARCH PROCESS Test in g
Con t r ibu t ion s ar e sh ar ed on a lar ge scr een in t h e classr oom .
The quality of classroom talk is generally not of a good quality When students are assigned roles/tasks within groups, they do not follow instructions well Students do not always listen to each other Students do not know how to talk and think critically as a group or as an individual There are many benefits of working as part of a group compared to working on your own The way the teacher communicates with the class is just as important as how students communicate with each other
Show respect to everyone in the group by being mindful of body language, eye contact and tone of voice. Listen to everyone?s point of view. Strive to reach an agreement where possible but accept it is also fine to disagree. Question others by asking ?Why do you think
Figu r e 3: An exam ple of Talk pr om pt s f or year 7 Geogr aph y st u den t s -
that?? Explain your point of view by backing up your ideas with reasons Try to make the conversation flow by building on each other ?s ideas.
The rules were referred to in every lesson, resulting in the ideas of respect and challenge beginning to be instilled in the students?behaviour. Talk Tools an d Dialogic Goals The introduction of ?talk tools?(Dawes, 2012) was of great benefit to both students and teachers in focusing on the dialogic element of the lesson, before even beginning to introduce the Talkwall software. Helping the students to formulate their dialogic structures was key and, whilst initially there was an inevitable ?clunkiness?to their conversations, fluency and confidence increased surprisingly quickly given the limited hours per subject in the secondary classroom. A simple card prompt was used to remind the students of that lesson?s dialogic intention or talk ?goal?as well as being referred to alongside the learning objective by the teachers on a regular basis. For us as teachers, the idea of an expressed ?dialogic intention?underpinning the activity in a lesson proved to be of particular importance.
Goal 1: Helping each other to develop ideas ?Can you say more about that???What do you mean by that?? Goal 2: Listening carefully and recalling information. ?What did your partner say?? Goal 3: Listening and reasoning and coming to an agreement ?Why do you think that???What?s your evidence for that?? Figu r e 2: An exam ple of Talk pr om pt s f or year 7 En glish st u den t s
Figu r e 4: An exam ple of Talk pr om pt s f or year 7 Scien ce st u den t s
Figu r e 5: A spellin g act ivit y f or low er at t ain in g Year 7 En glish st u den t s u sin g t h e split scr een f u n ct ion Students quickly became proficient in the use of the software given its intuitive design. Teachers were also quickly able to manipulate screens and student responses after some inevitable teething troubles. A variety of tasks were introduced to prompt discussion, to show evidence of comprehension as well as split screen sorting activities being used to give immediate feedback on student responses.
Developin g 21st Cen t u r y Sk ills t h r ou gh Talk w all Talkwall was used to facilitate dialogue in the classroom, but it became increasingly clear that the benefits of using the software were not limited to the encouragement of students speaking to each other; using Talkwall also led to: -
questioning and challenge between students tolerance and the acceptance of disagreement collaboration pride in presenting ideas immediacy of response to ideas as they appeared on the screen acceptance of making mistakes (their own
and the mistakes of others) a safe environment in which to volunteer information which was particularly appreciated by the more timid students students feeling empowered - the immediacy of the results of their collaboration on the IWB led to some powerful closing the gap exercises and growth in confidence.
Figu r e 6: Feedback f r om low er at t ain in g Year 7 En glish st u den t s higher than the highest individual scores in all but two cases. Some results in the post-test could not be compared with the pre-test due to a change of focus group. In Norway, the greatest gains across the two tests were for students who scored in the lowest 25% on the pre-test. This analysis has yet to be completed in the UK but anecdotal evidence from the SWCHS students themselves, in this case a lower attaining group, is positive.
Ou t com e - M ak in g it gr ow
Developm en t of St u den t s an d Teach er s
The individual and group tests completed at the end of the project were encouraging. In nearly all cases, working in a group to solve sequential reasoning problems gave better results than working individually, even for the highest individual achievers. This was true in both the pre- and post-intervention work on dialogue and Talkwall, research lessons) tests.
In conclusion, students developed by demonstrating:
In most cases in the tests after the intervention, individual reasoning scores were higher than in the pre-tests. This meant that the differences in performance on the test was less pronounced than in the pre-test. Nevertheless, group scores were still
As practitioners, we felt that we gained:
greater competence and confidence in talking purposefully in lessons, particularly in areas such as asking good questions, giving reasons and justifications, and building productively on the ideas of others; sensible and purposeful use of the technology to gather, organise ideas and manipulate ideas in a variety of ways; use of a broader range of ideas as a stimulus for thinking and discussion; greater confidence and facility in assessing the productiveness of their talk for learning in groups.
an increasing competence and confidence with the use of Talkwall technology for whole class and group activity; development and integration of ground rules for talk in the research classrooms; a detailed focus on learning intentions, linked to talk for learning, in lesson planning; an increase in innovation and creativity in our teaching that has surrounded the work with Talkwall and will have a lasting impact on our future practice.
Ref er en ces Warwick, P. and Dawes, L. (2018). Dialogic Teaching and Learning. Viden Om Literacy, 23, National Viden Center for LĂŚning, Norway Blatchford, P., & Kutnick, P. (2003). Developing group work in everyday classrooms: an introduction to the special issue. International Journal of Educational Research, 39(1-2), 1?7 Dawes, L. (2008). The Essential Speaking and Listening. London: David Fulton. Mercer, N., & Littleton, K. (2007). Dialogue and the Development of Children?s Thinking: A Sociocultural Approach (1st ed.)
Figu r e 7: Feedback f r om low er at t ain in g Year 7 En glish st u den t . " I got bet t er at qu est ion in g people becau se it h elps ot h er s w it h t h eir idea / gr ow s it m or e."
