Tag Archives: teaching for deep learning

Curriculum Development at Hallglen PS

IMG_2666On 19th April, Yvonne McBlain popped back to gather staff feedback on their curriculum development so far at Hallglen Primary School. 10 staff members were kind enough to give their time and views during this informal evaluation activity. You can read more about Hallglen’s curriculum development process here.

Staff described the following impact:

  1. Increased knowledge of the curriculum – specifically their ability to interpret the skills, knowledge and understanding built into the experiences and outcomes. This has helped them to build their curriculum more effectively, and enabled better planning.
  2. Although they didn’t realise it at the time, they were moderating their teaching and learning in various ways – through collegiate discussion, learning walks, and then joint planning with stage and level partners. This has helped integrate moderation and collegiality naturally, and contributed to a positive ethos and culture of sharing good practice and ongoing self-evaluation.
  3. Have a powerful understanding of progression – know which E & Os needed to be consistently progressed, and which ones could be done less often.
  4. Topics in school have changed radically and are much more relevant and responsive to pupil needs. Everyone in school has  an overview of which contexts are being used – not just for their own stage or level. This has enabled more powerful and effective transition between stages, and teachers feel confident and clear about what they have to teach and why.There is greater consistency across the school – they have a shared language, u nderstanding and vision for their curriculum
  5. Learning walks, peer moderation and observation visits are all more purposeful and help staff evaluate their progress together.
  6. Next steps in curriculum development are therefore clearer to all, but staff are looking forward to their formal, whole school collegiate evaluation of the changes made this session.
  7. There is the facility to offer pupils flexible and responsive progression pathways across the curriculum

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One of the new developments staff have worked on this session, is pupil understanding of the curriculum. This was felt to be a valuable way to increase attainment and pupil participation, and teachers developed specific learning experiences for their classes. Staff can see ways in which these lessons can be made more meaningful and appropriate to age and stage, and further development of these lessons will be done, but already the following impact has been observed:

  1. Children can have a genuine input into planning their learning.
  2. They now quite naturally reflect upon and evaluate their learning in action during a project as well as at the end.
  3. Pupils have the vocabulary and language to comment effectively on their learning.
  4. The curriculum lessons have “made the penny  drop” for a number of pupils – they can better understand the purpose and structure of the learning they need.
  5. Pupils have a better appreciation of what learning is and what they need to do to help themselves learn.
  6. They are now getting to know their curriculum and can see and comment on links across the curriculum. (Staff are therefore tackling the very challenging job of developing pupil understanding of interdisciplinary learning.)
  7. Pupils have the confidence to make respectful suggestions about how the teaching they receive could better meet their needs.
  8. They are better motivated and engaged by their learning.
  9. They think more deeply about their learning and can talk about it fluently.

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The need for a pupil curriculum understanding lesson was discussed at the last inset day and staff agreed to teach their lessons at the same time in the session. A general lesson was provided which each staff member adapted for their class if they wanted to. Stacey Walker, Kara-Anne Kelly and Louise McGlynn all talked enthusiastically about what they did, why they did it, and what the outcomes were. Stacey,  Kara-Ann and Laura Hurren then gathered the photos of work and displays shared in this post. Click here to listen to their description of this work. Yvonne would like to thank everyone involved for their time, especially Stacey, Kara-Anne and Laura for taking the time to record these files.

Falkirk Teaching for Deep Learning – A new cohort of facilitators

On 29th October Yvonne McBlain led the second training meeting for our newest cohort of Falkirk Teaching for Deep Learning programme facilitators. There are 20 facilitators from 13 schools – 11 primary establishments and 2 secondary.

All of these teachers have chosen to make their development of the facilitator role part of their professional learning for the next two sessions.  Most of them are choosing to challenge themselves by taking on a distributed leadership role for their school colleagues. Some are helping build their whole school community and supporting their school improvement plan by using the programme as collaborative whole staff development.

