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CPD with the NSTA

February 27, 2019

Just before half term, my school took part in the North Somerset Teaching Alliance’s joint Inset day. This involved seven local schools working together to share ideas on teaching and building networks. Here is my summary of the aspects I was involved in.

Subject specific teachmeet

Jimi talked through some approaches he uses for starters and some easy ways to vary tasks in a way that isn’t a lot of work for the teacher while still helping students approach questions in a variety of ways.

Tim showed us some nice Geogebra applets and encouraged us to explore the ready made ideas.

Jenny focused on recall starters making use of low stakes quizzes and diagnostic questions. She suggested we check out retrieval practice as a source for the thinking behind it.

Ross spent some time showing us how by thinking ahead for what your feedback might be, you can plan out some likely sentences as strengths and weaknesses. This makes feedback a lot quicker and shifts more of the work onto the students when they are looking at your feedback.

Debbie took us through a proof of sin (a + b) = sin a cos b + cos a sin b via a mostly diagrammatic approach.

Kevin showed us some initial work he’s been doing on collating whole class data on whole can do what when looking through books. This helps inform planning for future lessons.

Cross school groups

I lead a session with Jimi about how the KS3 curriculum works in Churchill. It’s been a very long time since I blogged about this (2013) and our approach has changed enough to make those posts out of date. It’s too big a topic to put here but I’ll summarise some of it:

  • We teach year 7 and 8 in mixed attainment groups
  • Each term has a single project that takes up the majority of that term
  • Each project has some clear key skills that students are aiming to learn
  • The key skills are checked twice during the project with low-stakes test with time to improve between the two checks

Obviously, that’s a very brief overview. If it’s something you’re interested in finding out more about, you could enquire about making use of my SLE role via the NSTA.

Discussion with own faculty

We had an hour to talk to our own faculty about what we’d heard from the cross school groups. This was a very useful session and it’s hard to pinpoint why it was so much better than a standard faculty meeting. I think I have to say that it had a lot to do with being in the middle of the day when no-one is tired. I also think that not having to have part of your mind on the afternoon or next day’s lesson makes a big difference.

I’m sure it’s pretty much impossible to timetable but having joint non-contact time in an afternoon slot would be excellent!

Presentation from Andy Buck

In the afternoon, we had a presentation from Andy Buck. I’m not going to try and summarise the whole talk here but I will mention one thing that I thought was particularly relevant for me.

Don’t repeat students’ responses. 

There were several reasons:

  • It encourages the student to mumble
  • It encourages others not to listen too carefully
  • When repeating what they say, you often will change it to make better use of language (and we should be giving students the opportunity to do that)

In summary

It was great to have a chance to work with the other teachers and see what is going on in other schools. I was impressed with how smoothly the day went (well done James for the maths parts) with such a large number of people to coordinate.


From → Maths, Teaching

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