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TeachMeet Hatfield.


Way back in the first part of the year, TeachMeet Hatfield invited people to join them in July. What a great idea I thought, I’ll have loads of free time in July – that is a great time for a TeachMeet – count me in! Come July, weirdly, all that free time had mystically disappeared… and I was starting to curse signing up for additional CPD. I needn’t have worried. TeachMeet Hatfield was fantastic: short, sharp presentations with lots of food for thought (and excellent buffet too). If you haven’t been to a TeachMeet before – this was my second – I thoroughly endorse them as a quick way to network and get some new ideas. It is a bit like real-life twitter.

First up was Melanie Balfour who suggested lots of ways to incorporate numeracy into your lessons. Two of my favourites were using equations to express complexity e.g. glucose – insulin = diabetes and use of mathematical language to help with note structuring (using therefore, ∴, and because, ∵).

Another speaker described walk, talk exams, a technique that I’m really looking to develop more in my lessons as I move to teaching sixth form only. The concept is that you, either in advance or with the class, go through an exam students have done annotating the script with your thoughts to model the process of completing questions. Amanda Clifford (@MrsCChancellors) at the TeachMeet went as far as annotating the front page e.g. circling the time and working out the marks per minute, whereas previously I have seen people putting their thoughts in thought bubbles near a question  - ‘hmmm, here I’m thinking about these key points which will get me the four marks’. You can actually answer the question if you’d like – but I like the idea of just modelling your thoughts. Then, giving the students the annotations and leaving them to use that additional information to try the questions. Over time the amount of modelling structure I provide them with would decrease, and ideally, they would fill in the missing process. 

This seems like a great time to point out that there’s a good chance to win a prize at a TeachMeet. Usually revolving around getting their tweets up, prizes are sporadically given away during the sessions. This time they had IPEVO visualisers up for grabs, and I was fortunate enough to receive one, having tweeted that I’d use my IPEVO visualiser for modelling exam questions in real-time and for demos of practicals. I’ll let you know how I get on with this next year!

There are two further presentations I’d like to mention as favourites from the evening. The first was by Madeline Fresco-Brown who is currently on maternity and tweets under the handle @maternityCPD. Madeline is championing the concept of using your maternity time to access CPD – and making CPD more accessible to parental leave e.g. having child friendly CPD or crèche opportunities. Now, Madeline is not your average person in this circumstance, having applied for and acquired a promotion at eight and a half months pregnant, and having attended her first day CPD at 5 weeks post-partum: even she suggested that perhaps the latter was a bit too much too soon. However, I love the work she is doing: creating a network and facility for those who wish to engage with CPD in this time – be it in an ad hoc or seriously determined manner.

Finally, one of the key note speakers was Professor Dame Alison Peacock (@AlisonMPeacock) who was promoting the Chartered College of Teaching. Having been meaning to sign up to this for the whole year, she finally got me. At £45 perhaps this is not an option for all, but as a member of the PLT I have been purposefully increasing my reading of educational research this year – including attending the excellent educational reading group and increasing my blogging - the access to journals is fantastic. If you’d like to see what access looks like, come and find me! Of further interest, with us becoming a research school, I hope that we are looking at the option to buy school access.

So, in September, if you notice an advert for a TeachMeet – maybe don’t delete straight away – give it a go – I definitely got value for money!