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Approaches to teaching and Learning

Tuesday 6 October 2015

Collecting the evidence

This post comes from my thoughts and experiements related to the unit planners that are likely to be a part of the DP teacher's life very shortly as a result of the ATTL and planning initiative. That link outlines a lot of the key issues facing teachers. This post is about the process of writing about teaching and gathering evidence of all the things that are happening. As I have already said, I think it is an admirable aim to ask schools and teachers to reflect on the aspects of the practice and try to make sure they are delivering the aims, objectives and philosophy of the course. They key question still remains - 'how?'

I have recently been expriementing with some new pages on the site to try and tackle this. The 'Focus on' pages are designed to allow teachers and students to work more easily by topic. See this example - Focus - Chi Squared - that I published today and am still working on. The idea is kind of like a mini 'unit planner' for teaching this topic. The teaching activities are listed, there are some teaching slides, practice activites and then references to the opportunities for Tok. After that it gets difficult. With unit planners, we are supposed to be showing when we provide opportunities for students to develop the attributes of the learner profile and the key teaching and learning objectives outlined in the ATTL document. 

Teaching - Inquiry based, conceptual understanding, collaboration in local and global contexts, assessment and differentiation

Learning - Thinking skills, research skills, social skills, communication skills and self-management skills.

These, of course, blend nicely with the attributes of the IB learner profile and the ways of knowing. These aims shouldn't really be seen as mutually exclusive and so it gets tricky when you start to try and list evidence that you have provided the opportunities. Many of the goals are generic teaching goals that infuse practice in different ways. For that reason, it can seem a little contrived to start listing specific instances when these opportunities occur. As teachers who talk to each other, we know when they crop up, we know they will and we know it wont always be as we planned. Still, the challenge is out there to find a solution to this need for providing evidence of planning without making tenuous lists.

In response I have bundled the teaching and learning points together with the learner profile attributes - see the diagram above. Becoming a good commuincator and developing communication skills clearly go hand in hand. Developing thinking skills whilst aspiring to be a thinker and engaging in inquiry based tasks again go well together.

As such, I am going to write a little about the teaching of each subtopic on the 'focus on' pages and highlight the use of any of these key words as I talk about the teaching and learning of the topic. Check out my latest effort here -  Focus - Arithmetic Sequences

Let me know what you think!



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