I've been sitting in front of my laptop for days now, trying to soak up all of the incredible stuff online from so many other teachers around the country. Special mentions must go to Alex Quigley and David Didau, both of whom produce so much of quality I can never really hope to keep up. Here, I am reminded of my previous blog post about what I'd tell my NQT self 3 years ago about not rushing my own development.
However, there's so much "big picture" stuff which is exciting but kind of intimidating at the same time. In the background, I will keep these ticking away:
- Continual improvement of oracy: really useful post here from David Didau was reassuring in that oracy isn't tacked on, but should be embedded in the talk and activities the students are continually undertaking during my lessons.
- iPads and digital stuff: I love this. I'm a gadget freak. However, I have a lot of work to do in terms of being able to integrate this into a new school- if I am even able to. Encouraging discussions and an incredible blog here by Daniel Edwards has given me a number of superb starting places in terms of long term planning to embed these into a department or even school. Obviously, I'm a small cog in a large wheel, but taking these ideas and plans to the decision makers will be useful!
- Bridging the gap: Rachael Stevens' blog posts have been timely and exceptionally useful in terms of bridging the gap, and the enormous complexities behind what goes on in and outside of the classroom. I would love to open up discussion on identification of underachievement and using older students as mentors to provide a non-threatening and supportive environment, especially looking at FSM students.
- Lesson study and planning buddies: I also loved Rachael's post on 'lesson study' which is exactly the kind of thing, from a Teaching and Learning perspective, that I would like to encourage in any department I work in. I shared lessons with a colleague at my last school, but I want to take this further in terms of critiquing and fine-tuning lessons together, and having honest and open discussions with students about what they found helpful or not. For what it's worth, this is much more the kind of collaborative professional development that Ofsted and co. should think about. Encouraging a positive exchange of ideas is what improvement is about, not spotting what hasn't gone on.
So what's the plan?
Anyway, I want to break down my plans, and any comments/advice would be welcome. The major issue is that I don't really know what to expect in terms of the day to day workings of the department, so I think it's going of seeing how it goes. However, I have decided to take a few things with me and embed them into my practice, as below:
1. Charting progress in books: probably my achilles heel. Something I want to get much, much better at. To help this, I want to work on adopting a common framework for improvement and progress, with wall displays, which will be referred to throughout my teaching. This way, I want to get the students used to using the language of continual progress, as well as building a culture of feedback and reflection, by using sentence stems to model reflection and feedback.
2. Technical English: Again, something which is difficult to pin down, but I'm going to try and do just this. For this, I want to place each of these tables in the students' books, and each time a book is marked (in or out of class) the student will record the aspect of their English that they need to work on, in order to build up a bank of knowledge about their own work. I also want to build up a bank of resources to place in books periodically to ensure practice and space to reflect on specific weaknesses, seen here.
3. SOLO: A new job, I think, is a chance to have this as part of all of my lessons. For me, moving to a new post has given me a real clarity in terms of the language that I want my students to use in terms of improving their work, as part of a continual process. SOLO can give me the opportunity to do just this. The lessons are 1hr50 in my new school, which I think lends itself to this kind of overt discussion throughout an extended period of time. Movement, variety and giving students the chance to continually calibrate where they are with respect to learning outcomes will be essential, I think. My wall displays are here- they're not great, but they're a start!