The culture of observations at Michaela is truly phenomenal. It provides a structure conducive to genuine improvement and honest reflection. Observations at Michaela are frequent, low-stakes and random. Since starting in September (around 24 teaching weeks), I have been observed around 70 times by other Michaela teachers. That's right - 70! Observers are typically in … Continue reading Observations at Michaela
It’s so easy, when we really want our pupils to answer a question correctly, that we give them cues to help them reach the answer. Sometimes we see our pupils still struggling and we become tempted to offer them a just-a-few more cues to help them get there. Finally, they give the correct answer and … Continue reading Retrieval Cues: Do Your Questions Help or Hinder?
With limited curriculum time, it is essential to reflect on the competing time taken up by explanation, practice and feedback.
Assessment has seen a lot of evolution recently. New accountability measures across Key Stages recently has forced schools to re-consider their models. To adapt, a few teachers in my science department have been reading Daisy Christodoulou's lucid new book on assessment: Making Good Progress? We have also been reading various books, blogs & research papers to help us … Continue reading Evolution of Our Science Assessment Model: CogSci & Christodoulou
Dual-coding is a very effective tool in teaching when used correctly. For me, the use of an academically rigorous piece of writing supported by a simple but clear image has a powerful impact on pupil learning. Equally, a verbal explanation to go along with a simple image has huge merit. I don't claim to be an … Continue reading Dual-coding in Science
When I began teaching, I used to use questioning for two main reasons. Firstly, as a way of eliciting ideas I desired pupils to construct. For example, if I was teaching pupils about experimental design, I might ask them why they thought we have only one independent variable in an experiment and lead pupils to … Continue reading Evolution of my Pedagogy III: Questioning
I've been refining the way I teach equations in science for a while now, and think I've found a way that is reaping good results. The key principles are as follows: No matter what the content or equation, I always get pupils to follow one method. It works for every equation in Biology, Chemistry and Physics. Drill pupils … Continue reading Equations in Science
In this series of blog posts, I reflect on how my teaching has evolved since my time as trainee. Last week I wrote about behaviour. This week... Teacher Talk Everyone seems to have an opinion on how much time a teacher should spend talking each lesson. I've heard of countless trainee teachers receiving feedback after lesson … Continue reading Evolution of my Pedagogy II (Teacher Talk)
In Part I of this post, I discussed the importance of teachers (of all subjects) making language teaching explicit in their lessons. I argued that an improvement in language enables pupils to better access the curriculum and broaden their cultural capital. I shared three practical, easy-to-implement strategies to help teachers incorporate the teaching of language into their lesson: sharing … Continue reading The Limits of My World (Part II)
"The limits of my language mean the limits of my world." - Ludwig Wittgenstein (1889 - 1951) To successfully enable pupils to access as much of the world as possible, teachers have a responsibility to broaden the cultural capital of their students. Most necessary for this is the development of language skills; language is the medium by which … Continue reading The Limits of My World