After training session 1, the facilitators used the TfDL Glow group (click to visit) and their private facilitator group to complete follow up tasks. One of these was to say which TfDL session they would like to get to know/experience first. The majority decision was session 9 – Teaching for Deep Learning in an Active and Engaging Way. Click here to view the power point presentation for this session, and here to see hand out 1.

Yvonne was excited to hear how the facilitators are already using the programme with colleagues. They are enthusiastically applying their knowledge and experience  to support colleagues with their ongoing quest to improve classroom practice. Our vision is to move Falkirk schools from good to great!

Falkirk Teaching for Deep Learning Facilitators

On 9th October members of the initial cohort of facilitators for the Falkirk Teaching for Deep Learning programme had their first network meeting for  session 2014/15. The main agenda item for this meeting was a general catch up on how each facilitator was using the programme to facilitate professional learning for colleagues.

The whole Falkirk Teaching for Deep Learning programme is available in Glow (click to visit) and is being used in a variety of ways by teachers and schools across the authority to impact on teaching and learning. Here is a brief outline of what the facilitators are doing now that their initial training is complete.

  • As a result of using session 6 Using Higher Order Taxonomies as part of Teaching for Deep Learning (click to view power point) Iain Farrington and colleagues at Antonine PS have developed this (click to view) High Order Skills poster for their classrooms. Staff will use the chart to help them explicitly plan HOS for one curriculum area per term. Their eventual aim is for pupils to be able to identify the higher order skills they are developing and applying. Iain’s TLC is a voluntary one which he and colleagues choose to attend.
  • Sharon Welsby at Stenhousemuir PS also facilitated session 6 for colleagues and will deliver session 7 Planning Higher Order Skills into Teaching for Deep Learning (click to view) next. Teachers at Stenhousemuir are trialling and sharing how they are building HOS into their practice and are also aiming to build pupil awareness and understanding of which skills they are using when.
  • Charlaine Simpson is very interested in session 3 – Effective Questioning as part of Teaching for Deep Learning. A new Learning and Teaching policy for Grangemouth HS has been launched which gives opportunities to integrate many elements of the TfDL programme.
  • Kim Davidson and colleagues at Bo’ness Public PS particularly enjoyed session 6 in early October and have used all of their sessions so far to engage in really valuable professional dialogue. Kim is skillfully adapting the session materials to tailor them for her TLC and feedback from her colleagues is very positive.
  • Susan Macleod at Bankier PS also had very positive feedback from colleagues following her facilitation of sessions last year. She and colleagues want to take more time over fewer sessions from the programme this year in order to delve deeper into specific areas of classroom practice. Their chosen sessions are built into their SBNC and linked to the school improvement plan.
  • Fiona Caygill facilitated 2 sessions in Bowhouse/Victoria PS last year and will also be using session 6 this year to support development of classroom practice around HOS.
  • Pamela Webster intends to work with her colleague Rosemary McGaw to offer voluntary TLC sessions (1 per term over this session) using the programme. They will consult colleagues in Larbert Village PS about which sessions from the programme would be the most valuable.

Yvonne McBlain is the curriculum support officer with accountability for the ongoing development of the programme. She will add further posts sharing detail and evidence of impact of the programme, and the next facilitator network meeting will take place on 5th February 2015.

Developing pupil understanding of the curriculum

Yvonne McBlain, from Falkirk Education Service Support and Improvement team has been exploring pupil understanding of the curriculum with colleagues in St Bernadette’s RC PS and Bankier PS. Click here to see the Bankier version of the learning experience shared with pupils on 13th June 2014, and here to see Yvonne’s analysis of the impact gained.

Maria McNally and her primary 6/7 pupils were the first to trial this experience earlier this session – click here to read Yvonne’s evaluation of these. Pupils were able to explain things they understood, and how they had come to understand these things. They were offered an opportunity to explore how they reached this understanding so that they could apply successful approaches for new learning too.

