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Reflections on the Research Advocates Programme

Over the last term I have been fortunate enough to be part of the Research Advocates programme through the Alban TSA. This is a short programme designed to support teachers in accessing and using educational research to investigate or consider an area of their choice. The main aims of the programme were to support teachers in:

Tomorrow, tomorrow, I love you tomorrow....

It seems fitting that my first blog post should be inspired by the whole school production of Annie. It was a pleasure to be involved in this production and as I reflect on my experiences last week I am struck not only by how much the young people involved will take away and remember in years to come, but also how their experiences will have a positive impact on their learning journeys at school.

Space Festival - An Art approach - By Liz Kelly

Space and space travel has had an inspiring impact on art and artists throughout history. Whether from the fascination of space travel or undiscovered planets and stars of our universe, art has played a key role in helping us to interpret and visualise the mysteries of space and our solar system. 

App of the Month - Paper by 53

Paper by 53 is one of the best apps on the iPad for creativity and note taking. 

It is a digital pad of paper where the user can sketch, scribble notes or plan an idea in a very intuitive way.

Even for those of us with limited drawing skills, this can produce some beautiful results and is an ideal medium to be creative, sketch ideas and take notes.

Images can be stored within Paper intself or exported as images to the camera roll for use elsewhere, or saved to Google Drive.

This shouldn't be seen as something limited to Art or D&T applications: freehand storyboarding, mind maps, graphs in Maths, annotated diagrams in Science or Geography etc.

Further adventures with SOLO taxonomy!

I have just started re-visiting Research Methods with my A2 Sociology class, and we are in the process of trying to build on their AS knowledge to develop a more sophisticated and complex understanding of the relationship between sociological theory and method. Every year this provides me with a challenge, as the students resolutely try to stick to keeping their knowledge and understanding within the confines of chapters from their textbook, rather than thinking about how different topics and chapters can work together to provide a more holistic methodological understanding.

Working Memory – my light bulb moment! - By Gemma Harvey


Working Memory – my light bulb moment 

Being part of the research advocates programme this term has been enlightening and rewarding. Not only have I had time to read about research that interests me but also receiving research article that inspire and resonate with me has been a lovely surprise, and it is one such article that I want to share with you.

Sandringham Education Book Club Meeting!

Lunchtime today saw the inaugural meeting of the Sandringham Education Book Club where, over pizza, we met to discuss An Ethic of Excellence: Building a Culture of Craftsmanship with Students by Ron Berger.

I think it is safe to say that, although the book produced some mixed responses in terms of the style in which it is written and some of its themes, the majority of responses were positive. Some of the ideas discussed were as follows:

Modelling of work

The Science of Learning

The Science of Learning - A cognitive approach to classroom teaching

Study Strategies to Boost Learning

In the build up to the trial exams this December, I have spent a lot of time with my Year 11 tutor group during tutor time talking about how they learn and the best ways to revise. This is something that in the course of a normal lesson I rarely get the opportunity to do; I am far too busy trying to cram the contents of the specification into limited class time! However, as part of the Research Advocates programme, the course facilitator referred to an article by John Dunlosky (2013) in which the efficacy of 10 learning strategies were reviewed and then categorises as either ‘most effective’, ‘strategies with promise’ and ‘least useful (that students use a lot!)’.

Organising knowledge

I have had the pleasure with working with a new teacher in my department, Caroline Hurley.  Over the last few weeks, she has come to see me teach and has asked some really insightful questions which have got me thinking.  Skilfully, her questions have helped me articulate my approach to supporting students manage what they need to know for economics.

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