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Teaching Strategies

Useful strategies that are tried and tested!

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Teaching strategies galore …..

Teaching strategies encompassing a range of areas including behaviour management, improving literacy and language skills, differentiation, questioning, assessment for learning and reviewing.

These are tried and tested but of course each school and each class provide us with their own unique challenges, so adapting is the key to making them work for you.

We welcome feedback and if you have any strategies you wish to share we'd be happy to include them and acknowledge your contribution.

We encourage every teacher to take responsibility for their classroom. Yes the department, pastoral and leadership team can help - but much better to be self-reliant.

Take from this whatever suits you. Everyone is different - needs, personality, teaching style etc.
Maybe you are looking to improve some areas of behaviour management, or perhaps looking to improve student literacy.

We certainly don't promise any magic wands but with energy, time, commitment and patience life in the classroom can improve for you and your students.

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Our mantra: Predict - Routines - Resources - Strategies - Reviews

Congratulations you have completed all of the steps successfully
    have no surprises

    . nothing should really be a surprise
    . 95% of our problems are predictable - arriving late to class etc
    . identify all the ‘pinch’ points - when and where lessons go wrong
    . then have strategies in place to minimise
    . identify key students that can disrupt and have strategies ready to deal with them
    for effective behaviour management

    . students thrive on routine and not inconsistent approaches to learning
    . routines lead to consistent expectations
    . have your routines that work for each individual class
    . routines are yours, that best suit your classroom
    accessible and appropriate

    . effective resources are a necessary starting point
    . resources should be accessible and applicable
    . differentiate to allow access to all
    . work with colleagues to develop appropriate resources
    be ready, be flexible

    . effective teaching & behavioural strategies are essential
    . research & observe strategies if you feel you need different approaches
    . what happens if - what is the back-up plan
    . speak with colleagues who teach the same students
    be self-critical to improve

    . self-review is essential if improvements are to be made
    . honesty is paramount, blaming others (students) is not going to solve the problem
    . reflect on each lesson and adapt for next time where necessary
    . peer review with someone you trust and respect can be very valuable, if you are open minded and willing to take on board the observations & new ideas
    . student reviews can often provide real insight into your teaching and their learning - try it

    Try these strategies for …..

    The evidence is in and we know ……..

    Features of good teaching:
    . clear objectives
    . careful planning - building on previous learning
    . variety of activities
    . a good pace
    . engaging materials
    . good questioning
    Features of good teachers:
    . setting of clear limits and expectations
    . directed work
    . enthusiastic
    . good sense of humour
    . good use of praise and rewards

    Schools that improved performance:
    . focused on whole school teaching and learning
    . used formative assessment

    . used different learning styles

    . had structured teaching approaches

    . evidence that boys can be re-engaged through an alternative, vocational curriculum
    . boys respond well to work-based learning
    (not something we can do as individuals, but we can still influence by implementation in the classroom and at the department level)

    Students may have different learning style but:
    . motivation enhanced when working on computers
    . respond well to variety
    . respond well to real life situations
    . enjoy

    Poor language skills results in underachievement:
    . strategies needed to support reading and writing
    . check out good practice in other subjects
    . select reading texts that appeal (ask the students)

    Tracking and supporting pupil performance:
    . set targets to raise expectations
    . identify underperforming students and intervene early
    . boys like individual attention
    . boys respond to being monitored closely
    . effective support can be: tutor reviews; learning support; support period; lunchtime; revision classes

    Behaviour management

    Helpful strategies for that challenging class

    Effective strategies

    Plan your routines
    Very rarely are we faced with a new problem or circumstance.
    Therefore, we can have our strategies ready and waiting.
    Everything should be about routines, habits and consistency.
    This eliminates all the " I did not know …" interruptions and arguments.

    The routines and habits are yours
    No negotiated rules of the classroom - it's your classroom, you know what works best not the students. Explain your rules, yes.
    Each classroom is different, science compared to history or English with PE, plus each teacher has a different personality and teaching style so you know what works best for your classroom and students.
    The life lesson is simple rules are imposed upon us, get use to it!

    Take responsibility
    It's important each teacher takes responsibility for the behaviour of the children in their classroom. Passing on behaviour issues to a higher authority undermines yourself and is a game the students love to play.
    It is not always easy, but hopefully some of these strategies will help.

