This academic year 14 members of staff have participated in an action research group to trial pedagogical research in the classroom. Staff have worked in small groups to focus on implementing a particular pedagogical approach. Now four months into the trial here is what staff have to say about their experience so far:
‘I’ve been using metacognitive strategies and modelling in lessons quite frequently and have found these to be extremely useful in my teaching practice. To date, using the visualizer, I’ve modelled everything from reading and annotating texts to writing up model paragraphs. This week, as part of revision for the mock exams, I’ve modelled approaches to reading exam questions and strategies for devising effective essay plans. Thinking aloud and modelling have proved to be very productive in terms of engaging students and helping them to develop their understanding and written skills.’ Gail
‘For lean learning I am focusing on going back to basics with GCSE classes and embedding key concepts and processes. This is something we are all doing as a department and I am looking at the value of moving away from exam questions and ensuring that students have the basic concepts and skills needed. I have tried to step away from rules and explain processes to students with meaning (even teachers have found this difficult as we are so used to methods and rules). This is to build a good foundation for students so they don’t have to remember rules.’ Nayaab
Assessment and Feedback
‘Our Action Research group focus has been looking at various marking techniques making full use of Google Classroom. For example, the new add on “Kaizena” has allowed us to provide rich, detailed and personalised feedback on large pieces of coursework in minutes; reducing workload and leading to greater learner response to feedback.’ Rick
Recall / retrieval
‘Every topic is three weeks and I teach a sub-topic every week.
Starters 10-15 min at the start of each session on the topic and previous lesson
-Cards game – in groups of 3-4 (images on the topic, students pair them up and discuss connections between them)
-Post-its: students to write down a word on the topic, stick it on the whiteboard in Spanish. Then, students find a new word and translate it into English
Vocabulary tests every Friday 10 min. on the facts learned and vocabulary learned during the week (subtopic).
When the vocab test is given back to them with the marks, the students to fill in any missing words or spelling mistakes and to write it 3 times. Then to write a sentence using each of them.
-Filling in a table in groups: revision of a topic. Each group has a table on one of the three subtopics and after filling each section the tables are swapped to a different group so every group and student has the change to work on every subtopic. The sections are: key words, important facts in bullet points, sentences on the topic or subtopic using complex sentences (eg subjunctives), opinion phrases.’ Gemma