Meet the T&L Team – How you can get involved this year

Today, in a special Teaching and Learning briefing, the members of the Teaching and Learning Team introduced themselves and their roles for the year. Read on to find out more about the various foci of the team, and how Beaumont staff can get more involved with T&L.

Bring Your Own Device and New Technologies

Andy Gray

Role

To share and demonstrate ideas on how mobile devices and ‘new technologies’ can be used to enhance and extend Teaching and Learning at Beaumont.

Aims for 2015 – 2016

  1. Create a document/booklet containing examples of apps, websites and platforms, categorised according to the following key areas of Teaching and Learning: feedback, assessment, revision, differentiation and collaboration and communication. Ideas have been (and hopefully will continue to be) submitted by a wide range of Beaumont staff.
  2. Seek feedback from departments with regards to which apps, websites and platforms they wish to utilise/learn more about. Find time in department meetings and/or INSET to demonstrate and provided training.
  3. Explore the use of Google Apps for Education, including Google Classroom (with James Goddard). Google Classroom serves as a platform for teachers to create and organise assignments quickly, provide feedback efficiently and easily communicate with their classes. Works alongside Google’s popular suite of productivity and storage applications.
  4. Set up a working group to test and feedback on the effectiveness of Google Apps for Education and Google Classroom. This is currently in its early stages of testing – more details will follow on how and why to get involved.

New Ideas for Everyday Teaching

Nat Moody

Role

  1. To form a working party to experiment with new ideas, and then share their experience with colleagues and the wider teaching community. The group will draw on various resources e.g. T&L library, colleagues to get new ideas, and use them within lesson where appropriate once every term.
  2. Following the trial of the new ideas, members of staff will be asked to write a review (in which they should provide some context of the lesson and group) which can be shared via the T&L blog, Bring and Buys, resource board and possibly through Heads of Subject.

Higher-Level Thinking and Challenge 

Fiona Pinkerton

Role

Development and research of new strategies to encourage students’ higher-level thinking, and to challenge them in the classroom. To provide resources, ideas and support for Beaumont teachers to allow them to implement new strategies in the classroom and in lesson planning, with the main aim being to support students in gaining a better understanding of how they learn.

Aims for 2015-2016

  1. Meet with a group of teachers, across a range of subjects, to introduce ideas and feedback from students so far, with the aim for Beaumont teachers to then trial their preferred ideas in the classroom. Meeting: 5/10/15 in Lab 42.
  2. During the course of the year I will email those teachers who attended the above meeting with resources, new things to trial out and to check in and see how things are going.
  3. During the year there will be a following two meetings in the Spring term and Two in the summer term. This will provide an opportunity for the group to discuss and share successes and failures.
  4. There will also be opportunities during the year for the group to observe one another; this will allow teachers to see how strategies are implemented differently in different classrooms.
  5. I hope that collectively during the course of the year we will collate resources and ideas, and make improvements to these strategies in order to share them with the rest of the staff.

What students are saying so far

“When Miss Pinkerton showed us some of these learning methods it helped me to understand what is going on. It is not all in the teachers’ hands. It’s given me a sense of control over my own learning.” Niamh (Year 12 Chemist St Michaels Garston)

“Using the hexagons helped me to understand how to link the ideas together. It enabled me to answer the harder question and get full marks.” Will Mattin  (Year 10 Chemist Beaumont)

“The hardest questions in the exams are the ones that seem to have nothing to do with what we have learnt. When Miss used the cause and effect map to break down what I needed to put in my answer, I started to make the links and finally understood what the question wanted me to answer.” Amy Cowan (Year 9 Beaumont)


Smarter Marking and Assessment

Fiona Rosler

Role

To examine and apply various time-saving marking strategies to try and reduce workload of marking, whilst still providing enough feedback for students to progress.

Aims for 2015-2016

  1. Trial various marking and assessment strategies with my own classes to examine any advantages or disadvantages.
  2. Look at examples of marking from other departments to examine what works best for specific subjects. Departments will be contacted about this in the coming weeks.
  3. Provide ideas and advice at the November INSET to help staff to find a system that will work for them and which fits around their schedule.
  4. Collect feedback and opinions from a variety of staff and subjects to help advance these ideas throughout the year.

Developing Numeracy Skills

Fiona Rosler

Aims for 2015-2016

For all students to be able to understand and work with numbers in any subject. They should recognise when it is necessary or appropriate to use their numeracy skills and be able to apply these skills in various contexts outside of the Maths classroom.

This will be achieved by:

  1. Working initially with the Science, Geography and PE departments. Heads of Department have already been contacted.
  2. Looking at areas on SOWs which already involve numeracy and examining how/when these topics are taught – are they consistent with maths lessons?
  3. Attending department meetings for these subjects to discuss teaching methods and consistency with methods and keywords.
  4. Running Maths Week activities as last year.