A CONTRADICTION IN TERM S How can schools encourage children to read for pleasure? Mary Currie, Teacher of English, Swavesey Village College In t r odu ct ion Two common perceptions in education are that reading for pleasure is essential in our society for ensuring children?s success later in life and that reading for pleasure is in decline, particularly among boys. Furthermore, if schools are actively encouraging, or even enforcing, students to read during form time or lesson time, can that reading really be considered ?for pleasure?? In the academic year 2015-2016, I carried out a Masters in Education at the University of Cambridge and sought to investigate these perceptions further. The purpose of my case study was to understand the reading habits and choices at home and at school for the participants, a Year 7 class of 24 students (aged 11-12 years old) at a secondary school in south East Anglia. I defined the phrase ?reading habits and choices?as being reading material that the participants chose to read at home and reading material they were exposed to at school.
data collection and the presentation of findings. Of particular note, I was influenced by the Schools Curriculum and Assessment Authority (SCAA)?s study: One Week in March: a survey of the literature pupils read (1995). The survey is described as capturing a ?snapshot?of reading in classrooms and it was this term that resonated with my own interest in this field. In the study conducted by SCAA, teachers completed questionnaires in which they recorded the reading that took place the week beginning 6 March 1995. Data was presented by year group and in tables with each category of text being read recorded. Key points for each table were recorded underneath: a style that I adapted for the presentation of the findings for my own study. My data collection of questionnaires, semi-structured interviews and reading journals was triangulated and provided a mixture of qualitative and quantitative data. Fin din gs
M et h ods Several studies influenced my decision to carry out a case study investigation, the methods for
By examining a sample of Year 7 students and their habits and attitudes towards reading both in school and at home, I discovered
several key ideas. My thesis argued that there is a great need in secondary schools for teachers and educators to be aware of their students?reading skills; what their students are reading independently at home and what their students?preferences are when it comes to reading. It was illuminating to learn about the sheer range of reading material my students were engaging with. For example, some students? home reading material included: an article in The Sun newspaper concerning the banning of contact rugby in schools, novels by David Walliams and Michael Morpurgo and non-fiction books about different periods in history. It was also refreshing to hear students articulate the value they place on reading: ?I think it?s important because if you don?t read, you don?t learn.? I would argue that knowledge about students?reading habits and attitudes outside of their lessons is essential in order to successfully motivate both boys and girls to read independently and engage their interest within lessons. A simple conversation at the beginning or end of a lesson asking what students are reading at the moment could make all the difference.
Con clu sion In the context of my research, I would suggest that a variety of strategies are needed to promote reading effectively and equally to both boys and girls. -
The importance of libraries in schools should be emphasised, including taking students to the library and allowing them time to physically explore the different types of books and texts. This is an area that all parts of
the curriculum have the potential to develop. -
Students often greatly enjoy discussing and sharing what they are reading. This practice was valuable in finding out more about students? reading habits and attitudes leading to enhanced relationships between teachers and students.
Ref er en ces SCAA (Schools Curriculum and Assessment Authority). 1995. One week in March: a survey of the literature pupils read. SCAA Discussion Papers: No. 4. Hopper, R. 2005. What are teenagers reading?
By knowing more about what my students enjoyed to read, I was able to engage their interest in their learning on a much more personalised level.
Therefore, I would conclude that reading in schools should be relocated into the arena of pleasure as a collective and shared dialogue between students and teachers. Where encountered, it should be discussed, celebrated and praised.
Adolescent fiction reading habits and reading choices.Literacy, 39 (3), 113?120. Logan, S., & Medford, E. 2011. Gender differences in the strength of association between motivation, competency beliefs and reading skill. Educational Research, 53 (1),
Does testing really aid retention? An in vest igat ion in t o w h et h er t h e t est in g ef f ect cou ld in cr ease r et en t ion acr oss t h e cou r se of a GCSE Jo Plumb, teacher of Chemistry, Cambourne Village College Havin g t au gh t f or a n u m ber of year s an d list en ed t o n u m er ou s con ver sat ion s abou t t h e ?evils?of t est in g, I w as in t er est ed t o r ead David Didau ?s book ?What if everything you knew about education was wrong??(1) in w h ich h e discu ssed t h e idea t h at t est in g aids r et en t ion an d t h at t est in g pu pils over a per iod of t im e h ad a gr eat er im pact t h an r e-t each in g t h e m at er ial. Af t er r eadin g t h is I w en t on t o r ead a n u m ber of ar t icles by Roediger et al (2, 3, 4) an d Kar picke et al (5) in w h ich t h e t est in g ef f ect w as dem on st r at ed t o be a pow er f u l w ay of en su r in g t h at st u den t s r et ain ed t h e in f or m at ion t h at t h ey h ad been t au gh t . At t h e sam e t im e as I r ead t h ese ar t icles, a n u m ber of discu ssion s w er e t ak in g place on t w it t er abou t t h e scien ce of lear n in g an d u sin g r esear ch f r om cogn it ive psych ology in edu cat ion . Th is led m e t o t h e Lear n in g Scien t ist s w ebsit e w h er e, again , t h e ben ef it s of r et r ieval pr act ice an d t h e t est in g ef f ect
w er e discu ssed (6). Th is r esear ch st ar t ed w it h a sm all pilot st u dy, car r ied ou t w it h a gr ou p of year 8 pu pils. At t h e st ar t of each lesson a sh or t , low -st akes t est or set of qu est ion s w er e displayed on t h e w h it eboar d an d pu pils w er e given 10 m in u t es t o an sw er t h ese. St u den t s w er e t h en given t h e cor r ect an sw er s an d w er e en cou r aged t o see w h er e t h ey h ad gon e w r on g bu t n o dat a w as collect ed by t h e t each er in or der t o en su r e t h ese t est s w er e low st akes; a f act or w h ich h ad been iden t if ied in t h e ar t icles I h ad r ead as bein g im por t an t in en su r in g t est in g w as ef f ect ive in aidin g r et en t ion . In an en d of t h r ee t opic t est , st u den t s in t h is class per f or m ed bet t er on t h e qu est ion s t h at r elat ed t o t h e t opic in w h ich t h ey h ad don e t h e low -st akes t est s at t h e st ar t of t h e lesson com par ed t o t h e ot h er t opics w h er e t h is h ad n ot been don e. St u den t s in t h is class also per f or m ed bet t er on t h is t opic t h an st u den t s in ot h er classes
