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 They were thinking really creatively about how they could teach in their classrooms (as opposed to a withdrawn group) a mathematical concept that the rest of the year were learning but wanted the EAL children to be part of the learning experience.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.
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.
I have just read and reblogged a reply to Tom Sherringhams post about inclusion and exclusion in relation to the learning of others by the small group who inevitably thwart our behaviour systems and sanctions. http://headguruteacher.com/2015/01/04/inclusion-and-exclusion-in-a-community-school/
Since doing this I have re. read some of it and began focussing on the SEND part of the article. The partially sighted boy is a great example to use (see below for an extract) for many to understand the entitlement of these students. However, there are many others out there on the autistic spectrum etc. that are just not being recognised. Some of this is because the class teacher knows that something is wrong/different but cannot put their finger on it, hence the book A practical guide to supporting EAL and SEN pupils. It is for these very practitioners so that they can then talk to the SEN department/ Headteacher/consultant with more evidence for a truly professional discussion.
Included in the book are tick boxes for class teachers to work out if they support the child in their classroom including asking, in relation to language development, whether the teacher speaks at a pace the child can follow, reinforces key messages and asks a range of open and closed questions.
Following on from that, is a comprehensive tick list that incorporates general learning difficulties which include all the following; Dyslexia, Dyscalculia, Dyspraxia, Dysgraphia, Speech,language and communication needs, Autism, Social, emotional and mental health difficulties (SEMH), and Sensory impairment – Hearing and vision. By ticking the child’s traits it is easier to start working out where the child has a building block missing. In turn this allows the professional to have a more defined conversation rather than a vague ‘This child is not learning but distracting others. I am following our behaviour policy. What can I do?’
To support this there are further ideas throughout the book including looking at the classroom environment, provision mapping and ways to record evidence for those professional discussions. If you are interested in receiving a PDF copy or paperback @15.00 you can get more information by following the link above or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Recently in school I met a very happy young man who was wheelchair bound, and had a voice recorder to express his very good sense of humour. It was quickly made clear by him that he was very able academically, and I could see that the school had in process some great practices which ensure that he can access the curriculum. He was being taught in main stream classrooms by qualified teachers and the support assistant as part of their remit ensured that tables were heightened to allow wheelchair access etc. (see the emboldening of the sections below). Tom (Sherringham) is correct – learning what entitlement really means can be scary to start with, and mistakes will be made, but if we always start with the premise of Every child matters then entitlement/equality/diversity etc, etc are all covered as we make sure every child has the tools needed to thrive in school.
Tom writes …. I learned a lot about the principles of SEND inclusion from a boy at KEGS who was partially sighted. His parents had had to fight hard to get him into the school and then championed his needs with passion and determination thereafter. Everything we did wrong was ‘appalling’ in their eyes and that hurt. We made lots of mistakes and learned a lot but ultimately he did extremely well at GCSE and A level. Our main learning was to understand the concept of entitlement: we were not doing him a favour when we made special provision for him, we were just giving him what he was entitled to; we learned not to seek gratitude for doing routine tasks; we learned that his teachers needed to teach him directly, not through his Learning Support Assistants; we learned that helping him to access most work wasn’t good enough – it had to be everything, all of the time because anything less was unacceptable. The key here was getting the resources in place and working with the student and the family, really listening to what they said without being defensive – even though that was hard at times. We got there in the end but he suffered – there’s no doubt about that.
As we start the new year I am sure that we will all strive to do our best, so I may just return to this towards the end of term when we are all tired and sometimes the basics can get lost in politics and all the other things that happen daily.
Those who know me know that I have a love for mentoring and coaching. This is based on all of my experiences where these styles of conversations actually improve learning. I also follow a blog called whatedsaid and was really pleased to see some of the comments made by others including;
If there’s no action, there is no point in coaching. What happens as a result of the reflective conversations? What do teachers do? How does practice change? How is learning affected?
This is so true, the whole point of these conversations is to move learning on. Also commented on was;
Coaching is grounded in evidence. From the first conversation, it’s about noticing and naming what the coachee is feeling, followed by gathering of agreed data through planned observation, to seeking evidence that change has taken place. How will the teacher know she has been successful? How is student learning impacted?
