This post is the third in a series of posts written by our Associate AHT for Pedagogy and Practice, Julie Ryder. You can read Teach Like a Champion: Part 1 – Introducing TLaC here and Part 2: Training the Trainers here.
I do not see the TLaC techniques as a teaching rule book or an instruction manual for creating a perfect teacher. What the techniques mean to me are an opportunity to reflect and work on fine tuning the teaching I already do. As a child and young adult over a period of 15 years I competed on my horse and was considered a confident and competent horsewoman, however I still chose to have lessons once a fortnight to fine tune and perfect my technique. This allowed me to focus my practice and work on specific areas to perfect my skills. This is how I see TLaC, those working in the PPD group are competent and confident teachers with a huge range of skills and experience who want to fine tune their practice to be even better. These are good teachers who want to be better, what more could I ask for.
During term 1 we looked at the following two techniques in depth however we also introduced “100%” and “Show Call.”
|Setting High Academic Expectations|
No Opt Out
|A sequence that begins with a student unwilling or unable to answer a question ends with that student giving the right answer as often as possible even if they only repeat it.|
|Engaging Students In Your Lessons|
|In order to make engaged participation the expectation, call on students regardless of whether they have raised their hands.|
I chose “No Opt Out” and “Cold Call” as they are suggested to have the biggest impact on the culture of expectations in the classroom above any other combination.
We met sometimes as a whole group and sometimes as two smaller groups depending on the focus or activity, sessions were held weekly during PPD time for one hour throughout the term. Role play, though difficult for some, has an important place in developing the techniques and making them your own.
|1||Introduction to TLAC, research behind the programme and outline of No Opt Out and Cold Call||Background to TLAC and video clips of techniques from Uncommon Schools.|
|2||To produce and practice a roll out speech for introduction of Cold Call to students.||I shared an example of a Roll Out speech and Cold Call practice by myself and a few colleagues. We then practiced our Roll Out in groups.|
|3||Practicing Cold Call using resources from the Train the Trainers workshop||We used the resources to work in groups to practice our responses to cold call with students during a questioning session.|
|4||No Opt Out practice using our own resources and offering feedback.||During these sessions we used a series of questions from our own subject areas. We prepared questions and answers for the rest of the group. In addition I produced “behaviour” cards for the class so that not only did we try the Cold Call technique but also had the opportunity to use No Opt Out and 100% as we went. The cards were handed out after shuffling for each round of Cold Call and though most were “model student” cards there were “I don’t know”, “hands up” , “chewing”, “shouting out” “not paying attention” etc. cards too. After each round we provided feedback:I liked it when………………………………Next time try ……………………………….|
|5||Group feedback on how things worked In the classroom.||Back together as a full group. A few of the group had the opportunity to share Cold Call with us all and we looked at some video resources from TLaC. We shared and discussed how the techniques had worked for us in the classroom.|
|6||To look at a few techniques that support pace, challenge and climate for learning. Improve our ability to determine when to give students a consequence or a correction in different classroom scenarios and look at how and why 100% is so important.||One of the trickiest aspects of managing a classroom is deciding when to give a consequence versus a correction. The question is tough because we must decide each scenario on a case-by-case basis and must do so swiftly, consistently, and repeatedly.The 100% strategy focuses on the need to eliminate as many distractions as possible. Studies show that multi-tasking actually doesn’t exist and isn’t even possible- rather the brain is constantly switching from activity to activity one at a time. This therefore suggests that students actually are unable to learn from a teacher while they are focused on something else no matter what it is.|
Review of impact
As the school PPD programme has now been running for a term, staff were asked to give a brief review of its impact on students and their own professional practice.
All staff involved responded positively to the TLaC sessions and suggested that they are using the Cold Call and No Opt Out techniques more in lessons with positive results. Wait time and 100% are also having an impact in lessons.
In what ways has your participation in the TLAC PPD programme had impact on your professional practice?
“TLAC has made a big difference to my questioning across the board. The role play aspects while “uncomfortable” make you realise what’s involved in the execution of the new techniques. I feel I am learning lots of tweaks to what I do and I think about how students are answering much more. No opt out has been a revelation – going back to the student to ask again has kept them on their toes!”