w h o h ad n ot been t est ed at t h e st ar t of each lesson . It w as f ollow in g t h is piece of r esear ch t h at I t h en cam e acr oss a n u m ber of pieces of r esear ch (7, 8) t h at qu est ion ed w h et h er t h e t est in g ef f ect w as st ill ef f ect ive as m at er ial in cr eased in com plexit y. Th e in it ial st u dies t h at I h ad r ead w er e u su ally labor at or y st u dies t h at r equ ir ed par t icipan t s t o lear n in f or m at ion abou t on e par t icu lar ar ea or su bject , som e w er e t h en r e-t au gh t , som e n ot t au gh t again an d ot h er s t est ed r epeat edly pr ior t o t h e f in al assessm en t w h ich t est ed t h em solely on t h is on e ar ea or su bject . Th is is n ot w h at h appen s in classr oom s. St u den t s ar e st u dyin g m u lt iple su bject s an d t h e assessm en t s at GCSE ar e at t h e en d of , in ou r sch ool, a t w o year pr ogr am m e of st u dy, in w h ich t h ey w ill h ave t o lear n m u lt iple pieces of in f or m at ion of in cr easin g com plexit y. Havin g r ead t h is n ew in f or m at ion I decided t o in vest igat e w h et h er t h e t est in g ef f ect w ou ld
in cr ease r et en t ion acr oss t h e cou r se of a GCSE. Th e par t icipan t s in t h is st u dy w er e t w o gr ou ps of year 10 st u den t s an d t h e st u dy w as con du ct ed t h r ou gh ou t t h e en t ir et y of t h eir GCSE Ch em ist r y cou r se. St u den t s in on e gr ou p w er e given r egu lar sh or t t est s at t h e st ar t of each lesson , ask in g t h em qu est ion s abou t t opics t h ey h ad ju st don e, as w ell as abou t t opics cover ed pr eviou sly. Th e ot h er gr ou p w er e given t h e sam e t est s bu t w er e also asked at var iou s poin t s in t h e year t o w r it e dow n ever yt h in g t h at t h ey cou ld r em em ber abou t a par t icu lar t opic on a blan k piece of paper . St u den t s w er e given t opic h eadin gs as pr om pt s in or der t o en su r e t h at t h e t ask w as ch allen gin g bu t n ot im possible (desir able dif f icu lt y). On ce st u den t s h ad w r it t en ever yt h in g t h at t h ey cou ld r em em ber t h ey w er e t h en given t h e in f or m at ion t h at t h ey sh ou ld h ave in clu ded an d asked t o ch eck t h eir r ecall f or er r or s an d t o add an yt h in g t h at t h ey h ad f or got t en t o in clu de. Dat a f r om t h ese t w o con dit ion s collect ed f r om m ock exam r esu lt s an d en d of year 10 exam in at ion s su ggest ed t h at t h er e w as n o dif f er en ce bet w een t h e t w o con dit ion s ? t h er e appear ed t o be n o ben ef it of t h e addit ion al r et r ieval pr act ice on r et en t ion .
An ecdot ally, st u den t s w er e r et ain in g in f or m at ion t h at t h ey h ad been qu izzed on , su ch as, t h e size of an at om an d t h e t est s u sed t o iden t if y dif f er en t ion s bet t er t h an classes t h at h ad n ot been r egu lar ly t est ed at t h e st ar t of t h e lesson . Th is is n ot som et h in g t h at can be sh ow n by t h e dat a collect ed as t h er e ar e a n u m ber of ext r an eou s var iables t h at cou ld n ot be con t r olled su ch as pr ior at t ain m en t an d class t each er , all of w h ich cou ld im pact on st u den t ?s scor es in exam in at ion s. Bef or e an y f ir m con clu sion s can be r each ed, f u r t h er r esear ch is n eeded t o in vest igat e w h et h er , f or exam ple, t h e n u m ber of qu est ion s u sed in t h e t est at t h e st ar t of t h e lesson m akes a dif f er en ce, w h et h er t h e t ype of qu est ion asked m akes a dif f er en ce an d also w h et h er t h e f r equ en cy of t est in g abou t par t icu lar t opics af f ect s t h e abilit y of st u den t s t o r et ain in f or m at ion so t h at t h ey can r ecall it an d apply it t o t h e qu est ion s asked in t h e exam in at ion . Addit ion al an alysis of f in al exam in at ion r esu lt s w ill also be n eeded t o look at dif f er en ces bet w een t h e gr ou ps an d w it h in t opics. Topics w h er e t h er e w er e a gr eat er n u m ber of f act s t o lear n w er e m or e likely t o be t est ed in t h e qu est ion s at t h e
Ref er en ces 1. Didau , D. (2015) - Wh at if Ever yt h in g You Kn ew abou t Edu cat ion Was Wr on g. Cr ow n Hou se Pu blish in g. 2. Hen r y L. Roediger III ? var iou s r esear ch paper s, all available at h t t p:/ / psych .w u st l.edu / m em or y/ r oediger .h t m l 3. Roediger , H. L., & Nest ojko, J. F. (2015). Th e r elat ive ben ef it s of st u dyin g an d t est in g on lon g-t er m r et en t ion . In J. G. W. Raaijm aker s, A. H. Cr iss, R. L. Goldst on e, R. M . Nosof sk y, & M . St yver s (Eds.), Cogn it ive m odelin g in per cept ion an d m em or y: A f est sch r if t f or Rich ar d M . Sh if f r in (pp. 99-111). New Yor k : Psych ology Pr ess.
st ar t of t h e lesson , t h an t h ose t opics w h er e st u den t s ar e r equ ir ed t o evalu at e in f or m at ion , f or exam ple, on t h e su it abilit y of m at er ials f or par t icu lar jobs. On ce t h e GCSE r esu lt s ar e pu blish ed it w ill be in t er est in g t o see if t h er e is a dif f er en ce in t h e t ypes of qu est ion s t h at st u den t s h ave don e w ell on an d t h ose w h er e t h ey h ave don e less w ell. Com par ison s can also be m ade w it h t h eir ot h er GCSE Scien ce su bject s. Does t h e u se of t est in g r esu lt in bet t er ou t com es f or st u den t s in GCSE exam s? Test in g sh ou ld en cou r age t r an sf er of in f or m at ion in t o t h e lon g t er m m em or y m ean in g t h at st u den t s w ill h ave t o h old less in f or m at ion in t h eir w or k in g m em or y. How ever , w h ilst t h er e is som e r esear ch abou t w h at t h is t est in g sh ou ld look like t h er e is st ill a n eed f or t h is t o be r igor ou sly t est ed in t h e classr oom ou t side of t h e labor at or y con dit ion s in w h ich m u ch r esear ch h as been don e. In a t im e w h en a key f ocu s f or m an y sch ools is ?n ar r ow in g t h e gap?t h is cou ld be a ver y ef f ect ive w ay of su ppor t in g st u den t s w h o do n ot h ave t h e con dit ion s or su ppor t t o r evise w h en t h ey ar e n ot in sch ool an d is t h er ef or e an ar ea t h at deser ves f u r t h er in vest igat ion .
