Pictures 1,2 and 4 from the Bletchley visit.
The level of linked order and organisation was immense, enabling a flow through of information, derived from the incoming data, passed to others who had the skills to interpret, then to a team of translators, who, in turn, forwarded this to the appropriate person. The reverse then might happen, to forward a response to the originator, whose need was for a broader picture built up at the centre from multiple sources and the ensuing decisions about actions.
It is the teacher role to engage with these different interpretations, to moderate and modify misconceptions, which may only become apparent on the basis of some kind of outcome, oral, written or drawn, or physical interpretation.
While the operatives at Bletchley Park had their mechanical means of interpreting data such as this, the teacher has their eyes, ears and minds with which to spot needs and deal with them in timely fashion, so that interpretation of concern into more manageable language or chunks can enable the child to participate fully.
I keep saying that all good teaching is premised on the teacher knowledge of children, with the moderating factor of the children who make up their current class. There will be similarities between classes, but also sometimes big differences between even the same year-group. All decisions are premised upon these two aspects. This knowledge will impact on the plans for progress, the parameters of tasks set, the teacher-child interactions within the lesson, reflections and decisions based on outcomes, in and beyond the lesson. It is a multi-dimensional jigsaw, enacted in real time, with the potential to achieve consolidated learning or none. The teacher is the equivalent of the Bombe machine, multiple instantaneous calculations being effected in seconds, leading to action.
Teacher awareness of these multiple sources of information is key.
It is, for trainees, a significant area of concern, as they do/may not have a broad background against which to start making judgements, so they are trying to make sense of the transmission need, as a key element of practice, but then to be able to pick up the trails of information that are scattered around the classroom.
For the operatives at Bletchley and for teachers, action taken on the basis of assumptions could lead to catastrophe; for one the potential loss of many lives, for the other a failed or series of failed lessons, with children’s learning as the casualty.
Data is the bane of teachers’ lives. Unless this is interpreted accurately into useable information, interpreted into child speak, so that it can be enacted, it is useless. It was one of the reasons that Levels were devalued; because people forgot the words and stopped interpreting them appropriately. The messages to children became false.
Learn to tune in, interpret and speak fluent child-speak. Become a real Learning Spy!