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Once upon a time I was a natural environmental science graduate, and one of my dilemmas at age 21 was whether or not to undertake a funded PhD on peat bog reclamation. There is no need to cut a long story short at this point, because it really didn’t take me long to decide. It [...]
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According to its last annual report, half of all senior leaders in England consult the Education Endowment Foundation’s Teaching and Learning Toolkit to inform decision-making (EEF, 2018a). In just seven years, the Toolkit has become central to – and indeed driven (Coldwell et al., 2017) – evidence-based practice in schools here and overseas. For an [...]
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Motivation is a complicated beast. Traditionally broken into intrinsic and extrinsic types, students may be motivated by a whole host of competing and intertwined factors. The academic literature varies widely on these definitional terms and how they are measured (Garon-Carier, 2015; see also Didau and Rose, 2016). This is further confounded by a gap between [...]
The literature on group work indicates pros and cons to its use in the classroom. By looking at mechanisms of group failure and success and then linking these to concrete practices, we highlight some important boundary conditions involving goal difficulty, how goals are set and feedback, which practitioners may find helpful to know about before [...]
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Developing a culture of learning at Bradford Academy that reflects our desire to be a ‘great school’ has become our major focus. The founding teaching and learning principles of Bradford Academy were that learning would be challenging and collaborative, providing a wide diet of learning opportunities in the classroom. This diet needs to produce outcomes [...]
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A longstanding debate in educational and psychological research is the effectiveness of constructivist teaching methods over direct instruction. Although constructivism can take many forms (such as discovery learning, inquiry learning, etc.), one common assumption widely shared in the research community is that learning is constructed by the individuals, who are active sense-makers, rather than being [...]
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When I started teaching in the 1990s, I knew almost nothing about the students in my new classes apart from their names. Now every September I have data for each child: their prior attainment, spelling and reading ages, and their minimum expected grades (MEGs). I start to know students before meeting them. But this still [...]
Increasing motivation in MFL is crucial for the success of the subject at all key stages. This paper sets out a simple method with which to help increase motivation and self-regulation in secondary languages. What is the good points system? The good points system creates a simple yet effective method of rewarding successful student outcomes [...]
Challenging students to think hard is bread and butter in teaching and learning at The Haberdashers’ Aske’s Boys’ School. But how does a department enhance literacy whilst also providing intellectual rigour? Our department of eight theology and philosophy subject specialists is tackling this head-on with a commitment to enhancing subject-specific literacy. Having explored Cognitive Load [...]
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The topic of behaviour management and the problems teachers face in dealing with disruption to lessons continues to evoke strong argument within the profession. In a survey by the Association of Teachers and Lecturers (2014), 40 per cent of respondents had ‘considered leaving the profession because of the poor behaviour of students’. Aside from the [...]
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Behaviour management remains a critical matter that can cloud the working day for too many teachers (NFER, 2013). The advice below is for teachers who, like me, struggled for longer than they would care to admit with behaviour management. Meet them at the pass. Students are incredibly quick in forming judgements about teachers, so all [...]
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Any discussion about behaviour should begin with thinking about our values. What do we mean by ‘good behaviour’? How do we want our children to think about their behaviour in relationship to their learning? To what extent is behaviour in schools about immediate academic gains, and to what extent is it about longer-term considerations? What [...]
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The author of this article is an Associate at Unlike Minds, an organisation that offers chargeable consultancy services in many fields including education. This paper presents teachers’ self-reported findings about the effects of mindfulness and meditation on student behaviour in three primary schools situated in areas with multiple deprivation indicators. Schools first participated in a [...]
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Children and young people can present with behaviours of concern, particularly if the pupil has additional needs associated with a social or communication difference, such as autism spectrum disorder (ASD). All pupils at The Rise School have a primary diagnosis of autism. Behaviours of concern may also be referred to as ‘challenging behaviour’, ‘behaviours of [...]
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Transition from the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) to Key Stage 1 often marks a shift from a play-oriented curriculum to a goal-focused one. This usually results in changing environments, pedagogy and expectations, despite the fact that, at the start of Year 1, children are only six weeks older than when they finished Reception. As [...]
It is often the case that pupils are asked to give their opinions on a range of issues facing schools, through pupil forums, assemblies and prefect bodies. There is a large body of academic literature outlining the benefits of the process and the methods for encouraging this (Bragg and Fielding, 2005; Cook-Sather, 2002; Flutter and [...]
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A significant proportion of students in schools in the UK use English as an additional language (EAL). Latest figures show that EAL learners in England account for approximately one in five of the student population (DfE, 2018). Developing a learning culture that takes into account the specific characteristics and educational needs of this sizeable group [...]
