A year ago we changed the way we offered staff development by launching an Enquiry Hub model. The thinking behind this project was to open up the thinking in our school beyond the questions that we usually pose our teachers and let them set the agenda for their learning. This was the most exciting thing about the whole venture: unlike traditional CPD, we weren’t sure what the answers would be, or even what questions would be asked.
Enquiry question: ‘Which tools and strategies, both teacher-led and independent, effectively support and engage KS4 learners in climbing out of the “learning pit”?’
My enquiry question was built from extensive academic research that discuss the dangers of pitching lessons too low – essentially ‘spoon-feeding’ information to pupils – in the belief that this is ‘learning’. An intriguing opposition to this form of teaching is James Nottingham’s concept of the “learning pit”; in short, that pupils must be cognitively challenged, leading to confusion, but with the right tools, strategies and support, they “climb out of the learning pit”, and consequently have a fuller understanding of the concept. In my reading, I have discovered that this teaching strategy is commonly applied to primary teaching and mathematics, but there is little evidence of its application in Modern Language teaching. Could it be applied effectively to MFL teaching? Continue Reading