    Effective strategies: classroom entry and exit

    Classroom entry
    Greet them at the door with a smile and a welcome, set the tone from the off - give them some attention, before they demand it in their own way!
    Line-up can work with larger groups, to get them in the right frame of mind before they enter the room. Expectations can be reinforced as they line-up and enter.

    Remind them what to do as they enter - sit in the same seat as last time, according to your seating plan and get their equipment out.

    Praise the students who enter the class correctly and are organised.

    " Well done for having the equipment
    today and being ready to start".

    Remind those without what your expectations are.
    Equipment check - lay out their pen, pencil, homework diary, book etc. Those without a pen etc are given one without any fuss.

    "Today I only gave out 2 pens, big improvement, next I am looking for everyone to have a pen".
    There should be few surprises, plan for all eventualities resources for schools
    All latecomers should now be in class before the main lesson begins.
    Have a late book they sign in or make a note of their late arrival in your lesson. (This can be used later to establish a pattern and avoid the argument about how many times the student was late!) Good for progress sheets.
    Deal with the incident at the end of the lesson - this avoids the lesson being disrupted & the student getting the attention.
    Expectation - a polite apology when arriving late, with full explanation at the end of the lesson.
    A detention can be given - 5 mins is enough to make the point.
    Latecomers can destory the lesson before it has really began.
    Praise for effort & hard work, because it encourages traits that will improve performance.

    Praising students on their ability encourages students to think intelligence is fixed and cannot be improved upon.

    When they are leaving the room at the end of the lesson, you can be at the door praising them individually. eg ‘excellent questions today’, Lisa’, ‘neat work Abdullah’, ‘thank you for helping Emily’,
    ‘good concentration on the computer’ etc.

    Try to be very specific with praise for it to be motivating.
    General praise is less effective.
    e.g.. Well done Mohammed, you asked some really good questions, rather than good lesson Mohammed

    Water cooler
    Sounds trivial, but often a visit to the water cooler includes a punch or a comment to a couple of students on the way and before you know it the lesson is disrupted as students argue with each other etc.
    What is your strategy ...
    Only get a drink as they enter?
    Ask (hand-up) before they get a drink?
    Is water allowed at certain times during a lesson?

    Effective behaviour strategies in the classroom

    Questions and hands-up
    What is your routine for asking or answering questions?
    Are you consistent in your approach?
    With small groups you can often get away with allowing boys to shout out, but sometimes this can get out of hand …….. so establish a routine and stick to it.
    Encourage hands up with "Excellent Marc hand-up and waiting quietly",
    "Thank you Stacey, for waiting with your hand-up so patiently".
    It may sound babyish - but it reinforces the positive and gives attention to the right people.
    An outstanding lesson:
    “All students are involved …. all students contribute”
    . Hands down approach:
    . teacher will ask & differentiate
    - closed questions for less able
    - open questions for more able
    . Build on answers to get fuller answers

    "You may be surprised how passionate and dedicated some of your students are about their hobbies and interests."
    resources for schools
    Praise, praise and more praise - for how they do their work
    Give attention to any behaviour and it is likely to occur more frequently.
    So praise should become part of our routines
    Difficult when we are surrounded by poor behaviour …. yes it can seem like it. Therefore we have to be more explicit with our praise and rewards.

    Think 5 year old e.g. "Excellent Alison, sat down and ready to start …."
    " Mohammed has done his homework and I can see he has tried really hard with it, well done."
    Doesn't have to be over the top or a reward for everything. Often a thank you - a recognition of what they have done - is enough.

    What is your policy for rewards? A reward system can quickly become counter productive if students see their distribution as being unfair. So be consistent., but not to the point of them expecting them for a certain action though. Unexpected rewards can be the most motivating, so the students never quite know when they are going to be rewarded. e.g. excellent question, homework etc
    Be interested …
    Create a class identity …. to create a class ethos of positivity etc
    Show interest in the group as a whole and the individuals in it - yes they like to go off-topic to waste time sometimes - but they like to share their interests and successes out of school with you.
    Many of our students pursue outside interests with a passion and commitment they often don’t display, in school and they want to share that with you.
    Feign interest - but ask them about their interests in class but also at other times - on duty, it can help build a positive relationship that can contribute to a healthy respect in the classroom teaching.
    Sales team
    Why would a 15 year old, necessarily, have any great interest in algebra
    WW2 or plants? So sell it to them - have some passion.
    If you show little interest, what do you expect in return?
    Sales - you are the sales person for your subject and topic.
    Have enthusiasm for what you are doing - explain its relevance.
    Challenge them to get them thinking …..

