18. Supporting independent Learning Perspective 1 (Tina)
Independent learning is a necessary key skill for pupils. Where staff are clear about the behaviour required for this kind of learning and have successfully taught these skills, then pupils can make the most of this part of the lesson. Teachers often use this time to undertake focused teaching with individuals or small groups, while at the same time monitoring the learning taking place across the group. Effective planning and good organisation help make this a productive and enjoyable part of the lesson for both teachers and pupils, and ensures that staff do not waste valuable teaching time managing low-level disruptive behaviour.
- Tina, believes she can 'influence the climate for learning in a positive way'. Describe how, in this section, Kath achieves this aim. How would you create a learning experience that ensured that new teachers developed this important skill?
- What factors do you think are important in establishing a positive climate for learning? Discuss your ideas with a colleague and then prioritise your top five. Describe to a colleague the range of ways in which you establish such a climate with the pupils you teach. What advice would you offer a newly qualified teacher or a trainee teacher that would help them to begin to establish such a climate from the first time they meet a class? What are the main difficulties in maintaining a positive climate? In what ways does Kath influence the climate for learning in this section?
- What are the routines that Kath establishes that enable pupils to stay focused on task? Discuss any specific routines you have devised for specialist subject areas. How do they differ? How can such routines be reviewed, both with colleagues and pupils?
- Identify the specific skills needed for pupils to learn independently. How do you help pupils 'learn to learn, and see themselves as successful and effective learners?' How can you share the good practice that exists in your school?
- What advice would you give a newly qualified teacher about 'keeping a watchful eye?' Is it always necessary? Discuss with your partner the ways in which your school supports newly qualified teachers or trainee teachers to develop this skill. Identify the subtle management techniques that Kath uses to maintain the focus on learning.
The techniques that Kath uses are successful because they build on sound relationships between her and the pupils. What do you consider to be essential considerations when building relationships with your pupils? Why are these relationships important? What strategies are used to support the strengthening of positive relationships in your school?
- What do you perceive the pupils in this classroom generally feel about learning?
- How positive is their relationship with Kath?
- How does Kath achieve positive relationships with the pupils she teaches? What else could she do? Reward systems are often used to acknowledge and reinforce positive behaviour skills and strengthen relationships. Are such reward systems in your school? What do you think they achieve? How are they perceived by pupils? How are they monitored and reviewed? Discuss how pupils could be involved in developing or improving reward systems.
- In what ways would you say Kath ensured that Billy was included in the lesson?
- What 'unobtrusive signals' did Kath use to maintain pupils' focus on the task?
- Comment on the attendance figures for Kath's lesson.
- What techniques did Kath use to refocus or redirect pupils onto the task?
Kath offers some private time to Sally. How might the pastoral systems in your school provide support for a pupil who like Sally, comes into school feeling upset or distressed? (Click on 'Sally' in the class photo for more information about her circumstances) Suggest any improvements that could be made to your pastoral system: - to better meet the needs of pupils - to increase pupils' participation in providing support David Howe, the headteacher, feels that Kath presents an excellent role model to pupils and colleagues alike. How does she achieve this? In what ways does she show respect to colleagues? How do the pupils show respect for her? What advice would you give to a new teacher to help him orher develop respectful relationships. How might the new teacher gain these skills? How might Kath have explored 'rights', responsibilities and respect with her pupils?
- How does Kath demonstrate respect for the pupils she teaches?
- How would you discuss 'rights' and responsibilities with pupils that you teach? Share examples of how you do this with a colleague, explore a range of teaching materials designed to support such a discussion. In your experience how can questioning be used most effectively in lessons? What are the main types of questions? Are key questions part of your lesson planning process. Is questioning an important part of departmental dialogue? How much is shared?
- What is your view on the arrangement Kath made for Anita to support Sally during this part of the lesson? What preparation might have taken place for a strategy likes this to work well? Do you operate similar peer support systems in your school? Discuss these with a colleague, comment on their effectiveness.
Behaviour for learning
Behaviour for Learning places value on behaving in ways that enable and maximise learning. Effective behaviour for learning can range form high-level listening or collaborative learning skills, to remaining seated for two minutes. It is important to focus on the kind of approaches that are most likely to increase learning behaviour. Evidence strongly suggests that these will be ones that are characterised by the promotion of positive relationships and the development of an appropriate emotional climate in the classroom.
- Which of the behaviours seen in this classroom can be said to enable and maximise learning?
- How does Kath encourage her pupils to develop appropriate behaviours for learning?
- How does she recognise and value these behaviours?
- What is the impact on the kind of classroom climate Kath establishes on the pupils' motivational levels?
- Consider the nature of the relationship between learning and behaviour in the school. Where would you say the emphasis lies - getting behaviour right in order to allow learning to happen or getting the learning process right in order that good behaviour will result? How does this approach manifest it self in teaching and learning? Have you any suggestions to make to your Head of Department or senior management team?
Working with teaching assistants
Working with teaching assistants to support the learning and behaviour of all pupils, but particularly those pupils with some form of additional need, requires careful planning. Time between teacher and teaching assistant to plan their various roles and responsibilities is vital to the development of an effective learning environment. The presence of an additional adult in the classroom can be a huge positive asset or, if not planned, can lead to any classroom challenges becoming more problematic. Consider the way in which the partnership between the teacher and teaching assistant varies between the three lessons.
- What makes the difference? How do the roles and responsibilities vary from class to class?
- Think about your experiences working with teaching assistants and consider the following:
- What do you feel are the most important features of effective practice in partnership working with teaching assistants?
- How do you involve the teaching assistant in planning and organising the lesson?
- How are the skills and experiences of teaching assistants valued and used most effectively in your classroom?
- How do your school structures and systems support effective deployment and practice for working with teaching assistant support?
- How are teaching assistant's included in the whole school approaches and staff development opportunities?
- What changes would you suggest to improve this practice at school and classroom level?
- Are you aware of the nature, level and content of training the teaching assistant in your school may have undertaken? If yes, how does your school make effective use of their expertise?
Independent Learning, Planning, Organisation,
Article Id : 15273
Date Posted: 2/3/2009