For those of us trying to support teachers whether experienced or new to the profession all conversations should be productive for the coachee rather than a time waster, that stops them from reflecting and moving forward. And finally;
Listening is a key element
Coaching is about LISTENING, not about TELLING. It’s like inquiry teaching… Listen to where the learner (teacher) is at and ask questions that help them figure out where to go next. The coach needs to get rid of their ‘internal dialogue’ – It’s not about you!
So many senior leaders think that they have to be the one in charge, really bad coaching can leave the coachee feeling very uninspired and demotivated. I know I have been there,and heard others. In the staff room I hear after appraisal ‘ they are giving me one last chance’, or ‘I tried to explain that over the course of the year x, y or z happened which was outside my remit, but they just wouldn’t listen and help me work out what to do if it happens next time’. and finally ‘it just feels like they are using appraisal to stop me getting paid any extra’. Just remember if you were the coach who wasn’t being an effective coach – None of these teachers deserved this as they were good solid teachers, none of the departments or their leaders needed the demotivated staff as it impacts not only on the coachee but all of the people around them. Finally if they get that demotivated they drag everyone down with their negative tones and/or eventually leave which is counter productive. Retention is clearly the best option as you know the person in front of you, anyone else will take more time and money to fit in…just worth thinking about.
If you want to see more on this blog visit http://whatedsaid.wordpress.com/2014/12/06/coaching-for-learning/#like-19189
Following on from the last blog I am focussing on the new acronym SEMH or Social, Emotional and Mental Health difficulties. This was previously known as BESD or Behavioural, Emotional and Social Difficulties. The difference now is its focus on mental health and hence why the last blog also shares the mental capacity act.
Myself and many educators over the past years have raised concern about the emotional well-being and mental health of pupils – reflecting that mental health affects all aspects of a child’s development including their cognitive abilities, their social skills and their emotional well-being. To find out more you can visit youngminds.org.uk/ where they have more. But here are some statistics;
- 1 in 10 children and young people aged 5 – 16 suffer from a diagnosable mental health disorder – that is around three children in every class .
- Between 1 in every 12 and 1 in 15 children and young people deliberately self-harm.
- There has been a big increase in the number of young people being admitted to hospital because of self harm. Over the last ten years this figure has increased by 68%.
- More than half of all adults with mental health problems were diagnosed in childhood. Less than half were treated appropriately at the time.
- Nearly 80,000 children and young people suffer from severe depression.
- Over 8,000 children aged under 10 years old suffer from severe depression .
- 72% of children in care have behavioural or emotional problems – these are some of the most vulnerable people in our society.
- 95% of imprisoned young offenders have a mental health disorder. Many of them are struggling with more than one disorder.
- The number of young people aged 15-16 with depression nearly doubled between the 1980s and the 2000s.
- The proportion of young people aged 15-16 with a conduct disorder more than doubled between 1974 and 1999.
Within any role in school life where pastoral is within the remit, this is always a concern. Having been within the pastoral route and in many roles over the years, I have found that it is often those with poor behaviour that when one looks a little closer, (after ensuring that they are not just playing the naughty card) there is a possible mental health concern, but generally there is vulnerability as a given and as a result as educators part of our remit both socially and in law is to the vulnerable.
I am not professing this is easy not least because mental health concerns can relate to anxiety, eating disorders, self harming or harming others, low self-esteem and depression. For example this week I walked into a classroom to cover a lesson of year 11’s, the majority of whom after trying the naughty card realised that they just needed to get on with their work, but there were still two young people who displayed a huge difference between their verbal and written ability – which is always a red light to me I always wonder what support they need. There was also a child struggling in ethics when the topic was drugs, throughout he was constantly rapping the table and using his compass to draw on his arm, getting deeper and deeper? Following up on this I find that he is dealing with a parent involved with drugs, due to this the student absolutely hates drugs, but felt unable to talk about any of this during the lesson.
Vulnerable children often use words as their first line of defence, because if they get the other person child, young person or adult to go away then they never have to explain any further… and in their eyes wont get hurt again. The adult at the other end of it hears the words at a loud level, usually accompanied with anger, high pitch, accusatory and personally related comments and reacts to that, as I used to. Now though after so many experiences I wait until it is calm, maybe even days later and address it again, once they know you can be trusted, it is interesting how behaviour changes.
