Kinaesthetic learners

Now term has really started I thought we would look at our more practical – touch, feel, do learners. They have a rather long name and are called Kinaesthetic learners.  I think I must be predominantly this type as anything practical attracts me first. Probably why my subject is Design technology, resistant materials, graphic, control technology and textiles as they are all things that you do!.

For Kinaesthetic learners generally they enjoy learning that involves physical experience – touching, feeling, holding, doing, practical hands-on experiences.

The base of the word comes from the Greek  kineo, meaning move, and aisthesis, meaning sensation Hence the name Kinaesthetic describes the sense of using muscular movement so for us teachers that means we need to look at teaching/learning experiences that include within the term some work that involves the stimulation of nerves in the body’s muscles, joints and tendons.  For Design Technology, PE, Music it is commonplace to find this type of activity, but how do you ensure those with this type of learning experience it at least a  few times per term in Maths for example? This is the conundrum for all of these styles how do you ensure you reach your learners and support them with their style of learning. For me having a  check list per activity when planning means that over each half term I have a general idea of which style I have used mostly in order that I can change the balance over the next term or if revising a fact/ module of work find another way of demonstrating it i.e.. if It was mainly visual learning first time then revise with the visual reminder but back up with a  practical (kinaesthetic) activity.

If you are unsure which type you are then you can find out using the link below.

or try the free test on – http://www.businessballs.com/vaklearningstylestest.htm

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NEW SEN code of Practice

I am busily writing, writing and soon to be publishing an easy to read practical book about SEN (D) with the lovely and very knowledgeable Dr Rona  Tutt using this latest guidance as the starter. Our aim of the book was to firstly support all teachers in recognising when to consider SEN but also when EAL needs stop and SEN starts. It’s quite a blurry line and many teachers just do not know where to start so this news story #SEND: ow.ly/zI4FL is a great starting point to firstly find out about the changes but also to understand what the code is expecting of teachers.

I will be writing more about the book when it is ready to be published hopefully in the next month or two… so watch this space.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/send-code-of-practice-0-to-25  for the new code of practice

Connectives

Here is a set of words that can be used to create cards and power points, to teach sentence structure. These words are all connectives useful in joining and extending sentences together, making normal sentences into more complex sentences.

finally

firstly

furthermore

in the end

In the meantime

initially

at first

because

before

but

consequently

due to

after a while

after that

also

although

as

as a result

then

until

when

whenever

later on

meanwhile

next

since

so

suddenly

Leaders 2 -Strategic Planning and Development

As a leader you will need to ensure all of your teachers and learners receive the same curriculum to the same level using individuals skills, prior experiences and individual personality. Written like this it looks a large task but in reality it is made easier if you think about and follow your response to these questions.

  • How will you develop subject policies then ensure all teachers” commitment to them?
  • How will you ensure the above particularly in relation to high achievement and teaching and learning?
  • How will you maintain a positive attitude towards your subject?
  • What data will you need to collect? How often will it need to be collected? How should it be sued to inform policies, planning, targets and teaching methods.
  • How will you establish short, medium and long-term subject development plans? How will you ensure that:-they contribute to the whole schools aims, that they are based on pupil performance data, identify targets for improvement within your subject and then most importantly ensure that they are understood by everyone involved, parents included.
  • How will you monitor progress made in achieving your subjects development plan and targets?

Leaders 1 – Teaching your subject

As managers of subject areas the following are things to think about to ensure effective teaching and learning.

  1. How will you (as a manager)  ensure curriculum coverage for your learners?
  2. How will you ensure that teachers are clear about the sequence of teaching in the subject and objectives of individual lessons?
  3. How will you provide guidance on choice of appropriate teaching and learning methods?
  4. How will you ensure that there is effective development in all current strategies including literacy, numeracy and technological skills?
  5. How will you establish and implement policies and practices for assessment, recording and reporting learners achievement including target setting?
  6. How will you set targets for a) learners and b) teachers in relation to standards of pupil achievement and quality of teaching?
  7. How will you evaluate the quality of teaching and then how would you use this good practice to improve teaching in your department?
  8. How will you establish a partnership with parents, community and businesses?

Positive learning ethos

For new Pastoral leaders September is a time for change so maybe this is a good time to write about what a pastoral leader should be about.  Those who have done it for  along while it may be a time to reflect and ask whether some things that they sued to do would be a good idea to bring back.  You know your children so what is right for them?

the object of the pastoral system is to give support and guidance in various measures depending on the situation occasionally there will be a need to be objective and influence to ensure both the students and the staffs needs are met. This is what makes it tricky when staff member A comes and says child X is making my life hell…you listen and respond supportively then talk to child X. That’s if child X hasn’t already reached your door saying staff member A is a (expletive).  Again listen and respond supportively negotiate and influence better behaviour and learning. Then go back to staff member A without going into too much detail explain you have talked to child X and again negotiate a way forward without them losing self-respect or their authority but make sure that learning on their next lesson together occurs. NB know your staff and children then it is far easier to referee.

