A Pedagogical Model for Excellence & Growth

I have drawn together some ideas to form a first draft (very EoE) of a Pedagogical Model for Motivation, Growth Mindsets and Excellence. It also incorporates a Marginal Learning Gains approach as an integral part of developing Growth Mindsets for teachers and students alike.

This work is in its infancy in terms of a fully workable pedagogical model but I am hoping it my serve to start conversations and give practitioners some of the following:

  • The Why – Rationale and research to underpin the aims of the changes that are sought
  • The How – Strategic ways of thinking and designing learning to bring about those changes
  • The What – Practical tools and approaches to test out to increase the teaching repertoire to achieve your stated aims

It may will be that I need to provide the narrative that I would use to accompanies any work around this document if so, please let me know! I certainly see it as the start point for:

  1. Some very focused action research linking into the Marginal Learning Gains approach
  2. A design template for learning where we can truly wrap the curriculum around the pedagogy.

If you want to find out more about what schools are doing around Growth Mindsets, then please get in touch with the EG Schools Network via the blog and follow on Twitter @EG_Schools. There’s already a fantastic bank of ideas, blogs, resources and approaches being shared by the Excellence & Growth Schools’ Network,

In the meantime, I’ll be updating this in time once I’ve had a chance to collaborate and reflect on the model…so here it is:

EG Culture

 

Quality Teacher Talk

In this typically engaging short video piece from Hans Rosling, the world-renowned data visualisation and data-entertainment guru (see his brilliant TED Talks for more), identifies the power of explaining using props. He emphasises that although video can be used to explain some concepts, (see Ted-ED for examples to use if you’re looking to implement some flipped learning in your lessons), nothing replaces the teacher and their ability   to make learning fun through the explanations they can offer. For teachers and presenters alike,  being able to draw upon a vast repertoire of explaining is fundamental to being able to meet the needs of all learners/ listeners. As a result, there’s a great opportunity to keep refreshing ‘explaining techniques’ and consider the many ways we can employ quality teacher talk to differentiate, challenge and encourage learners to understand new concepts and think in new ways.

 

 

I’ve included a screen shot of an observation format I use very regularly for you to have a look at: ‘Explaining – Improving the Quality of Teacher Talk’  The original version plus others that I regularly use, adapt and tweak can be found in “Full On Learning”. You’ll notice that this is a very focused observation tool, as it ONLY looks at the quality of teacher talk in relation to EXPLAINING. Hence it can be used as part of a developmental coaching approach..which is just how I use it.

I use this particular one as part of my pedagogical coaching toolkit. I’ve got others that focus on questioning and a more generic one that looks ONLY at ‘Pupil activity during the lesson’. They’re all developmental in design as they are limited by their focus on a very specific element of pedagogy. In practice, they work as a simple tally sheet during the lesson. You can add additional layers of complexity, according to what the teacher wants to focus on, but my watchword is and always has been to keep it SIMPLE when it comes to observing the complicated world of teaching and the similarly complex world of learning.

The strength of this tool is:

1. When you work with a group of teachers to create and amend the observation format you get into wonderful discussions and sharing of expertise. In fact, it’s at THIS point when you get the really crunchy discussions about ‘quality teacher talk’ and how various concepts can be explained and what else could be used to aid the communication of complexity, of topic fundamentals and of core concepts so that learner understanding is secure.

2. When used as part of a pedagogical coaching programme, the results can be put into a simple spreadsheet to generate a visual chart (Hans Rosling would be proud!). This then forms the basis of your coaching discussion, as it places the focus of the discussion on the teacher, enabling them to reflect and consider their own practice.

3. Coupled with a skilled coach possibly also with video, you get rewarded by by using this as part of a MARGINAL LEARNING GAINS approach and find that you get those sought-after MULTIPLE GAINS from one simple pedagogical focus.

Teacher Explanations and the Quality of Teacher Talk

Teacher Explanations and the Quality of Teacher

 

KEGS Research-as-CPD Marketplace 2014.

fullonlearning:

Great post – thank you for sharing!

Originally posted on headguruteacher:

Every teacher at KEGS is involved in a teaching and learning group called a ‘workshop’. We meet several times across the year to explore a particular aspect of pedagogy.  Teachers select who to work with and what to work on.  In May each year we have a non-pupil day that we call a ‘Leading Edge’ day where we run a 90 minute marketplace-style showcase of the work we’ve all been doing in our groups.

The 2012 Marketplace is reported here.

The 2013 Marketplace is reported here.