Recently we have all heard of media personalities who have and are going through the courts due to alleged historical abuse. How would we feel if we missed a child in our care that needed our support? I agree these are extreme circumstances, but the initial support that centres on mindfulness ( Mindfulness is described by The Mental Health Foundation as ‘a way of paying attention to the present moment, using techniques like meditation, breathing and yoga.) are just prescriptions for well being. Making them the only focus are just as concerning as ignoring the awful things that children go through and expecting them to just deal with it. We mus ourselves be non-judgemental and seek a solution to the problem not hope that one policy fits all.
Over my career I have experienced many kinds of vulnerabilities and it concerns me that we are moving into a time where more historic abuse is going to come to the fore for boys as well as girls as older people get more confident to speak out. Lets not carried away with these high profile cases because in our back yards the food banks are increasing daily the number of parcels given out … I ask how many children are already in poverty and in our classrooms?
Just a thought ….. If you didn’t know where your next meal was coming from would you care if you were level 6a or 6b or predicted a D and you were capable of an A?
Just as an update and reminder. Here are the changes from the SEN Code of Practice (2001)
The main changes from the SEN Code of Practice (2001) reflect the changes
introduced by the Children and Families Act 2014. These are:14
• The Code of Practice (2014) covers the 0-25 age range and includes
guidance relating to disabled children and young people as well as those with
• There is a clearer focus on the participation of children and young people and
parents in decision-making at individual and strategic levels
• There is a stronger focus on high aspirations and on improving outcomes for
children and young people
• It includes guidance on the joint planning and commissioning of services to
ensure close co-operation between education, health and social care
• It includes guidance on publishing a Local Offer of support for children and
young people with SEN or disabilities
• There is new guidance for education and training settings on taking a
graduated approach to identifying and supporting pupils and students with
SEN (to replace School Action and School Action Plus)• For children and young people with more complex needs a co-ordinated
assessment process and the new 0-25 Education, Health and Care plan (EHC
plan) replace statements and Learning Difficulty Assessments (LDAs)
• There is a greater focus on support that enables those with SEN to succeed in
their education and make a successful transition to adulthood
• Information is provided on relevant duties under the Equality Act 2010
• Information is provided on relevant provisions of the Mental Capacity Act 2005
Related guidance that organisations may find it helpful to consider are: The Mental Capacity Act Code of Practice: Protecting the vulnerable
(2005) or the summarised version
Mental Capacity Act 2005 – summary from Department of Health
Last modified date:8 February 2007
The Mental Capacity Act 2005 (c.9) received Royal Assent on 7 April 2005
The Mental Capacity Act 2005 provides a statutory framework to empower and protect vulnerable people who are not able to make their own decisions. It makes it clear who can take decisions, in which situations, and how they should go about this. It enables people to plan ahead for a time when they may lose capacity.
Guidance on the Act will be provided in a Code of Practice. People who are placed under a duty to have regard to the Code include those working in a professional capacity e.g. doctors and social workers. A draft was made available to assist Parliamentary consideration of the Bill and is available on the DCA website (under “Mental Capacity Bill and supporting documents”).
The whole Act is underpinned by a set of five key principles stated at Section 1:
- A presumption of capacity – every adult has the right to make his or her own decisions and must be assumed to have capacity to do so unless it is proved otherwise;
- The right for individuals to be supported to make their own decisions – people must be given all appropriate help before anyone concludes that they cannot make their own decisions;
- That individuals must retain the right to make what might be seen as eccentric or unwise decisions;
- Best interests – anything done for or on behalf of people without capacity must be in their best interests; and
- Least restrictive intervention – anything done for or on behalf of people without capacity should be the least restrictive of their basic rights and freedoms.
What does the Act do?
The Act enshrines in statute current best practice and common law principles concerning people who lack mental capacity and those who take decisions on their behalf. It replaces current statutory schemes for enduring powers of attorney and Court of Protection receivers with reformed and updated schemes.
