DISPLAYING ITEMS BY TAG: TEACHING TECHNIQUES

“I've got the children to tend, the clothes to mend, the floor to mop, the food to shop.”

This is an excerpt from Maya Angelou's brilliant poem Woman Work, where she reels off a litany of the chores and duties that a woman in her circumstance has to honour.

The term mastery isn’t new. For years, teachers have been working to ensure a child fully understands a skill before moving on. What has changed in the Primary Maths curriculum is the way this is achieved and applied; to a certain extent, that is half the problem.

Summative assessment is a dead duck. We all know this. Aside from a final examination, all of the assessment we do these days should be formative. It should enable the student to improve. Yet still we use written tests which give students a score, a grade or percentage. Now, of course a student can self-reflect on why they got the grade they did or the teacher can go through the test paper explaining errors but to do this on an individual, rather than whole-class basis is almost impossible. How then does a teacher give rich and detailed feedback to their students without it being a huge increase in workload? The answer is diagnostic testing, a technique which allows formative feedback to be generated from summative feedback.

Kristy Lundström, rektor (head of school): We are always trying to find ways to create the “perfect” learning environment for our students. The challenge is that the “perfect” environment can look different from student to student, from course to course, and from time to time. I want us to stop thinking “class” and think “student”. With this in mind, the question shifts from trying to find the perfect solution to trying to find a flexible framework where teachers are empowered to make the strategic instructional decisions that would work for just their group of students. At our school, we have designated an instructional designer to explore possible methods for how this could work. We call it our BLE (Blended Learning Environment) project. Meet Hanna.

With flip teaching being discussed and debated frequently, different methods of employing homework are being looked at. A group of teachers are revolutionising the issue from a school in Desierto de los Leones, Mexico. Founded in 1963 by Welshman Edward Foulkes and Canadian Ronald Stech, The Edron Academy (an IB World School since 1995) is currently looking to get the most out of after-school exercises. Michael Flynn, an expat who used to teach in the UK, now teaches English at the Academy.

At the risk of sounding unprofessional, homework has always been a thorn in our side. The children dislike it, teachers can have workload issues around it, and both the school and the parents can have unrealistic expectations of it. It is an entity in which no one has a common opinion. It is also an incredibly emotive subject; if you open any teaching publication there are hosts of opinions for and against homework. In research completed in 2006 Cooper, Robinson, and Patall noted:

'With only rare exceptions, the relationship between the amount of homework students do and their achievement outcomes was found to be positive and statistically significant. Therefore, we think it would not be imprudent, based on the evidence in hand, to conclude that doing homework causes improved academic achievement'

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