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.

Phrases to use in the classroom by @rufuswilliam

Name: Rufus
Twitter name: @rufuswilliam
Sector: Secondary
Subject taught (if applicable): Maths
Position: Lead Coach
What is your advice about? Phrases to use in the classroom

  1. “Only 3/4/5 more students to start the work.”
  2. “100% of you working hard, well done”
  3. “Show me that you’re listening.”
  4. “I know that it’s not easy or natural for you to be sitting here concentrating and working hard but I still expect it. Working hard, learning lots, and getting into good habits will have huge benefits for you in your life.”
  5. This last one is for near the beginning of every single lesson. “A reminder about my expectations: when I ask for silence I expect exactly that and when I ask you to show me that you’re listening I expect you to have nothing in your hands and to be looking at me.”

Effective Explanations by @RufusWilliam

Name: Rufus
Twitter name: @RufusWilliam
Sector: Secondary
Subject taught (if applicable): Maths
Position: Lead Coach
What is your advice about? How to teach

  1. Ensure all students are showing that they’re listening to you, then give clear, unambiguous explanations.
  2. Break down what you are teaching into manageable chunks. Manageable for the students that is.
  3. Model excellent work and give clear, straightforward worked examples.
  4. When introducing new concepts give examples and non-examples. That is to say, examples of what the concept is contrasted with what it isn’t.
  5. Check to see the students have taken in what you’ve said, then get them to do 20 minutes practice in silence.

Parents’ Evenings by @fizzixteach

Name: Steve
Twitter name: @fizzixteach
Sector: Secondary
Subject taught (if applicable): Physics
Position: Head of Physics
What is your advice about? Parents’ Evenings

  1. Plan ahead: give yourself as easy a day as possible on the day and the day after. Arrange a test, or computer lesson, or whatever is reasonable but lightens your load.
  2. If at all possible, get off site between the end of the school day and the start of the evening. Even for 5 minutes.
  3. Have a folder of data, targets, test scores etc with you to refer to. Even better if they’re coloured in!
  4. Showing off the child’s work to the parent – for good or bad reasons – seems to have a very strong effect. Maybe have the class’s books on hand?
  5. When you can’t remember a child’s name, greet the parent(s) with “Hi, it’s Mr and Mrs…. oh, I’m really, sorry, I’ve not learned all the surnames yet”. When they tell you, your class list will fill in the first name for you.

Leaving work at a sensible time (science context) by @@ruthyie

Name: Ruth Smith
Twitter name: @ruthyie
Sector: Secondary
Subject taught (if applicable): Science
Position: KS5 Science Lead
What is your advice about? Leaving work at a sensible time (science context)

  1. When doing science technician orders each week, quickly create or collate any new resources there and then (worksheets, essential slides), however rough, tidying them up only if you later get time. The thought that goes into Orders forms the bulk of your planning.
  2. ‘Mark’ books at school and do it standing up, against the clock. Do it solely to inform you of what has and hasn’t been grasped, sorting work into categories and then deciding how to communicate to students in each category.
  3. I write the date of ‘marking’ (=looking at books) on the front of the book. I add a star if it’s all going well. I add a pair of spectacles if the student and I need to watch understanding and progress.
  4. ‘Marking’ in this way may not involve writing anything IN the books, but feedback to the class will take numerous forms because you will be aware of what they need. I can’t stop myself correcting/indicating spg errors, though…
  5. When it gets to the end of the working day, go home, and only do more if you know you’ll need a short day later in the week or if you really care about a particular task. If you can mentally bullet point what needs to happen in your lesson, you are ready enough for the next day.

The importance of routine by @MissSayers1

Name: The Passionately Boring Teacher
Twitter name: @MissSayers1
Sector: Secondary
Subject taught (if applicable): Humanities
Position: Teacher
What is your advice about? The importance of routine

  1. There is nothing wrong with starting every lesson in the same way; routine minimises cognitive load and allows all pupils to enter your lesson knowing that they will get something ‘correct’ within minutes of entering your classroom.
  2. Introduce one routine at a time. Just like the pupils, you need to manage your cognitive load. Once you’ve introduced and embedded one routine to the point where it becomes the norm, you can introduce others.
  3. Make sure that every routine you introduce has a clear and logical purpose; do pupils need to write “Classwork” at the top of their work is that just something or you think teachers should do?
  4. Create routines which minimise teacher input into administrative tasks, such as finding pens or books.
  5. Use the time you gain wisely; routines allow you to be the expert in the classroom rather than a secretary. The time you save can be used to gather feedback or live mark books, reducing your workload outside of the classroom.