Subject Prefects

 

rose prefectThe 15 minute forum tonight was led by English teacher Jas Rose.  When she was a student at a nearby school, Jas was a ‘Subject Prefect’ and thoroughly enjoyed it.  So she has introduced it in the English department.

Students had to go through a thorough selection process, including an application form and then a group activity.  This allowed Jas to watch the candidates in action and then select the ones that demonstrated the qualities she was looking for. From this, Jas appointed a group of 13 – made up of students from Y9 and Y10.

Throughout the year, the group have met about once a month.  During these meetings they have discussed a range of topics:

  • What they like about their English lessons and how improvements could be made.
  • Discussing specific ideas about English teaching e.g. why they struggle with the PEE process and how it could be improved:

rose

  • Good ideas from other subjects e.g. extended writing strategies that are used in geography and MFL.

There is a potential conflict when asking students to critique teaching – often what they like and might see as good teaching, is not actually conducive to effective learning – and vice versa.  Jas says that this is a useful part of the role, as it allows her to open up a discussion with the students and unpick why something they might see as ‘boring’ is actually quite useful in terms of learning – so it might even improve them as learners.

Other responsibilities

  • Parents Evenings – they are great to have at parents evenings as they can talk about the subject with confidence.
  • KS3 anthology celebration evening – their passion for the subject can really make an evening lie this come alive.
  • Y6/7 taster sessions – they can inspire younger students with their enthusiasm for the subject.
  • Competitions – they are really useful when it comes to judging entries for competitions such as creative writing competitions.

How has it helped me a as a teacher?

  • Revision sessions – shaping these around the specific areas that students are struggling with.
  • Designing activities for younger students e.g. Of Mice & Men has moved from Y10 to Y9, so the group has discussed what type of activity might be useful and where the difficult points are – so teaching can be more focused.
  • It keeps you motivated – discussing the subject you love with students who are just as passionate.
  • They give you some important reminders about what’s important:

rose2

How could it be improved?

  • More frequent meetings.
  • Use for subject specific mentoring e.g. reading mentors; effort coaches – so those students with a growth mindset, coach those who are more fixed mindset.

What are the benefits for students?

  • Gives younger students something to aspire to.
  • Allows students to follow a subject specific interest.
  • Allows you to share your enthusiasm for the subject with students.
  • Talking about effective teaching strategies with them, helps them to become better learners.

Next Steps…

Inspired by the work that Carl Hendrick is doing at Wellington College, we are planning to set up a ‘Student Research Council’.  You can read more about how this has worked at Wellington here.

We see this group having two main functions:

  • As we continue to adopt a more evidence based approach to teaching, they can help us to review the impact of what we do.
  • By engaging a group of students with current research into mindset and grit, they can start to work alongside their peers, and help them to develop as learners.

 

 

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