4. Roediger , H. L., & Bu t ler , A.C . (2013). Ret r ieval pr act ice (t est in g) ef f ect . In H. L. Pash ler (Ed.),En cyclopedia of t h e M in d (pp. 660-661). Los An geles, CA: Sage Pu blish in g Co. 5. Kar picke JD, Blu n t JR an d Sm it h M A (2016) Ret r ieval-Based Lear n in g: Posit ive Ef f ect s of Ret r ieval Pr act ice in Elem en t ar y Sch ool Ch ildr en . Fr on t . Psych ol. 7:350. doi: 10.3389/ f psyg.2016.00350 6. Th e Lear n in g Scien t ist s h t t p:/ / w w w.lear n in gscien t ist s.or g/ 7. van Gog, T. & Sw eller , J. Edu c Psych ol Rev (2015) 27: 247. h t t ps:/ / doi.or g/ 10.1007/ s10648-015-9310-x 8. Raw son , K.A. Edu c Psych ol Rev (2015) 27: 327.
language of the tutor and tutee.
PEER TUTORING Using Peer Tutoring to enhance the students' confidence levels Kim White, Teacher of Religious Studies, Notley High School In t r odu ct ion An im por t an t elem en t of t h is year ?s Sch ool Im pr ovem en t Plan w as t o in st il r esilien ce an d in depen den ce in ou r st u den t s. It h as been a f ocu s w it h in ou r depar t m en t f or a n u m ber of year s an d h as pr im ar ily f ocu sed on Year 11 at t h e
M et h ods Th e r esear ch adopt ed a m ixed m et h ods appr oach in or der t o t r ian gu lat e f in din gs in t h e m ost ef f ect ive an d dat ar ich w ay. Alt h ou gh pr edom in at ely qu alit at ive in n at u r e, t h e elem en t of u sin g qu an t it at ive st yle qu est ion n air es pr eceded t h e gr ou p in t er - view s as a ?w ay in?t o u n der st an din g t h e st u den t per spect ive. An Act ion Resear ch m odel w as u sed as t h is gr an t ed a cer t ain degr ee of f lexibilit y t o t h e r esear ch ; ch an ges w er e able t o be m ade t h r ou gh ou t t h e cou r se so t o ben ef it t h e st u den t s. In t h e Au t u m n Ter m of Year 11, eigh t een st u den t s in on e Year 11 class in an Academ y Sch ool in Essex w er e ch osen t o par t icipat e. As a sch ool, r esear ch is en cou r aged an d as t h er e w er e n o con cer n s f or t h e w ellbein g of st u den t s du r in g t h e st u dy, per m ission w as gr an t ed as it adh er ed t o BERA Et h ical Gu idelin es. A 30-m in u t e lesson w as pr esen t ed t o t h e class on t h e aim s of peer t u t or in g, h ow it w ou ld w or k an d gu idelin es w er e set ou t con cer n in g appr opr iat e beh aviou r , lan gu age et c. Th is gave st u den t s t h e oppor t u n it y t o qu est ion t h e r esear ch f u r t h er an d
t im e of r evision f or t h eir f in al GCSE exam s. In or der t o ach ieve t h ese aim s, w e began pilot in g a peer t u t or in g st u dy w h er eby st u den t s pair ed u p an d t ook it in t u r n s t o t each an d t est each ot h er w it h exam con t en t . Th e in f or m al st u dy f or m ed t h e f ou n dat ion of t h is r esear ch an d gave in sigh t in t o h ow best t o appr oach t h e m et h od beh in d it .
t h e pr ocess of peer t u t or in g. Af t er t h is session , all st u den t s com plet ed an an on ym ou s qu est ion n air e. An sw er s w er e given on a scale of 1 ? 10 con cer n in g h ow con f iden t t h ey w er e f eelin g at t h at t im e t ow ar ds t h eir su m m er exam s, r evision in gen er al an d t h eir f eelin gs on peer t u t or in g. Peer t u t or in g session s at lu n ch t im e began in t h e sam e w eek . Fr om dat a collect ed in Year 10, t h e class w er e divided in t o t h e ?Tu t or s?an d t h e ?Tu t ees?. St u den t s picked t h eir ow n par t n er f r om t h e ot h er gr ou p. Th e pair picked on e lu n ch t im e per w eek t o m eet w it h t h eir par t n er an d t h ey t ook it in t u r n s t o explain , qu est ion an d t est each ot h er w it h t h e r evision m at er ial given t o t h em by t h e depar t m en t . Du r in g t h e lu n ch t im e session s, f ield n ot es w er e t aken by m e as t h e obser ver . Th ese in clu ded: -
St u den t com m en t s r egar din g t h eir f eelin gs t ow ar ds peer t u t or in g, Com m en t s m ade r egar din g h ow t h ey w er e f eelin g t ow ar ds r evision or t h e su m m er exam s. An y n ot ed ch an ge in at t it u de or body
The confidence students did or did not exhibit in recalling the course material.
After five weeks of peer mentoring, semi-structured group interviews were conducted. The questions asked reflected the ones on the initial questionnaire and allowed the students to elaborate on their answers. The interviews were carried out firstly with the tutors and then the tutees. Two group interviews would be most beneficial for practical reasons; time in the school day is limited, but also students had the support of their peers. This helped minimise any affect of my presence, as students may feel they should answer in a way that would please their teacher. What became apparent in these interviews was that students would appreciate being able to work with a partner they were more comfortable with. Additionally, lunchtimes were being taken up with other responsibilities impeding some from attending. Therefore, the second cycle of action research started. Students selected their partner and when we came to the end of the taught course, peer tutoring started within lessons. This process is ongoing. I plan to redistribute the same questionnaire as before and to conduct the same interviews. In this way, through a thematic analysis of the data, I am able to extract any changes in opinion and to hear the reflections of peer tutoring from the students. This information can be used alongside my field notes to examine the validity of the data and see if there is a void between how the student feels and how their confidence levels altered. Fin din gs so f ar Due to the research being an ongoing process which will not be
completed until late June, it is difficult to validate any claims my field notes may have yielded. What can be noted from these observations is that students are demonstrating greater levels of confidence. Through such comments as ?I know I can do this, I just have to spend more time revising,?instead of, ?It?s so hard!? the change for this particular student is obvious. The student?s body language and the atmosphere in the tutoring sessions have also altered, moving away from one of quiet anxiety to a more relaxed yet motivated presence. Near the start of the project, when students questioned each other the responses were limited, or there would be a looks of confusion. At the present time, students are more animated; as if they know the answer to the tutee?s question, but can?t recall it quickly. Williams (2002) is one of the authors who argue that for peer tutoring to be a success, members must bond. This is seen now, as students encourage each other to find the answers. Topping and Ehly (1998) further illustrates how peer tutoring can be beneficial for developing verbal communication leading to deeper learning. An observation was noted of Student X who originally struggled to communicate clearly both in verbal and written form. In a later peer tutoring session, he was able to articulate his answers well, giving a good level of detail. Furthermore in a recent mock exam, he achieved higher than his target grade. An impressive rate of progress, previously he has not achieved more than two grades below his target.
