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Teaching and Learning Bulletin Issue Twelve - December 2015

CONTENTS Teachers Must Relax Low-Level Disruption Successful Parent Consultation Day Being a 15 Year Old Girl Successfully Grouping Students Constructing the Construct Suggested Reading

Teachers must relax over Christmas

Ask any teacher why they need their holidays and they will say that they need to unwind and recharge their batteries. Well support for this notion no exists in the form of a survey conducted by City University, London which has found that it is critical teachers

Design by Adam Tate


As promised in our previous issue we are pleased to be able to report back on first parent consultation day which was extremely successful. November saw an opportunity for parents of students in Year 7 and 8 to meet with subject staff at a time convenient to them as we provided a day constructive meetings to take place. At these sessions parents were able to discuss the progress their child was making and with the subject staff set targets for the coming months. Being able to engage with parents in this way proved to be much more effective than the traditional parent’s evenings which often allow less time for the positive dialogue which took place during the consultation day. In addition to the meetings with subject staff, parents also had an opportunity to see the classrooms were lessons take place and to look at the exercise books their children use in the individual lessons. Finally

stop working in the holidays to avoid burnout and exhaustion. Time off allows teachers to “restore their emotional energy,” the report states. So the Christmas holiday is an important time for all staff at St Chad’s to take a well-earned rest, step back from TEEP and recover from what has been a demanding first term for this academic year.

To contribute to this bulletin please forward any thoughts you have about TEEP or associated topics to

they had the chance to complete a questionnaire which provided the school with useful information about how parents feel we are doing in our quest to improve the educational provision we provide. Some of the results of this survey were:

»» 97% of parents believed their child was happy at St Chad’s »» 95% felt that their child was making good progress »» 100% thought that they were well looked after »» 98% said that their child was taught well at St Chad’s Receiving positive feedback of this nature is extremely satisfying and in terms of teaching and learning it sends a clear message that we are following the right path to making improvements and putting St Chad’s at the forefront of schools that really do make a difference to all students.

Successfully Grouping Students Determining how to deliver instruction to ensure that all students are successfully engaged and making academic progress is a challenging, yet essential task. Selecting groups for group work activities is a key element of an outstanding lesson. A teacher’s grouping practices “provide a means for supporting effective instruction for all students, meeting the cultural and linguistic

needs of all learners, and enhancing opportunities to learn for students with special needs.” It is therefore important that we employ methods of selecting groups that meet the needs of all students. What can help us to select appropriate groups is to first of all consider what effective group work looks like and sounds like. The table below is one particular view of what this could mean.

Teacher: How old is your father? Child: He is 6 years. Teacher: What? How is this possible? Child: He became a father when I was born and I am six. Teacher: Maria, go to the map and find North America. Maria: Here it is. Teacher: Correct. Now class, who discovered America? Class: Maria. Teacher: John, how do you spell ‘crocodile?’ John: ‘K-R-O-K-O-D-I-A-L’ Teacher: No, that’s wrong. John: It might be wrong, but you asked me how I spelt it. Teacher: Daniel, what is the chemical formula for water? Daniel: H I J K L M N O Teacher: What are you talking about? Daniel: Yesterday you said it was H to O. Teacher: James, your composition on ‘My Dog’ is exactly the same as your brother’s. Did you copy? James: No sir; it’s the same dog.

Here are a couple of creative, fun larger than two. way of randomly selecting students for different groups for a group work Alternatively decide how many task. groups you want. Divide the number of students by the number of groups Cut pictures from a magazine (half you want and have them count off as many pictures as members of the by that quotient (for example: you group). Cut each picture in half and have 20 students and want four mix them up in a hat. Each person groups. 20/4+5. Have the students takes one piece and partners count off by 5). are those whose pieces form a complete picture. Laminate pictures Have the students get into groups of sports or sports figures, teams, so there is one of each number in fields, etc. and cut into 4 or more the group (each of the four resulting odd shaped pieces. The students groups in our example will have five with the matching pieces must find students). The resulting group is each other. If you select themes their work group. In a future issue such as fruit or vegetables you can we consider more systematic ways group pairs together to make groups of selecting groups.