    "One teacher had a list of ‘ideals’.
    . One by one she worked through the list
    (some things took several weeks to work, others more quickly)
    . over a period of months the ‘ideals’ were implemented and the overall effect was beyond what she initially imagined could happen
    . the ‘one by one’ approach worked for her, with a focus on one thing it was not too stressful and improvements made without the students even noticing sometimes."


    resources for schools

    Ideal classroom
    We can aspire - have you thought about what your ideal classroom and lesson would look like?
    Are there aspects of other classrooms or lessons that you would love to incorporate into yours?

    The ideal is not going to be achieved instantly - but without knowing exactly what you want in the first place, it will never happen.

    Plan it and then think about how it can be achieved, perhaps through small improvements at a time. Experiment with your better classes to see what can be done.
    Use your expertise and those of your colleagues to change and move towards the ‘ideal’.

    List your top crimes and have sanctions in place.
    The training college adage is as true now as it ever was.
    Carry out all your threats ….. so be careful what your threaten them with!
    Students regularly unsure whether they have detention because they threatened with it, but it was not acted upon.

    Your expectations should be known - hands-up, reading in silence etc

    Half of our lessons, end at break, lunchtime or the end of the day, so detentions are easy at this time, therefore give more in lessons 2, 4 & 6 !

    Detentions are punitive punishments - you can keep them short, to make your point - let them have their break or lunch food.
    They value their time and don’t like to be kept behind, it also sends a messages, to the rest of the class.
    If they have to come back for a lunchtime or after school detention - collect them if possible. It's very visible to other students that you mean business and you save the hassle of a no show and upping the detention as a result.

    Explain why they are in detention - keep it short and to the point, make sure they know what the problem was - avoid lecturing them and remind the student of your expectations.

    Try to end on a positive note - you are punishing the act - do not make it personal.
    Avoid classroom confrontation, speak to the boy outside or after the lesson

    Keep the focus on your expectations and how he failed to meet them, and what he has to do next lesson.

    Leaving your room in an orderly way, helps everyone - the corridor may be more orderly and the arrival at the next lesson may be less chaotic….

    "Reinforce your expectations at every opportunity, be firm & consistent."


    resources for schools

    Individual attention and close monitoring increases work-rate
    . on our feet, circulate, give meaningful specific praise
    . have mini plenaries through the lesson - e.g. after a spell of written work
    . ask questions - 'hands-down' - give thinking time after asking the question
    . give checklists of things to include - write them in their book
    It's all about learning & succeeding
    . give clear lesson objectives and revisit it often: knowledge, skills and behaviour
    . consistent expectations
    . explicit success criteria for everything they do
    . teach them to self-check
    . everything we do is about learning
    Help them organise and plan revision
    . reduce the amount to do by 'chunking' down
    . mini tests based on their chunks
    . link class work to the exam
    . reinforce exam questions; describe, explain, evaluate etc.

    Internet research
    . many struggle with this and will need guidance
    . help them organise - create topic folders & bookmark sites
    . encourage them to check for readability
    . print useful pages
    . highlight text that is useful
    Help them organise and plan revision
    . reduce the amount to do by 'chunking' down
    . mini tests based on their chunks
    . link class work to the exam
    . reinforce exam questions; describe, explain, evaluate etc
    "Be about the classroom, give individual attention & praise."


    resources for schools
    Peer group pressure
    . specific praise for 'doing the right thing'
    . make them feel good about themselves through academic work
    . influence the influential - deliberately build relationships here

    Language and literacy

    Tips and tricks

    Developing language and literacy skills can be the key to raising achievement

    Teaching strategies to improve improving literacy and language skills, both in your classroom and school wide.
    OFSTED provide a number of case studies where significant improvements have been made in improving literacy and language in schools, some of which are included here.
    As ever whole school approaches have the best and longest lasting effects, but you in your own classroom can have a very positive effect too.
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    "The students don't care, so why should I?"
    Many don't care because they don't see a successful end in sight. Academic failure is all they have to look forward to. Step by step, lesson by lesson we can engage them, and give them strategies to help them succeed. This is not dumbing down - this is giving them strategies that will help them succeed.
    Why bother?
    One of the most common phrases to be heard is that the boys cannot read and understand the exam question.

