Challenging Pupils’ Thinking

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Challenging Pupils Thinking. 3 aspects to todays session gathering evidence; sharing ideas and successes; reflecting on practice The Learning Walk What kinds of challenge might we observe? What evidence is readily available to us? What does this tell us about learning? - PowerPoint PPT Presentation


From Good to Great

Challenging Pupils Thinking3 aspects to todays session gathering evidence; sharing ideas and successes; reflecting on practice

The Learning Walk What kinds of challenge might we observe?What evidence is readily available to us?What does this tell us about learning?The St Georges experienceWhat is going on that is good or great across the group?What can we learn from each other?Reflection, challenge and learningWhat do we now understand better about learning?What will we do with this new knowledge and understanding?

The Main ThingThe main thing is to keep the main thing the main thingCovey, S. 1989 The 7 Habits of Highly Effective PeopleAnd the main thing is learning activities now to unpick learning: in a group of 4 mixed phase, 2 look at In your School, 2 look at How many of the following can you answershare responses in group of 4; take whole group feedback; now look as whole group at Consider the following questions put up on screen next 3 slides. What are the implications from the discussion? What needs to change? Look next at the slides on defining learning knowledge into understanding.2

And the main thing is

LearningPut a flip chart page up WELCOME - opening activity whilst we assemble please move your chairs to form groups of 4. Read the notes with your programme and discuss questions 1. and 2. with a partner or in a small group3Now we are GOODWill the strategies and policies that have enabled us to reach good and improve teaching be sufficient to help us move beyond good and promote learning?

4Understanding LearningThe better we understand learning the better able we are to facilitate it in othersHughes, M. 2006 And the Main Thing is LearningSession 1 reflect on the message; what came out of your discussions on questions 1 and 2? Watch the extract from Channel 4 discuss why you became a teacher? Discuss why you became a leader (honestly!)? Discuss what it means to lead at DSB.5And what we mean by learning isThe profession has finally accepted that learning is an active process. Consequently, we find far more pupil activity during lessons than ever before.The next step in the challenge to enhance learning in the classroom is to convince teachers that reflection is a key ingredient in the learning process.We must not let words like meta-cognition deter us; we simply need to make thinking conscious by regularly inviting children to consider both what and how they have learned.

The Joe example What have you learned today? Joe (aged 8): I dont know what you mean?Well, what I mean is

The Natural History Museum example(see photo slide show)

The main thing is learning

In your school...

Is there a shared understanding of learning?If you asked each teacher to write down a definition of the word 'learning', would they all write the same thing?Are you totally confident that:all teachers know what learning looks like?all students know what learning looks like?all parents know what learning looks like?Do you have a written definition of the word 'learning' in your teaching and learning policy?If not, what made you decide you didn't need one?Is the school aligned - in terms of learning, do all teachers:pull in the same direction?pull in similar directions?pull in different directions ?How would other members of the institution respond to these questions?To what extent would answers relate to the whole St Georges Group?What do you take away from this exercise?

Reflecting on learningTeachers are always on the lookout for ideas to improve learning in their classroom. It appears some are searching for the Holy Grail - the answer is out there somewhere, if only they could find it. They attend courses, read books and buy products to this end. Yet there are no magic answers, no product or scheme, however well packaged or cleverly labeled, that will miraculously and dramatically improve learning.

Ironically, the more some teachers try to cram in, the more strategies they employ, the more they squeeze out a key ingredient (arguably, the key ingredient) - reflecting on learning.Maybe reflecting on learning appears too mundane to be significant . Maybe the contrary is true, for when people start talking about meta-cognition there may be some teachers who dismiss it as yet more jargon, or another bit of theory that bears little resemblance to classroom life.

Yet whatever we call it, reflecting on learning - as opposed to reviewing information - is hugely significant. And it needn't be dramatic and overly time consuming. It simply means asking students the questions that will help them dwell on their experiences in a conscious way. If teachers did nothing else but ensure that they consistently asked the questions below as an integral part of the learning process, learning would improve.What have you learned from this? How did you reach this conclusion? How did you go about it?On reflection, was this the best way to approach it?Would you do the same thing if you were faced with a similar task tomorrow?How might this experience help you in a similar situation? What advice would you give to others facing a similar task? What do you take away from this experience?

Comfort ZoneGrowth ZoneDanger Zone

What shape/size are the zones in your classes? What would you want this diagram to look like? What would your students say?Challenge and the ZPD. If student is at Level 3a then challenge is level 4c/b work9

Consider the diagram the successful transfer of information = knowledge. If it is not successful we tend to teach it again or perhaps move on to the next piece of content. The move in the new NC and for many exam syllabuses already could be seen as all about getting through the content and recalling or reproducing this as knowledge. Is this sufficient for the curriculum you teach (it may well be this is not judgemental)? Are there any differences between EY, primary and secondary? What about the IB Diploma? The process in diagram A is often described as leading to shallow or surface learning. Knowing is clearly very important it gives us the context as well as the content but it is the job of the teacher to develop understanding. Worth looking again at Blooms Taxonomy here and matching the domains LOTS and HOTS10Primary Maths Programmes of Study3 elements

1. Fluency (maths knowledge, rapid recall of facts)2. Reasoning (discussing and explaining)3. Problem Solving (application of knowledge)

Activity in pairs, match the 3 elements to the knowing/understanding diagram and look at Blooms Taxonomy to identify where the HOTS & LOTS might emergeDeep and surface learningWhat is the difference between knowing and understanding?How do we know when a student understands or makes sense of the knowledge?Look at Blooms Taxonomy againKnow what so what?Irrespective of differences in age, ability and subject, one general principle holds true: in order to make sense of information you must do more than simply receive and reproduce it - you have to do something to it.

Indicators of learning

Learning - making meaning - is a bit like the wind; we can't see it, only evidence of it.Because it is personal and goes on inside the head, it is not always easy to spot. Many things indicate that learning might be taking place - but it is not so easy to know for sure. For example, if we glance into a classroom and see children talking to each other it may indicate that learning is taking place - equally, they could be talking about last night's football!Generating some indicators that learning might be taking place is helpful, not least for the discussions that the process will generate. Such a list might include the following:

Children are explaining something in their own words. Children are asking questions.Children are making connections.Children are re-creating (rather than reproducing) information.Children are justifying their decisions.Children are explaining their thinking.Children are talking to each other.Children are active - doing something with information.Children are reflecting at a conscious level.Children are offering analogies and metaphors of their own: Oh I get it - it's a bit like ...Children are re-drafting, revising, re-thinking and so on.Children are frowning (the penny is stuck) ...and thensmiling (as the penny drops).

Things to do with informationDavid Perkins ' understanding performances (page 137) are a useful starting point. Perkins argues that the ability to do certain things with information indicates a movement from knowing to understanding. This ability, however, is more than just evidence that a student understands , as the process of demonstrating understanding will simultaneously help to develop it. Thus the list of understanding performances suggested on page 137 becomes a handy guide for effective activities to foster learning in the classroom. For example, while the ability to compare and contrast information indicates understanding, engaging students in the process helps to deepen it.There are any number of things that you can do to information, and the precise nature of the strategies that are used in the classroom depends on variables such as age, current level of understanding and the nature of the subject area. However, one general principle holds true : in order to make sense of information you must do more than simply receive and reproduce it - you have to do something to it.For example, you can:reduce it change it assemble it search for it connect it arrange it enlarge itsimplify it classify it compare it contrast itde-construct it apply it prioritise it . . .

And so on. These actions - which can be used in combination - can be incorporated into concrete strategies, adapted to suit the particular circumstances of the students and subject area involved. ReflectCons


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