Ref er en ces Topping, K. and Ehly, S. (1998) PeerAssisted Learning.London. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
Con clu sion Even if all dat a h ad been collect ed an d an alysed, it w ou ld st ill be pr ecar iou s t o claim t h at it w as solely peer t u t or in g t h at h ad r aised con f iden ce levels in Year 11. Fr om f ield n ot e obser vat ion s, con f iden ce does appear t o be r isin g in addit ion t o an im pr ovem en t in r ecen t exam r esu lt s. Cou ld t h is h ave occu r r ed w it h ou t t h e peer t u t or in g session s? Cou ld ot h er f act or s h ave con t r ibu t ed; t h e r ealisat ion t h at t h e GCSE exam s ar e m u ch closer n ow ? Com plet ion of t h e cou r se in Febr u ar y allow ed f or m or e t im e t o be spen t r et u r n in g t o m at er ial, in st ead of lear n in g n ew m at er ial? Or m aybe t h e sch ool of f er in g t w o h ou r s of silen t r evision af t er sch ool h ad a posit ive im pact on h ow st u den t s ar e f eelin g? On t h e ot h er h an d, even w it h ou t con clu sive eviden ce t h at peer t u t or in g r aises con f iden ce, it su r ely h as n ot h ad a n egat ive im pact . St u den t s ar e m ot ivat ed in lesson s, t h eir at t it u de r ef lect s gr eat er posit ivit y an d r evision con ver sat ion s ar e f ocu sed on r ecallin g r elevan t m at er ial. Su pplem en t in g r evision st yle lesson s w it h peer t u t or in g can on ly ben ef it st u den t s an d lead t o gr eat er in depen den ce.
Williams, R, B. (2002) Cooperative Learning. A standard for high achievement. California. Corwin Press.
Philosophy: The key to unlocking articulacy? An in vest igat ion in t o w h et h er u sin g ph ilosoph y w it h pr im ar y pu pils w ou ld im pr ove ar t icu lat ion Dean Boddington, Teacher , RA Butler Academy In t r odu ct ion Back in September 2016 our school thought long and hard about a new set of school values. Ones which we felt were vital to instil in all the children who came through our school. Every member of staff was involved in choosing these values and we finally settled on ?The Six Rs?. Respect f u l Relat ion sh ips ? Resilien ce ? Ref lect ive ? Risk t ak in g ? Resou r cef u l ? aRt icu lat e Therefore, when starting this research project I wanted to focus on developing and enhancing one of these skills in the children. After discussions with colleagues we decided that improving articulacy would benefit many subject areas, especially writing and Maths reasoning. Both of these were areas of weakness for the cohort I had at the time.
Since initial teacher training I have had a strong interest in ?Philosophy for Children?(P4C) and had seen it improve pupil?s speaking and listening skills. Here was my chance to explore and prove its effect. I wanted to know ?If I give my class regular access to P4C sessions, will they become more articulate?? Th e Resear ch Research from The Education Endowment Foundation (July 2015) showed that P4C can narrow the gap and raise attainment for all children. They also found that P4C had a positive influence on the wider outcomes such as pupils?confidence to speak, listening skills and self-esteem. In particular they noted that P4C had the biggest positive impact on disadvantaged children.
Th e Pr ocess My Philosophy sessions usually start with some quick fire ?thunks?to warm our brains up, simple open questions with the focus on children justifying their ideas. Questions such as ?If you removed all the books from a library, is it still a library?? I would always express that ?if you can explain it, it?s a good answer ?. We would then move on to looking at a stimulus. Usually a picture or a story, but we had used songs and situations too. On Post-it notes, children would pose questions which would then be sorted into open and closed questions. Lastly, the children would vote for which question to discuss. Discussions would last anything from 15 minutes to an hour. At first, discussions were dominated by confident children whilst some shied away but as the weeks passed, more and more children became involved and by the fifth week every child contributed. I focussed my attention on six low attainers to see if I could make a difference to their learning. Th e Ef f ect The regular P4C sessions are having the desired effect. My focus children are sharing thoughts and ideas to the class a lot more fluently and with much less ?urms?and ?ahhs?. The children are becoming much more reflective learners. They can articulate their learning much better than they previously could. . Five out of the six focus children said that they felt more comfortable sharing ideas with their peers since they started P4C sessions and this willingness shows in lessons. All children improved their reasoning scores in recent Maths assessments (between 3% to 36% improvement).
been getting children to reflect much more often after lessons; this will also have a positive effect on their articulacy. In guided reading sessions, I?ve put a much higher emphasis on vocabulary; this too will have a positive effect on articulacy. Again this is too many variables. So I?m winning, but losing. I?m getting exactly the results that I was hoping for but I have no solid evidence to point the finger at my weekly P4C sessions. Quantitative data has proved tricky to find therefore I have struggled to back up my claims with solid evidence.? Th e Con clu sion I feel that P4C has helped build children?s confidence and this has had a positive influence on my children?s ability to articulate themselves. Previous research has been carried out with the same focus children for much lengthier periods, so findings from one academic year are not robust enough. Research informed practice is imperative to improve us as classroom teachers, but can everything be proved? Does that mean that it?s invalid? I shall continue with Philosophy sessions for my class as I can see the improvements in confidence and willingness to share in my children. Do I think you should try philosophy too? Of course! But currently I don?t have the research to back up my claims.
Ref er en ces Siddiqu i, N., Gor ar d, S. & See, B.H. (2017). Non-cognitive impacts of Philosophy for Children. School of Education, Durham University.