    For that reason alone we should all be bothered. Exam performance is being restricted by their poor literacy skills. Most of the boys have reasonable oral skills but comparatively poor written skills.

    The OFSTED report (April 2013) lays much emphasis on the need for a school to have "outstanding policies and practices in promoting literacy across the curriculum" (page 8).
    Whether such policies exist doesn't lessen the fact that, all subjects make literacy demands on the students.
    Therefore, we all benefit from developing strategies to support the student which will then support other individual teachers and departments.

    Furthermore as individual teachers we benefit: (page9)

    . pupils need vocabulary to cope with the demands of the subject
    . writing helps clarify thoughts
    . better literacy improves (academic) self-esteem, motivation and behaviour
    . confident students are better independent learners
    . better literacy
    raises student attainment in all subjects
    Vocabulary needs to become part of the routine, when listening, speaking and writing.

    Develop your strategies that work best for in your classroom and subject.

    What words and phrases do they need in the exams - use them all the time
    e.g. describe, explain, compare, discuss etc. Use them in written and discussion work

    Use them when speaking as well as when writing
    "We are having a discussion about ……."
    "Let's compare ……"
    "Can you describe ……."
    "Please explain …."
    "What is the function of this pen ……"
    Why us?
    We are not the English Dept.
    Every student in every exam has to write in English.
    Mastery of the language to understand the question or write an answer is needed.
    Every teacher needs strategies to help the boys develop their language and literacy skills in their subject.
    We all benefit from improving student literacy, especially the students, therefore we should all take responsibility resources for schools

    Language and literacy: case studies

    Case Study: Woolwich Polytechnic for Boys, London
    School: 1,800 boys - lower than average attainment, English a second language for many students.

    Strategies that worked…..

    For speaking & listening:
    . plan 'talk' into all lessons - give everyone an opportunity and use 'talk' frames to help with use the correct language and phrases.
    e.g. sentence starters "The aim of this …" "The result of …."
    . give pupils time to think through their answers before they speak
    e.g. ask a question and then say "No hands up for 10 seconds"
    . plan the introduction of new vocabulary and then use it to reinforce it
    . have visual clues in the classroom - objects, posters etc.

    For writing:
    . provide a structure the boys can use in their planning
    . start with discussion and build up a 'word bank' of the key words
    . model the writing to show how it is done and reaches the lesson objectives
    . allow them to write in their own language first before trying in English
    Case Study: Kirk Hallam Community, Technology and Sports College, Derbyshire
    Aim: to encourage more students to read

    Strategies that worked…..

    For reading:
    . departments created opportunities to read covering their topics
    using ‘reading time’ in class
    . library and other departments ran competitions throughout the year for
    reading related activities
    . library bought football related resources to encourage boys to read - non
    fiction and fiction books, magazines, newspapers, poetry etc
    "Reading, speaking and listening doesn't just happen, teachers have to create opportunities for these things to happen."

    Case Study: Springfield School, Portsmouth
    Aim: improve literacy across the curriculum

    Examples of extended writing ……

    . ICT: an evaluation of a Year 9 website and how it might be developed . PE: writing of a newspaper article on the pros and cons of hosting a major sporting event, to be published in a national tabloid or broadsheet newspaper . Geography: research into a named country, leading to a written explanation of the effects of physical geography (mountains, weather, oceans...) on the lives of the people there . Design and technology (graphics): developing an understanding of and writing about the environmental impact of a plastic bottle .  History: an essay on the question, ‘How did Hitler achieve and keep power?’
    The History Dept. had always done extended writing but found that many students with level 5 English underachieved in their essay writing. As part of the literacy project, the department started asking more open ended questions, moral questions which engaged the students and with the opportunity to redraft led to improved exam answers.

    Open ended questions proved benefical across other subjects too. Getting students to offer judgements led to greater involvement and more detailed responses.

    Sharing expertise: naturally some teachers were more experienced and skilled than others in developing student writing. Observations were encouraged, training days used to cascade information and strategies.

    Whole school: actively supported by the head and senior leadership team, whole school literacy events led to some exciting writing activities; literacy intervention identified students in need of extra support be it for vocabulary, sentence structure etc.

