Sharing the Teaching Love…

I am a relatively new convert to Twitter. I love it. Not from a social climber, celebrity follower, cool person maker way, from a purely professional, educational networking kind of way. I am lucky to have been thrown in with some excellent people to follow.

I want to tell you why I think sharing the love on Twitter is awesome, and what it does for me.

  1. Networking: I have made connections with some fabulous education people such as Russell Tarr (creator of @russelltarr and Ross Morrison McGill AKA Teacher Toolkit (creator of @teachertoolkit. I have made contact with these two wonderful teachers both on and off Twitter. Russ invited me to submit a proposal for an international teaching conference in Toulouse in November, where I will be speaking about effective learner behaviours as inspired by TEEP. Ross has been a huge inspiration and actively helped me organise my own TeachMeet at my school.
  2. Exposure to ideas, resources and movements: I have come to discover WomenEd which is an amazing collection of women fighting the lack of females in leadership. As an inspiring Head/T&L coordinator I find their work crucial to my own career. I regularly share resources and blog posts, as do many others. Just today I found a new TEEP inspired strategy shared by @87history.
  3. Chatting: the professionals on twitter are all there for the same reasons as me, to share practice, resources and wisdom. To connect. We do this, as a collective, for our practice and our children. You can join in #chats on twitter, my particular favourites are #engchat and #sltchat. Both have designated topics and are hosted by one or more twitter users.

Now I think they are 3 flipping good reasons to sign up. Follow me @keeponteeping.


CPD: Teacher Education Enhancement Program

In my relatively short time as a teacher, I have been lucky enough to attend a myriad of CPD. Shortly after joining my current school, we were told we would be having 4 of our PD days within 2 months of each other. “What!” we cried…

However, following the annual first day back PD day with notices, department meetings, room assignment, timetables etc, came 3 days of TEEP training, run by SSAT. This CPD changed my life, my practice and my outlook on my profession. I am not exaggerating.

Two consecutive days of training which “modelled the model”stuffed to the brim with activities, discussions, group work and ideas. I came away from “Level 1: part 1” excited, inspired and motivated. The best part was there was no divide in our training room, the Headteacher sat with NQTs, and staff who had taught from 2-22 years. It brought us together as a staff.

TEEP uses an usual way to enhance Teacher’s practice. Firstly the learning cycle is key, not only for planning but also for understanding how people learn – I say people because this is not just a learning journey for the students, we as staff went on that journey too. So there learning cycle, firstly it never occurred to me before, but learning is circular! What’s more, we can swing back and forth between stages, skip one, do the cycle 3 times in a lesson or once in a week. This blew my mind and changed the way I thought as lessons, schemes and topics.

I won’t go in to oodles of detail as I do not want to take anything away from you, if you have the chance to complete this training.

Day 1: Introduction to the TEEP Model and 5 elements of learning.

Day 2: Looking specifically at the learning cycle segments and how these can apply in a myriad of ways.

Day 3: (usually a few weeks/couple of months later, having had the opportunity to implement some ideas already) Effective Learner Behaviours and Effective Teacher Behaviours.

I felt this set up was perfectly timed for me. I also feel that I was exposed to this thinking at the perfect point in my career, it has spurred me to read books from all sort of pedagogical perspectives (see my reviews here) and explore, many different ideas.

Initially following the training I created a number if “slides” – a variety of TEEP inspired activities which could be dropped in to powerpoints as and when needed. I also started using the TEEP cycle arrows to help focus my planning on the cycle and also to think carefully about whether my teaching was hitting what my learners needed. I found I was making the common mistake of giving learners new info and expecting application immediately, with not time for construction.

This training is fantastic, I throughly recommend it. I am lucky enough to be in the process of compiling my TEEP portfolio, ready for attendance at Level 2 later this year. I aim to complete my L3 also which is becoming a trainer.

You can visit TEEP’s website here, and their Twitter handle is @TEEPSSAT


Review: Engaging Learners

Engaging Learners – Andy Griffith and Mark Burns @OTeaching

“In an era when with teachers and the students it’s time to redress the balance so that students take over the responsibility for their learning. A class can be skilled and motivated to learn without a teacher always having to lead. Engaging learners in this way unpicks intrinsic motivation, the foundation that underpins productive learning environments and helps to develop independent learning.”

Chunked into 6 humorously written and easy to swallow segments, from asking the key question “Why aren’t these kids engaged?” to “I know how to get outstanding now!” This book takes the reader on a true learning journey about creating better, more engaged learners. The authors, are filled to the brim with case studies and examples (both positive and negative) which illustrate the difference these techniques can make in every classroom. They also apply their fool-proof thinking to the overall problem of engaging students.

I was tempted by this book following a session of CPD on Teaching Outstanding English for the new GCSE by Osiris. I am not exaggerating when I explain it has genuinely and completely changed my outlook on my practice and my practice itself. At first, I dubious about launching into the 200 odd pages, on top of the usual teaching, marking, planning cycle. However I set myself the challenge of just ensuring I read one chapter at a time, highlighter at the ready.

This was successful, until I reached the halfway point, then I threw caution to the wind and finished the book in one session tucked up on the sofa with the dogs. There are so many great ideas, tips and pearls of wisdom that I am struggling to decide what to include to whet your appetite.My copy is now dog-eared on probably every other page indicating something I have tried, want to try or will come back to when I get that magical minute of time to do so.

So I have jotted below one thing I have tried, one thing I will be trying, and one thing I need to explore further. I must stress, this is the tiniest tip of the biggest iceberg.

  1. Learning Grids – HOW had I not heard of these?! As soon as I read about them I was on twitter, the TES, trawling the net for ideas and examples. I now have a variety of English Language based ones for writing for purpose, a set of GCSE ones designed by myself to help revision skills and finally a full set of Creative Writing ones which were based on a Wild West one I found, and the rest have been illustrated, in an infantile manner, by me. I have used them successfully in the classroom to prompt creative writing. I gave each stun 3 ingredients from the grid, and 5 minutes writing time, then every 2 minutes for the following 6 I gave an extra ingredient to include. I use a dice app on my phone to pick the boxes, but have foam dice on the way from Amazon.
  2. Meta-Cognition Dice – I have made these up ready, but am yet to use them. I feel my students need a bit more training before working their way up to answering these questions. I aim to try with Y7 first next term to see how they fare.
  3. Class Mantras – I have realised as I progress through my RQT year, and first year in English, that there are lots of things I will do differently next year. One of these is training my students. I am coming across new ideas and approaches all the time and I am hoping by September I will be able to train class from the start. I have had small successes, for example, some students will now automatically cut across those asking me for help with a solution they can use to help themselves, as my default answer to “Miiiiissss…” is “How can you help yourself?” Also, students are starting to use the resources in front of them a lot more, for example my literacy folders are stuffed full of goodies to help improve their work, but I assumed that because they were on the tables, the students would use them! Boy, was I wrong, now I explicitly point out when it would be useful to look at them, and they are slowly starting to use them on their own, o ask if they can for certain tasks.

As you can imagine, I thoroughly recommend you add this to your collection. Even if you only take a few things, they will revolutionise the way you teach.

Rating: *****