Th e Var iables Unfortunately though, I feel that there are too many variables for me to be jumping about claiming success. In Maths this year we have had a much stronger push on reasoning questions; this will have a positive effect on articulacy but also their test scores. We have
M ultiple Success? The effects of increased multiplication practice on lower attaining year five pupils?automaticity and fluency of multiplication facts: an action research enquiry
ByKimWhite,NotleyHighSchool andBraintree SixthForm
Lydia Kidd, CTSN SCITT trainee teacher Tronsky (2005) argues that when simple mathematical facts can be recalled fluently and accurately from long-term memory, less capacity is used to complete simple operations, therefore more cognitive resources are available for increasingly complex mathematical problem solving. Further, Haylock et al., (2014) argues that there is significant value in children knowing their multiplication tables by heart, which will enable children to make important connections when learning mathematics. Indeed, recent changes to the National Curriculum that came into effect in September 2014 require that by the end of year four children know all the multiplication facts up to 12 Ă— 12 (DfE, 2013). Moreover, the DfE has recently announced that from June 2020 all pupils at the end of Year 7 in England will take an online multiplication tables check. Consequently, the research question will be: What are the effects of increased multiplication practice, focused particularly on increasing automaticity and fluency of multiplication facts, on lower attaining year five pupils?
It will focus on the introduction of a daily multiplication intervention in which children were required to practise multiplication facts through use of a multiplication grid over a series nine maths lessons.
ByKimWhite,NotleyHigh School andBraintreeSixthForm Figure 1. A pupil?s thoughts about their times tables knowledge pre-testing Three different methods of data collection were used to triangulate and offer objectivity in the findings of this action-research project including: Likert style assessments using face rating scales (sad/happy face) and comments containing children?s perspectives of their multiplication knowledge pre-testing and at the mid-test point (test 6); evidence of pupil products which consisted of completed multiplication grids and associated finish times for the five week duration; structured on/off task observations undertaken by
my research assistant during the timed twice-weekly practice sessions (Wilson, 2013). Prior to the multiplication practice sessions, children had commented that they did not feel confident with their current multiplication fact knowledge, ?I need to learn more of them. And get better at them?(Figure1). Another child commented, ?I am not very confident?(Figure 2). Interestingly, all children within the study self-initiated drawing their Likert style scaled faces as either sad or straight faces, confirming the above assertion. Interestingly, all but one of the participants could not pinpoint exactly which multiplication tables they found most challenging.
Figure 2. A pupil?s thoughts about their times tables knowledge pre-testing. A demonstration of maths anxiety: ?I am not very confident.?
ByKimWhite,NotleyHighSchool andBraintree SixthForm
Figure 5. A pupil?s thoughts about their times tables practice, mid-testing. Figure 3. A pupil?s thoughts about their times tables knowledge pre-testing. ?I feel good with times tables [but] I need more practice with my numbers!? A similar assessment carried out at mid-point in the study revealed that children found it easy to articulate which areas of multiplication they needed to focus upon to improve their skills further, with all children highlighting specific times tables they were aware they needed additional practice with. One child wrote, ?I need to learn my 8s, 9s, 12, [and] 6s.?Interestingly, the children?s self- assessment of how they were feeling about multiplication changed into positive. This suggests that the children were enjoying the extra practice sessions, which were having a positive effect on their sense of confidence of multiplication facts.
Figure 4. A pupil?s thoughts about their times tables practice, mid-testing. ?I know my 1s, 2s, 3s, 4s, 5s, 7s, 9s, 10s, 11s.?
The majority of pupils showed increased attainment from the initial baseline test results through to the post-test score (test 9) administered at the end of the intervention, as shown in Figure 6. Pupil AF showed the most substantial growth, with fluency improving by 72.3 percent.
Figure 6. A bar chart showing baseline to post-test percentage correct attainment scores. A third source of data in this study was focused observations of the children during practice sessions. These observation forms were used to indicate children?s levels of engagement during the practice sessions, qualitatively measuring how well the children were engaging with the intervention technique. Due to time limitations and the nature of this small-scale enquiry four observations were undertaken in total, representing one focused session for each participant, as a result its outcomes are not to be deemed rigorous nor definitive in terms of behavioural trends (Wilson, 2013). Nonetheless, this snapshot has provided useful evidence supporting a trend of disengagement and pupil SP?s spiky profile and notable lack of
improvement as shown within my test analysis, Figure 7 below shows children?s engagement levels during testing.
reasons for disengagement during the testing may indeed affect outcomes. Further, as noted from all four participant observations, was the explicit and ineffectual use of strategies to calculate multiplication calculations which ranged from counting aloud to counting on fingers, highlighting a very interesting avenue for potential exploration as part of another study.
M indfulness in the primary classroom How can we develop confidence and resilience? Sophie Steven, CTSN SCITT trainee teacher
Recom m en dat ion s
Figure 7. A stacked bar chart showing engagement of participants during one test point during the study- observations undertaken at varying points. Interestingly, the results of the focussed observations clearly show the only participant who did not engage well during the practise tests was the only pupil who did not make any notable progress, showing a strong correlation between these two factors. However, this does not explain pupil LW# marginal progress score of 2.9 percent, a potential reason could have been high baseline scores resulting in a ceiling effect (Wong and Evans, 2007), although this was not explored further within this study. Whilst these observations viewed alone have the potential to be mis-interpreted, when viewed in relation to pupil SP# self-assessment comment generated by this pupil at the mid-test point, the disengagement observed during testing is reinforced, adding robustness to these assertions, see Figure 8.
Figure 8. A pupil identified as disengaged through research assistant observations. Perspectives of times tables practice, mid-testing: ?I am not very happy about my tables and no I?m not getting [it].? Furthermore, evidence indicates potential
Due to the nature of this small-scale qualitative study, it is not possible to make generalisable claims. However, the findings of this study suggest the value of systematic practice of multiplication facts within primary schools for lower attaining year five pupils, and a tentative link has emerged between increased practice sessions and positive outcomes for some pupils including how the children themselves perceived their progress and general feelings towards their multiplication fact knowledge. It is important to note however that increased attainment only tended to occur when pupils were engaged in the process. Further, a repeat of this research would be useful on a larger scale to add robustness to the findings (Dudovskiy, 2016). As a result of undertaking this study, I have gained a deeper understanding of how to practically apply interventions within my classroom to effect real change, driven by the desire to reflect on the efficacy of my teaching practice and to improve outcomes for the children in my classroom (Wilson, 2013). In addition, as noted within the final phase of Dewey?s (1910, cited in Rodgers, 2002, pp 864) reflective thinking process, aptly phrased ?reflection on reflection,?through undertaking this action-research new ideas and possibilities have been generated. Further, as a result of the observations that were undertaken within this project, avenues for further research that have arisen could explore the effectiveness of strategies children choose to use during timed systematic multiplication practice sessions, to ascertain their impact, as this represents one area that was unexpectedly observed and made me curious as to its causal effect on engagement and outcomes.