Our role is to nurture and support i.e. we must constantly strive to foster personal development through providing our students with counselling and guidance. They must always be given the opportunity to take responsibility for their own actions, to make decisions based on knowing the implications of choice. Self respect and respect for others must be key. Unacceptable action can be challenged  but not the individual or their background. As teachers we must work towards the students developing self discipline and understanding responsibility for actions. Ultimately we want students to behave responsibly because they feel it is important.

Suggestions for a referral system for challenging behaviour or under achievement in a secondary setting could be;

Tutor                 or/and                    Subject Teacher

to                                                                 to

Head of Year        or/and              Head of Department               or/and       Head of curriculum Area

to                                                                   to

School Attainment Officer / Learning Leader

to

Deputy Headteacher (Attainment or behaviour)

to

Head teacher

One of the best ways to ensure the students and staff (from a managers point of view) are all aware of the system is to be clear what the behaviour policy, attainment policy and marks scheme is.  Clarity from these adhered to by all ensures a more successful school.

Most schools have a clear marking scheme but if you are new to the job of coordinating or leading this maybe a good starting point. What makes this good is a child could have put E top effort in but got 1 for understanding making them feel their effort has been recognised. Whilst just on this subject it is also good to let parents and students know how you will be marking i.e. over a term you may mark 1/3 in-depth, 1/3 impressionistic and 1/3 self assessment.

In depth means marking to curriculum and subject/exam expectations of understanding and feeding back relevant information to help them develop their work to the next level or grade boundary.

It is also worth mixing things up a bit and also change seating so that students gain many experiences  and also develop their own learning strategies. once you are settled into school use a mix of 1/3 friendship grouping, 1/3 boy/girl seating and 1/3 teacher defined pairs (based on ability etc.)

EFFORT

PERFORMANCE

(Understanding/Knowledge/Skills)

Excellent Effort E 5 You really understand this work
Commendable effort G 4 You have a good understanding of this part of the work but with a   little more effort you will understand it better.
Satisfactory effort S 3 You seem to understand it but you need further work to understand it   better.
Unsatisfactory effort P 2 You don’t seem to have understood all of it, ask me for help.
No effort made C 1 You haven’t understood this. Please ask for help.

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

Lessons to be learnt How much trust do we give EAL TAs?

After observing some planning and teacher training in London last week the following occurred to me not as way of criticism but more as reflective practice and moving learning in the classroom along.

Clearly we should not give any teacher or TA (Teaching Assistant) 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 TAs (English as a second language Teaching Assistants) this trust and change policies to suit them?
Don’t  get me wrong I think TA’s and EAL TA’s 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 abilities and skills ourselves as senior managers and governors.
I watched a situation recently where a group of excellent teachers were planning and talking about the use of technology available to support maths teaching. They were thinking really creatively about how they could teach in their classrooms (and not looking at a withdrawal group) a mathematical concept that the rest of the year were  learning. 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 the group 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 but could see now that the TA  was steering our teaching. Today seeing it this way made me wonder 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.

Welsh Education …my worry

Over the past week I have read numerous reports about the Welsh education System being found unsatisfactory at LA level.  To date Blaenau Gwent, Anglesey and Pembrokeshire, Merthyr Tydfil and Monmouthshire are all in special measures and more worryingly on a normal curve there would be the same amount recognised as being outstanding, but this is not the case.

Having worked in areas where schools are deemed to be in Special measures it is really difficult to sum up the feeling of worthlessness and lack of support the individuals in this situation feel, as well as the disbelief at the people who should be helping who either can’t or talk the talk and sadly can’t walk the walk, yet they are making the crucial decisions and walking away scott free whilst pointing the finger.

Has anyone actually thought about what these people are now feeling? Many will feel isolated and teams will also feel isolated but it wont stop them trying to do the best for their staff and pupils, but without any support. To make the necessary changes it takes strong people confident in their ability to make change without the support of those set up to support them.

What does surprise me is this statement

It’s no coincidence that many of our councils look to England for inspiration,  with several directors of education (the majority experienced in working in  deprived areas) parachuted in from across the border.

Why are they looking over the border? I am sure they have schools which have been judged outstanding by ESTYN so why don’t they harness these staff, they are relevant and in touch with todays policies, strategies, parents expectations and pupils needs. All too often we look to those above us, or in this case those in a different system. A few years ago there was a lot of work done about 360degree evaluation which sadly in many cases meant looking at what is worse below us and improve it rather than looking at what is best practice and bringing it through.

