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Student learning


Serena Lawrence talking to a group of students

OK, what I want to have happen now is, quickly you’re going to have heads together of your group. So you’re going to have to leave your chairs where they are, and I want you to rate yourselves out of five, of how well you worked as a group last time.

Serena Lawrence – TiC Drama

Going into this role as a facilitator has been really good because it’s made me, instead of going: “Right, I’ve got my PRT, I’ve done that, I’m now registered teacher and I can sort of relax a little bit” – it’s made me continue to think and grow as a teacher and think about how what I do in the classroom – what the actual impact of that is on the students. So rather than “Yep, I’m standing at the front and I am teaching”, the assumption then is that the students learn. But of course that’s not always the case.

Peter Jones – HoD Commerce

I got the students to do a survey of where we were with a certain achievement standard assessment, and they gave me feedback that they understood this really well, but they didn’t understand that. So I went back and changed my teaching programme to actually meet their learning requirements, so they could actually pass it. And I got the feeling the students really felt like they were part of the education process going on in the classroom. They found out that, now I care about their learning, their learning they are doing in my classroom, the teacher really cares that they try and get the best they can at their level. So that was very satisfying as a teacher, to say that “Well, we know that anyway, but sometimes the students don’t know it.” 

Peter Hicks – Co-HoD Science

The kids are more in control of where we’re at. So at the moment, where the kids are teaching a class themselves, so they’ve been given an individual part to teach, and they’re standing at the front delivering that and questioning their classmates to see where they’re at. Trying to get a bit of feedback does sometimes mean that there’ll be a few jokes flying around – everyone’s comfortable with that. Earlier in the year, we would be asking individuals to work as a pair so that they’d actually come up with something, presenting that to the class as well. So certainly a lot different and trying to move our kids forward for where they’ll see themselves next year. Because of course they’re going to be hopefully moving to university, where they will not have a teacher standing at the front, chalk and talk. They will have more of the discussion style, tutorials or just making their own little study groups. So we’ve got them ready for next year. It could work with my year 11 class that’s got 29 kids in it, you just have to be able to trust the kids that they’ll front up and do the work. And they will – no one’s let me down so far. So we’ve been pretty much teaching each other for the whole year. It has been hard to give up control, but now that I know my boys will front up, that they’ll meet the mark, I’m pretty happy.

Peter Jones – HoD Commerce

It’s not hard – it’s actually exciting. It’s actually quite good to get outside your comfort zone and actually do a different teaching style. And it’s fun.

Nicola Potts in the classroom

OK, guys, you’ve got a homework task in that section, so I'd really like that done by Friday.

Nicola Potts – TiC Food & Nutrition and Specialist Classroom Teacher 

The PLG that I ran over the last two years was on formative assessment. And I, to be honest, did not really know what it was until I investigated it more thoroughly, did lots of readings, and then applied it to my class. I’ve been doing learning intentions success criteria with great success. The students know to expect them when they come into the classroom now, on the board. They know what they’re going to be learning today. When it comes to revision, they know exactly what they need to revise because they read the learning intention, and they know that the learning intention is related directly to their upcoming assessment. The other marked change for me has been marking student homework, which I give quite often. And I don’t... no longer just tick and initial it, and put it in my mark book that it’s done. I now always give feedback and feed forward. Write questions just so that when they get their work back they don’t think, “Oh, I’ve got that marked, ticked, and it’s all right.” It actually makes them think – it makes them continue their learning from their homework activity.

Serena Lawrence – TiC Drama

I now see that the motivation of students, and the way we build and make them take ownership over their own motivation, is one of the crucial things to them being there. And so rather than them feeling like “Oh well, it’s just another class, and I have to turn up”, I attempt every lesson to make them see that they are getting something out of this and that there’s a reason for them to be there. And so that goal setting, the self-reflection, all the things that we are trained as staff to do, is important for the students as well. That’s where it starts from – that reflecting of my own learning and “What am I here for? What goals am I setting, and what am I actually working towards?” Doing that independently as individual learners but also as a class.

Jeanette Duffy – Deputy Rector Teaching and Learning

If we really believe that relationships underpin good teaching and learning, then that often requires us to put a little bit more of ourselves out for our students. We are human, you know, we are people as well – we’re not just the teacher at the front of the room. And we want to have a personal relationship with that person, but we want a fantastic learning relationship with the young men that we’re working with as well. And yeah, that might require you to put yourself out of your comfort zone.

Peter Jones – HoD Commerce

I’d like to think that we’re kind of like the cutting edge in education. Trying to actually change our teaching styles in the classroom to meet the needs of all the students. Sometimes that will work, sometimes it won’t work. But it’s not the end of the world because we will go back and review it and try other things with the boys to actually make sure they get the outcomes they deserve.

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