This research centres on the implementation of mindfulness techniques in a Primary classroom. The fear of failure is a crippling aspect of learning, which can hinder confidence and performance and consequently must be addressed to promote healthy attitudes to learning. Jones (2011) advocates that ?mindfulness inherently increases self-awareness, and nurtures the capacity to regulate automatic emotional reactions to life?s slings and arrows? (p 738). Therefore, if we are able to implement techniques that provide children with the tools to build their own self-confidence, then they will be able to regulate their emotional
reaction to adversity and move forwards positively. Jones (2011) suggests that the benefits of mindfulness teaching are broad and extensive, detailing ?increased sensory awareness; greater cognitive control; enhanced regulation of emotions, acceptance of transient thoughts and feelings; and the capacity to regulate attention? as the result (p 737). With this claim arises the notion that mindfulness teaching has the ability to promote greater control over emotion and even awareness of emotion, self and others which is supported by Brown (2015) who suggests that ?[t]he practice of mindfulness [? ] offers a
practical way to help young people regulate their emotions, reduce depression and stress and boost their subjective well-being?. This tentatively alludes to increased general confidence in the learning environment. This enquiry will focus on the ways in which a mindfulness intervention can support children?s confidence, focusing on the research question: What are Year 4 and 5 pupils? perspectives of mindfulness teaching? As part of this, seven fifteen-minute, independent sessions were carried out over a two-week period:
Overall, this research suggests that there was an overall increase in the
Data indicated that the majority of pupils felt that their confidence levels increased after the workshops. Moreover, findings from the focus group all reported some positive changes: -
?I may not be the best at everything but these lessons have gave [sic] me so much courage to think that I am good at a lot? ?I thought the project wouldn?t change much but it really has? ?This project really helped me because it?s made me be able to concentrate more and
that means my Tourette?s won?t go off a lot? ?I think these sessions have helped me, believing in myself especially?
During the focus group, in asking about the pupils? general impressions of the workshops, one child reported: ?At first, when I came here, I didn?t know how to calm down and now I do. In tests I understand how to calm myself ?. It is difficult to observe the effects of this intervention on children?s learning as they are predominantly internal. However, comments made
during interviews indicate that some pupils found the breathing exercises beneficial and used these methods not only in lessons but also at home. During a Maths test, one child was observed visibly implementing deep breathing exercises to help her calm down enough to continue with her test. In using these techniques, it was possible to see how her facial expressions and demeanour changed before she went on to continue with her exam. This suggests that, for this child, the breathing techniques were positive and helped her achieve mindfulness and calm and consequently persevere with the test.
confidence of pupils after the mindfulness workshops. My research data has suggested that the majority of the class participants felt that they were more confident in lessons and understood how to help themselves overcome difficulties. However, the research also suggested that the strategies explored supported children?s general self-belief and self-esteem as well as aiding concentration. However, as a piece of action research, these findings consist of simply the first cycle. In a second cycle of action research, I would conduct the study itself and the data collection over a longer period of time which would enable me to observe the longer-term effects, use of strategies and behavioural changes. Furthermore, it would be beneficial to include another voice in the observations of pupils to
provide another interpretation and thus more conclusive results. In further cycles of the action research, it would also be interesting to investigate more deeply how the well-being and mindfulness workshops not only impact on confidence but also on children?s resilience. As a result of conducting this research, I feel that I have moved forward as a teacher in understanding mental well-being more deeply and the ways that I can support pupils. Wilson (2013) suggests that ?[i]n the process of undertaking such research, a teacher will also come to better understand the dynamics of their classroom?; therefore, through this research I have begun to understand my pupils and their needs in more depth and with greater clarity and consequently will be able to adapt my own teaching and approach to best suit the needs of those children (p 8).
In future, I will implement the strategies covered in this study regularly to ensure that my pupils have a deep understanding of how to support their own well-being and mindfulness. Through this research I am also aware that I will need to lead by example and employ these strategies myself openly with the children. In doing these things I feel that I will help to support the progress and development of children not only in their learning but also in their development as confident, resilient, kind and mindful young people.
Ref er en ces British Educational Research Association (BERA) (2011). Ethical Guidelines for Educational Research. Available at: https://www.bera.ac.uk/researchers-resources/publications/ethical-guidelines-for-educational-research-2011 (Accessed: 15 January 2018). Brock, A. and Hundley, H. (2017). The Growth Mindset Playbook: A Teacher?s Guide to Promoting Student Success.Berkeley: Ulysses Press. Brown, R. (2015). ?Building children and young people?s resilience: Lessons from Psychology?. International Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction, Vol. 14, part 2, pp.115-124. Dove, C. and Costello, S. (2017).?Supporting emotional well-being in schools: a pilot study into the efficacy of a mindfulness-based group intervention on anxious and depressive symptoms in children?. Advances in Mental Health, Vol. 15, no. 2, pp 172-182. Dweck, C.S. (2017). Mindset: Changing the way you think to fulfil your potential. London: Robinson. Jones, J. (2011). ?Mindfulness in schools?. Psychologist,Vol 24, no. 10, pp 736-740. Ricci, M.C. (2015). Mindsets in the Classroom: Everything Educators Needs for Building Growth Mindset Learning Communities.Waco: Prufrock Press Inc. Wilson, E. (2013). School-based Research: A Guide for Education Students. London: Sage Publications Ltd.