    Displays: work is routinely displayed by all departments, with an emphasis on real-life writing e.g. sports matches and school events
    "The case studies illustrate there is no quick fix with literacy but that clear aims, strong commitment and a sense of urgency produce positive results."

    resources for schools
    There is lots of data available regarding reading and comprehension levels.
    Have this information in your register/mark book.
    Perhaps group them as:

    red - well below chronological age

    orange - within a year or two of chronological age

    green - over a year above chronological age

    What works - based on the Ofsted case studies

    . Understanding the language need
    what language do the students need to succeed?

    . No quick fix
    thinking literacy at every step of the planning

    . Literacy for every subject
    understand that everyone is working for the same aim, that what they do benefits your teaching and your work will help others - students literacy will improve

    . Plan for literacy
    plan to develop pupil's reading, writing, speaking & listening
    perhaps identify keys areas; extended writing: key words; spelling etc
    work with your department to embed this in schemes of work

    . Use the library
    work with the librarian - seek advice on texts etc

    . Monitor what you are doing
    how do you know if what you are doing is working?

    . Experiment
    try different things, look at some of the strategies here, try them adapt them etc
    ask colleagues what they do that works - we teach the same boys.

    . Draft and redraft
    give every opportunity for the boys to succeed. For many, success will take more than one attempt - time can be limited for redrafting, but some will redraft in their own time, if it means a better grade for the progress sheet

    . Vocabulary
    give key words for students to include in their writing

    . Getting started
    helping students to get started is a key to success
    sentence starters can give confidence to students of all abilities

    Language and literacy: second language learners

    Appropriate language for second language users

    The conundrum we face:
    getting second language users to understand us
    + improving and extending their language

    Effective teaching & learning
    . cannot take place if the boys can’t understand their teachers
    . students often get into trouble because they don’t understand

    Firstly: students need to understand what we say
    . speed of speech
    - we sometimes talk too fast for students to process the words
    . cliches
    - cliches are difficult for many boys to understand
    - are taken literally and misunderstandings can occur
    - they love cliches, but be sure to explain them ….
    . new words
    - introduce new words: ‘assessment’ with its meaning
    e.g. the exam or assessment you are doing today, is a type of test where you ..
    . terminology
    - introduce new terms, with explanations and with the use of similar terms/ words in the sentence
    . sarcasm
    - the boys are quite good with sarcasm, but beware you being taken too literally

    … the invigilator for the assessment has a duty to observe the candidates …
    probably five words the average student would not have known!

    really? try ….
    …. the teacher looking after the exam - the invigilator, will be looking around, observing, all the students or candidates ….
    … use the words to extend the vocabulary but give its meaning in the same sentence - but limit the new words you are introducing - five in one sentence is a bit excessive!
    All sounds very primary school - that's because it is !
    Academically most of our boys are operating at a primary level
    (4 or less)

    Most of our boys need these structured routines to build up their confidence.

    Numbering makes for easy referencing and enables the student to quickly
    find the correct place in a mass of text.
    With small groups, there is tendency to be a relaxed about listening & speaking exercises.
    Putting up the hand rule is often overlooked, but without a strictly adhered to routine a 'discussion' can quickly become a shouting match or worse an insulting competition.
    Routine creates a calm & orderly forum, in which everyone feels more comfortable in contributing.
    Lesson observations continually stress the language bombardment students get. This being the case routines and consistency using language in your classroom will help the students.
    Be creative, active learning is more engaging and is more likely to lead to greater understanding resources for schools
    Listening is a skill many students struggle with. They are use to things being repeated, so do not bother listening the first time.
    Learning in a second language can be challenging and stressfulin terms of speaking, reading and writing.
    Therefore, the students need routines and structures to gain confidence in these areas.
    Consistency breeds confidence, if the boys know exactly what is going to happen and what is expected, they are more likely to tackle it with enthusiasm, or at least be less disruptive.

    Example routines:

    Reading exercises

    Number the lines of text, 1, 2, 3, 4 etc
    Read text with a ruler underneath the line
    Read slowly and deliberately
    Focus on words you do know
    Look for clues in pictures and diagrams
    Highlight any words you don't understand

    Writing exercises
    Use only a black or blue pen
    Underline the date and title with a ruler
    Use alternate lines - so you can add the meaning of words or other notes or change things later
    Write the learning objective at the top of the paper

    Listening exercises
    Sit up and look at the person speaking
    Focus on the words and look for visual clues
    Do not interrupt the speaker
    Do not laugh if the speaker makes a mistake
    Raise our hand if we wish to speak and ask a question

    Speaking exercises
    Sit up or stand up
    Look at the audience
    Speak slowly and clearly
    Try to stress the key words or key phrases

    Language and literacy: correct terminology

    Use key terminology from Year 7 onwards …..

