Where am I as a teacher?

The irony of life is that it is lived forward but understood backward.” Soren Kierkegaard

It is true, we experiment, we guess, we hypothesize, but ultimately we learn through our mistakes, reflections and experiences. As teachers reflective practice is incredibly valuable but we must think about the future by asking ourselves ‘so what?’ in order to make best use of our reflections and attempt to ‘understand forward’ as much as is possible.

Following on from my cluster’s professional learning focus last year on visible learning and teaching in reading, I identified that I had elements of visible learning and teaching that were having a positive impact within my classroom but in order to achieve strong visible learning and teaching I had to re-think how I planned and delivered my lessons. Now, I attempt to focus more time on the thinking of ‘why’, ‘how’ and ‘what if’ during planning, teaching and learning rather than just delivering teaching and providing feedback. The feedback I get from pupils is more positive when lessons are delivered in this way as they find them more engaging and enjoyable and also feel a sense of accomplishment as they are aware of what they have learnt, why they have learnt it,  how well they have done and what they need to do in order to improve. With this deeper learning I observe that the pupils are able to apply this learning to other contexts and challenges and the language they use around this is more confident and succinct.

From further reflections after reading about the work of Hattie and Loughran I have identified 3 bits of learning to take forward –

  1. The time spent on visible learning and teaching is valuable and although I am constantly tempted to skip the discussion time in order to keep up with expectations of pace of work set by my school, I need to remember that the pace of work is not worth anything without visible learning and teaching, as the learning will end up being re-visited at another point.
  2. I am more confident with visible learning in literacy and social studies curricular areas and need to start applying this thinking to learning and teaching in numeracy and science. I plan to read work from ‘Jo Boaler’ to support this.
  3. I need to use the skills of the pupils in providing feedback to one another as the feedback will be useful in itself but the act of providing real, evidenced feedback will make learning more visible for the pupils.

6 Responses to “Where am I as a teacher?”

  • Hi Faye! I just realised tonight that I hadn’t followed you yet so apologies, this is the first post I’ve read. I really like how specific your self reflection is. It’s easy to understand where you’re at and what you’re going to be working on. Did your school or cluster work with Osiris to develop making learning visible? I ask because our school is considering it.

    In relation to your 3rd goal, how well do your pupils currently link their feedback to the learning intentions and success criteria? I like how you’ve said it has to be evidenced feedback…should keep them focused! Let me know how this works out for you.

    Laura 😊

    • Hi Laura,

      I’ve not used Osiris before but let me know how it goes for you.
      I try to use consistent language of success criteria and learning intentions within feedback to ensure pupils can make the link. I have P7 so this is easier for them to pick up and start using themselves.

  • In response to your learning to take forward, I completely agree that it can be difficult to keep the focus on the discussion and reflection at times when pace of learning within school or a stage can be nipping at your heels.

    I also agree that certain curricular areas become our strengths in planning for and delivering meaningful learning and teaching experiences. The school I am in just now has Numeracy for a focus this year. We’re looking at some of the Jo Boaler stuff too and it’s very useful. We’re using it alongside SEALs and East Lothian Frameworks to try and develop solid understanding of number right from the start consistently across the school. We’re also doing ‘Lesson Study’ where we plan, delver, observe and tweak in a cycle as a trio of staff to help us see how our learners learn. Let me know if you’d like any more information and I’ll link you to the theory/keep you posted on the progress!

  • I like your choice of picture, Faye! When you talk about the discussions, is this specifically talking about why something is being learned and how it went? Or can it cover more than that?

    • I try to link the discussion with as much relevant learning as possible. Linking to other learning in school, linking to skills for life and specific contexts. I like to use a cycle of ‘Where am I in my learning?’, ‘Where do I want to get to?’, ‘What do I need to help me get there?’ as a structure for discussion too.

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