Differentiation by @chrismwparsons

Name: Chris Parsons
Twitter name: @chrismwparsons
Sector: Primary
Subject taught (if applicable):
Position: Deputy Head (Academic)
What is your advice about? Differentiation

  1. Don’t start by assuming that individual uniqueness means that a difference should always MAKE a difference.
  2. Except for obvious outliers, don’t predestine children by separating and pigeon-holing them before each lesson begins.
  3. “Keep the pack together” where possible with the best teaching approach you can imagine using to teach a concept. Children like togetherness & it helps you focus your quality.
  4. Think ‘adaptation’ to differences which arise, rather than discriminating difference for the sake of it. Going through the motions of personalisation is a naïve delusion of our omniscience.
  5. Have open-access mechanisms for challenge/support, which can be applied to anyone as the need arises so as to ensure that all students are able to access & engage in appropriately challenging work.

Teaching A Level Literature by @JoBullen1

Name: Jo
Twitter name: @JoBullen1
Sector: Secondary
Subject taught (if applicable): English
Position: Subject Leader
What is your advice about? Teaching A Level Literature

  1. Know your stuff. Annotate the text thoroughly, read study guides, follow links online – whatever it takes to make you an expert.
  2. Don’t neglect writing skills at the expense of content. Build in short writing tasks, perhaps only focusing on one or two assessment objectives.
  3. Encourage academic reading around the topic. Physically put it in front of them if necessary, and direct them to take notes.
  4. Insist upon discussion. Let the silence sit if necessary, and use different strategies to force students to contribute.
  5. Treat them like your other classes. Six short weeks ago they were Year 11s – the same rules apply.

The getting-to-know-you first lesson by @JamesTheo

Name: James Theobald
Twitter name: @JamesTheo
Sector: Secondary
Subject taught (if applicable): English
Position: Teacher
What is your advice about? The getting-to-know-you first lesson

  1. The purpose of this lesson is purported to be an opportunity for you to get to know your class.
  2. This isn’t necessary. You won’t really get to know them in one lesson. You’ll get to know them well enough over time.
  3. Actually, you should use this lesson for them to get to know YOU: what to expect in your lessons; what to expect from you.
  4. The way to do this is easy: tell them, very simply, your expectations, your rules. Do any book admin you need to do. Then…
  5. …get them stuck into the work. This tells them what to expect of you.

5 easy ways to differentiate

Sector: Secondary
Subject taught (if applicable): English
Position: Literacy and Language Co-ordinator
What is your advice about? 5 easy ways to differentiate

  1. Active listening – give student question before you read passage. I guarantee they will listen more effectively to whole passage/poem.
  2. Active reading – tell the student what she is reading to answer but don’t overload – one thing (similar affect to 1).
  3. Active error spotting – put up a factual piece of information on the board and get them to find three errors. If time give them paper copy too.
  4. Images for sequencing – for a science experiment or drama piece – let them take photographs – upload into writing frame – student writes about what they’ve done.
  5. Write out a plan for an essay (preferably with student but not necessarily) ask them to write really good quality introduction, conclusion or middle paragraph (only 1 not all)

Teaching ‘The Catcher in the Rye’ by @kennypieper

Name: Kenny Pieper
Twitter name: @kennypieper
Sector: Secondary
Subject taught (if applicable): English
Position: Teacher of English
What is your advice about? Teaching ‘The Catcher in the Rye’

  1. Load them up with historical context before you start. Spend time discussing post-war America, the evolution of the teenager, right up to the day John Lennon died.
  2. Read the text with them, but only to the end of Chapter 7. Holden leaves school at that point, so send your class away to read the rest on their own; go through it afterwards.
  3. Make a consistent effort to link your readers to Holden Caulfield. Their empathy with him is what makes the book so effective.
  4. The book is filled with evocative symbolism; frame your study around the Hunting Hat, the Ducks, the Carrousel. When they get that, they get Holden, they get the book.
  5. I know anyone can read this book and all ages can access it. However, when you teach it to 15/16/17 year olds, going through the same changes as Holden, it hits home strongly.

English by @AntSchmitt

Name: Ant Smith
Twitter name: @AntSchmitt
Sector: Secondary
Subject taught (if applicable): English
Position: Second in Department
What is your advice about? English

  1. Analyse how Blooms’ taxonomy underpins the development of reading and writing skills.
  2. Get geeky about your subject: have favourite authors and writers and use their material to inform the development of your own skills – then bring it all into the classroom.
  3. Marking must be useful but also sustainable – if your marking detracts from your own life you need to reign your practice in, otherwise you become less effective in class.
  4. Understand the difference between developing knowledge, understanding and skills, then be clear about what you’re trying to achieve over a period of time.
  5. Pre-teach concepts in engaging ways, the pupils will do the rest of the hard work for you.

AFL by @mrrattle

Name: Tom Rattle
Twitter name: @mrrattle
Sector: Secondary
Subject taught (if applicable): Computing
Position: Head of Faculty
What is your advice about? AFL

  1. Make sure that feedback is tangible and precise (rather than vague comments like ‘improve your spelling’)
  2. Don’t be afraid to go back over a topic instead of moving forward if you feel students’ understanding is not as strong as it should be.
  3. Try to make your planning and assessing one and the same – let your marking inform your planning to use your time more efficient.
  4. Don’t be afraid to ask students and reflect on whether something is working – if assessment is ineffective or inefficient then how could you improve it?
  5. Remember WHY we mark – it’s not for monitoring or Ofsted – it’s for the students! If they don’t benefit, the assessment isn’t effective.