Photography GCSE

After a few months of teaching Photography GCSE I suddenly realised yesterday ……I know I am dull …. I have always taken photographs mainly landscapes and flowers and have such a huge catalogue. Not sure what I am going to do with them all. It was whilst looking for something for this weeks lessons that the pictures albums revealed themselves son all my hard drives going back years….so many photos. What was great though was the realisation that some are actually better than what I thought at the time. I wonder how many other shave found that???

Autism practical support

SSAT – Autism   Not sure if this is useful.

I liked it because there are some practical aspects for it rather than just rhetoric.

https://www.ssatuk.co.uk/programme-to-support-students-with-autism/

Ginny d’Orico, AHT (autism), and Natalie Henry, head of middle school, at times vociferously aided by nine ASD students, gave this presentation on supporting students with autism.

The presenters came from Oak Lodge, a mixed 11-19 special school and specialist cognition and learning college in Barnet. Some of the tips they revealed could be useful to teachers in mainstream in helping their ASD students.

Autism is a condition that makes it difficult for the individual to predict other people’s actions, explained Ginny d’Orico. For example, when talking to someone, people with autism tend to look at the mouth, not the eyes, so missing many cues relating to social information.

“These differences are important for us as teachers: if I’m gesturing to a chair, for example, it’s not obvious to them what I want them to do. A corollary of this is that it is difficult for them to recognise that we are a reliable source of support. This is why group work with ASD students can be difficult.”

Tackling anxiety among students with ASD

She pointed to research in neurology, such as that by Yale University and others, which has shown that it is this difficulty in information processing that leads to raised anxiety, which affects social communication and emotional regulation. So one key element in working with these young people is clear scaffolding in their environment.

The SCERTS programme (Social communication/ emotional regulation/ transactional support) provides the structure for Oak Lodge’s work to enhance engagement and learning among these students.

The teacher gently instructed the group: “hands on knees. Close your eyes. Deep breaths. Imaging sitting on a beach, listening to the waves, feeling warm. You feel calm and relaxed… Now open your eyes. Everyone feel calm and relaxed?”

Practical exercises

It appeared so. The students settled down to an exercise on completing achievement statements. Each student in turn completed sentences such as: “I am better at… using my words”; “I felt proud when… I did something different by coming to the Arsenal stadium”; “Now I can… listen in lessons and not shout out when the teacher is talking.”

The Oak Lodge team uses practical exercises to improve four aspects of SCERTS:

  • Task engagement and functional communications – visual charts attached to key rings and flagging tasks red (to do) and green (done) help here
  • Emotional expression – understanding their emotions and what to do about them
  • Transitions, both between and within activities
  • Interactions: developing a more adult style.

Visual-spatial processing is often a strength among these students, which can be used to help them learn. And students’ special interests can also help functional communication: for example, an illustration of a dinosaur with a speech bubble passing on the message.

In conclusion, Ginny d’Orico suggested four tips for teachers to make clear their intentions and enable students to achieve:

  • Provide visual support
  • Ensure a calm, productive class environment
  • Help students to predict what is expected of them
  • “But don’t say the same thing over and over!”

 

 

 

SOLD OUT

Thank you to everyone who has bought the paperback version of A Practical Guide to Supporting EAL and SEN Learners.

Sadly we are sold out ………. However there are lots of digital versions available for £15.00.

Just pay via paypal and it will be sent by return.

 

 

Good Practice – Improving pupils bilingual experience

Estyn highlights the good work at Ysgol Dyffryn Aman and their belief in improving their pupils bilingual experience.

Good Practice - Bilingual Education

Good Practice – Bilingual Education

 

To read more of this report visit  http://www.estyn.gov.uk/english/docViewer/265765.5/improving-welsh-language-provision/?navmap=33,53,159,

If you have any good ideas or see good practice in progress let us know.

 

 

Starting Afresh

Education has certainly changed since my last blog and thoughts. I have also changed, had some edges rubbed off me by the ever changing tide.

I was recently taken back to remembering my NQT year as a mature student. The school where I was working was training students all fresh faces, with excitement in the explanations and reasons for teaching. Watching them over the few weeks of their placement was a reminder of just how hard we worked, how interested  we were in our subject, how we wanted to change young peoples lives.