Addressing low-levels of classroom disruption Although behaviour in the school is consistently deemed to be good or better like most schools we are aware that low-level, persistent disruptive behaviour does exist and can seriously affect any attempts to improve teaching and learning in some of our lessons. In line with this Ofsted are now warning that behaviour of this nature is affecting pupils’ learning and damaging their life chances. They are also saying that teachers are frustrated and need those in leadership positions to ensure that high standards of pupil behaviour are at the top of the school priority list. To ensure that

it is at the forefront of our thinking, behaviour and particularly lowlevel disruptive behaviour will be the theme of our staff Inset in February 2016. In the meantime it is worth looking at some strategies which many schools are employing in the challenge to eradicate low-level disruption in the classroom. These strategies are not ‘rocket science’ and have featured in teacher training for decades. What is important is that we adopt a back to basics approach and remember the bedrock of teaching which has been perceived as being quality teaching in all good schools. With a noisy class often lowering your

As teachers it is important that we fully understand the stress associated with being a student studying for GCSE examinations. If we are going to be able to support students through the difficulties they might face in the months leading up to the summer examination period developing this understand is a key element of our thoughts on teaching and learning. For girls the stress can often be even more acute and perhaps needs a whole new level of understanding. The image below shows some of the thoughts that young girls have as they cope with being 15 years old and

approach the most important set complexities of our teaching, let’s of examinations they will perhaps spare a thought for the external face in their lives. issues which young students and girls in particular bring into the So as we consider our lesson classroom with them. contents, learning styles and other

Being a 15 year old girl...

voice can be an effective way of controlling the situation, moving around is a powerful method to ensure students remain on task and being prepared in terms of resources and knowing how best to start the lesson. Using positive language, remaining calm and addressing low-level disruption quickly and in a prompt manner are other important elements to include in every lesson. Of course, these techniques may not always work and may need to be adapted to suit a situation, but expecting low-level disruption can help to prepare all teachers for the challenges they face in their lessons. It will be interesting to report back on the Inset taking place in February.

Using the TEEP model allows us to develop our lessons in a systematic way, but the construct section is often the most difficult to get right. In this

part of the model students are given the time and opportunity to develop understanding of the new information they have been presented with and to practice using their developing skills. They are actively engaged in exploring the content. At this time it would be common for them to be working in groups, talking with each other about their work, quite often making errors, but most of all working towards

SUGGESTED READING John Hattie has developed a global wealth of research in order to provide evidence for what works in education. The findings are fascinating and thought-provoking: strategies like homework are exposed, whereas strategies like formative feedback are heralded. The motto of the book is ‘know thy impact’ and it explains there is no ‘silver bullet’ answer, but that we must approach our teaching with passion and ‘deliberate practice’, focusing in upon the evidence of

what works for our students. Don’t be put off by the statistical analysis or the science of a ‘meta-analysis’ – even teachers who are less skilled in numeracy can get the hang of the numbers! ‘Visible Learning’ – the original Hattie text, for which he has based this sequel – was rather grandly labelled “the Bible” in one review, but it really is a seminal work. A must read!

building understanding what they have been presented with. The activities students are engaged in could be completing a related practical task, drawing a graph, producing a storyboard, doing a card sort exercise or taking part in a class role play session. Variety is important to TEEP and this is perhaps the place in your lesson where the biggest variety can be achieved. The ‘search for meaning’ should, without a doubt, encourage learners to think at increasingly high levels, work collaboratively, independently at times and to achieve the learning outcomes.

The STEEP Learning Curve - Issue 12 December 2015  

St Chad's Catholic & Church of England High School

The STEEP Learning Curve - Issue 12 December 2015  

St Chad's Catholic & Church of England High School