The winter season always puts me in a reflective mood. Musing the years past, present times and the future in a Dickensian fashion. There's six lessons I'd like to share from this year which mean a lot to me. Much like those three ghosts, the past, the present and the future has a lot to teach us too.
Innovation is something we’re beginning to see much more of in the modern classroom. In fact, 84% of schools today report collaboration with other local establishments - a relatively new concept - while around 50% of schools have started to offer their pupils extended learning hours. For the first time, ‘the norm’ is changing, and schools are being encouraged to continue introducing more innovative activities, lesson plans, and teaching techniques into the classroom in an effort to shake things up a bit. It is hoped that innovation could be the key to improving overall performance.
In this post I will discuss Google’s latest educational tool, Google Classroom, and outline five key features that I feel make it a great addition to the Google Apps for Education family. Google Classroom is not yet a full-featured Learning Management System (LMS), but it does possess a number of attributes that make it very attractive for both learners and teachers. It is available to any school that has Google Apps for Education.
As teachers we are notoriously hard on ourselves. It’s a common trait amongst the profession. After all, how often do you hear a colleague say they are “really good” at something? More often than not they will be playing down what a great job they do, often in challenging and changeable circumstances. This feeling of “can I really get it right again this year?” often creeps into the consciousness towards the end of the summer term and can lead to sleepless nights during the summer break.
As a commentator recently said on Radio 4, “never let a good crisis go to waste!” With change being the only constant in education, I took the relative peace of a moonlit dog walk in Sheffield’s beautiful Meersbrook Park (which featured in X+Y and Four Lions!) to contemplate the challenges and opportunities available to Science teachers and leaders over the coming years.
No matter what subject you teach, whether PE or quantum physics, communication will be part of your daily routine. As part of the English curriculum, the teaching of speaking and listening is mandatory. However, this does not always happen. Too often the group work, drama and presentation skills play second fiddle to reading and writing because, at the end of the day, reading and writing skills = exam passes and group work is a pain in the ass.
In my NQT year I attended a three day TEACCH autism course. This covered the TEACCH approach research and values with both the theoretical and practical examples of their structured teach. The part I was most interested in was how to implement a highly-structured visual approach for individuals and groups. Now as all teachers know, you cannot take an approach that works in one school and shoehorn it into another setting, but the good thing was that we didn't have to do this; everything could and should be personalised within the framework.
Class Charts, the innovative seating plan and behaviour management platform from Edukey, is rapidly gaining traction with schools in the UK. Designed by a teacher with 16 years of experience in the classroom, the resource is having a real impact in improving pupil behaviour, linking with SIMS, Integris, CMIS & Progresso and identifying how pupils influence each other in the classroom. The data is presented to teachers in a clear and understandable format.
For the following weeks, I am focussing on creating a strong classroom culture by adhering to the techniques advocated by Doug Lemov in his 'Teach Like a Champion' manual for teachers.When I posted on Twitter that I was starting this experiment, Doug kindly tweeted me asking for me to let him know which techniques I was going to focus on first.
Although I have been teaching my current classes for over a term, I still feel that some of them don't have the kind of classroom culture that I expect. Establishing this is vital for any relationships to exist and develop, so this is the first 'section' of the techniques that I will focus on.
Week 1 of my 'Teach Like a Champion' marginal gains experiment and I am concentrating on '100%' and 'Sweat the Details.