Everything they did helped me put back into perspective what I do daily and why. It suddenly dawned on me that the NQT is still inside, but changes to policies, head teachers with differing focusses, practice, theory being rewritten and technological developments have made me try and become the perfect textbook teacher (isn’t that what  OFSTED,ESTYN, Performance Management are really about)? What I had lost was the spontaneity with a  group, sharing my own passion for designing and making, and starting debates that may lead nowhere, but at least we have thought about the question posed. That is why with my current year 10 I have a plastic bag and weekly I go shopping. the first week they were quite bored, with comments like do you really like shopping at the 99p shop? However as the weeks have gone on, I noticed recently that some heads were actually turning the whole way around to see what was in there before I got the item out. Last week I was poorly and  didn’t do it and there were murmurs of “where’s your shopping, miss”.

What was inside my bag?  Nothing special, just items that either r allowed me to talk about design or our current topic,  biomimicry. My current favourite are the cactus inspired erasers, whereas the young people preferred the shark ruler, possibly because they were researching sharks themselves, their way it allowed their minds to think differently.

What shall I take this week? I am not sure but it is sure to be Easter inspired. Off to the shops I go…..

Interested in becoming a Headteacher?

The guardian have kindly pulled the standards for headteachers in 2015 in their blog Standards for headteachers 2015 . If you are interested in further reading the standards can be found on the DfE website – Standards for Headteachers 2015  So if you are an aspiring head this a good place to start as it is next reviewed in 2020.

It includes;

The Four Domains The National Standards of Excellence for Headteachers are set out in four domains.
• Qualities and knowledge
• Pupils and staff
• Systems and process
• The self-improving school system
Within each domain there are six key characteristics expected of the nation’s headteachers.

Domain One

Excellent headteachers: qualities and knowledge 

Headteachers:

1. Hold and articulate clear values and moral purpose, focused on providing a worldclass education for the pupils they serve.

2. Demonstrate optimistic personal behaviour, positive relationships and attitudes towards their pupils and staff, and towards parents, governors and members of the local community. 3. Lead by example – with integrity, creativity, resilience, and clarity – drawing on their own scholarship, expertise and skills, and that of those around them.

4. Sustain wide, current knowledge and understanding of education and school systems locally, nationally and globally, and pursue continuous professional development.

5. Work with political and financial astuteness, within a clear set of principles centred on the school’s vision, ably translating local and national policy into the school’s context.

6. Communicate compellingly the school’s vision and drive the strategic leadership, empowering all pupils and staff to excel.

 

Domain Two

Excellent headteachers: pupils and staff

Headteachers:

1. Demand ambitious standards for all pupils, overcoming disadvantage and advancing equality, instilling a strong sense of accountability in staff for the impact of their work on pupils’ outcomes.

2. Secure excellent teaching through an analytical understanding of how pupils learn and of the core features of successful classroom practice and curriculum design, leading to rich curriculum opportunities and pupils’ well-being.

3. Establish an educational culture of ‘open classrooms’ as a basis for sharing best practice within and between schools, drawing on and conducting relevant research and robust data analysis.

4. Create an ethos within which all staff are motivated and supported to develop their own skills and subject knowledge, and to support each other.

5. Identify emerging talents, coaching current and aspiring leaders in a climate where excellence is the standard, leading to clear succession planning.

6. Hold all staff to account for their professional conduct and practice.
Domain Three

Excellent headteachers: systems and process

Headteachers:

1. Ensure that the school’s systems, organisation and processes are well considered, efficient and fit for purpose, upholding the principles of transparency, integrity and probity.

2. Provide a safe, calm and well-ordered environment for all pupils and staff, focused on safeguarding pupils and developing their exemplary behaviour in school and in the wider society.

3. Establish rigorous, fair and transparent systems and measures for managing the performance of all staff, addressing any under-performance, supporting staff to improve and valuing excellent practice.

4. Welcome strong governance and actively support the governing board to understand its role and deliver its functions effectively – in particular its functions to set school strategy and hold the headteacher to account for pupil, staff and financial performance.
5. Exercise strategic, curriculum-led financial planning to ensure the equitable deployment of budgets and resources, in the best interests of pupils’ achievements and the school’s sustainability.

6. Distribute leadership throughout the organisation, forging teams of colleagues who have distinct roles and responsibilities and hold each other to account for their decision making.
Domain Four

Excellent headteachers: the self-improving school system

Headteachers:

1. Create outward-facing schools which work with other schools and organisations – in a climate of mutual challenge – to champion best practice and secure excellent achievements for all pupils.

2. Develop effective relationships with fellow professionals and colleagues in other public services to improve academic and social outcomes for all pupils.