    Many complain that the students cannot understand exam questions.
    This is true for many, largely because exam terminology is thrown at them late -
    so let’s use exam terminology from Year 7 onwards.

    Introduce exam terminology inYear 7 - make it part of your weekly routines, either in written and oral form. Responses in Year 7 is not necessarily going to be at GCSE level,
    but making them familiar with key terms will help them develop their responses over the Years 7-9.

    Practise using those words - in writing & orally

    Display key exam words in the classroom - refer to them constantly in your teaching

    Ask boys to:

    Describe things - each other, themselves, the lathe, the computer, the chair etc

    Explain why - we use a lathe, a chair etc

    List - according to height, colour, danger, useful etc

    Cause - why did the student arrive late? Why is the lathe dangerous?

    Consequences - what happens if …..
    Identify key exam terminology




    Key features








    Work out






    Keywords in speech: important that students use the words & show they understand what they mean through speech rather than just in written form.
    There are lots of strategies to encourage students to use the right terminology, speaking it will help
    Describe the word …. one student describes the word another guesses the word being described

    Who I am? … everyone is a famous person or event and by asking questions guesses who he is. Answers can only be yes or no or don't know
    What's the question? … give everyone a keyword - an answer - on a A5/A4 piece of card. Each person holds up their 'answer' and the others in the class have to ask a question, for which the keyword is the answer.
    Word association… start the word association game with a keyword: SHAPE, the others then have to follow with a connected word - SQUARE and so on. Can supplement with a question of how is the word connected or associated with the previous word.
    Cards with key words/pictures
    (use computer with a grid of numbered pictures or words)

    Choose two - connect them

    Choose three - connect them

    Choose four - connect them
    (differentiate number of connections by ability)
    Odd one out

    List of key words/numbers

    Choose the odd one out and explain why

    ( differentiate - long list for more able, shorter for less able)
    What is the question?

    Give the answer,
    but what is the question?

    ( differentiate - easier answers)

    Create their own collage of pictures, overlaying key words.

    Create a collage after they have been given a list of key words
    Big picture

    Create a ‘big picture’, instead of writing draw a picture and annotate with the key words.

    Drawing to include specific things

    Create a storyboard, using pictures (their own or from the internet) and key words underneath

    Storyboard can form the basis for extended writing

    Picture flashcards

    Give pictures of the topic you are studying

    1. Ask questions of the picture (teacher, in pairs etc)

    2. List words associated with each picture

    3. Teacher say key words and students hold up picture linked to the word

    4. Students hold up a picture & students give words linked to picture
    What type of writing?

    Exam style questions: is it a description, persuasive writing or an explanation?

    Language and literacy: writing

    . where possible use ideas/topics that students are interested in

    . walk around as students are writing, offer encouragement, suggestions, advice etc
    Don’t always grade
    . avoid grading - grades often distract from your comments
    . use only comments including targets for a redraft
    . individual/pairs/groups:
    ideas . key words . sentence starters .

    . break up extended writing, which can be daunting, into ‘chunks’
    . chunks are less intimidating
    . let students record their ideas and thoughts and then playback and write them up
    . talk to a friend and let them write it down and vice versa
    . use pictures/images etc to stimulate ideas and generate key words
    . get students to sketch ideas, then get them to write
    . allow them to include art in their writing
    . find subject appropriate reading material
    . use the reading to get ideas, words etc.
    Part of something
    . use writing as part of something else - for example, a debate


    Tips and tricks

    No magic wands, but step-by-step student motivation can be improved ….

