Teacher I do a lot of guided writing with my Y5s but I've trained my class up and they know how it works now. Basically, I write a piece of whatever type of writing we're focusing on in front of them on the IWB, talking them through it and explaining why I'm doing things like adding punctuation, proof-reading etc. I tend to write a sentence or a paragraph at a time and then we talk about it and they write their own.
Who knew? The report is a step by step guide on how to suck eggs. Apparently, teachers should concentrate on engendering a passion for learning instead of worrying about all the waggle of passing exams!
Many schools and teachers seem to have developed a whole raft of mistaken beliefs about what will impress inspectors. Most of this advice is what most teachers do in normal lessons but feel they have to abandon in order to appease some clipboard wielding bureaucrat.
These myths include: Lessons need to be fast paced Actually faster is not better. Lessons need to be packed with a range of activities Not so. Yes this will keep students busy, but cramming activities into your lesson will not result in them learning more. Instead lessons should have a clear focus on what it is that students need to learn and provide them with the opportunity to make progress in whatever this is.
Lessons plans need to be massively detailed Most schools insist on planning pro formas being completed for observed lessons. The report talks about lesson plans of over words where every minute of the lesson is accounted for in meticulous detail.
The advice from Ofsted is clear: a simple straightforward plan that is easy to understand and follow is always best. You should not deviate from your plan A rigid plan is not a good one. The belief that learning needs to be reviewed every few minutes is actually getting in the way of learning.
Inspectors want to see lessons where students are given time to work independently for extended periods with teachers working less hard than their students.
The reality is that although the teacher is being judged, the inspector will be observing what the students are doing. My advice for teachers is to spend the observation showing off their immaculately marked books and pointing out students who have made especially impressive progress whilst the students get on with some independent learning.
However, given the positive impact of recent guidance and training on lesson methodology, there are good opportunities now for teachers to be more flexible in their approach to teaching and planning lessons. This should include a greater readiness to respond to the unexpected in lessons and to change the direction of lessons as they develop.
Teachers should also be encouraged to be creative and adventurous in their teaching, and to vary approaches depending on the nature of the learning planned for the lesson. Ofsted seem to feel, as most teachers do, that the high stakes nature of the examination system means that all the fun is sucked out of lessons in order to concentrate on how to pass tests.
Quel surprise! Amusingly, the report does not mention the fact that all these myths have come about due to the terror schools have of Ofsted. It is their most abhorred task as it takes much longer than their allocated three periods of PPA per week but it has to be done.
Teachers often stress about marking because they are frightened of the repercussions from SLT A. I have a twelve year old daughter…hard to believe I know, but I do. Two terms on and I am baffled by the letter C in her Art book which stands alone on the page with no accompanying comment to challenge her and help her on to the next level; I am disgusted at the Science book which has yet to be marked, and I could not tell you what her Maths teacher thinks of her work as my daughter does all of the marking in the book herself!
Unfortunately, there is very little that I can do to change her teachers and their attitudes towards marking Year 7 work but I can use this opportunity to reflect and offer some tips and advice about marking.
My next few Learning Geek reflections will focus on marking methods that I have used, why I have used them and their effects on motivation and achievement. Feed Forward Marking is not to be done just because you know you will be work trawled soon!
Nor is it for filling your planner with the latest crop of grades. It is to provide pupils with a way of moving forward with their learning.
Whether that be through your more detailed understanding of their weaknesses, and subsequent planning of lessons which target these specific needs, or through providing personalised feedback which helps them to make steps towards improvement in your subject.
We are marking, not solely for our own benefit, but for the benefit of our students.Talk the Big Talk, a precursor to Big Writing, puts emphasis on the importance of talk, particularly in the early years, to enhance the writing process.
Using the core Big Writing principles of Vocabulary, Connectives, Openers and Punctuation, (VCOP) early years practitioners can use the power of talk within their writing sessions.
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