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#TMCotham2 My take aways

June 27, 2016

Last week, my wife and I went to Cotham’s 2nd TeachMeet with the theme ‘power to pedagogy’. This evening was put together by Kelly McDonagh (@MissKMcD) and supported by Ali Goddard-Jones (@AliGoddardJones). If you’re a teacher and you’ve not been to a teachmeet before, I recommend you find one and try it out!

There were a lot of presenters (you can check out the list here) with a wide variety of themes (all presentations are available here) but I’ve picked out the ideas I’m taking away to try out. (Note: My pen was playing up so I’ve not necessarily carefully recorded who said what but I’m sure people will help me figure it out!)

Amjad Ali @ASTsupportAAli

Referred to “Comfort, Struggle and Panic” zones. You need to be in the struggle zone to learn best. This is something I’d seen before but I liked the way he related it to learning to swim. The children’s pool, where there is no danger/challenge at all, is a place where you can do a lot of lengths but won’t actually learn anything.

4 tools from Amjad that I intend to use:

  1. At the end of a lesson, get students to draw a 3 by 3 grid and fill it with the nine words they heard most frequently in that lesson
  2. Make use of www.spreeder.com to read things more quickly
  3. Going through the front page of a GCSE exam paper with the students and in (painful) detail go through each bit
  4. Red dot and Green dot highlighting. As you’re walking round a class, when you notice something that stands out as incorrect in a book, put a red highlighter dot. This is a sign for the student to check what’s written there and correct it. The green highlighter is for when you’ve looked at a page in class and know it’s good. Put a green line down the side of the page so that when you’re marking, you know you’ve already checked that work.

Chris Baker @TheEduBaker

Talking about ‘coaching cards’ for when observing PGCSE students. These are simple pictures that can give hints to the teacher AS THEY’RE TEACHING rather than waiting until after and it being too late. Link here.

Ali Goddard-Jones @AliGoddardJones

Reminded us that we should always “Begin with the End in Mind”. I think this is very easy to forget! She also mentioned a TED talk by Derek Sivers on How to Start a Movement which I intend to watch soon.

Danny Dignan @DrDanNicholls

Say to your students, “Who did something great today? There are 30 of you and only 1 of me. If you saw someone else doing something good, tell me about it.”

The importance of ‘thank you’ and assertively asking for it.

Danny doesn’t like using sweets as rewards (which I agree with) partly because I don’t think they help students struggle with problems for long periods of time.

Chris Baker @TheEduBaker (part 2)

Talked about the effect of dopamine and the need for regular, small opportunities to feel successful. He mentioned people who make checklists are ‘dopamine-addicts’ and freely admits that he falls firmly into that camp. Chris also pointed out that there is a tension with the desire to create patient problem solvers but I’m sure there’s some element of middle ground to be found. I especially liked the idea of using a post-it note to praise a piece of student’s work in the classroom as you’re walking around. I have done this occasionally in the past but this has reminded me to make use of it again.

Dave Gale @reflectivemaths

I talked about tutor time activities. It was great. They are here.

One of the things I really enjoy about TeachMeets it the opportunity to meet other teachers and see them sharing ideas while having a chance to share mine too. I’m looking forward to the next one! Thanks again Kelly.

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