This year, the workshops covered a wide range of ideas although, interestingly, they were clumped around some common ideas:

  • Learning texts by heart and reading aloud
  • Testing and feedback from tests
  • Using Edmodo as a platform for exchanging ideas and information beyond the classroom
  • Deepening teachers’ subject-specific knowledge
  • Lesson Study and IRIS as tools for self-reflection

Following some input in October, the workshops this…

View original 1,852 more words

Teaching-As-Persuasion

Daniel Pink’s talk at The RSA discusses how everybody today is involved in some form of selling. We all have to, at some point in our working lives, persuade other people to listen to us, to change the way they are doing things or get somebody else to allow us to do something different from what we may have originally been assigned to do. The art of persuasion is, Pink suggests, akin to the art of selling.

Similarly, every day in every classroom, every educator is engaged in the gentle and not-so-gentle art of persuasion. Of ‘selling’ learning.

From the first to the last bell, educators around the globe are engaged in this complex and necessarily sophisticated act. We operate in a world where goal of the educator is to constantly persuade learners to make a transaction. To give their attention to the lesson topic and to invest their time in doing something different from what they may ordinarily prefer to be doing. Teachers who manage this are rewarded by learners who are motivated enough to chose to invest their time and indulge their curiosity. To explore new and alternative ideas and, in doing so, build their resilience as they stick at the task in which they have been persuaded to engage.

Day in, day out, hour upon hour, succeeding in this is no mean feat.

After all, the task of educating learners out of their own immediate context and into the one that we are persuading them to try out requires us to have expert negotiation skills. We have to convince them that it is worth it for them to jump into the multifaceted world of learning. A world that is full of complexity and unfamiliarity and where for many of them, there is no certainly of success and only small crumbs of comfort in their pre-existing understanding. Just to make it even more perilous for them, this is a world where will be expected to trust their peers. Peers who themselves are either driven or held back by their very own unique uncertainties and fears. And that’s just the first lesson on any given Monday morning.

Pink goes on to say that whilst we are all involved in some way shape or form in the act of persuasion or ‘selling’ as he refers to it, the art of selling (persuasion) itself has changed.

We all know that it is vital to be aware of how the learner feels when we are teaching as we can use this to adapt lessons to accommodate emotional needs in order to sustain their cognitive development. This is just as true, according to Pink, in the context of selling.

But, Pink goes on to say, research suggests that it is far more useful to be aware of what the buyer is THINKING. Pink says that to adapt our persuasive strategies according to what the buyer is thinking results in a far more sensitive and accommodating approach to how we chose to present our ideas and information. In the context of education, this resonates very strongly with what Hattie refers to as the need for teachers to be ‘error seekers’ (there’s more on this on the Marginal Learning Gains blog). This is where we ask not, ‘Who understands this?’ but instead, ask, ‘Who doesn’t understand this?’. This question is a double-impact question in that it produces benefits on two levels.

At one level, it enables teachers to reveal the information they really need to make their teaching the most effective it can possibly be in promoting the best possible learning outcomes; ‘What do I need to do in order to re-frame or re-explain this concept/ idea/ process so that everyone can secure their understanding before I move onto the next topic/ concept/ idea?’. At the second level, it communicates an explicit culture of learning where it’s made crystal clear that it’s okay not to understand it the first, second or even third time. A culture where it is absolutely fine, if not expected, for learners to get it wrong, use this to feed their ‘mistake monsters’ and to struggle at times during the lesson.

There are many more connections in Pink’s talk here with the complex art of teaching, so enjoy the talk, particularly the pen-bit (you’ll see!)…

There’s also a lovely and very speedy RSA Animate Short you can watch here…

 

The Creativity of Pedagogical Sampling

In his Ted Talk, Mark Ronson explains the process of creating his own music through sampling previous music recordings,  “I can bully our existences into a shared event…I can insert myself in that narrative, or alter it, even.” He says that this has always been true of music, and that the explosion of technology has simply accelerated and democratised this over the past 30 years.

The #NTENRED Conference last weekend hosted by Huntington School, York, was an example of what Ronson refers to as just such a ‘shared event’. Every one of the 200 who attended and every one of those who watched online, followed the tweets and who have since caught up with post-event blogs have been invited to ‘insert themselves in that narrative’ of the conference-conversation. They are all now in a position to decide how they might ‘alter it’ and decide how to build on and implement what they learnt.

By increasing education practioners’ accessibility to and engagement with, the body of research about learning, there is a golden opportunity to integrate this with individual observations and insights in a balanced and measured way. In other words, practitioners can deliberately ‘sample’ the information they gather from external sources (the body of research) with the information from internal sources (their own practice and context). In doing so, practitioners are empowered to design learning that is directly informed by the existing body of research intertwined with the unique needs of their individual students. They can then tailor their design to their own specific contexts whilst remaining consistently clear and well-informed about the specific changes they want to bring about.

