“Are there any questions?”

…Following this year’s INSET I vowed never to say these words again. Yet, they crept back into my lessons almost immediately. Scolding myself at the start of most days since, I’m beginning to change the phrasing and structure of my questioning:

What do you understand?”

“What is the first step to this task, and what should you include?” Continue Reading

HubShare: Looking Back on a Year of Enquiry

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.

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HubTales: a case study from our Pitch and Challenge Hub 7 weeks in.

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

Feedback with Impact!

Time effective strategies to make sure that feedback always leads to learning

I ran an inset today with a colleague about giving ‘Feedback with Impact’. We deliberately avoided the word ‘marking’ because there are so many ways to communicate with pupils about their learning. We wanted to focus on ‘Impact’ because feedback is only worthwhile if it leads to learning. Continue Reading

Let’s Get Pupils Thinking Hard pt.1

“Memory is the residue of thought.”–Daniel Willingham

When considering the factors leading to pupil progress, it is tempting to over complicate the issue. Whilst teaching is doubtless a complex art (or is it a science?), can learning really be attributed to one crucial variable: the amount of time that pupils spend ‘thinking hard’? Continue Reading

D Shoebridge: The Power of Association in the Formation of Mind Sets

As human beings we are bombarded with messages that shape our understanding of our environment on a daily basis. As a member of staff at Kennet School we can associate a pupil with belonging to a particular house in a split second, just by a colour. In our home life, through our exposure to media advertising, it is possible to associate a single letter from a logo to a particular brand or product. In an effort to increase sales, companies invest millions of pounds in product placement to get their new accessory to be associated with a high profile film. With Christmas around the corner, we associate Santa Claus as being a plump man with rosy cheeks and a bushy white beard. The key to all of these examples is the association. We see something and we associate it with something else. It is a natural part of human behaviour; however these associations can also shape our beliefs in either a positive or negative way.
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Professional Development Questions

At our inset day on 23rd October I spoke about each of us creating a professional development question to provide a framework for our thinking and development over the coming months (in one defined area at least). The rationale behind this is to try and make our CPD more effective by bringing it into the classroom and therefore closer to our daily practice. 
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