The Act deals with the assessment of a person’s capacity and acts by carers of those who lack capacity
- Assessing lack of capacity – The Act sets out a single clear test for assessing whether a person lacks capacity to take a particular decision at a particular time. It is a “decision-specific” test. No one can be labelled ‘incapable’ as a result of a particular medical condition or diagnosis. Section 2 of the Act makes it clear that a lack of capacity cannot be established merely by reference to a person’s age, appearance, or any condition or aspect of a person’s behaviour which might lead others to make unjustified assumptions about capacity.
- Best Interests – Everything that is done for or on behalf of a person who lacks capacity must be in that person’s best interests. The Act provides a checklist of factors that decision-makers must work through in deciding what is in a person’s best interests. A person can put his/her wishes and feelings into a written statement if they so wish, which the person making the determination must consider. Also, carers and family members gain a right to be consulted.
- Acts in connection with care or treatment – Section 5 clarifies that, where a person is providing care or treatment for someone who lacks capacity, then the person can provide the care without incurring legal liability. The key will be proper assessment of capacity and best interests. This will cover actions that would otherwise result in a civil wrong or crime if someone has to interfere with the person’s body or property in the ordinary course of caring. For example, by giving an injection or by using the person’s money to buy items for them.
- Restraint/deprivation of liberty. Section 6 of the Act defines restraint as the use or threat of force where an incapacitated person resists, and any restriction of liberty or movement whether or not the person resists. Restraint is only permitted if the person using it reasonably believes it is necessary to prevent harm to the incapacitated person, and if the restraint used is proportionate to the likelihood and seriousness of the harm.
- Section 6(5) makes it clear that an act depriving a person of his or her liberty within the meaning of Article 5(1) of the European Convention on Human Rights cannot be an act to which section 5 provides any protection.
- The Department of Health and National Assembly for Wales have each issued interim advice to the NHS and local authorities on the implications of the European Court of Human Rights judgment in HL v United Kingdom (the “Bournewood” case), pending the development of proposals for new procedural safeguards for the protection of those people falling within the “Bournewood gap”.
The Act deals with two situations where a designated decision-maker can act on behalf of someone who lacks capacity
- Lasting powers of attorney (LPAs) – The Act allows a person to appoint an attorney to act on their behalf if they should lose capacity in the future. This is like the current Enduring Power of Attorney (EPA), but the Act also allows people to let an attorney make health and welfare decisions.
- Court appointed deputies – The Act provides for a system of court appointed deputies to replace the current system of receivership in the Court of Protection. Deputies will be able to take decisions on welfare, healthcare and financial matters as authorised by the Court but will not be able to refuse consent to life-sustaining treatment. They will only be appointed if the Court cannot make a one-off decision to resolve the issues.
The Act creates two new public bodies to support the statutory framework, both of which will be designed around the needs of those who lack capacity
- A new Court of Protection – The new Court will have jurisdiction relating to the whole Act and will be the final arbiter for capacity matters. It will have its own procedures and nominated judges.
- A new Public Guardian – The Public Guardian and his/her staff will be the registering authority for LPAs and deputies. They will supervise deputies appointed by the Court and provide information to help the Court make decisions. They will also work together with other agencies, such as the police and social services, to respond to any concerns raised about the way in which an attorney or deputy is operating. A Public Guardian Board will be appointed to scrutinise and review the way in which the Public Guardian discharges his/her functions. The Public Guardian will be required to produce an Annual Report about the discharge of his/her functions.
The Act also includes three further key provisions to protect vulnerable people
- Independent Mental Capacity Advocate (IMCA) An IMCA is someone appointed to support a person who lacks capacity but has no one to speak for them. The IMCA makes representations about the person’s wishes, feelings, beliefs and values, at the same time as bringing to the attention of the decision-maker all factors that are relevant to the decision. The IMCA can challenge the decision-maker on behalf of the person lacking capacity if necessary.
- Advance decisions to refuse treatment – Statutory rules with clear safeguards confirm that people may make a decision in advance to refuse treatment if they should lose capacity in the future. It is made clear in the Act that an advance decision will have no application to any treatment which a doctor considers necessary to sustain life unless strict formalities have been complied with. These formalities are that the decision must be in writing, signed and witnessed. In addition, there must be an express statement that the decision stands “even if life is at risk”.