All teachers need to develop children’s knowledge of academic literacy in different curriculum areas so that they can interpret written text. Academic literacy can be defined as children’s ability to understand higher order ‘textual’ language in order to access the curriculum and the learning that accompanies it. Using my experience of working with EAL (English [...]
This article explores what an inclusive culture in the primary classroom entails, and how it can be created and sustained. Drawing on my recent work (Eaude, 2018a, 2018b), it challenges several assumptions, especially about the standards agenda. In advocating a holistic approach, I argue that inclusiveness should be seen more broadly than is often the [...]
At Reading Blue Coat School (RBCS), we are engaged in developing our peer mentoring programme to meet our pastoral care responsibilities. To put this into a national context, news items have recently drawn attention to young people’s well-being (NHS, 2017; Sellgren, 2018), and the government has prioritised encouraging peer-to-peer support as a method to develop [...]
Michael Young’s concept of powerful knowledge is central in considering the function of a school curriculum. Young argues that ‘powerful knowledge is inescapably specialized knowledge’ (Young, 2014a, p. 3). If a successful learning culture is one in which powerful knowledge is acquired, then it is important for teachers to understand the key components of powerful [...]
In this reflection, we offer three viewpoints on the development of a growth mindset philosophy in one school and consider how it may continue to influence school improvement. Stalham High School is a small, rural, coastal secondary school serving a comprehensive intake. Following a period of change, including academisation and becoming part of North Norfolk [...]
Drawing is widely called upon across the secondary curriculum and has been made more prevalent by the Department for Education’s (2015) review of art and design GCSE subject content. Drawing is increasingly viewed as an essential part of the curriculum, underpinning many aspects of study. It is a means of both making sense of the [...]
“Some years ago I took on a combined Reception and Year 1 class and very soon began fleshing out what form the teaching and learning might take. Upon my suggestion to use a primarily playful approach to learning, working with small groups across the day and differentiating inputs and activities, my headteacher at the time [...]
Within this action research project, we conducted our own inquiry focused on the use of peer assessment during literacy lessons over a unit of work (half a term) based on non-chronological reports, to understand whether it was a useful strategy to improve the outcomes of children’s literacy development. It became a personal target to see [...]
At this early stage in my research on student experiences of project-based learning, I am yet to produce specific findings and implications for classroom practice, but instead offer aspects of my doctoral research proposal and my motivations for wanting to understand the experiences of a particular group of students embarking on project-based research qualifications. Through [...]
This article argues for a situated perspective of new teachers’ work and professional learning, and highlights important considerations for retention and success in early career teaching. Attrition rates of early career teachers The attrition rate of new teachers is an ongoing concern for governments across the globe. More than 10 years ago it was reported [...]
Japanese lesson study has become increasingly popular (Seleznyov, 2018) as an approach to teacher professional development in the UK. Translated from the words jugyou (instruction or lesson) and kenkyu (research or study), lesson study involves teachers collaboratively planning a lesson, observing it being taught and then discussing their findings. In line with recent research on [...]
Achinstein (2002) suggests that conflict is essential in a learning community. Yet, while some communities will be conflict-embracing, others will externalise the conflict and become conflict-avoidant. Over the past five years, I have been using lesson study to support the development of a learning community in my school, so that it is increasingly conflict-embracing. In [...]
Establishing a professional learning community is a cornerstone of Learn-AT’s organisational mission, both as a trust and as a teaching school. Since Learn-AT launched in 2016, the development of a pervasive learning culture has been a strategic priority. Promoting research-informed professional learning (RIPL) that meets the professional standards for CPD (DfE, 2016) is a key [...]
Lesson study has been ‘the primary form of professional development in Japan for over a hundred years’ (Takahashi and McDougal, 2016, p. 514). The features of effective lesson study as defined by Takahashi and McDougal, such as, ‘careful study of academic content’ (p. 520), ‘a highly structured, school-wide… process’ and ‘done over several weeks rather than [...]
There is an ever-increasing focus on teacher learning. Teacher learning aims to improve teacher practice, which has an impact on student outcomes. It is therefore clear that if we want our students to be as successful as possible, we need our teachers, through their own learning, to be as successful as possible too. For this, [...]
Appraisals, done well, can be at the heart of moving a school forward. My experience, however, is that they are more often part of a cycle in a busy schedule of activities in the autumn term under ‘performance management’. They are increasingly viewed by staff as generic, linked to whole-school priorities and pupil outcomes. As [...]
