Curious to see what Teaching and Learning events were like locally, three of us on the T and L team attended the annual Autumn conference at Leicester City College last week. The programme was unexpectedly rich, offering a selection of seminars and workshops on a wide range of current educational topics. Sam, Christie and I tried to attend different sessions in the hope that we might represent the diverse interests of Oakham staff and be able to share some of the ideas presented. The quality of the workshops was excellent and we left feeling enthused and inspired.
We thought it would be useful to share some information about the sessions we went to with the Oakham teaching staff and give our impressions of some of the discussions. Many of the speakers are regular tweeters (or ‘tweechers’ as I heard it termed) and are worth following. The full programme is still available to look at if you are interested:
• ‘Ensuring Outstanding Progress, Starting with the Higher Ability’ led by Tina Searle
Tina’s ideas for stretching the best were simple, practical and fun. She presented the SOLO taxonomy (Structure of Observed Learning Outcomes) and how its 5 stages could be used to inform planning. The practical taster of ‘Thinker’s keys’ was fun and useful as a way of introducing higher order thinking. We were given copies of these resources to take away, which I can share with you if you are interested.
• ‘Championing Creativity in the Curriculum’ led by Alex Fairlamb
This was led by an inspiring History teacher who advocated a creative teaching and learning approach to History. From using play doh to make models that demonstrate understanding of historical events to encouraging pupils to learn creatively through pictures and rhymes, her ideas would work across a range of different content-based subjects.
• ‘The Joys of Being a Twitter Magpie – ideas to try in the history classroom’ led by Carol Stubbs.
• ‘Flipping Heck: improving reading and independent skills at A level’ led by Sunny Gunesse
Ideas to facilitate flipped learning
- Give students a student-friendly scheme of work at the start of a course / topic – this means that they know exactly what they are working towards and can plan and work ahead. On the scheme of work you could include:
a. Text book pages references for each topic (students can then read ahead).
b. Exam questions related to each topic.
c. Articles related to each topic.
d. Links to relevant websites or programmes.
e. This all means that students have more control over their own learning and can work ahead or consolidate previous work, with ease.
Discuss key points from prep at the start of the lesson in which the prep is due. This consolidates learning and leads to a greater understanding of the work. Pupils could be asked to break down what they have read by selecting key words or phrases or producing a summary paragraph of what they have read.
Effective highlighting helps pupils to prioritise key points in a piece of work, e.g. ask pupils to highlight a particular numbers of work in a paragraph or across an article.
PQCS – Predict, question, clarify and summarise – use these skills when asking pupils to work through a comprehension question.
Just a minute – could be used when asking pupils to argue for or against a statement or particular point of view. This helps with essay planning and conclusions.
- The Psychology behind Sticky Notes – and how to effectively use them in teaching practice to encourage Collaborative Learning’ led by Kevin Dajee
Using Sticky Notes
This leads to more student involvement than asking them to write on pieces of paper / in their books because:
a. They stand out.
b. They are colourful,
c. “I feel I have to write on it” – and don’t have to write too much.
d. “I can’t leave a sticky note blank.”
e. There is the sense it is not permanent – pupils are more willing to take a risk and write something down.
Ideas for different uses:
a. Essay planning – helps pupils to move ideas/facts/themes around and to experiment with different structures in their essays.
b. Allows for quick feedback at the end of lessons, e.g. all pupils write down one thing they learned on one sticky note, and one thing they did not understand on a second sticky note and attach these to a board or wall in the classroom.
c. Use sticky notes for pupils to give feedback to their peers when assessing each other’s work, e.g. one aspect that is very good and one target.
• ‘Scenario Based Lessons: bringing the real world to your classroom’ led by Caron Downes and Tony McAleese.
This looked at ways of using situation based learning by transforming the classroom into a crime scene or escape room amongst other scenarios. Although interesting and fun, some of the ideas seemed to be more about style than substance.
• Along with CLS: ‘Flipping Heck: improving reading and independent skills at A level’ led by Sunny Gunesse
This session looked at the flipped classroom and its practical, time saving advantages. It also considered the potential disadvantages and how to overcome them. Some of this is well-known but it also provided food for thought.
If you are interested in any of these workshop and would like to know more about them please do ask us! We would be delighted to discuss and share the ideas.