- A criminal offence – The Bill introduces a new criminal offence of ill treatment or neglect of a person who lacks capacity. A person found guilty of such an offence may be liable to imprisonment for a term of up to five years.
The Act also sets out clear parameters for research
- Research involving, or in relation to, a person lacking capacity may be lawfully carried out if an “appropriate body” (normally a Research Ethics Committee) agrees that the research is safe, relates to the person’s condition and cannot be done as effectively using people who have mental capacity. The research must produce a benefit to the person that outweighs any risk or burden. Alternatively, if it is to derive new scientific knowledge it must be of minimal risk to the person and be carried out with minimal intrusion or interference with their rights.
- Carers or nominated third parties must be consulted and agree that the person would want to join an approved research project. If the person shows any signs of resistance or indicates in any way that he or she does not wish to take part, the person must be withdrawn from the project immediately. Transitional regulations will cover research started before the Act where the person originally had capacity to consent, but later lost capacity before the end of the project.
Sometimes it is just worth reflecting on our personal skills and looking at where our strengths and weaknesses are. After many years of teaching some skills will have been more developed, whilst others that are used less widely may need more work on.
For me I start with this list that I picked up somewhere from the internet when I started in Management many moons ago. NB. Way down the list is questioning, if you need more help with this see the last blog. For me this list was a starting point not only for me, but for the team or teams I was leading. Not only did I as a manager needs these skills, but also the team needed the same strengths, and being able to review and see our weaknesses objectively made it easier. For example, when observing lessons it gave us all a focus that we were all comfortable with. We all recognised we were good teachers but wanted to do better, so were honing skills. This meant the threat and fear went away, this was crucial in schools needing support as too often one criticism or constructive comment can lead to low self-esteem and the fear of being a failing teacher rather than building more strengths.
10 things that effective teachers do.
Deep Knowledge of Subject Matter
Effective teachers have a passion for their subject. They work hard to keep their knowledge current and sharp.
Good teachers do not “wing it.” They prepare lessons carefully and thoroughly to ensure all students meet their targets.
Knowledge of Assessment and Evaluation
Effective teachers plan the ways in which they will judge students’ progress and they do so throughout the lesson, adjusting their teaching in the light of what they learn from the assessments.
Understanding Students and How They Learn
Effective teachers believe that every child can learn. They work hard to identify ways of overcoming any barriers to learning so that all students are successful.
Motivating Students to Learn
Effective teachers create learning opportunities through hands-on work, small group activities, peer-to-peer coaching, and individually guided instruction. Good teachers make learning engaging by making lessons interesting and relevant.
Creating Safe, Productive and Well-Managed Classrooms
Effective teachers understand that firm discipline policies contribute to a healthy academic atmosphere by emphasizing the importance of regular attendance, promptness, respect for teachers and other students, and good conduct. Good teachers understand that students respond to consistency, fairness, and structure.
Good teachers understand that technology is a tool for increasing student interest, motivation, and achievement.
Understanding and Appreciating Diversity
Effective teachers clearly communicate their expectation that all children can and will achieve to the best of their ability. Good teachers demonstrate zero tolerance for discrimination, bigotry, bullying, or harassment. They promote tolerance, curiosity, and respect for other genders, races, and cultures.
Working with the whole child
Effective teachers make efforts to know their students individually and to build openness and bridges between homes and classrooms. Good teachers create multiple channels for communications with parents and the community members. They try to see the “whole child” and provide extra help, referrals, and assistance for children facing challenges out-of-school.
Commitment to Lifelong Learning and Professional Development
Effective teachers are always growing and learning. They share successes and challenges with other teachers and see themselves not as an “expert” but part of a community of lifelong learners.
Encouraging student talk
Effective teachers plan opportunities for students to embed their learning through talk, to one another and to the teacher. In their classrooms, students talk more than the teacher!
Effective teacher organise their lessons so that students, rather than the teacher, generate questions that help to clarify and extend learning
What is Blooms Taxonomy? Just as a reminder this is wikipaedias entry.
Bloom’s taxonomy is a way of distinguishing the fundamental questions within the education system. It is named after Benjamin Bloom, who chaired the committee of educators that devised the taxonomy. He also edited the first volume of the standard text,Taxonomy of Educational Objectives: The Classification of Educational Goals.