The East Sussex ‘Interacting with babies (0-18m)’ collaborative research project The aim of this project was to create a learning culture of professional reflection for a community of baby room practitioners. Following successful projects in other counties, we wanted to know whether conducting practitioner action research could improve reflective practice. Background Our observations during support [...]
For teachers as well as students, actions speak louder than words. A learning culture means practising what we preach and paying careful attention to how our aspirations are operationalised in the real world. This article describes a research-based approach to building a learning culture for school improvement among schools serving disadvantaged students. The focus was [...]
Observation is not a term that is often met with excitement or jubilation by teachers across the profession, even though there is an acknowledgement of the impact that it can have on teaching practice when done well (Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, 2013; EEF, 2017), and when it is focused on teacher development (Kraft and [...]
How do we characterise an effective CPD programme? It is relatively easy to identify slots in the calendar and gather staff together, but good attendance and hours spent are not necessarily synonymous with quality and impact. And impact is what CPD is all about. Indeed, the key findings from the Teacher Development Trust’s 2015 summary [...]
Teachers have a responsibility to impart knowledge to students that can be applied later in life. However, this knowledge may not always be effectively transferred to students. Assessment, then, becomes an integral part of teaching and learning, as it helps to ascertain that a learning process has occurred. It acts not only as a student [...]
As Dylan Wiliam (2016) described, ‘the major contribution to improving teacher quality must come from improving the quality of teachers already working in our schools’. This is opposed to the view that we can improve academic outcomes simply through recruitment and by removing less-effective teachers. One of the main ways in which we have sought [...]
Abstract To increase the impact of the classroom management course required for the teaching degree programme at one small, private Midwestern university, the professor implemented flipped learning. Students were given a survey related to their perception of learning potential using flipped instruction before and after the semester. Results indicated that most students perceived that they [...]
A learning community can be seen as one where the concept of learning moves beyond the idea of ‘learning = being taught’ towards the view that ‘learning = constructing knowledge with others’ (Watkins, 2005). At Godolphin and Latymer, we have developed a series of learning communities for both staff and students; groups of volunteers engage [...]
This short article accompanies the one by Claire Badger, Miles Golland and Amanda Triccas, also in this edition of Impact. These teacher-authors describe the collaborative interaction that is promoted by teacher learning communities (TLCs) and student learning communities in Godolphin and Latymer School. They define this as ‘constructing knowledge with others’ and they emphasise the [...]
Teaching is an intellectual profession and, as such, its knowledge bases are underpinned by research, one definition of which could be new knowledge made public. However, within the education community, the concept of research is used in a variety of what might be thought of as loose ways, including, for example, reports of innovative practice, [...]
The DfE standard for teachers’ professional development (2016) states that effective professional development should have ‘explicit relevance to participants’ and account for ‘individual teachers’ existing experience, knowledge and needs’. Whole-school, one-off INSET days where all staff are expected to follow the same activities are unlikely to improve student outcomes and can be an inefficient use [...]
The challenge of making schools more research-led On a national scale, it is increasingly accepted by school leaders, teachers and policymakers that education should be grounded in evidence in order to ensure positive outcomes for students. Key examples of this include Ofsted’s emphasis on the value of evidence-informed teaching (Department for Education, 2017), the continued [...]
This is the story of two teachers. Angela and Amber have been teaching for 10 years each. Angela is a 32-year-old primary teacher whose particular specialism has been teaching reading in Years 3 and 4. Amber is a secondary drama teacher, now in her early 50s, who came into teaching after a first career as [...]
We all recognise schools as places of learning for children and young people. However, in schools with strong learning cultures, everyone shares an identity as a learner. When staff speak about the learning dispositions they expect to see in their students, they could hold up a mirror and see the same dispositions in themselves. This [...]
“This is not about ‘revolutionary’ change, but rather about ‘evolutionary’ change – starting from where you are, experimenting, adapting and learning by doing – with all changes based on evaluated evidence.” (Collarbone, 2015, p. 13) Schools today are required to prepare students for a changing world. In this climate of fast change, teachers are urged [...]
Location and context John Taylor Free School is a non-selective, non-denominational secondary school near Burton upon Trent, Staffordshire. It opened in September 2018 with 210 Year 7 students, and the school will grow each year until it reaches capacity at 1,550 students. Vision for learning The school follows the mantra of ‘succeed and thrive’, which [...]
Teachers often feel that they don’t have time to research; the pressures on the teaching profession are immense and the last thing a leader needs to do is add more work to an overburdened workforce. However, I felt that the value of research to inform teaching practices was so important that I made the decision [...]