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Education Reading Group - The Science of Learning

At lunchtime today we held the final meeting of this year’s Education Reading Group, and discussed The Science of Learning written by the Deans for Impact, which neatly summarises existing research from cognitive science related to how students learn. It identifies six key questions about learning which are relevant to all teachers:

Education Reading Group – 31st March 2017

This week we looked at readings from the following books, all based around the theme of ‘Praise’:

  • Visible Learning and the Science of How We Learn by Hattie and Yates (2014)
  • Learning Teaching. Becoming and Inspirational Teacher by Boyd, Hymer and Lockney (2015)
  • Why Don’t Students Like School by Willingham (2009)

This is a theme that we had touched on in previous lunchtime meetings but never really had the opportunity to fully explore. A number of interesting points and questions came out today:

Reading Comprehension by Jo Russell

Reading comprehension is a skill which underpins access to the curriculum in all subjects.  By the time students are of secondary age it seems reasonable to expect that they can read and make sense of text.  However, this may not be the case for all students.  Some students may have obvious difficulties accessing text because of phonological difficulties resulting in dyslexia.  Other students, however, may have reading comprehension difficulties which are less obvious to spot.  Specific difficulties in reading comprehension occur when a student has adequate decoding skills, so they can read all the words in the text, but they have difficulty in understanding the content of the text. 

Education Reading Group - February 2017

Embedding Formative Assessment: Practical Techniques for K-12 Classrooms by Dylan Wiliam and Siobhan Leahy

Lunchtime today saw the third meeting this academic year of the Education Reading Group. This time we were reading an extract from a chapter of Embedding Formative Assessment by Dylan Wiliam and Siobhan Leahy entitled ‘Providing feedback that moves learning forward’.

The chapter itself focuses on the effects of different kinds of feedback on student achievement and suggests a number of strategies that teachers can use to maximise the power of the feedback they provide.

Google Expedition

I am quite happy to admit that I am a bit of a techno-phobe. I am not a natural at blended learning and I really need to be convinced by the usefulness of an app before it becomes an embedded part of my classroom. I still think sugar paper rocks and I make no apologies for this!

So, when my name appeared on the timetable for a Google expedition session, I was certainly intrigued but mainly a bit worried about what it would entail. It was going to take me very firmly out of my comfort zone.

So, what is Google Expedition? According to Google:

Thoughts about #All or Nothing Week by Nicola Gunton

This week was an opportunity for us, as teachers, to take a risk in the way we teach. An opportunity for us to explore ideas and take some to the extreme.

No talking

No whiteboard, no projector! #AllOrNothing Week by Alice Constable

At the Sandringham conference at the start of term, I attended a lecture from Nick Rose about memory and the student’s ability to process, organise and use information to help them make the most out of their classroom time. As a classroom teacher, thinking about multiple things at once, it is easy to forget that students, as do we all, have a limited working memory. Rose suggested that part of the problem that students face within lessons is that they are overstimulated; with too many resources and places to find gather information needed to complete their tasks, their ability to hold instructions and remember lesson content becomes limited.

All or Nothing Week – Literacy

Inspired by Matt Macguire (@MacGrammar) and a continuing and genuine desire to support my A Level Sociology students with improving their writing, I decided to focus on literacy for #AllOrNothing week. In preparation, I trawled through the many and varied literacy Teaching Tips and resources on Sandagogy (all of which can be found here, read (skimmed and scanned!) The Secret of Literacy by David Didau and made a shortlist of techniques and ideas I wanted to try out this week:

Effective Homework? By Gemma Harvey, Melanie Heale and Karen Roskilly

In this year’s twilight Professional Learning sessions we are looking at homework – what makes effective homework and how we can best use homework to support our student’s academic progress whilst supporting their wellbeing.

To date, much of this work has focused on reading academic research, reflecting on our own practice and identifying what we consider to be effective homework. This has been shaped by the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) Teaching and Learning Toolkit and two articles in particular:

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