Within this CPD, the goal was to allow people to share good practice and ideas and address the key areas needed to achieve teaching standard 4, plan and teach well-structured lessons. More specifically how can we:
- impart knowledge and develop understanding through effective use of lesson time,
- promote a love of learning and children’s intellectual curiosity
- reflect systematically on the effectiveness of lessons and approaches to teaching.
In order to keep consistency and reliability within the Academy, the school utilises a system called the ‘Westfield Way’. A key part to the Westfield Way is the structure in which we plan lessons; INPUT, ACTIVITY, REVIEW (IAR).
Within the session the group was asked to complete their lesson that they completed previously in that day. This was to make them think as to whether in an average day to day lesson are they using IAR. We discovered that a lot of people completed each cycle as a lesson; but I actually said that people need to consider this more of a spring that has coils and each coil is a learning cycle. This infers that every lesson can have multiple cycles dependant on the group and the subject and similarly you can start at any point on the cycle as long as it includes all the parts.
Then as a group we discussed about input, more specifically how do we transfer knowledge as practitioners? We said that in lessons people like to use a variance of sources and methods to transfer information from teacher such as videos, PowerPoints and newspaper articles. We then discussed what was the average attention span of a teenager. The argument for this was because within a lesson it is said that a student can only pay attention for roughly 20 minutes. This means that if your lesson is content heavy they are less likely to be paying attention and retain information.
If the input section is used to help transfer knowledge the Activities section helps develop the understanding and higher order thinking skills needed in their subject. This was discussed by asking teachers what activities do they use to develop the skills needed in that subject, we can create a means of sharing great ideas, a big idea I discussed was the use of Everlearn road maps to answer questions as it uses a metaphor to make students write the perfect answer. This divulged in to talking about how do we build a love of learning, we concluded that building a love of learning initially stems from passionate teachers, but similarly a teacher that can link learning and the student’s hobbies.
Finally, in the Review section we talked about how we review the learning process that allows pupils to evidence their understanding. We discussed the use questioning to extend and challenge thinking (PPPB & higher vs lower order questions) as well as a proposing the question should we use a range of AFL strategies? We discussed that, although it is good practice to have and use a wide range of strategies it is difficult to use a wide range of AFL strategies in your regular everyday teaching but it is good to find 3 or 4 strategies that can used quickly and easily.
In the next part we listened to a podcast called the way of champions, Alan Keane (GB under 18 basketball coach) spoke about how he gets players to embed learning and how he gets players to continue for 15 minutes if they have not completed the outcome achieved. We spoke through how this would apply in an educational setting with the scenario:
‘You are teaching a termly scheme of work and your class has half grasped the concept and knowledge as a result of your review and consolidation activities, the exam is in 3 weeks, do you stick to the scheme of work set?’
The points raised was that teaching is more difficult as you have to balance progression and the embedding of learning in collaboration with developing knowledge of the curriculum.
Finally, we discussed the final another aspect of teaching standing four, the ability to reflect systematically on the effectiveness of lessons and approaches to teaching. We looked at Gibb’s model of reflection and we decided to speak specifically about what goes in to the Action Plan section of this reflective cycle. Gibb’s highlights that in the action plan section you should answer if it happened again what should you do? Although, further to this I added my opinion, about action plan as I believe it is good to look back at the past and see what you would do differently, it is more important as a practitioner to think what can I do to make the situation better next lesson?
Activity Stage, 12.30pm on Tuesday, 5/2/19
Presented and written by Ryan Murphy.