 The whole set of experiences is designed to:

  1. Help pupils learn the difference between knowing about something, and really understanding it.
  2. Let pupils discover how they reach deep understanding – what works for them (based on David Perkins & Harvard/Tapestry Teaching for Understanding programme)
  3. Help pupils review their own understanding so far and how it helps them build a good life
  4. Ensure that pupils know what the curriculum is and how curriculum for excellence and the four capacities relate to their lives present and future (helps with pupil profiling too)
  5. Help pupils see how they apply their understanding in different contexts
  6. Enable pupils to see the natural connections and overlaps between curriculum subject areas
  7. Let pupils see how their school learning articulates with wider achievement
  8. Develop pupils as independent learners

Yvonne will continue to trial and develop this set of learning experiences to complement the methods other Falkirk schools are using to enable their pupils to build independent learning capabilities. Click here to see some pupil understanding charts made during the lessons, and see how pupils connected their understanding across curriculum subjects below. Yvonne would be happy to hear from any teachers wanting to be involved in exploring this further. yvonne.mcblain@falkirk.gov.uk

Primary Probationer Teachers Get to Know the Teaching for Deep Learning Programme

Yvonne McBlain and Sharon Wallace of Falkirk Curriculum Support Team recently introduced the primary probationer teachers to the Falkirk Teaching for Deep Learning Programme. During this introduction, participants experienced programme session 1 “What is Understanding”. This session explores the concept of understanding and has been used by a number of teacher learning communities in Falkirk schools. Here are some of the definitions of understanding created by the probationer teachers:

Understanding is applying and transfering knowledge flexibly as well as being able to teach others.

Understanding is achieved through repetition (perhaps in different contexts).

Understanding is transferring  the skill and  knowledge to another context. Embedding the skill through revisiting.

– apply and transfer knowledge to other areas of the curriculum

– be able to explain to others

Click here to access Session 1 through Glow, and here to see the power point presentation from Sharon and Yvonne’s session with probationer teachers.

Update on our Teaching for Deep Learning Programme

Yvonne McBlain from Falkirk’s Curriculum Support team has now created a page for each of our Teaching for Deep Learning sessions here in Glow. Five of our secondary schools have used, or are beginning to use these sessions as content for their Teacher Learning Communities and working groups. Nineteen of our primary schools have already accessed at least one of the sessions – sometimes as a whole staff, and other times within smaller collegiate groups. We have 18 TfDL (Teaching for Deep Learning) facilitators who are being trained to deliver the sessions – some want to do this in their own schools only, whereas others are happy to make themselves available across the authority where needed. Four of our secondary schools are modelling a whole range of Donaldson Review recommendations regarding professional learning in their use of the programme. Most have recruited teachers interested in becoming facilitators within their schools, who then attend an information session (Click to view) on the programme from Yvonne. Each school is then deciding how they can enable staff to identify which sessions should be priorities for their professional learning this session. Once these decisions are made, teacher learning communities interested in the same sessions can be formed. The same model of distributed leadership (facilitators) and professional autonomy through self-evaluation is being taken forward by some of our primary schools “in house” too. Feedback from participants of  sessions so far confirms the value of the programme as one of the ways in which we can move Falkirk schools from Good to Great.

Tapestry Masterclass – Making Thinking Visible

Yvonne McBlain was joined by a range of colleagues from Falkirk Education Service at the Tapestry Masterclass : Making Thinking Visible on 16th May. Mark Church was one of the main speakers – he is part of Project Zero at Harvard University. He suggested that schools should be learning cultures for adults, just as classrooms are for children. He posed a range of questions such as: Why does classroom and school culture matter to the learning that happens in this place? Click here to read an extract from “Making Thinking Visible : How to Promote Engagement, Understanding, and Independence for All Learners” by Mark Church, Ron Ritchhart & Karin Morrison, 2011. Chris McIlroy then delivered a presentation entitled “Seeing what they mean” (click here to view his power point notes). Click here to view thinking routine resources produced by Visible Thinking of Harvard Project Zero. Unfortunately, Yvonne couldn’t stay to hear Anne Pearson, Graeme Logan and Frank Lennon in the afternoon but it would be great to hear  comments below from those who were there and can fill in the gaps.