Sunday, 30 November 2008
THE 7 BIG MESSAGES ABOUT TEACHING
|teachers make a difference, but they don’t make all the difference. Young people need the help of adults to learn, especially in the early years. Teachers can create conditions that can help students to learn a great deal – or to keep them from learning much at all. But we must stop pretending that schools and teachers can do everything. Most learning takes place outside school. Even in school there are limits to what teachers can achieve: they can influence learning but not determine it.|
teaching is a complex activity. There are no simple prescriptions for success. It is not just a matter of technique. To do it well requires a greater level of reflection and awareness than many activities and a willingness to deal with uncertainty and paradox.
we teach who we are. Teaching comes from within. How we relate to what we are teaching and to our pupils depends on who we are as teachers and as people. Connecting with our pupils means giving a little of ourselves and being prepared to be vulnerable. Developing our practice depends heavily on self knowledge and self awareness.
|4.||good teachers have a sound understanding of what they are teaching. As well as a knowledge about how to communicate their understanding to others, they also care about what they are teaching and have an ability to bring it to life.|
they try to see their pupils as they really are both as people and as learners - what motivates them, how they prefer to learn and what they already know and understand.
|6.||good teachers are good improvisers. They tend to make what is learned the focus of attention, but they don’t deliver a set curriculum to a rigid plan. They are able to develop, refine and reinvent what is to be learned depending on what works for them and their pupils.|
|7.||they create a learning community in the classroomwhere there is a high level and quality of action and interaction. They have the skills, the confidence and the energy to talk with children rather than at them, and to encourage debate and dialogue.|
From a really good website
THE 7 BIG MESSAGES ABOUT LEARNING
|intelligence is not fixed. We all have much greater potential for learning than is commonly recognised. Given the right opportunities we can all develop our ability to learn: the early years are vital, but the human mind is capable of lifelong change and development.|
effort is as important as ability. Our actions as learners and as teachers are underpinned by our beliefs. A belief that intelligence is fixed undermines pupils’ motivation and causes teachers to lower their expectations of their pupils.
learning is strongly influenced by emotion. Heart, mind and body - thinking feeling and action - are inseparable. This is why motivation is so important in learning. If we want academic achievement we have to attend to young people’s physical well-being as well as to how they feel about themselves, about school and about each other
|4.||we all learn in different ways. We have different abilities interests and preferred ways to learn. Good schools recognise the right of everyone to be different. They value all kinds of achievement and recognise that there can be no one ‘right’ way to teach or ‘best’ way to learn.|
deep learning is an active process. We learn best when we can make sense of what we are learning. The deeper the level of processing, the more likely we are to retain and make use of our knowledge. Processing involves relating new information to what we already know and changing what we know in the light of that new information.
|6.||learning is messy. It does not happen at set times, at set places or in subject compartments. We rarely learn anything by proceeding along a single path to predetermined outcomes.|
|7.||we learn from the company we keep. Although learning is something that goes on inside an individual’s head, at its deepest reaches it is essentially a communal activity: we learn most of what we know from and with each other .|
From a really good website
Saturday, 29 November 2008
Almost everyone occasionally procrastinates, but a worrisome 15 to 20 percent of adults routinely put off activities that would be better accomplished right away.
A penchant for postponement carries a financial penalty, endangers health, harms relationships and ends careers. And yet perpetual foot-draggers sometimes benefit emotionally from their tactics, which support the human inclination to avoid the disagreeable.
Research into the reasons people put off projects has led to strategies for helping all of us get and stay on task.
Raymond, a high-powered attorney, habitually put off returning important business calls and penning legal briefs, behaviours that seriously threatened his career. Raymond (not his real name) sought help from clinical psychologist William Knaus, who practices in Longmeadow, Mass. As a first step, Knaus gave Raymond a two-page synopsis of procrastination and asked him to read it “and see if the description applied.” Raymond agreed to do so on a flight to Europe. Instead he watched a movie. He next vowed to read it the first night at his hotel, but he fell asleep early. After that, each day brought something more compelling to do. In the end, Knaus calculated that the lawyer had spent 40 hours delaying a task that would have taken about two minutes to complete.
Almost everyone occasionally procrastinates, which University of Calgary economist Piers Steel defines as voluntarily delaying an intended course of action despite expecting to be worse off for the delay. But like Raymond, a worrisome 15 to 20 percent of adults, the “mañana procrastinators,” routinely put off activities that would be better accomplished ASAP. And according to a 2007 meta-analysis by Steel, procrastination plagues a whopping 80 to 95 percent of college students, whose packed academic schedules and frat-party-style distractions put them at particular risk.
