Teaching & Learning
T & L Newsletters
Each week, the Literacy and Numeracy coordinator put together a newsletter that highlights the priorities for that week. What they are looking out for when they are doing learning walks, any CPD that is coming up as well as resources and WOW moments that they have spotted. Please find below each week's newsletter.
Mindset is based on the work of Psychologist Carol Dweck; she has conducted hundreds of studies with learners of all ages to understand how they think about themselves and how this influences their actions. Mindset is the idea that we hold a set of beliefs about our own intelligence and ability, and that these beliefs shape the way we behave. We have tried to foster in our learners a growth mindset – the belief that intelligence and ability are not fixed traits, but can be changed with effort.
Adopting a growth mindset means:
- seeing problems as challenges to be overcome;
- seeing difficulties as opportunities to learn;
- seeing setbacks or failure as feedback for improvement;
- seeing effort as the key to success;
- seeing the journey as more important than the outcome;
- seeing success in others as inspiration.
Students with a growth mindset are more resilient and determined, they have a passion for learning that will last, they do not allow problems and challenges to stop them from achieving. Students who have adopted a growth mindset embrace the challenge of learning. They want to be pushed and stretched in lessons as they recognise that only doing tasks that are easy will not lead to improvement.
Mindset is a key part of the induction process for students as they start in the Sixth Form. Students are introduced to the main ideas, and helped to recognise their own mindset, and how this influences their behaviour. This is reinforced throughout the year by subject teachers and Form Tutors as they learn to deal with the challenges posed by making the transition to post-16 learning.
A six part lesson planning cycle around which all lessons are planned. This is derived from the TEEP model and Alistair Smith’s Accelerated learning cycle and is built upon what we know about effective learning. For example, all new learning is built upon what the learner already knows/understands, hence “connect the learning” is the first part of the cycle.
The 6 part lesson structure
- Connect the Learning - The teacher plans to: Connect new learning to prior learning and existing knowledge, make connections with world outside of the classroom, stimulate thinking about new learning to come. Teachers use this opportunity to gauge what students already know.
- Discuss Learning Outcomes and Agree Success Criteria - Teachers explicitly share the purpose of the lessons with their students so that the students are in no doubt as to what is expected of them during the lesson. The teacher will: make the content, skills and thinking explicit; state clearly what the students will have learned by the end of the lesson; discuss and share the criteria against which the learning will be assessed.
- Share New Information - Students will be presented with or introduced to the new information that they are required work with. Teachers need to consider what will be the best way to present the information so that it provides for maximum inclusion of the students.
- Challenge Activity - Developing Understanding - Students are given the time (about 20 minutes) and opportunity to develop understanding of the new information and to practice using their developing skills. The students are actively engaged in exploring the content. At this time it would be common for them to be working in groups, talking with each other about their work quite often making errors but most of all working towards building a personal understanding what they have been presented with.
- Demonstrating New Learning and Understanding - Students are participating in a task or tasks that will allow them to demonstrate their developing understanding of the content that was presented. During this time teachers and students may be involved in assessing and evaluating the outcomes of the students’ learning. Over time there should be a variety of techniques and methods used to determine the levels of achievement.
- Review / Reflect - Review takes place throughout lesson, however, teachers should make time for students to consolidate understanding and might: Pose questions to unpack what has been learnt and how well; pose questions to encourage reflection on how learning took place; preview next learning steps.
Kagan Co-operative learning is an approach which has a proven track record of improving the attainment and engagement of all students and narrowing the attainment gap between the most and least able. It is based on the use of a number of structures suitable for any content which incorporate co-operative student-to-student interaction as an integral part of the learning process. It supports much of our other work in Assessment for Learning and Behaviour for Learning at The MFG.
The benefits of Kagan Co-operative Learning:
- Actively involves students in the learning process;
- With Co-operative learning results have improved – research indicates that this approach can help students achieve more and close the achievement gap;
- Promotes critical thinking;
- Increases a long list of social skills, including: listening, taking turns, conflict resolution skills, leadership skills, and teamwork skills which can help to boost self-esteem and responsibility and ultimately helps to prepare students for success in life;
- Encourages a “can-do” attitude because students have opportunities to process their thinking and answer.
The MJS SAM Club, or Structure-A-Month club, is an opportunity for staff to learn a new structure beyond what is delivered through the basic training. Through SAM club, teachers are immersed in the Kagan structures and are enabled to share ideas and develop new strategies to use with their classes. We encourage all staff, from support staff to the senior team, to be part of SAM club.
At SAM club teachers learn a structure and its steps by doing it themselves. They learn what the pitfalls might be, learn how to avoid them and have the chance to ask questions instead of reading about the structures in a book. The best bit of the SAM club is that teachers then generate ideas to take back to their own class where they can use the structure with their students.
The more structures a teacher has in their toolbox, the more their learners will become independent experts and be stretched in their learning. These structures are also crucial to building and developing our most able so that they become flexible and critical thinkers for their future careers.