August Update

Saturday 4 August 2018

What's new?

Over the past month I have been fascinated to collate all the excellent material out there on what has been called 'the science of learning': what can we learn from the world of cognitive science about the process of learning, and what teachers need to do to accelerate the learning of students.

Whilst the material is not specific to the IB it is appropriate for all teachers. One of the professional inquiries I have been following - which I have captured in my page on Teaching strategies - presents some really practical tips about how teachers can help students commit their learning to memory. In one respect I found all of these strategies counter-intuitive to my IB mind because they focused on memorisation, drilling, retrieval practice etc. whereas the IB emphasises how knowlegde is co-constructed through collaborative inquiry. On the other hand the Diploma Programme in particular demands that students learn how to memorize loads of material, and thus need to build up the techniques described on this page.

Teaching and Learning

Evidence informed teaching and learning: This page provides you with a summary of what cognitive science research tells us about teaching and learning. It also signposts where you can find this research in easily accessible form - these pieces of research, in themselves, provide helpful think pieces to sharec with staff.

Teaching strategies: This page summarizes this research in the form of practical strategies which you can use in any subject. They are effective strategies for any curriculum, whether it is the IB or a national curriculum.The strategies are grouped under the following headings: Designing the learning: how do you present the curriculum and knowledge to students in such a way that they can learn it? Strategies for building long-term memory: how do you teach so that what students learn goes from the short to the long-term memory? Feedback and formative assessment: what are the best ways of providing feedback so that it forms part of students' on-going learning?

Useful videos on pedagogy:This page provides you with practical tools to use in a staff workshop to review and discuss pedagogy - how you teach and how students learn.Each video is part of Tom Sherrington's Kitchen Pedagogy series on 'Evidence based ideas that all teachers should know about.' Use this page in connection with the research on Evidence informed teaching and learning.

A Professional Development Programme provides you with a training programme of four sessions that allows you as a school community to think through your culture around teaching and learning.

Middle Leadership Professional Development. InThinking subscribers have highlighted a need for professional development training for their middle pedagogical leaders, primarily heads of department. Over the past two months I have been posting pages to help heads of department to lead and manage their teams.

Pedagogical Leadership Workshop 

Session 1: Pedagogical Leadership

Session 2: The Science of Learning

Session 3: The Expert Teacher 

Session 4: Leading Professional Development 

I have also included powerpoints that you can use to bring some of the other leadership pages to life: for example, Leadership vs Management.

If you have any requests or suggestions please be in contact using the messages facility at the top of each page.

In addition, as ever, I have been improving and adding to existing pages.


Tags: August Update 2018


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