This together with the fear of staff re job losses due to our current national financial situation, who works well in a climate of fear?  The way many councils have dealt with this is to cut the necessary staff needed to do these jobs, this together with the cutting of wage levels so that a different level of staff are attracted i..e. rather than paying for Local Authority Consultants at deputy Head level many have opted for the equivalent wage of a head of department, in that way they get heads of departments and not people with the educational depth and knowledge needed to support and improve practice.

Finally from a story at Wales Online

Mr Andrews’ bullish reaction was to be expected. Having already threatened to  pull education from council jurisdiction, Estyn’s findings were more power to  his elbow.

My concern is that if this continues and staff morale decreases, parental support is diminished it will open a wide chasm for someone like Capita to sweet talk The Welsh Government that they can do better and education in Wales will never be the same again. Capita and similar companies will always have the verbal verbosity to explain the reasons why the LA’s or schools  should be in specials measures, but are not necessarily caring about the children and learning but more about profit as we can see from the recent translation debacle, but if this happens the Welsh Govt will have no way back and that will be a very sad day for Welsh education for everyone.

Remember the reason we are in education and making policies about teaching and learning is because we want to support our children.

Read more: Wales Online http://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/education-news/2013/02/23/why-half-term-is-usually-the-calm-before-the-storm-in-welsh-education-91466-32862733/#ixzz2LohsPxJq

138,000 speak no English – census UK

Following on from the last blog it seems that the question of movement and more children arriving in classrooms with another language and little or no English is going to be an upward trend.  Todays census information has ben revealed and suggests:

The number of Polish-born people living in England and Wales has risen by almost 900% since the last census and they now make up 1% of the population – more than Irish-born residents.

Pete Stokes, census statistical design manager for the Office of National Statistics. says most of the Polish migrants tend to be younger, and more prepared to move for work.

“Polish migrants are driven by economics and they are going everywhere. People from Poland are in every local authority in the country, they are not clustering,” he said.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-20713380

Furthermore the statistics show that:

The number of people living in England and Wales who could not speak any English was 138,000, latest figures from the 2011 census show.

After English, the second most reported main language was Polish, with 546,000 speakers, followed by Punjabi and Urdu.

Some 4 million – or 8% – reported speaking a different main language other than English or Welsh.

Of those with a main language other than English,

1.7 million could speak  English very well,

1.6 million could speak English well, and

726,000 could speak English, however not well. The remaining 138,000 could not speak English at all.

On the plus side there are lots of people and probably teachers arriving with Polish as their first language so maybe we should look at a curriculum which promotes Polish as an MFL and not French? On the negative side schools need to look at how they communicate with parents, children and community to engage them in schooling otherwise our stats as a world leader in education will keep going down and then how they ensure the curriculum is taught and academic language achieved in order that they can partake of formal examinations and receive a grade/number relevant to their true potential.  A hard one but something we must look at, at National and local level to make sure we are not failing our children.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-21259401

Finally when I first started teaching I remember people would say there were geographic areas which attracted new arrivals from overseas again this is borne out by the census as is my recent blogs that more and more schools are now witnessing challenging learning requirements to make sure all the pupils reach their potential.

The greatest numerical change has however been in London. In 2001, almost two million people in the capital were born abroad. Today it is almost three million. If anyone doubted that London was now a world city, rather than just the capital of the UK, the figures say different.

Only 44% of people in London now describe themselves as white British. In the east London borough of Newham, fewer than a fifth of the population described themselves so.

Four out of every 10 people in London in 2011 were foreign-born – up from three in 10 in 2001.

Overall, four London boroughs – Newham, Brent, Westminster and Kensington and Chelsea are now home to a majority who were born outside of the UK. Three other parts of the capital are not far off.

LEAST BORN ABROAD

  • Blaenau Gwent 1,500 (2.2%)
  • Redcar and Cleveland 3,000 (2.2%)
  • Staffordshire Moorlands 2,200 (2.2%)
  • Knowsley 3,400 2.3%
  • Caerphilly 3,400 2.3%

MOST BORN ABROAD

  • Brent 171,000 (55%)
  • Newham 165,000 (54%)
  • Westminster 117,000 (53%)
  • Kensington and Chelsea 82,000 (52%)

The history of migration was once the story of cities: We had very distinct communities in specific places – an African-Caribbean community in London or Birmingham, for instance, and Indian or East African Asian people in Leicester.

Large historic communities remain – but there is also greater geographic spread among newcomers. For instance, some 90% of the Poles in the UK are spread across England and Wales in community after community.

So overall, increasing change, rapid change and increasing diversity.

Today, almost 10,000 people born abroad call Boston home – 3,000 of them from Poland, more than any other local authority outside of the South East.

We will need to create teaching resources using all the ICT and non-ICT resources we have available to make sure that these children grow up as world or global citizens, available for work in more than one country, yet achieving at the best level they can regardless of language/s.  It is our duty to make sure through our unwillingness to change or change our practice that we hold these new world citizens back