Last week was so busy but really enjoyable! I organised a ‘TEACHWEEK’ at school. This involved an ‘open door event’ where staff signed up to visit colleagues’ classrooms to observe good practice, a teaching and learning market place, form activities and a series of assemblies. The main aim of this week was to encourage a whole school dialogue about improving teaching and learning, to provide opportunities for staff to lead CPD and to launch and introduce the main concepts of adopting a ‘growth mindset’ during assemblies and form activities. If you missed last week’s blog, you can check it out here…..
and the assembly is here……
I was a little overwhelmed by the positive reactions of staff to the open door event. I wanted to improve the view of being observed and observing others, as for some, it had become quite a negative experience. Therefore, it was great to hear conversations about what worked in the lessons seen…even for specific children. It meant that staff were really valuing, evaluating and reflecting on the practice that they had directly observed. Every time I heard ‘I’m going to try that,’ or ‘he’s really good for you…how do you do it?’ or ‘I’ve never observed a lesson since my NQT year, it was great to do again,’ and finally ‘wish we could do this more often,’ It made me smile. I hope we can build on this momentum, with the aim to be habitually in and out of each others lessons for CPD purposes and developing the use of IRIS within school. We have so much to be proud of, but equally and realistically, much to improve……hasn’t everyone?!
Moreover, the marketplace we held was awesome! We had some amazing CPD sessions delivered by staff who really put their very best practice out there for everyone to use and develop. A few of the sessions were extremely creative! The afternoon provided learning, laughter and inspiration. I got a few positive comments on the assembly and resources too from staff and pupils! One teacher said that during the assembly, a pupil she had battled with about ‘attitude’ had the grace to look over to her with a guilty look and acknowledge that he’d been a pain! Result! Some staff have requested a copy of the image I used in the assembly to put up in their classroom…a lovely idea! We are all on the ladder somewhere!
I implore anyone who is reading (has anyone got this far?!) especially if you feel like your school has lost it’s way a little bit with data, data, data at the very top of the agenda dictating everything, to organise some kind of week/fortnight in their school that promotes teaching and learning and puts it truly back at the forefront where it should be. Teaching and Learning, coupled to USEFUL data should be the driving force of every decision, every plan, every day, for every person in a school. Not that I’m biased……but without great teaching and learning, you won’t get the great data.
We’re working on feedback now….have been for a couple of weeks!
In the week preceeding our TEACHWEEK – all the staff were consulted on feedback to pupils. We have come up together, with a list of bullet points that we consider non-negotiable when it comes to giving quality feedback to pupils and how to signpost progress in pupils’ work more consistently. What we have suggested as a body of staff seems like common sense, but when provided in a framework makes it more objective. Expectations are spelled out in black and white, yet the framework is flexible enough for vital departmental idiosyncrasy. The outcomes for this huge piece of work we have done on feedback and marking is ‘pick up any book, folder or portfolio and see development of learning.’ Equally, the pupils need to be addressing and deepening their learning as a result of the feedback. Staff were further consulted about the framework at our marketplace and it was accordingly adapted. We will revisit this at our staff CPD afternoon on Tuesday for some final consultation and tweaks ready to launch formally before Easter. There has been so much consultation because it is important that we get it right for everyone – especially the children, but of course, it is a ‘work in progress’ and is subject to evaluation and review at any point. My prezi for the original session launching the development of feedback and marking in school can be found here…..
….and I will be blogging about how we do feedback with all the documents and resources very soon!