Today me and Andy Tharby spent some time attending class and looking for bright spots – examples of teachers who effectively implement the 6 principles in their classrooms. We saw this:
in the maths. Shane Borrett had marked a number of homework assignments and returned them to his class. Individual students then had to answer the questions they had asked incorrectly. This often goes wrong because if the student at home didn’t know how to answer that particular question, why should they be able to do it now simply because their teacher told them it was wrong? Because of the Feedback Shane had given her to her job. He hadn’t written long comments, just a “push” to steer them in the right direction and see where they went wrong, e.g. “Why didn’t you use this measurement in your calculation?“. Just enough feedback to make them think about where they went wrong and how to fix it without just telling them.
in the EnglishKathryn Clarke had given her Y10 class homework to learn the definitions of various writing instruments (Tier 3 vocabulary). The students then had to recall them at the beginning of the lesson and write down the definitions of the words as presented to them. While they were doing this, Kathryn distributed the class and gave them to them Feedback about how they did it and asked them to support them with those they had to deal with.
in the scienceAlex Brown made his students think about finding them work out, His lesson was on photosynthesis, but students were asked to learn about a previously studied topic – cell organelles. This was done through a “cold call”. survey i.e. ask a question, take a break so everyone has to think about the answer and then choose a student to answer. Alex’s questioning was then placed on a scaffold to link the knowledge from the previous topic with the new one – “What kind of organelle is that? (Chloroplasts) What color is it? Why, what does it contain? What does it do“This showed good progress and was a good start to today’s lesson.
in the Geography Sam Atkins used survey with great effect with Y9. He interviewed a student who appeared to lack self-confidence, as you describe when the focus of an earthquake is close to the surface. The boy’s first answer was “I dont know“But instead of going straight to someone else, Sam very calmly asked the boy to think about an earlier discussion, referred him to a chart on the board that Sam had previously used to explain the idea, and then allowed the silence, while the boy thought – again, to avoid the temptation to just pass the question on to someone else. Finally the boy got the answer – flat. This was also a good example of how to insist on a good level of Challengeby insisting on appropriate use of the Tier 2 vocabulary.
Finally in a Y8 computing Claire Taylor allowed students to do this work out and include the block programming that you used in previous lessons to ensure that you are safe with this knowledge before proceeding to more complex text programming. This is important for the class. Too often we move on to more complex ideas and processes before the students master the knowledge required to do it competently.
These are all examples of great teachers who use really effective teaching strategies in their daily work in the classroom. No gimmicks, just a good, solid lesson based on what the evidence says will most likely work. That’s what Durrington is about.
Shaun Allison is Head of School Improvement at the Durrington Multi-Academy Trust. He is also director of the Durrington Research School’s research school and will provide training onEvidence-based approach to curriculum, teaching and assessment “, “Every lesson counts‘ and ‘An evidence-based approach to improve science education‘.
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