“I am continuing to trial these techniques with classes and use them to improve my questioning.”
“Cold Call has proved particularly useful.”
“It has taken me back to my early years of teaching and forced me to reflect on who and how to question in a positive, less threatening way.”
“Teach Like a Champion has made me think about the techniques I use to question and assess students. It has given me a greater range of ideas to use in lessons and the opportunity to see these in action.”
“I love the TLaC sessions and I am conscious that my classroom practice in questioning has improved as a result. I have enjoyed the sessions and also reading further in my own time. I am confident that the methods used so far have improved the climate and my use of questioning in classroom.”
“TLaC has given more structure to the beginning of lessons causing a reduction in the number of disruptions.”
“Participating in the PPD program (Teach Like a Champion) has meant I have got to know a wider range of staff, and I have appreciated the cross curricular comparison of the use of questioning. I have included pictures and prompts in my questioning, as demonstrated in Art and Technology which has made students who I found would be less inclined to answer a question, more likely to do so.”
“The Teach Like a Champion material has helped me hone some valuable skills in classroom management. It has improved my questioning technique and is improving behaviour in the classroom. I am less likely to enter into a debate with pupils about issues and simply stick to expectations and ‘what to do’ rather than dwelling on the negatives by telling them ‘what not to do’. ‘Doing it again’ has helped establish routines and improve resilience. Circulating during ‘Cold Call’ has helped establish universality. I try to adjust my wait time to allow greater thinking time for pupils and impact of the question. Being more economical with my language in setting tasks or expectations has had a positive impact. Being specific, concrete and sequential has reduced opportunities to misbehave and led to less exploitation of grey areas by pupils. I think I am improving the balance between correction and consequence and applying these at more appropriate times.”
Has being involved in the TLaC PPD had any impact on students?
“Yes, as seen in my lesson observations, I feel that this has had a positive impact on the students’ motivation and retention.”
“Yes – especially No Opt Out – they are all now more engaged throughout a questioning episode.”
“Cold calling is now embedded in the lesson, 100% is working well too – basic, but a useful reminder not to accept 98%, as I had been guilty of that!”
“I think that Cold Call in particular has impacted the most on students in my class as they are more engaged when they know that they may be ‘called upon’ without having actually volunteered an answer.”
“Wait time has also improved the number of students who volunteer answers as I am now more aware of giving them appropriate thinking time before choosing a student to provide a response.”
“I have observed increased confidence overall and their expectations appear to have changed. Students know the lesson is a No Opt Out zone but also they now feel safer in contributing. I feel this has led to increased satisfaction with their work. Students appear to be more motivated and enthusiastic.”
“Students are much more prepared to answer questions as they know I may ask them at any time rather than them relying on those who put up their hands. This allows me to gain trust from less confident students by giving them questions I know they will be able to answer and then in turn they become more confident in their ability. I am looking forward to future sessions as the techniques are becoming more developed and natural the more I use them.”
“I have found it has improved engagement in class discussions, where speaking without volunteering is a requirement, but also in their written work in order to be prepared.”
“Pupils are now more focused as they are prepared for answering questions rather than ‘switching off’. Pupils are more aware of classroom expectations and this has improved behaviour in the classroom. Pupils don`t take corrective instructions as personally now when I maintain anonymity. This is helping promote positive relationships which I recognise from the past may have caused friction. Adjusting wait time (and emphasising key points) has led to better quality of responses when completing a Cold Call and more hands up when not.”
It has been an absolute pleasure for me to work with a great group of colleagues promoting the TLaC techniques and reading about the impact this is having on both their professional practice and their students.
Term 2 will see us continuing with the techniques already looked at and ways to share good practice with each other in the classroom. In addition we will be adding more techniques to our tool box as we begin by looking at “Everybody Writes” which sets students up for rigorous engagement, by giving them the opportunity to reflect first in writing before discussing. We will also be looking at “Stretch It” where a sequence of learning does not end with the right answer, we reward right answers with follow up questions that extends knowledge and tests for reliability.
I look forward to updating you!