To get involved, please speak to the member of the team responsible for each focus.

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The Questioning Quails have arrived

question marksIn our Teaching and Learning INSET sessions at Beaumont, we always try to demonstrate the ideas we are aiming to raise and discuss, by using them in the session itself. For our third T&L INSET of this year we focused on how to use questioning in lessons in order to assess understanding, increase engagement and promote depth in pupil learning. We tried out and discussed a variety of techniques during the session and staff (as ever) were enthusiastic about about sharing their own ideas.

The first slide on this powerpoint shows the questions we talked about first – showing questions at the start of the lesson as pupils arrive is always a good way to get them thinking right from their arrival in the room, the trick being to find the “right” questions. We then went on to play “pass the parcel” (yes, we had a real parcel and music – thanks Dave) and inside each layer was a new question which we could discuss. This idea could be used in small groups to promote discussion amongst peers, or as a whole class for assessing understanding and promoting further learning. As a whole class teaching and assessing device, it works at it’s best when the questions are “bounced” around – using the ideas from one pupil to feed the understanding and further ideas from others. The technique of “pose, pause, pounce, bounce” promoted by @TeacherToolkit is a useful tool here. The questions we discussed in our pass the parcel were:pass the parcel

  • What do you do about the student who always says “I don’t know”?
  • How can you ensure the class listen to and build upon the responses of others?
  • How do you encourage students to ask quality questions before, during and after your lessons?
  • How do you ensure your questions cater for all abilities whilst making sure all students are engaged?
  • What is the best question you have ever been asked by a student?

thinking diceWe then had a go at using the “Thinking Dice” by throwing these lovely soft cubes of questions around the room and thinking up questions as we went along. Something similar with particular questions could be produced by pupils (cube nets are very easy to generate) or by using the dice which have a little whiteboard on each face (see the advent calendar).

A treasure hunt followed where we had time to think about how some very useful questions can be used with a very powerful effect – allowing pupils to make connections, extend their thinking, provide more depth in their answers, but also teach the idea that learning is also about them asking quality questions of their teacher (Skills for Success strikes again!).

Staff then spent some time thinking about a lesson they were going to teach the next day, using the questioning triangle and answers triangle to plan their questions for the lesson. They considered:

  • When they were going to ask the question (at which point in the lesson);
  • How they were going to ask the question (a technique we had talked about or another they already knew to be successful);
  • How the answers might affect the rest of the lesson (there is space to write these thoughts at the bottom of the sheet).

Most felt that this process was extremely valuable as it showed how by deciding upon the questions for a lesson, and considering what a teacher does with the results, allows the lesson to be very effectively planned.Questioning Quail

It was then time for a bit of origami, as those teachers who could remember fortune tellers from their primary school days deftly demonstrated the technique of folding which had previously allowed them to find out which primary school classmate was to be their future husband (or wife!). These fortune tellers are a lovely engaging way to get pupils asking and discussing questions, perhaps even designing their own in order to challenge their peers.questioning quails

Finally, the Questioning Quails were brought out so that staff could write down ideas which they already use and know to be successful ready for sharing around the school. Some ideas are already in the nest of Questioning Quails in the staff room, some will be made into cards for the ever growing black box of ideas, and we will put a list of as many as we can in a blog post once they have all been gathered in.

Measuring Progress for Sixth Form

By Sarah Hosegood

At the Teachmeet a couple of weeks ago I presented three ideas linked to measuring progress during sixth form lessons. Below is a brief summary of each one and the presentation I showed can be found on the T&L blog.

whiteboard of progress

The Whiteboard of Progress

This idea can be used during a carousel activity, during a practical lesson, during a research lesson or can be left on the board during a lesson containing several smaller activities. On your classroom whiteboard, write up the lesson objective(s) or an exam question they are aiming to answer. Underneath this draw an arrow with key times during the lesson written on. As the students complete activities/ research/ the practical etc, they are asked at these key times to write on a post-it note what they have found out or achieved towards the lesson objective or exam question. These post-it notes can be reviewed by the teacher and can be a point of discussion during the lesson.  The end point of the activities could be the students answering the exam question or presenting to the class the knowledge they have gained in order to meet the lesson objectives.

draft peer redraft

Draft, Peer, Re-Draft = Progress

Either as a result of home learning or a starter activity, students bring in a draft of an exam answer. They give this draft to their peer, who either uses sticky dots or a brightly coloured pen to indicate where in the answer they think improvements could be made. They then join up and give verbal feedback to explain the location of their dots.  The work is passed back to the original student and they re-draft the answer trying to improve using the feedback they have been given.

core challenge

Core, Challenge and Super-Challenge Question Grid

Depending on how many questions you want the students to write, this activity can be a mini or final plenary, or a part of the main activities in the lesson. Students use their learning from the topic or lesson to write questions about it. These questions start as simple ‘core’ questions using basic exam question command words, and then progress to more complex ‘super challenge’ questions. Once the questions have been written students can walk around the classroom asking their peers the questions and listening to the answers given. If they are satisfied with the answer they place the students’ initials in the question box. This can then be reviewed by the teacher. Or, students can challenge one of their peers to answer one of their questions during the lesson and they could peer mark each others’ answers or use the ‘draft, peer, re-draft’ idea above.