Thanks for reading this. I put it on the blog because I was interested in the idea – we all do this to some extent – don't we? But particularly because they use the “correct” spelling of my company, ManYana...
Sunday, 16 November 2008
1. Give pupils a language to describe their emotions; get them used to talking about their feelings. Encourage them to write a diary (see above).
2. Pay attention to pupils who are behaving well. Try and ignore misbehaviour. Make sure you reward good behaviour, not bad.
3. Be specific with your praise. Say precisely what you like about a pupil’s work or attitude. People always feel better when they know precisely what it is that they have done well. That way they can repeat that behaviour more easily.
4. Get your pupils to think very carefully about where they are sitting before the lesson. Ask them to choose to sit next to someone they don’t normally sit next to, and to decide in advance who this will be.
5. If a class is too noisy and not listening to you, split them up into smaller groups, ‘handpicked’ by you, and give everyone in the group a position of responsibility. A central tenet of emotional intelligence is that people should have feelings of power and control.
6. Give your instructions in a calm fashion. Try to avoid shouting and appearing angry. Show that you have control over your own emotions.
7. Pre-empt trouble by taking a long-term view. Emotional intelligence is about seeing the long-term perspective rather than the short term. By planning your lessons well in advance, providing a variety of different exercises that pupils can engage with, you are implicitly showing your pupils that the long-term view is the one that is best. The Elton Report found that poor behaviour in 80% of lessons was due to poor planning on behalf of the teacher.
8. Walk away from confrontations. The emotionally intelligent teacher always buys him- or herself time to think about how best to deal with a situation.
9. Question poor behaviour, but don’t make blanket judgements about pupils. Make pupils think about their behaviour, not be defensive about it. Ask them how they are feeling about the lesson and why they are feeling that way.
10. Institute an emotional literacy programme during your tutor times. Encourage the whole school to participate.
Pivotal Education Ltd
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Pivotal Education Ltd, 16 Penn House, Jennery Lane, Burnham, Bucks SL1 8BN, UNITED KINGDOM
Saturday, 15 November 2008
Make a point of observing one your student whose behaviour causes you concern in sharp focus. Can you identify and map his negative behaviour patterns. How do they begin? Lateness, frustration with the work, lack of equipment, tiredness, wanting to move around etc. Can you identify how the cycle progresses and how it repeats or ebbs or crescendos? With your map think strategically about how and when you are going to intervene during the cycle. Consider the following example:
Student does not listen to the instructions - does not understand the work - looks for a distraction - fumbles in bag - finds mobile phone - send covert text messages - puts coat on - stands up - asks to leave the room.
When we examine the behaviours in a pattern the interventions become obvious; when we are in the middle of a busy lesson it is all too easy to be distracted by the immediate behaviours. Having a plan to divert or halt the cycle before walking in gives you more chance of achieving real changes over time.
© Paul Dix 2007
|What makes outstanding?|
|Engagement||Lessons where there is evident engagement from all students for most of the time in the learning activities presented. They will be self directed and while the teacher's presence is critical the students complete the work at pace and with care. They want to do well and to produce quality work.|
|Challenge||The work will present a learning challenge to the students either in the level of the cognitive demands of the content or in the skill set required for effective completion. Work will have been planned to challenge students as the teacher has secure knowledge of the current levels and capabilities of the students in the class.|
There will be secure and robust assessments of the students which will have allowed the teacher to design the learning so that students can progress from where they are currently at a rate which matches or exceeds their prior learning rate. This rate will be better than one might expect taking into account the nature of the students and the nature of the work being undertaken.
The lesson will be structured to make best use of the time available and will support learning very well.
Will be appropriate to the learning expected. Fast or slow does not define outstanding but appropriate, no time wasted, a focus on moving on, does equate with higher quality lessons.
Questioning relates to two aspects of learning. The first is to provide assessment information to allow both teacher and students to recognise what they have learned and how far they have progressed. The second use is to encourage students to think. Without an engagement in thinking about the work little learning can actually take place. Questions that move students through lower levels, knowledge and recall, comprehension and application, to higher order analysis, synthesis and evaluation thinking skills are a feature of outstanding lessons. Questioning needs to be evidenced in the lesson planning. Teachers will also take opportunities that are offered during lessons and will build on students' knowledge and skills.
The plenary, and lessons can certainly have more than one plenary, secures learning and allows for some assessment. The main learning will have been defined by the lesson's learning objectives which detail what learning, not just activity, students will engage in.