Who is marking for? How can we make feedback more effective for pupils yet more manageable for teachers? Andy Leeman, Teacher, RA Butler Academy Throughout my teaching career I have always found marking to be the elephant in the room. Almost everyone at school was in agreement that the time spent on marking books was disproportionate to the amount of impact it had on pupil progress. Yet for several years, we have continued to spend hours and hours of our time providing written feedback for students. Was all this work really for the pupils benefit or was it for the powers that be? Did the students actually value this feedback at all? Are there other ways to provide feedback that are more effective for all involved? Teacher workload has been a big issue for several years now and after the government?s teacher workload survey of 2016 and several pieces of research, especially the education endowment funds paper, our school looked into
our marking policy and spent time discussing how we can use other forms of feedback. After speaking to both students and teachers, it became clear that the marking-heavy feedback needed to change. Teachers? responses to surveys outlined that they were feeling that the workload was too high and demanded more than they could give. The responses also demonstrated that many teachers often marked because they felt they had to rather than for the student?s benefit. When discussing feedback with students, many admitted to not really reading comments made in their books ? something that became obvious when looking through books as many comments were repeated endlessly to students. It became clear to me that whilst my books were beautifully annotated with our
"growing green" and "tickled pink" marking codes, the students had little ownership of their own learning journey and weren?t engaged in the feedback cycle. A working party was set up in our school, involving teachers from across all key stages, set with the task of writing a feedback policy. The key here was that we were tasked with writing a feedback policy rather than a marking policy. This allowed us to think about the different types of feedback. The ethos of the policy would be to provide teachers with more flexibility to make a professional decision on what feedback was necessary to move their children forwards more. If acknowledgement marking (commonly known as a tick and flick) was all that was needed and teacher time could be used to make the next lesson even better, then that
would be the right decision. After all, we as the educators know our class best! Having witnessed a fairly low engagement of pupils in the feedback cycle, I chose to focus on the impact self-assessment can have on children?s learning. I would focus on spending more time at the end of lessons really honing in on what it is they have been learning, recognising where they have been successful and thinking of ways they could have been more successful.
We finalised the feedback policy and introduced it to all staff at the start of the 2017-2018 academic year. Teachers were initially wary of the changes and many found it hard to veer away from the heavy marking they had previously been doing but as a staff, we have continually reviewed the policy and made necessary adaptations. In fact, we are still changing things at this moment and see the policy as very much a working document.
The results of this mini experiment revolutionised the way I teach. My year 4 students grew in maturity massively as a result of having a greater ownership of their learning and their ability to articulate exactly where they were in their learning journey surpassed every one of my expectations. Immediately I had cut down on the amount of marking I was doing (especially in Maths) and the children were more engaged with the feedback they were receiving ? it was a win-win situation. I was also finding my feedback was more targeted and I was able to intervene more quickly in my classroom due to the feedback five piles that were being used. I could glance through the books of the children who had self-assessed as feeling unconfident and put an afternoon intervention in place to ensure they were confident before the next lesson. It became clear that the strategies we were trialling were having a big impact on the learning in the classroom.
Throughout learning walks it was clear that the initial findings I had in my classroom last year were being found across the school and the ownership the children now show in their learning is incredible. It is a real joy to walk through several Maths lessons and have in depth discussions with the children about their learning and to hear them describe in detail how they are doing ? in most cases very accurately. It has become very easy to see the progress in children?s books as they document their journey through topics with precision and see where teachers are intervening when children are struggling. It was obvious that the policy has helped to make feedback more effective for the learners in the school. Now for the other party involved in the feedback cycle ? the teachers. In the early summer term, I produced a questionnaire to gauge their perceptions of the workload and compare this with the same time last year. The results were hugely
positive. Prior to the introduction of the policy, 50% of the teachers were spending more than 10 hours marking each week and this has now been reduced to 22%. Whilst this is still a very high figure, it is certainly a step in the right direction. Some teachers still feel that they mark too much and need more time to become fully confident in implementing all of the feedback strategies so I would hope that next year, that figure could decrease even further. However, I strongly believe we are on the right path for making feedback more manageable for practitioners. It is an exciting time at the school and it is pleasing to know that we continue to develop this policy to ensure that the effectiveness for both students and teachers is at the forefront of any decision making. We?ve made some big steps over the past year and I hope we continue to find strategies that help our children take ownership of their learning and allow us to facilitate this rather than administer it. Educational endowment foundation report - A Marked Improvement (2016) The nature of effective feedback. A review of the literature for Research-I informed Peer Review (2016) David Godfrey, London Centre for Leadership in Learning Eliminating unnecessary workload around marking, Independent Teacher Workload Review Group, March 2016
WHAT ELSE FROM CTSN? This journal, launched at the CTSN Research conference on 10th July 2018, celebrates some of the Research that has taken place in the Cambridge Teaching Schools?Netw ork (CTSN) schools during this academic year. How ever, CTSN, w hich is a collaboration of Teaching School Alliances incorporating six National Support Schools, delivers not only R&D but Initial Teacher Training, School-to-School Support and Professional Development. CTSN has organised itself so that each area of Teaching School activity - In it ial Teach er Tr ain in g, Pr of ession al Developm en t , Sch ool-t o-Sch ool Su ppor t an d Teach er Resear ch - is effectively overseen by a Strategy Group with representation from each Lead School and other strategic partners. These Strategy Groups are then overseen by an over-arching Steering Group that sets overall strategic direction and confirms major decisions.
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As well as the six lead partners -
Cambourne Village College Comberton Village College Histon and Impington Junior School Parkside Federation Saffron Walden County High School Swavesey Village College
The University of Cambridge Institute of Education, UCL Anglia Ruskin University The University of Bedford The Open University Cambridgeshire Local Authority Peterborough Local Authority Leadership East
Through these wide-ranging and powerful partnerships, it can work with educational professionals and schools in the following areas:
CTSN offers all types of Pr of ession al Developm en t , whether short courses, longer courses, twilight opportunities or bespoke programmes.
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CTSN has further strategic partners with whom it works closely with in order to deliver Initial Teacher Training, Professional Development, School-to-School Support and Teacher Research. These major strategic partners include: -
In it ial Teach er Tr ain in g. Whatever route and style of training is wanted by any potential trainees, we can provide this, whether salaried or training.
Su ppor t f or sch ools tailored to the need of the individual school. This can include major support across all areas of achievement or smaller more specific areas of support. Our Specialist Leaders of Education (SLEs) are available for this as are other staff, both at senior level and also classroom practitioners (often Advanced Skills Teachers).
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Support for Resear ch work and projects, whether for individuals or school.
For m or e det ails go t o: h t t ps:/ / w w w.ct sn r esear ch .com
Ca m b r i d ge Tea ch i n g Sch o o l N et w o r k : Resea r ch & Dev el o p m en t Saf f r on Walden Cou n t y High Sch ool Au dley En d Road Saf f r on Walden Essex CB11 4UH T: 01799 513030 F: 01799 513031 w w w .ctsnresearch.com