Teaching and Learning Bulletin Issue Two - January 2015
CONTENTS TYPING OR WRITING: WHICH IS BETTER? TEEP SHARING ‘TAKE-AWAY HOMEWORK’ MENU YOU SAY, WE PAY OFSTED THOUGHTS COLLABORATIVE LEARNING Writing or Typing. Which one is better for remembering? There is nothing like a good debate to spark your thinking and there is currently a debate raging in education which would make for a good discussion point in a lesson designed to get students thinking. The debate revolves around the theories and differing viewpoints of whether we should be writing or using keyboards to produce notes, assignments or communication media.
Returning from our Christmas break we are all clear about what lies ahead and the key word for the next term and beyond is ‘challenge’. Challenge in how we plan and prepare our learning programmes and challenge for all students in all of our lessons. This term is our Epiphany term and the word Epiphany refers to a realisation or a revelation. Our aim is to help students of all levels realise their potential and provide them with the determination to strive to do better.
learning we will begin our weekly TEEP PEEPs this term. During the ten minute sessions staff will work with a partner to share an element of a lesson produced using the TEEP process. Initially the focus will be on the construct element of the lesson and it is through this sharing of good practice that we will see improvements in our overall teaching and learning.
‘TEEP PEEPS’ As part of our on-going transformation of teaching and In December 2014 the Finnish education ministry announced that touch typing lessons would become part of the compulsory school curriculum and planned to implement this from the start of the autumn term in 2016. And by this they do not mean alongside cursive handwriting lessons, but rather instead of handwriting lessons. From now on touch typing will be compulsory – handwriting lessons being optional. Indeed it isn’t just Finland that is favouring typing lessons over handwriting lessons, with Digital Trends revealing that “The majority
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of schools in the U.S. have also voted to phase out cursive writing lessons.” This, however, is in sharp contrast with scientists from Princeton University and the University of California who say typing is less effective for aiding long term memory than writing. If you need to remember something, they feel, you should write it. Writing notes by hand is much better for long-term memory of ideas, or conceptual information. That is the finding of a 2014 study published in the journal Psychological Science. Time for a staff room debate. Which side of the argument do you feel you are on?
*Find the ‘menu’ template in the staff handbook, under ‘useful downloads’. Here is an idea for making homework more challenging. You can provide students with differentiated options and ask them to choose a ‘flavour’ they want to do. Each term they must select at least one ‘Extra Hot’ flavour task to do. You can use the Chili-ometer template in the TEEP folder in the staff shared area to make your own Take Away Homework Menu!
At the end of the Autumn term and before staff and students left for the Christmas holiday, departments got together for a TEEP sharing session. This session was designed to review the progress being made and to create a TEEP debate.
This time proved to be very productive as they were given an opportunity to share TEEP resources and inform their colleagues about ‘TEEP’ lessons staff had used since the phase one training days. Here members of the Business & ICT department discuss some ideas for the Year 9 programme of study for the coming term.
LESSON IDEA: You Say, We Pay
Long before we embarked on the TEEP programme St Chad’s staff understood the need to prepare students for learning and employed a wide range of starter
activities with this in mind. Many of these ideas and resources can now be found in the TEEP folder on the RMStaff shared area of the school network. One example of a quick and easy starter resource is the ‘You say, we pay’ game. Here students working in pairs have to describe a person, animal or item to their partner, without using the words on the screen and see how many they can get right. For each one they get correct the pair gain a reward (Vivos) or an imaginary sum of money. An extension to this idea would be to ask students to prepare similar screens for each other as an additional challenge. This is an excellent way of improving their literacy skills.
The MORE that you READ, the more THINGS you will KNOW. The MORE you LEARN, the more PLACES you’ll GO! ~Dr. Seuss
In our last edition we looked at how we can use contributions made by students in the development phase of the learning process by employing a ‘working wall’. The wall can be used effectively to present ideas, thoughts and even completed work. However, it is also possible to present student’s work using various forms for ICT. One very effective way of quickly
projecting work drawn or written by a student is by using a visualiser. The latest visualisers are wireless and are capable of video capture and streaming using IPads or other tablet technologies. More interactive than the more basic ‘working wall’ using ICT can prove to be both engaging and thought provoking.
Collaborative Learning Collaborative learning in the classroom works when you have group goals, so you have students working as a group rather than just working in a group, and individual accountability, so that every single student is individually accountable as well as collectively accountable so you can’t have any passengers. There are many ways in which teachers can set those two conditions but if you can establish group goals with
individual accountability then the research evidence suggests that can approximately double the speed of student learning. When you create accumulative learners - when you create a group of people who meet collectively on shared goals to help each other master something - something rather magical happens.
January 27th sees the third of our TEEP training days as staff move towards Level 2 of the ‘Effective Teacher and Learner Behaviours’ Programme.
SUGGESTED RESEARCH In our first edition of ‘The Steep Learning Curve’ we reviewed the notion of ‘flipped learning’. To find out more about how this can help to improve teaching and learning we recommend you look at the work of Bergmann and Sams. Their work started with a simple observation: Students need their teachers present to answer questions or to provide help if they get stuck on an assignment; they don’t need their teachers present to listen to a lecture or review content. From there, Jonathan Bergmann and Aaron Sams
began the flipped classroom: Students watched recorded lectures for homework and completed their assignments, labs, and tests in class with their teacher available. Bergmann and Sams found that their students demonstrated a deeper understanding of the material than ever before. Learn what a flipped classroom is and why it works, and get the information you need to flip your own classroom. You’ll also learn the flipped mastery model, where students learn at their own pace. “Flip Your Classroom” Jonathan Bergmann and Aaron Sams
Observing Teaching and Learning
Inspectors consider whether: »» Teaching engages and includes all pupils, with work that is challenging enough and that meets their individual needs, including for the most able pupils. »» Pupils’ responses demonstrate sufficient gains in their knowledge, skills and understanding, including of literacy and mathematics. »» Teachers monitor pupils’ progress in lessons and use the information well to adapt their teaching. »» Teachers use questioning and discussion to assess the effectiveness of their teaching. and promote pupils’ learning. »» Pupils understand well how to improve their work.