I was asked by my group of NQT’s….Can you give us some simple but practical ways to improve our teaching and in turn enhance the learning ?
So prior to the meeting I took a list of practical but simple ideas and modified them to fulfil the Roding Valley objectives:
Create thought provoking starter activities (the hook ) – have it ready as soon as they arrive on the desk/whiteboard – get them to start as latecomers arrive.
- Instil good habits, planners and equipment out on the desk at the start of every lesson
- Use a single lesson objective but plan a different journey for students within the class to reach that objective or,
- Use tiered / progressive learning objectives: maybe colour coded to help students realise progression from green to orange to red means difficulty increases. Use learning objectives not task based objectives.
- define/recall/describe/summarise (green L/O)
- explain/compare/discuss/compose (orange L/O)
- analyse/evaluate/investigate (red L/O)
- Refer to learning objectives consistently throughout the lesson – not just the beginning and the end and check progress towards these objectives at regular intervals, ensure you know where the learners are with their progress (AFL)
- Planners ,traffic lights
- Teacher circulation
- Web cam /visualiser– show student work, suggest improvements
- Model answers – self marking – green pens
- Peer marking – provide student speak criteria
- Post it notes
- Thumbs up
- ipads (video ) PE
- If students simply aren’t getting the content of your don’t soldier on in fear of deviating from your plan lesson plan. Instead re-model and re-shape your lesson, think on your feet PACE
- Use hinge point questions (questions to test understanding before allowing students to move on to the next learning objective)
- Have mini-whiteboards on the desk most lessons-even if you hadn’t planned to use them, you might find them invaluable when you have to re-model a task and think on your feet.
- Take all opportunities for self and/or peer assessment / marking – use a web cam/visualiser show student work during the lesson and ask for feedback, positive and next steps learning. Model exemplar pieces but also show common misconceptions.
- Make sure any resources are creative but don’t get lost in them, focus on the learning.
- Avoid getting students to copy out definitions/key information- get them to work for this information themselves.
- Consider and make use of any literacy opportunities including speaking and listening. Encourage students to answer in full sentences.(verbally and written)
- Step back from being the expert in the class from time to time and let students show their ability to learn independently (here’s the answer- what was the question?)
- Use different types of activities from lesson to lesson – aim to keep students on their toes each lesson so they do not know what to expect.
- Re-model tasks verbally to help differentiate – you can verbally scaffold tasks for individual students without having to have 5 zillion different worksheets.
- Ensure that you speak to every student in the room at least once during a lesson (say hello, ask them a question, praise them, comment on their work).
- Ask probing, open-ended questions – ask them to the students without their hands up- even better- apply a no hands up policy from time to time.
- Be consistent with behaviour rules/discipline with every student in the class.
- Always have an extension task or two ready – students should never sit idle.
- Ensure that you complete a plenary, make sure you know which students have achieved the learning objectives.
- Use this information to inform your planning for the next lesson – Big Picture
I was quite pleased with these. practical tips and presented them to the assembled NQT’s.
“ What else do I need to consider when planning my outstanding lesson?”
The responses came thick and fast, with discussion and examples given:
Know all your students, progress data, SEN, other groups
Consider appropriateness of home learning to ensure progress over time (in line with the new school timetable )
Planning for behaviour – seating plans, knowing in advance the internal on-call arrangements
Planning for the other adults in the room – talk to your LSA , discuss what you want her/him to do, don’t just leave it to them
Next steps…….. to write some practical tips for each of these
We then discussed the importance of the phrase ‘progress over time’ and its implications for us in the classroom. This led us into the importance of marking and effective feedback to the students. We discussed how it was no longer possible to achieve good /outstanding if your feedback and marking did not equip your students with the means to improve and make progress over time. We are currently writing up some examples of best practice marking and methods at Roding Valley High School and these will be published soon.
Its been a long day but great to work with such inspired and keen NQT’s…
Assistant Head teacher Teaching and Learning