Daring to change

By Laura Hawkins

Two weeks on from #Beaumontteachmeet and I’m still buzzing.   I have gained so many things from the event.  Not only great ideas on the night but a host of new people to follow on twitter so that the great ideas just keep coming.

When I was asked to present, I struggled to know what to present on.  Should I just show a teaching idea, or talk about the coaching work that I’ve done to help colleagues and students?  In the end I decided to present on some books which have inspired me in the past 18 months and which have, in some ways, changed all my thinking, both personally and professionally.  So my presentation was about three books that have helped me to move a little closer to solving the issue of confidence, or rather lack of confidence.  I’m not talking about confidence to socially interact.  I know lots of adults and children that would ostensibly appear to be very confident, but who actually lack that deep inner confidence which has held them back from achieving as much as they could in their life.  The students who never put their hand up or take part unless they are certain of success. The students who don’t attempt anything so they can’t fail.  Not just the real underachievers, but also the ones who do ‘okay’ but never excel.

bounce

 

The first book I talked about was ‘Bounce’ by Matthew Syed.  His book describes the power of practice – the idea that anyone can be good at anything if they practise enough.  He certainly has lots of compelling examples in his book from chess champions to marathon runners to budding artists (who all claimed they were not artistic!).

For me, while it made me stop and think, it did not answer the question of motivation.  Yes, if we can get students to practise lots they will get good, but how do we get them to practise lots?  What made Tiger Woods happy to practise his swing from the age of 3, or motivated David Beckham to kick a ball repeatedly till he mastered his set pieces?  However, despite, in my view, not having all the answers, he mentioned repeatedly the work of Carol Dweck, so I busied myself reading ‘Mindset’.

mindset

 

This is it!  I drove a few people mad telling them that this was the answer, and that everyone should read it and that we need to make people understand that there are different mindsets.   We need to be educating students, parents and teachers about mindsets.  Carol Dweck’s basic premise is that there are two mindsets: fixed and growth.  Those with a fixed mindset tend to avoid challenges and see their ‘intelligence’ as static.  They see little point in working hard and deflect criticism rather than learning from it.  As well as understanding that these two mindsets exist and that education about them is required, I also took from the book the very strong need to only ever praise effort.  Also, that it is important to avoid any labels such as ‘gifted and talented’, which seem to imply you are given an ability to do something, rather than having to work for it.

daring greatlyI thought that I had all the answers I needed until somebody recommended that I watch some TED talks by a lady called Brené Brown.  She is a university lecturer and researches shame and vulnerability.  When I read her book ‘Daring Greatly’, I knew that I had another piece of the puzzle.  She talks about the differences between guilt and shame.  Guilt – I did something wrong.  Shame – I am wrong.  She has researched all the different ways that people feel shame and how it holds them back from achieving what they should in life.  She talks about the defence mechanisms that we use to stop ourselves dealing with the shame: perfectionism, crazy-busy, numbing (any activity designed to stop us thinking about what we really feel about ourselves), viking or victim – the list continues.  The point for me was that in her book she explains a way to build up ‘shame resilience’:  ways of talking to students to, again, avoid labels; ways to make people understand what their shame might be and how it is holding them back.  She also writes of how we need to deal with the shame so that you can ‘dare greatly’ (a wonderful Roosevelt quote that is at the end of the article).  Through educating students and teachers alike about these issues, we can start to give those students more opportunities to get involved in school, rather than standing on the outskirts of school life, never taking part (unless certain of success).

What’s next?  Well, I’ve already discovered that lots of schools are already doing great things relating to ‘mindset’.  As with all things, I plan to build on what they have done (standing on the shoulders of giants) and develop resources which can be used in schools to educate students about ‘mindset’ and about ‘daring greatly’. I am lucky to have a few colleagues who are keen to work with me on this little project and I plan to continue to follow like-minded people in the twittersphere, to find out what works and what doesn’t.  Watch this space.

If your school is doing anything, I’d love to hear from you. As I said at #beaumontteachmeet, this is a work in progress.  It is a dream to unlock the door to confident living that holds so many students back.

It is hard to give more than a hint of the content of the books in a 6 minute presentation and also in a short article, but I wholeheartedly recommend 3 great reads…

 

TED talks:

http://www.ted.com/talks/brene_brown_on_vulnerability.html

http://www.ted.com/talks/brene_brown_listening_to_shame.html

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”  Theodore Roosevelt

 

You can follow Laura and her journey into changing mindsets on twitter – @BeaumontCoach