Pushing more able students by @ramtopsgrum

Name: Graham Hartland
Twitter name: @ramtopsgrum
Sector: Secondary
Subject taught (if applicable): Biology
Position: Head of department
What is your advice about? Pushing more able students

  1. Get them to talk. Set questions like “why is it easier to trace female ancestry rather than male ancestry over the last 100 000 years”. Allow left field answers.
  2. Be a geek, a boffin, a nerd. Answer, within reason, any question relevant to subject. Model ‘good answers’; show off your knowledge.
  3. Research. Read. Where are the controversies? Risks? Benefits? If we can do something, then should we? Why? Allow students to argue.
  4. Think long term so that practicals are seamless with lessons: it’s almost like it’s been planned… respect the class, don’t be random.
  5. Get students to reflect and self-evaluate. Model this: allow successful students to tell others what they do.

Pushing Most Able Students by @Miss_Toppin

Name: Miss Toppin
Twitter name: @Miss_Toppin
Sector: Secondary
Subject taught (if applicable): English
Position: Teacher
What is your advice about? Pushing Most Able Students

  1. You will never know what your students are capable of until you have stretched them to their optimum capability.
  2. Give them an exam question from the next key stage – type it up into your PowerPoint or worksheet and make it look normal. Then sit back and watch…you will be surprised.
  3. Make sure they understand that failure is a critical component of success i.e. a ‘mastery’ mindset; provide them with famous examples from all walks of life.
  4. Encourage both ‘Blue Sky’ and completely ‘logical’ thinking; teach them the value is knowing which mindset to use for which problem.
  5. DO NOT give them an easy way out; they must think their way out of a question or challenge, even if their answer is completely wrong. Make their minds robust and resilient.

Pushing the most able by @pdonald81

Name: Paul Donald
Twitter name: @pdonald81
Sector: Secondary
Subject taught (if applicable): History/English
Position: Deputy Head
What is your advice about? Pushing the most able

  1. Know your subject really well. It’ll help with all kids and make you feel secure.
  2. Expect them to read a lot and make it substantial and challenging e.g undergrad stuff for really bright A Level kids.
  3. When you read their work, make sure they really know what they’re saying. Sometimes they write well which covers a lack of knowledge.
  4. Get them to consider the merits of arguments they don’t automatically agree with. This will challenge them to really understand how to deconstruct an argument.
  5. Do give praise, but always leave the most able students feeling like they need to impress you more.

Challenge for most able students by @teacherwithbike

Name: TeacherWithBike
Twitter name: @teacherwithbike
Sector: Secondary
Subject taught (if applicable): English
Position: Teacher
What is your advice about? Challenge for most able students

  1. Continue to build your academic subject knowledge. This enables you to answer questions, ask better questions, and suggest further reading. Model being knowledgeable.
  2. Have confidence (based on subject knowledge) to say you don’t know if you don’t know – no student appreciates BS. Model the learning process (& get them to look stuff up too).
  3. Build bank of related reading/resources for all topics you teach – the most interested & motivated students often enjoy this additional challenge & it’s good for discussions.
  4. Don’t make most able students trudge through most basic activities/content if you know they know it. Direct them to well thought-out higher level learning.
  5. Keep the focus on learning process & deploying knowledge well, not on grades. Once the brightest students hit the highest grades, they need to know they can keep going!

Using student voice to improve practice by @molin_bryan

Name: Bryan Molin
Twitter name: @molin_bryan
Sector: Secondary
Subject taught (if applicable): Maths
Position: Assistant Principal
What is your advice about? Using student voice to improve practice

  1. Establish a culture of learning in the classroom, an attitude of “we’re all in this together”.
  2. Use marking feedback from students as a tool to fine tune planning.
  3. Use lead learners proactively to get feedback on activities and ideas for future lessons.
  4. Ask your head of department to join focus groups so that you can discuss students feedback on teaching and learning in your area.
  5. Evaluate each scheme/half term/unit with the students once complete, so it can be improved for next time.

Preparing Juniors for their Senior Studies by @amuseED

Name: Allison Fairey
Twitter name: @amuseED
Sector: Secondary
Subject taught (if applicable): Art + RE
Position: Teacher
What is your advice about? Preparing Juniors for their Senior Studies

  1. NQTs often begin their careers in the middle school. Ensure you are aware of the requirements & capabilities expected of students in the senior years of your subject.
  2. Deliberately plan your lessons & units of work to build your students skills & knowledge in the junior years so they are prepared for the demands of senior courses.
  3. Investigate & adopt some of the same pedagogies used by teachers of the senior classes. Build a relationship with these teachers so you can learn from them.
  4. Tell your students the work they do is paving the way for successful completion of secondary schooling. It’s a useful motivator. Expect them to be responsible learners.
  5. The above advice is obvious but it is important your students understand they are on a learning journey. You have the opportunity to positively impact their future performance

Surviving Your First Christmas in Primary by @MsHJS

Name: MsHJS
Twitter:  @MsHJS
Sector:  Primary
Position: Assistant Headteacher
5 Bits of Advice About: Surviving your first Christmas in Primary

  1. Visit Poundland and invest in a Christmas hat. You will need it either for the Christmas dinner, party or as a reward in the classroom.
  2. Xmas is great fun but also incredibly busy. Identify the key tasks- who do you make cards for, does every child need a party hat etc and plan them into your timetable.
  3. Children love Xmas but they also like structure, so don’t abandon all the routines you have worked so hard to embed. Keep the focus on teaching until the very end of term.
  4. Don’t buy presents but give a laminated photo of the child or similar. Cheaper and easier.
  5. If you receive gifts, open them with the kids so that they can tell their parents that you like them, but make it clear to others that the only gift you need is a smile.

Colour Blindness by @Sue_Cowley

Name: Sue Cowley
Twitter: @Sue_Cowley
Sector:  Secondary
Subject: All
Position: Parent of child who is colour blind
5 Bits of Advice About: Colour Blindness

  1. Colour blindness affects 1 in 12 boys and 1 in 200 girls so there is likely to be a child with colour blindness in your class.
  2. Don’t assume that the parents or the child will be aware that they are colour blind. The check is no longer a statutory part of the NHS test.
  3. Use symbols alongside labels, particularly for younger children. For instance, a ‘red’ ‘fire engine’ to show the ‘red level’ reading books.
  4. Consider how the resources you create may impact on children who have CVD. Red/green colour blindness is the most common form.
  5. Follow @colourblindorg on Twitter. See also the Oct 2015 edition of ATL magazine.

Building Relationships by @birdy34

Name: Anna Clark
Twitter: @birdy34
Sector:  Primary
Subject: All subjects
Position: Deputy Head
5 Bits of Advice About: Building relationships

  1. Smile. Even when you are completely tired out.
  2. Remembering that teaching is all about acting. Pretend you love every single thing you teach.
  3. Praise, praise, praise…In many different ways.
  4. Remember not to try and be their friend. They won’t respect you.
  5. Get parents onside. Don’t be afraid to contact them for good or bad.

Building Relationships by Anonymous

Name: Anonymous
Twitter: None given
Sector:  Secondary
Subject: MFL
Position: Head of Department
5 Bits of Advice About: Building relationships

  1. Mark their work. Often!
  2. Give a consequence, then move on.
  3. Phone parents with positive things fast. Gives you higher leverage later when the follow up may not be so positive.
  4. Be consistent in your application of systems.
  5. Smile. Enjoy what you’re doing- it’s infectious!