In the modern world of teaching, with formal observations, OFSTED and 'outstanding progress lessons, it is far too easy for lessons to become a tick box exercise where various features have to be observed to be taking place in order for the lesson to receive a positive judgement. However, if we strip the performance of observations back and look at the core features, we can ask what are the foundations that make great learning happen? Here are 7 key parts to lessons and learning that form the 'Teaching Essentials'.
The Learning Adventure is a simple scaffold for teachers which allows you to plan an exciting and engaging unit of learning for the children in your class. It follows an inquiry model used and followed by many creative and tech businesses when developing new products. This is a chance to deliver the curriculum in a modern and fun way that engages children and builds key skill that they will need for future success! Time to innovate!
Sometimes the smallest things we say and do as teachers can have the biggest impact on children and their learning. More often than not, it is the things that teachers have always said like 'Do you understand?' and 'What is the answer?' that can actually have a negative impact on certain children. By making slight changes to the things we say, we can actually allow children to develop in a far more positive and focused way. Here are our top 5 things you should say more of in the classroom!
Where risks are taken, mistakes are made and where mistakes are made, learning happens. This is the philosophy taken by teachers with their pupils but rarely do we apply it to our own practice. More often than not teachers play it safe and stick to what they know, particularly during lesson observations. Literacy WAGOLL would like to introduce 'Take a Risk Tuesdays!'. It is time to experiment, it is time to innovate!
Progress, progress, progress! That is the word every Ofsted inspection focuses on, every headteacher talks about in every staff meeting and the one word that has rolled teachers eyes for years. However, when you look beyond the buzzword and look at what is actually means on a day to day basis, it simply is an expectation that all children are learning well. Two of the most important question to ask yourself as a teacher are, 'Are the children learning well in this lesson?' and ' Do they know it?'. If the answer is no to either or both of these, here is a simple tip to instantly improve your lesson planning and teaching!
Recently, prior to an inspection, a colleague of mine approached me with a dilemma. They wanted to introduce a new short text to their children but was concerned that if that lesson was observed, they may not show 'Ofsted Outstanding Progress'. Many schools around the UK and world promote 'library time' or 'free reading time' which give children chances to read books for pleasure in order promote a love for reading. The theory behind this is that if children develop this passion for reading, they will be more willing to read and in turn develop their skills at a much faster rate - leading to progress. However, was my colleague right to be concerned about Ofsted seeing these 'free reading times'? Did she have a point? Can promoting a love for reading really be integrated with producing an 'Ofsted outstanding lesson'? After all, where is the accelerated progress in 15 minutes of free reading?
In terms of progress, each school has their own stance on what that means and how it looks in their classrooms, however there is no doubt that promoting a love of reading can lead to future outstanding progress. Promoting a love for all subjects leads to a greater focus and determination to achieve. After all, isn't that why we are teachers - because we have a passion for education and helping people learn?
Below are a few ideas of how to promote a love for reading in your lessons whilst having a clear direction towards fantastic progress!
Learning to think critically and reason may be one of the most important skills that today's children will need for the future. Ellen Galinsky, author of Mind in the Making, includes critical thinking on her list of the seven essential life skills needed by every child. In today’s global and rapidly changing world, children need to be able to do much more than repeat a list of facts; they need to be critical thinkers who can make sense of information, analyse, compare, contrast, make inferences, and generate higher order thinking skills. To get you started, here are six simple ways to get your children reasoning!
Questioning is one of the foundations of learning. a good question can be the most powerful tool for learning a teacher has. If a child is asked a great question, new viewpoints, ideas and understanding can be developed. A good question can enthuse, stir, and provoke children which can eventually lead to a newly gained skill, deeper understanding or a new viewpoint.
Good questions can:
Having good questioning skills doesn't happen over night; below are some ways in which you can develop your questioning skills in your day to day practice. Additionally, if you want to develop your skills more please take part in our online PD class!
New year, new start! As we enter 2018, people across the world, give up chocolate, take up exercise and make new resolutions. But, what will you change in the classroom? Here are 10 easy tweaks you can make to your professional practice that can make a huge difference to you and your children!
Over the decades, teaching strategies have evolved and progressed to support and enhance the quality of learning taking place in classrooms. This is usually due to research or professionals innovating their approaches and seeing the gained impact on the children. This results in the new idea being shared with other professionals. However, some small strategies are still used in classrooms today, even though they don’t always support student development. This is usually because teachers don’t even notice they are using them. They become ingrained by accident. Dave Brailsford, as the new General Manager and Performance Director for Team Sky, stated that if you change 100 things by 1%, you improve yourself by 100%. To get you started, here are 5 small changes every teacher should make to have a positive impact on the children.