“What’s going on with your dive, Niki?”
He could have written this down for me to read later. If he did, I might have wondered exactly what it was that I’d done wrong. How come my dive had fallen apart so dramatically? I was actually feeling quite good!
Luckily, it wasn’t written down.
A couple of years ago, I started a Science Journal Club for students. The idea is that students read a recent scientific paper in advance of the meeting, and we get together to discuss it. The idea was to help students find out about “real” research, and to teach them how to read scientific papers.
I have been guilty in the past of associating copious amounts of green pen with effective feedback and progress. Surely, the more I write on work, the more feedback I provide, the more progress will be made next time? The students shall be impressed by the quantity of my marking, and absorb my words of wisdom like a sponge, deploying them next time and making leaps and bounds of progress.
We have re-designed our CPD programme this year, underpinned by a desire for a no-blame culture where we take risks in the classroom based on judicious use of evidence-informed strategies. Teachers have chosen a PM question to work on, based on their own development and our whole-school aims.
You can find our reading lists here.
Growth mindset has a ring of truth to it, but will require organisational change as well as changes to classroom practice. We don’t want Growth mindset to end up on the pile of discarded educational fads. We plan to take things slowly, look for evidence of positive impact, and work on improving our own mindsets before lamenting a lack of resilience in the students in our care.
This week, I’ve been covering ionic bonding and structure with year 11. This is an important topic, and the concepts within it form the basis of many key ideas in future modules, so I have been thinking about how best to help them understand and retain these fundamental (threshold) concepts.
Students need to feel there is a “point” to all this, especially when you ask them to feed back to you about how things are going (and if they have any questions for you). It’s therefore very important to take the time to answer any questions they ask, and to show that you have taken account of their feedback.
For example, at the end of an online homework, I asked pupils to tell me about aspects of the current topic that they found most difficult. In the following lesson, I displayed some (anonymised) representative responses on the board, and went through key points with the class.