Reveries of a Solitary Teacher (May 2015)

I have been starting to think about ways I can get ready for next year – and at the core of this has been reviewing my practice in preparation for the new GCSE specification and Life after Levels.

I plan to forget that I’m a teacher for the summer holidays, so intend to get my preparation for September done before the end of the summer term (although there are two D of E trips, year 7 PGL weekend, Charity mountain climbing and three performances of the Tempest to get in the way of that)

This year I have started working at a new school which has been an enriching experience. A change is as good as a rest it seems! My previous school was great and I was happy there, but now my commute to work is a ten minute bike ride along the seafront rather than a 45 minute traffic jam. I have been filled with a renenewed love for my job and have implemented a number of approaches that I have used in piecemeal form over past years in a more planned and cohesive way.

Rather than having introduced ideas over the space of a few years, which inevitably happens as I continue my CPD quest to ‘get it all right’, it meant that I could concentrate all the best practice from my previous role into a ‘this is how we work’ approach with my classes.

I have been using a flipped learning approach for a number of units this year, encouraging students (and in some cases cohersing them) to read around the subject, research the writers and contexts, read each other’s work and examine exemplary pieces of work.

I have also been using video modelling via YouTube to provide students opportunity to practice skills beyond the classroom, alongside Twitter revision sessions for GCSE Literature.

I intend to do a detailed analysis of end of year data for each strategy however at present I have just reviewed what has been, awesome, good, average and a bit pants.

Awesome

Being able to enter the lesson at a higher level – students know more stuff than they would have done before the lesson even starts

Twitter revision had even the most resolute scallywags talking about poetry – and even thinking about it outside of lessons.

The product of the class’s endeavour was available at the end of the year via Twitter and the blog as a user created collaborative revision resource.

Good

The blog was a great way of managing and setting homelearning and encourages dialogue between students about their work and ideas.

Using the blog in class as a way to provide tools needed to compete an independent task in the ICT suite. There were however occasions where there were more pupils than computers – group work on computers doesn’t work – everyone except the person at the console coasts.

Average

Because not all units were taught using the blog , when it came to revision some areas had less content than others

Some students needed to be shown how to use WordPress and Twitter – I initially assumed a higher level of digital literacy.

A bit pants

Took over Year 11 group too late – not enough time to embed flipped approach for all – some students still needed additional after school revision as lacked independent learning ethos – but then again some probably always will.

Looking ahead

In preparation for next year I am going to relook at my schemes of work and ensure that there  is an opportunity for students to contribute quality content to the blog to ensure all areas have quality revision content. I am also starting Year 10 with a skills for learning scheme, addressing digital and actual literacy issues and providing a toolkit for GCSE. More to follow…

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