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General Teaching Approaches & Concepts

Developed By: Barbara Bond and Jonathan Halls.

Day One - Teaching Approaches

Session one – Assessment and Recording

In this session we started with a brief explanation of formative and summative assessment, including:

  • Peer assessment;
  • Self assessment;
  • Marking books;
  • Children re-capping previous and just covered material;
  • Presentations by the children;
  • Government and internal examinations;
  • Use of mini-blackboards;
  • Quick strategies such as ‘thumbs up'.

Teachers then brainstormed in groups the methods they currently use. The types of assessment were then discussed in relation to effectiveness, and pros and cons with the whole cohort.

We then moved onto how teachers use this information both in relation to recording, for example, ticks in a register and we briefly touched on it's use in planning for future lessons.

Session two – Special Educational Needs and Health

The session began with a discussion about the main categories of SEN, for example severe learning difficulties and language delay. It also included information of gifted and talented children.

The teachers then received one of five different statements about fictional children, in groups they had to discuss what provision they would make for their child. The case studies were written in such as way that they could not follow their normal methods of moving the child up or down a year. The cohort then discussed all the cases and the groups suggested action points, in relation to pros and cons.

After this there was brief discussion about what school can do to improve general health or make provision for children with health needs. e.g. poor hearing. Focusing on common problems e.g. asthma, medical kits, ensuring children receive healthy food and drink, children’s sight and need for reading glasses, and children hearing.

Session three – Resources and Displays

This session aimed to move teachers away from using a textbook as their main/sole teaching resource. The session started with three group activities, all of which were afterwards discussed with the cohort:

    1. Discussion of the most important resources for teaching;
    2. What systems are used for creating ‘home made’ resources and how are resources stored/accessed;
    3. What resources do schools need (this was more for our consideration when thinking about materials to give to schools).

After this we spoke on maximising the use of teaching materials, through ensuring that all teachers have assess, know what is available and actually use them in lessons. We also emphasised that the resources need to be in classrooms, not hidden away and forgotten about in cupboards or offices. 

Additionally, we touched on learning displays having created several interactive posters on different topics, for example prepositions. Furthermore, we mentioned involving people from the local community who have specific craft or creative skills.

Finally, we moved onto a group task of ‘junk modelling’, to show that they don’t need to buy everything, they could use material that would otherwise be thrown away. I have to say I was a little concerned that they wouldn't be very involved in this task, but they loved it. They even presented their creations to the entire class.

Day Two - Teaching Methods

Session one – Long Term Plans

We focused on not just proceeding though the textbook but using the national curriculum to create schemes of work be they subject based or thematic approaches and the need to focus on transferable skills, not only content. Also mentioned, was the need for teachers to create the year plan with each other to ensure no conflicts and to actually help each other. 

Additionally, we spoke about having a year calendar to know when the many holidays are so topics can definitely be accommodated in the school year.

Then the teachers brainstormed how they plan the school year and the groups then feedback to the class with whole cohort discussion.

Session two - Lesson Plans

First, the idea and process behind lesson plans was discussed. The teachers then looked at several pro-forma’s and the class spoke about their strengths and weakness. Afterwards we had a brief discussion about ensuring that there is sufficient pupil participation in the lessons.

Then in pairs/threes the teachers created a lesson plan for a subject and class of their choosing. In the break Barbara and I looked through them and after break-time we went through the lesson plans with the whole class and gave feedback as needed.

Session three - Seating Arrangements

The teachers discussed why they were in mixed groups and why we had changed the groups over the two days. We then spoke about the need to have changing seating arrangements, for example working groups, different bench arrangement to enable the children to interact or mixing the children up to avoid the gender divide. We then spoke about the teachers not just standing at the front but moving around the classroom before moving on to seating children according to their academic level: having less able children at the front rather than hiding at the back and children working in mixed ability pairs. Additionally, we briefly touched on having a focus group with other children working independently on different activities.

Session four - Questioning

The groups of teachers brainstormed the types and ways they ask children questions and feedback to the class with pros and cons. We then spoke about methods for questioning, for example pulling names out of a hat or have a group of children to ask for assessment purposes. Finally, we discussed how and if children are given the opportunity to ask the teacher questions.

Course Close - Feedback & Assessment

We finished with an evaluation of the day, which mostly ended up as just a description of the topics covered not what the teachers actually thought of them. We also left the teachers with a questionnaire for them to fill in after a month to see how they found applying the methods. Results are, hopefully, coming soon.

Resources Required

To be completed.

Logistics & Arrangements

To be completed