The real creativity in teaching and learning happens when we weave our reflective practice into the rich understanding we can draw from our sampling and fusing of research and practice and in doing so, increase our profession’s collective consciousness. The ‘fresh and new’ that Ronson refers to is that unique mix of our own expertise, the uniqueness of our own learners and the specific context in which those elements find themselves in at any given moment in time.

So by continuing to nurture an on-going dialogue between practice and research, we bring ever closer the day when we can say of education what Ronson says of music,

“…the dam has burst…we take the things that we love and we build on them, that’s just how it works and when we add something significant and original…then we have a chance to be a part of the evolution of that [education] that we love and be linked with it once it becomes something new again.”

 

 

Creating Learning Events

We’ve had an amazing couple of weeks at school where as a staff community, we have all been part of ‘Operation Challenge-All-Areas’. This has led to some cracking learning conversations both in lessons and beyond with a plethora of ideas being shared daily throughout an always-buzzing school. Our Challenge-All-Areas approach is a way to communicate our determination to our students that they must:

Invest as much as possible in every aspect of their school day

SO THAT

they get as much as they possibly can in return.

We discussed how students’ work is often only ever seen by one person: their teacher. Not only that, when the work is submitted it is within a familiar, comfortable and established ‘expert-novice’ relationship. Where peer assessment is regular, it can often occur once the work is well underway or even as part of the final editing and checking stage. As such, any opportunity to show work to someone other than a subject or class teacher or a familiar peer is incidental and it certainly isn’t something that is explicitly planned for and worked towards in a deliberate way. As such, it misses an opportunity: to create a ‘Learning Event’.

Contrast this instead with the emotional, intellectual and logistical preparation required for an art exhibition, a dance, drama or music performance. Here, the expectations are high from the outset as every participant knows that the final outcome will be seen by an unknown, unfamiliar and potentially hard-to-please-audience. This means that everybody knows that they had better provide a quality experience. Similarly, the preparation required for a school netball tournament or a county cup final, where the stakes are already high in terms of  achieving a  win or a loss, but even more than this, is the knowledge that the performance will be seen and scrutinised by others…so, again, every team member knows that they had better put in a good performance. This means getting the preparation right, using training to make any adjustments and refinements they need and make sure they are absolutely focused ahead of the moment the first whistle blows.

How differently we all behave and apply ourselves when we know, from the outset, that what we will do will be seen, scrutinised and consumed by others (just think of any presentation or interview scenario). Our frailties, any short-cuts or lack of planning are only a breath away from exposure when we face an audience. So much of our energy goes into making sure those frailties are eradicated as far as humanly possible.

These conversations led us to consider whether we could use the idea of an audience to drive up expectations, raise aspirations and make it clear, from the start, that this work is destined to be viewed by others. All of this also brings into play one of current action research questions: “How do we prepare our students for linear exams?”.

Using the lovely tool of VideoScribe (@videoscribetv) aka the presentation tool for introverts and quiet leaders (!), here are nine ideas for creating an audience of more than one SO THAT you can communicate high expectations from the outset. It is a great way to celebrate and evaluate student work. It involves all students, members of staff, parents and carers in critiquing and engaging in learning throughout the school.

This work follows our most recent INSET day, where staff inspired each other with ideas and approaches showing different ways to provide CHALLENGE. This included taking intellectual risks, supporting students to develop their own learning toolkits and asking every student to reflect on success criteria in answer to a pre-submission question, ‘Is it good enough?’

So the last two weeks have given us the opportunity to be really explicit about our expectations, overt about quality criteria for tasks and deliberate in communicating our desire for students to experience the best possible learning outcomes in every part of the school day.

Operation Challenge-All-Areas starts first thing in the morning. We aim to share a ‘good morning’ with every student on the gate (challenge to connect), design higher order question sequences in lessons (challenge to go deeper) and require students to use quality criteria for themselves to refine, edit and polish work before they hand it in (challenge to meet their own high expectations).

One thing is certain, Operation Challenge-All-Areas is here to stay.

Why we continue to accept the challenge

This is a short, snappy post to begin the New Year.

I thought it best to begin with the  words of Dylan Wiliam (@dylanwiliam). This is a reminder of the challenge ahead and a suggestion as to why we keep tackling them with open hearts and minds.

Taken from John Tomsett’s inspirational blog, written a while ago,

“Dylan Wiliam, in his keynote speech at the SSAT Conference in December said, Every teacher needs to improve, not because they are not good enough, but because they can be even better.”

And here, there’s a little more from the man himself, reminding us all about the beauty of teaching…