3. Challenge educational orthodoxies in the best interests of achieving excellence, harnessing the findings of well evidenced research to frame self-regulating and selfimproving schools.

4. Shape the current and future quality of the teaching profession through high quality training and sustained professional development for all staff.

5. Model entrepreneurial and innovative approaches to school improvement, leadership and governance, confident of the vital contribution of internal and external accountability.

6. Inspire and influence others – within and beyond schools – to believe in the fundamental importance of education in young people’s lives and to promote the value of education.

 

 

Lessons to be learnt – How much trust should we give EAL TAs? Update

I was about to remove this from a page, as it should have appeared as a blog, and realised that recently whilst teaching maths the same thing occurred (see the emboldened text below). I was using translated worksheets and regularly used comments like Are you OK?, do you want help? and with the pupils use of Google translate, via their tablet, they were not only able to communicate with me, but with peers as well. It certainly helped them to settle in well. What has changed in this time is that the pupils are in main stream classroom without any EAL TA’s, so the teacher, (as I did), has to find a way of assessing quite quickly whether the student understands the topic or not, whether learning is occurring, where their level is, whether they are happy in the group they are with and whether the group they are with are happy with them.

The original post

After spending time looking at EAL support in London schools last week I was suddenly struck at the lack of support for EAL TA’s  (English as a second language Teaching Assistants).  I don’t think schools even recognise that this is happening and believe truly that they are doing their best, so it’s not meant as a criticism, but reflective practice recognising the next areas to support learning in our classrooms.

Clearly we should not give any teacher or TA 100%  trust until we have assured ourselves that they are giving 100% correct instruction. As no teacher is a super teacher i.e.  never needing support, mentoring or guidance then why should we give EAL  TA’s this trust and change policies to suit them?

Don’t  get me wrong I think TA’s and EAL TAs in particular are great, but we should not implicitly trust them to guide our youngsters in the ETHOS of the school, the teaching of academic concepts and language and assessment without having an overview of their ability ourselves as senior managers.
I watched a situation recently where a group of excellent teachers were planning and talking about the use of technology available to teach maths. They were thinking really creatively about how they could teach in their classrooms (as opposed to a withdrawn group) a mathematical concept that the rest of the year were  learning but wanted the EAL children to be part of the learning experience. For me it was brilliant they were marrying their skills with technology to save time for them when planning and delivering, but increasing the children’s learning ability whilst making it interesting.

All went well until the TA that supports them became part of the discussion and within no time suddenly the TA had convinced them they needed to be withdrawn and that it could take time for the children to learn it. What struck me most as an observer was that I had been in that situation many times and the TA on reflection was steering our teaching. Today I saw it much differently and wondered what made these excellent practitioners take another persons word and run with it? Why didn’t they question or try out their theory and review it if it didn’t work? They had built a translation requirement in, their practice was excellent, their topic was interesting, their own personal understanding of the concept was excellent and yet they let someone without the same or better credentials influence them and their decisions.

Something worth pondering on.

Ideas for Teaching Better. All In One Place.

A great starting point for those already planning for teaching and learning conferences, seminars, department meetings or coaching sessions – there is something for everyone. Thanks Tom

teacherhead

Screen shot 2015-05-29 at 15.00.47 So many ideas to share!

Most of the blogs I write that get a good response are the ones about teaching.  Thankfully.  I’d write a book but a) it takes too much time b) the money is terrible and c) I’d just be repeating everything I’ve already written here.  It would be called ‘Into the Rainforest of Teaching and Learning’. I like the organic metaphor because it captures something of the mystery, complexity and beauty of teaching well.   This post is my very lazy outline for that book; another way of bringing some ideas together in one place.

Rainforest Thinking 

From Plantation Thinking to Rainforest Thinking:  it's quite a journey From Plantation Thinking to Rainforest Thinking: it’s quite a journey

I like the idea that learning is ‘lush, diverse, unpredictable, evolving, daunting, exciting’. This is my underlying philosophy for teaching better: rainforest thinking.

Great Lessons

great lessons pic

Although I’d change a few things, I’m still very happy with this series as a way…

View original post 687 more words

Maths – HELP !!!!

 

Y + 3 = 9

Am calling out to bloggers for good sites for secondary Key-stage 3 sites preferably UK based. I am teaching maths – a little departure from my normal subject – and am looking for interesting ways to teach algebra… particularly to the lower levels. Any resources or pieces of advice, good starters to get them focussed will be helpful. Thank you.