Bloom’s taxonomy refers to a classification of the different objectives that educators set for students (learning objectives). It divides educational objectives into three “domains”: cognitive, affective, and psychomotor (sometimes loosely described as “knowing/head”, “feeling/heart” and “doing/hands” respectively). Within the domains, learning at the higher levels is dependent on having attained prerequisite knowledge and skills at lower levels. A goal of Bloom’s taxonomy is to motivate educators to focus on all three domains, creating a more holistic form of education.
Bloom’s taxonomy is considered to be a foundational and essential element within the education community.A mythology has grown around the taxonomy, possibly due to many people learning about the taxonomy through second hand information. Bloom himself considered the Handbook “one of the most widely cited yet least read books in American education”.
What does this look like in the classroom?
Teachers can move students towards more complicated work by using questions. These can sometimes be difficult to think of on the spot, but I used to write myself some when working through lesson plans and then use them when appropriate through the lesson. The first questions we think of start usually are usually factual questions e.g. Who? What? Where? and occasionally which one? These just have one type of answer and can often be determined by the way the question is asked, or are obviously right or wrong.
However to develop the students understanding and skills further as teachers we need to use questioning techniques that support and show more in depth understanding.
To support students further, we need to start to think about what we want them to know in order that we can question effectively. so for example if we want them to evaulate more effectively our questioning should move towards asking them to explain,
- What does that mean? or
- what might be happening?
- what is meant by what was said ?
and then on towards evaluative questioning e.g.
- Which is the best? Why?
- What would happen if ….?
- What do you think are the advantages of x over y ?
- How do you feel about (changing the voting age to 16)? Why?
- Compare and contrast (often seen in exam papers)
- What are the similarities/differences in …
or predictive questioning
- How might this?
- How would you test this?
For example in Technology you could say
- Describe the food, explain how it was made.
- Compare it with other similar products
- Develop ways of improving this design
alternatively in Science you could say
- Describe the experiment
- Explain the process
- Compare with another similar experience
- predict what might happen if we change x or y
This is how it may look when you now look at asking questions. Here are the verbs from Blooms Taxonomy to support you in generating questions.
Knowledge arrange, define, describe, duplicate, identify, label, list, match, memorize, name, order, outline, recognize, relate, recall, repeat, reproduce, select, state remembering previously learned information Comprehension classify, convert, defend, discuss, distinguish, estimate, explain, express, extend, generalize, give example(s), identify, indicate, infer, locate, paraphrase, predict, recognize, rewrite, report, restate, review, select, summarize, translate grasping the meaning of information Application apply, change, choose, compute, demonstrate, discover, dramatize, employ, illustrate, interpret, manipulate, modify, operate, practice, predict, prepare, produce, relate schedule, show, sketch, solve, use write applying knowledge to actual situations Analysis analyze, appraise, breakdown, calculate, categorize, classify, compare, contrast, criticize, derive, diagram, differentiate, discriminate, distinguish, examine, experiment, identify, illustrate, infer, interpret, model, outline, point out, question, relate, select, separate, subdivide, test breaking down objects or ideas into simpler parts and seeing how the parts relate and are organized Synthesis arrange, assemble, categorize, collect, combine, comply, compose, construct, create, design, develop, devise, explain, formulate, generate, plan, prepare, propose, rearrange, reconstruct, relate, reorganize, revise, rewrite, set up, summarize, synthesize, tell, write rearranging component ideas into a new whole Evaluation appraise, argue, assess, attach, choose, compare, conclude, contrast, defend, describe, discriminate, estimate, evaluate, explain, judge, justify, interpret, relate, predict, rate, select, summarize, support, value making judgments based on internal evidence or external criteria
I was very interested by this post http://headguruteacher.com/2014/10/04/towards-impeccable-behaviour-part-2-ready-for-launch/ by Tom Sherringham as he appears to have covered all bases, ensuring that everyone knows and understands the new behaviour policy. However what about the much-needed supply staff/cover teachers?
As term progresses the needs of schools mean the reliance on supply staff. These staff cover the lessons due to illness or planned absence. These staff are necessary for the smooth running of the school. Experienced ones are godsends, especially if they have been with the school a while. They know the schools needs, the rules, the teachers and pupils, so leading to a seamless transition between ill teacher and cover teacher. However, this isn’t always the case.