    Resources obviously go hand in hand with teaching & behavioural strategies

    Let’s state the obvious:

    Good resources that are accessible and applicable can be motivating for students

    Equally, resources that aren’t accessible or applicable can be very demotivating

    If a student finds the work too difficult, or too easy, it can lead to behavioural issues

    Most ‘off the shelf’ resources are unlikely to be accessible and/or applicable to our students

    Remember your lesson is one of six in the day - the cumulative effect of inaccessible lessons can be demoralising

    Motivation: accessibility and applicability


    . most GCSE text books have reading/comprehensive ages of 15/16 years
    . text books are designed for first language users - tend to be very prose based
    . our students therefore have difficultly accessing these resources

    And that is just the beginning ….
    . layout of resources can be overcrowded and confusing
    . large amounts of prose can be off-putting
    . finding information can be difficult
    . terminology in books often goes unexplained
    . books can show cultural and gender bias & not reflect experiences of your students
    . space for writing can be small for many students, especially younger ones, whose writing is quite large



    . where possible do your resources include applicable content?
    . applicable content can be varied to spike interest - perhaps something topical in the news, local community, school etc
    . references to things that interest the boys will help motivate and gain
    their interest
    . do you draw upon examples in your subject that are of interest to your students - there
    are hundreds to choose covering all subjects …..

    Research books:
    Hi-Lo - teenage content
    for students with low reading ages
    Accessible + Applicable

    Motivation: differentiation



    .Giving everyone an opportunity to succeed
    . Finding the path to enable each student to succeed

    . All students can learn, in their own time and in their own way

    . Identifying and addressing the different needs, interests and abilities of all learners to give them the best possible chance of achieving their learning goals.

    Avoid activities that limit outcomes - structure activities to allow maximum success for weaker students.

    ‘Weaker’ students often want the opportunity to produce extended pieces of writing, they just need help to achieve this. For example, closed procedure is not very motivational for many students - it can lack a sense of accomplishment.

    ‘Weaker’ students can produce extended pieces of writing with support, for example:
    . ideas (writing frames) . key words to include . sentence starters . connectives

    Use samples: students are asked to produce something that they are unfamiliar with so use samples
    .news reports . exam answers . interviews . fiction .non fiction
    Oral first
    Record the student’s work - then let him play it back and write it up as a first draft.
    Differentiated support

    Give list of phrases, words, sentence starters, connectives etc to the students

    Differentiate accordingly - levels of words and phrases + number of words and phrases

    Have a bank of these for extended writing topics - all differentiated

    Phrases you can include:

    Words you
    must include:

    Words you
    can include:

    Sentence starters

    Motivation: questioning

    Questioning can be very engaging and motivating

    Oral work can be more rewarding than written work for many of our boys
    Answering open ended questions improves their language skills
    Evidence from pupil trails suggest that some students rarely get to speak

    Developing open-ended questioning is a skill we can all improve upon
    Open-ended questions ….. reasons and evidence

    1. Why do you think that …?
    2. What are your reasons for saying that …?
    3. What is your evidence for that … ?
    4. Can you give an example of …?

    - questioning can be done on a ‘one-to-one’ basis.
    Perhaps when the other students are working quietly.
    Open ended questions ….. clarify

    1. What do you mean by that …?
    2. Can you explain that in more detail …?
    3. How does that help …?
    4. Can you give an example of …?

    - helping the student to clarify his own thoughts can be very useful

    Open ended questions ….. other views

    1. Why would some people disagree with that …?
    2. What is the opposing argument to that …?
    3. What are the two sides to the argument … ?
    4. What would make you change your mind …?

    - make posters and displays with key open ended questions for your subject
    Make posters and displays with key open ended questions for your subject

    Tell them what you expect for an answer - a word, a sentence, a viewpoint etc

    Oral work can give confidence and help students to formulate ideas prior to written work
    Open ended questions ….. consequences

    1. What will happen if you do … ?
    2. What are the consequences of ….?
    3. From what you have said, what will happen next … ?

    Motivation: questioning & listening

    Listening - strategies

    Listening is not a developed skill among many young people

    Remember they are listening to understand ….. they need their ears and brain engaged
    Talk less ….. listen more

    1. Talk less
    2. Break up your talking time into shorter periods
    3. Talk using language they understand - use different words with the same meaning

    - different types of listening
    . to audio
    . to others talking
    . listen and watch via the screen

    Listening games

    1. Play listening games …..
    2. “Simon says “………….
    3. “Pack my bag” ……………
    4. ’Share a story” …………….

    Listening ….. reflecting back

    1. Get students to reflect back what others have said
    2. Get students to reflect back to each other
    3. Think, pair, share

    “ Listen carefully to Robert’s answer because I am going to ask two of you to explain what he said in your own words”
    Listening …… and questioning

    1. Test students listening with rapid fire questions
    2. Give them quick written tests on what you have said
    3. Encourage students to summarise - pick out the main points - not remember every single word

    “You have 10 seconds to repeat what Mohammed just said”

    Motivation: questioning & listening

    The assessment for learning equation

    Share your learning goals with the students - what is expected of them


    Help pupils to know and understand what is expected of them


    Provide feedback - enabling the pupils to improve - showing them how


    confidence that they can improve


    more motivated pupils

    . Teacher + student reflect & review = self assessment .

