It would appear to be almost a truism that teachers learn a great deal from talking with each other, especially as they have the chance to “chat” electronically, blog longer ideas and create a personal learning community. The Pedagoohampshire event also links with other broader communities, such as teacher5aday and Primary Rocks.
It’s always interesting to listen to others expand on their ideas, as little nuggets become crystalised, within a realisation that others think in similar ways. It’s the nuggets that form the kernel of thinking over the next period, when time allows.
My particular nugget arose from an informal discussion led by Hannah Wilson, aka @MissWilsey, talking about talent spotting and talent development. Within a discussion about line management, I proposed that a better mechanism for team development would be to see the line manager as a line developer; supporting others into the cultural dynamics, rather than being seen as pawns to be managed. This will rumble around for a while.
I was surprised at the audience for my own session, directly after lunch, in size and the quality of the participants, known from Twitter exchanges.
Mine was a relatively simple message, that good knowledge of your subject(s) and of children underpins many elements that have come to be seen as a part of teaching; planning, including differentiation and task development/embedded challenge, exposition (vocabulary and register choice) interactions and interventions, feedback, judgements (assessment), adaptations to need, tracking…
Good knowledge of your subject(s) and of children enables the teacher to move from what could be termed global practice to much more refined practice, with good learning relationships being evident, as learners are engaged personally in learning. It can be seen in the journey from trainee teacher to qualified teacher and beyond.
The teacher ability to spot need and deal with it in timely fashion is paramount. Holistic approaches, evident in PE teaching, include physical modelling complementing oral instruction, regular informal intervention, occasional interruption to refocus, with child models showing how they are doing, additional time for practice, evaluation of outcomes, often through peer critique. All these techniques are applicable in good classroom practice. It is the noticing and dealing with issues that makes the difference. These skills underpin standards 6 and 5.
Teacher judgement can sometimes appear to get a bad press, from bloggers as well as others. Each teacher has to enter the classroom on their own, be capable of operating within the context that each lesson creates and to deal with issues as they arise. They rely on their own judgement. This may be unrefined, as a result of lack of years of experience, but it is the best available in that context.
Discussion with others, moderation of outcomes, reflection on and evaluation of outcomes, misconceptions, in-lesson needs to adjust, all support the development of the reflective teachers that we need in every classroom. Becoming a good teacher is a process. Making sense of the process, tweaking bits to need as the need arises and being responsible for your own professional and subject knowledge development are likely to be evident in the developing teacher with promise, which is where we come back to Pedagoohampshire.
The buzz that was evident during the day, in the school, but also online through Twitter, which continued for the next 24 hours, was testament to the challenging nature of the event, all premised on sharing ideas and making teachers think on a Saturday.
On the evidence of last Saturday, the previous Saturday, which was ResearchEd in London, also attracting a huge attendance and Saturday 15th October, where TLT16 takes over Southampton University, I think it is clear that there is a very dedicated cadre of teachers who not only take the day job seriously, but are also willing to devote time, money and significant effort to attend conferences that help them to develop. In addition, there are groups of teachers prepared to spend considerable time, effort and some of their own money, to put on these events.
Martyn Reah, take a bow for a very well ordered and organised conference, more than ably supported by school and other colleagues and digital leaders; it was clearly a team effort, but then, everything good in education is a collegiate affair.
September 16th 2017 has been booked for the next Pedagoohampshire event and there has been a call for presenters. No moss is allowed to grow under feet. The 2016 attendees have been challenged by Vivienne Poritt to bring evidence of change over the course of the year. My attendance might be in doubt, as it will be my birthday and a significant one at that!
For those who’d like them, my Powerpoint slides are below.