Good Teachers Talk: Better Teachers Listen | classteaching

Andy Tharby here

Working in an educational context with the worthwhile aim of reducing gaps between students from differing social backgrounds is a daunting task. Classrooms are inevitably sites of power asymmetry, and not just between the pupils. Although it can be awkward to confront, the social disparity between teachers and pupils is sometimes a tangible and influential factor in schools that needs sensitive, yet robust, handling.

Discourse

Gee describes Discourses (with a capital ‘D’) as ‘social practices’ that involve ‘words, actions, values and beliefs’ that members of particular…

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Using You Tube to support learning | classteaching

This week’s teaching forum was led by our geography Curriculum Leader, Ben Crockett.  Ben was getting frustrated with the lack of commercially produced revision resources available for his students, particularly ones that would support them with remembering the case studies.  He wanted to be able to provide high level instruction for his students beyond the classroom, that went beyond the bog standard BBC Bitesize videos and was of the same high standard that students have come to expect from their geography teachers.

To address this, he created a departmental ‘YouTube’ channel.  Ben and…

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Words | classteaching

In ‘Bringing Words to Life’, Beck, McKeown & Kucan talk about three tiers of words that students will be exposed to during school:

Most students come to school with a good tier 1 vocabulary.  Those students who come from a ‘word-rich’ family, where they have been encouraged to read and have discussions about the world around them, will have a good tier 2 vocabulary.  At school, they will be exposed to a growing number of tier 3 words, from the subject specialists that teach them.  What about the students who come from a ‘word-poor’ background, where they haven’t been encouraged to…

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Words | classteaching

In ‘Bringing Words to Life’, Beck, McKeown & Kucan talk about three tiers of words that students will be exposed to during school:

Most students come to school with a good tier 1 vocabulary.  Those students who come from a ‘word-rich’ family, where they have been encouraged to read and have discussions about the world around them, will have a good tier 2 vocabulary.  At school, they will be exposed to a growing number of tier 3 words, from the subject specialists that teach them.  What about the students who come from a ‘word-poor’ background, where they haven’t been encouraged to…

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More questions = fewer pointless PowerPoints | classteaching

The focus of this week’s Teaching Forum is questioning, an essential element of the craft of teaching. I sat down with Alex Mohammed, assistant leader in science, to learn a bit more about how to do it successfully.
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For Alex, questioning is the most crucial part of being a science teacher. It enables him to understand where his pupils are so that he can extend them even further. Alex has spent the last four years honing and improving two types of question: those he asks while he is modelling and explaining a concept, and those he asks to check understanding.

Let’s start with the…

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Three Tricks to Improve Explanations | classteaching

How do we help our students to make insightful use of academic content? How can we support students in confidently accessing more abstract ideas and applying these to their understanding? How can we ensure that students are able to engage with concepts that challenge them beyond the pragmatic foundations and into the loftier realms of theoretical evaluation?  In this week’s teaching and learning forum, Andy Tharby explores how we can support students in achieving these ideals with three tricks for improving explanations.
Make use of what your students already know.

By activating their…

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Teaching brilliance through benchmarks | classteaching

This week’s teaching forum shines a light on how the art and design department at Durrington have used the brilliance of past GCSE students to inform the teaching and learning of their current cohorts.  In simple terms it is about taking the very best examples, displaying them beautifully and then using them to direct students towards similarly excellent work.

Director of art and design Gail Christie started out with a vision to create a mini-art college feel within the department.  This included exhibition style displays of the very best student work, regularly changed and organised in…

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