As we near the end of what has been a pretty challenging year and look forward to a well-deserved summer break, I thought it would be worthwhile revisiting some of the best blogs from the ClassTeaching archive for this academic year. Things may have been tough and most certainly very different from the norm, however hopefully as these blogs demonstrate there has still been much to celebrate, explore and contemplate this year.
It is often said that “you should save the best to last”, however in this case the opposite could not be truer. Andy Tharby kick started the academic year with a fascinating blog discussing how we acquire new knowledge by connecting it to what we already know – our schema. In the blog Andy shares some examples of how we can support students to forge connections through our classroom teaching and curriculum planning strategies.
In this blog Chris Runeckles explores the importance (and yet frustratingly difficult challenge) of getting students to plan their work, before undertaking a task. Chris explains how we can explicitly teach students the thinking/planning process that we as subject experts go through when planning a task. The blog also gives some excellent class room strategies, questions and prompts that teachers can use to support student’s self-regulation and metacognition, and encourage them to reflect on their planning.
In this short blog Ben describes how he and the Geography team may use their Subject Planning and Development sessions to plan and discuss how they will incorporate the wider school teaching and learning foci into a topic being taught within the upcoming fortnight. The blog explains how these sessions are used to contextualise the school’s focus on areas such as formative assessment and metacognition to the subject matter being taught across the department.
December 2020: Feeding Back to Novice Teachers by Chris Runeckles
In this blog Chris reflects on his role as NQT assessor and overall NQT lead on how we can most effectively give feedback to novice teachers based on the Deans for Impact: Practice with Purpose publication.
Based in the context of the return to remote teaching this blog, written by Fran Haynes, focused on the benefits and challenges of using on-screen texts during the period of remote teaching. The blog then provides strategies that can be used to supporting reading and engagement with on-screen texts. While hopefully the days of remote learning our now behind us, these strategies may still be useful when giving students text for homework tasks etc.
February 2021: Why most teacher CPD fails and what we might be able to do about it by Shaun Allison
In this blog Shaun summarises the work that Mike Hobbiss, Becky Allen and Sam Sims have been doing on the role of habit formation and its impact on teacher development. Shaun explains how in their early years teacher’s performance improves rapidly, but then plateaus from year 3 or 4 onwards. He then moves onto to explain how instructional coaching may provide a way of preventing this plateauing.
March 2021: Returning to Knowledge Organisers by Fran Haynes
As students returned to school Fran looked at how knowledge organisers could be harnessed for recovery teaching, or in other words help mitigate the problems that could occur as a result of the different experiences between students in regards to remote learning. Fran’s blog gives practical examples of how best to use knowledge organisers in the classroom so that the time spent creating them is not wasted.
April 2021:Disciplinary Reading in Real Life by Fran Haynes
In this blog Fran explores how the tricky theoretical aims of disciplinary literacy may actually look in the messy real life of the classroom. Fran explains how the greatest element of disciplinary literacy is its focus on subject specificity, and outlines how curriculum leaders are implementing this at Durrington
May 2021: How Reliable are your assessments by Ben Crockett
Following a tracking point entry at Durrington, Ben discusses the complexities of ensuring valid and reliable assessments, based on the “Four Pillars of Assessment” publication from Evidence Based Education. In the blog Ben outlines how some of the departments at Durrington attempt to ensure high reliability through their moderation processes so that variability is minimised as much as possible.
Three for the price of 1! Following the publication of the EEF’s “Teacher Feedback to Improve Pupil Learning” Guidance Report Fran, Ben and Deb wrote a blog each summarising the main points of the report and taking a closer look at recommendations 1 and 2.
July 2021: Leadership Lessons from Gareth Southgate by Shaun Allison
While the final result may not have been what every England fan had hoped for, it can’t be denied that English football under the stewardship of Gareth Southgate is on an exciting and upward curve. In this blog Shaun explores the behaviours and approaches that have shaped Southgate as a leader and reflects on how these can be transferred into school leaders.
All that leaves me to say then is, thank you for reading and supporting the blogs this year and that we hope you have a restful, relaxing and enjoyable summer break.
Durrington Research School Team