    Learning objectives
    . explain what the objectives are for the lesson
    e.g. WALT we are learning to
    . refer to these during the lesson
    . return to them at the end of the lesson

    Exam levels
    . make students familiar with levels for exam questions
    . note what they need to do to reach the next level
    Traffic lights (thumbs up)
    . give everyone a red, yellow & green card
    . lay each card when you ask for understanding
    red - not understand; yellow - some; green understand
    thumbs-up; thumb sideways; thumb down

    . can be used when answering questions, to show how certain or not they are of the answer
    . give good examples
    . discuss what makes a good answer
    . several starters is helpful to give them confidence

    . Model student work where you can. Gives recognition to the students and shows it is attainable by students.
    Mark with comments
    . low marks can be demoralising (less likely to read the comment)
    . use comments on how they can improve - point by point
    . one to one feedback is particularly effective

    . Peer assessment is often cited as an effective but will not work with all students


    to improve teaching and learning

    What can be improved?
    . planning
    . types of activities
    . accessibility & applicability
    . assessment for learning
    . behaviour management


    Blame the students
    . don’t care
    . not motivated
    . couldn’t understand it
    . badly behaved


    Self review
    . be self critical
    . highlight what worked well
    . assess any changes that need to be made
    . action the necessary changes
    e.g. differentiate - more active activity

    Peer review
    - choose somebody who you respect & who will be honest with you -
    . self review plus peer review
    . assess what areas you agree and disagree upon
    . agree changes that need to be made
    e.g. entry into the classroom
    assessment for learning (mark scheme)

    Nothing can done

    “It’s the students”
    . nothing will improve
    . relationship quickly deteriorate
    . more incident reports, detentions etc

    Or try something different?
    . one step at a time
    . self review or peer review
    . identify areas to improve
    . develop strategies


    What went wrong ….
    . students talking?
    . little work being done?
    . struggling to understand concepts?
    . boys on the phone?
    . boys late to class?
    . no homework?

    Whatever the problems are you will not be the first person
    to have encountered such problems.

    Strategies - work with others if necessary to develop strategies.

    Student reviews

    Formal or informal

    . questionnaires etc
    . written responses to a series of questions assessing teaching and learning

    . ask the students in class
    . speak to a few of the students (different ability etc)
    Student reviews are often feared by teachers. Sometimes students do not take them seriously, but generally their views provide a great insight into your teaching and their learning. Their honesty should be embraced and can lead to effective changes

    Sample questions

    1 2 3 4 5

    1.  Teacher is usually well-prepared for class.
    2.  Teacher what is expected of me in the lesson.
    3.  I understand the work I have to do.
    4.  I feel encouraged to participate in class and ask questions.
    5.  I know what I have to do to improve.
    6.  The writing assignments are clear to me; I know what the task is.

    7.  The teacher treats students with respect.
    8. The teacher encourages students to ask questions and give answers.
    9. The teacher explains material clearly.
    10. The teacher shows us important points to remember.
    11. The teacher shows genuine interest in students.
    12. The teacher provides helpful comments on papers and exams.
    13. The teacher is available after class.
    14. The teacher changes the pace of class to the students' level of understanding.
    15. The teacher makes the subject interesting.

    Making changes

    Identify problem areas
    . different ways to identify problem area: self-review, student review, video and observation

    . observation: choose someone you trust and respect to observe - try to get your observer to focus on an area or areas you have concerns with
    . review with observer and identify areas
    . develop strategies - on your own, or with others - speak with colleagues who you think have good strategies in this area

    Introduce strategies
    can be used ….. step by step (page 13), don’t try to do too much too quickly.
    Plan the introduction of new strategies - test them with one group first perhaps, modify as necessary.

    With an observer, self review etc, to assess the improvement.
    If with an observer, use the same one again or a new one, with the specific aim of assessing the new strategies

    Review with the students - get feedback on the changes made

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