Just consider this scenario
After a late call, a Supply teacher arrives at Highbury Grove (or any other school) a place they have never been to before. They are met by the receptionist who is off-hand (obviously having a bad start to the day), and just gives a string of instructions of where to find the cover supervisor.
It is a large site, so only the first three instructions were remembered … go through the double doors, down the corridor, outside, then keep left etc., etc. After a few conversations with helpful staff and pupils, the supply teacher arrived at the correct place to find there was no one there. They waited a few minutes and then checked with the first adult that came past, the adult went away and came back with the information that the cover supervisor had gone to cover a lesson. The supply teacher was then given more verbal instructions on where to go next.
On arrival at the correct classroom (despite wrong turns), a teacher was already there, class settled ready to start and had switched on the laptop … it looked good. They said Hi, quickly followed by here is a pack (supply staff had no time to read it) , here is the cover work (no time to read it) and I have to go now…all in one breath, and promptly left.
Cover teacher introduced themselves to the class of 30 bottom set year 8’s and tried to start the lesson. It didn’t take long until the cover teacher felt sorry for the class teacher. The teacher had done the right thing and had set a great lesson on Power-point, but unfortunately both the supply teacher and students were set up for a failed lesson.
The computer and interactive board were not linked, and surprisingly no tech savvy pupils could make it work either. In addition there was no whiteboard/flip chart to put the information the students needed up, and so the disruption inevitably started. In response the supply teacher looks at the information given by the school, which incidentally is also the C1 etc behaviour policy as described by Tom in his blog. However it simply said C1 place name on the board, then second time add C2 to the name. There was a number to ring but no phone in the room.
The information on one side of A4 was confusing and needed time to digest, but quite simply the supply teacher did not have the time as they had to try to get the hang of it, without the tools to fully support it i.e. there was no whiteboard/flip chart to write the names down at C1 level. At the same time the supply teacher had to maintain discipline and ensure the students were learning, as they were very conscious of those students in the class who wanted to learn and the teacher who expected the work completed.
At break time the teacher reread the instructions, but there was no clear explanation of what to do when you cannot fulfil the process. The diagram on Tom’s blog is much more understandable and clear of its expectations at all levels. I suggest for Tom and the school to be even more successful, they should consider adding the diagram to the information that I presume they already give to supply staff re. behaviour policy and classroom expectations. For the supply teacher in this scenario, with no register to know who was in the class, (the register had to go to attendance within ten minutes of lesson start), or if they managed to find out the names, a board to write them down, what do you do?
How many reading this are now shouting, well why didn’t they go to the classroom along the way?? Such a great idea, but this was an isolated classroom and to get to the nearest other teachers/ humans you had to go up at least ten steps and along a long ramp – too far to leave a class of restless bottom set year 8’s.
The next class were bottom set year 9’s, again no way of getting help for the brilliant lesson, so using the small computer screen was the only option. At break time adults arrived to use the kettle in the back-room, so luckily these problems were resolved for the rest of the day.
Despite the students, staff and parents all being aware of this behaviour policy, it can be complicated if being picked up for the first time, so I urge you Tom and other similar schools before implementing new policies that effect classrooms, just check how easy is it for a supply member of staff – who doesn’t know the school – to pick up, understand and use the new strategy.
Remember you are only as good as your weakest link – in this case it could be unwittingly the supply teacher for no fault of their own.
NB to support supply/cover staff the following are always really helpful…its not an exhaustive list but a good start
- register with picture of students
- cover work – back up incase the link to the school intranet where the work is stored cannot be accessed if the technology lets you down
- something else in the classroom i.e. whiteboard in-case again incase technology lets the lesson down
- behaviour policy and a list of the terms management focus i.e. no mobile phones if so x,y,or z happens
- map showing staff room, classroom and toilet
- welcoming and then throughout the day helpful reception staff (They are the first people they met, so invariably if there is no one else they will go back to this contact point)
- senior team or cover manager to look in on isolated teachers, but especially cover teachers to support and help sort out problems particularly at the beginning of the day
Have a great term