When do young people learn most effectively?
- When relationships with all staff in the school are warm and mutually respectful and when pupils feel safe, happy and supported in the school environment
- When they feel cherished and valued; when they feel that their work and effort is appreciated by their teacher; (“I learn when I am allowed to make mistakes!”)
- When the learning process is enjoyable and meaningful; when they can see relevance in the lesson content and understand connections to past and future learning
- When they have clear understanding of boundaries, in terms of accepted behaviour and when the management of behaviour is effective and non-confrontational
- When lessons are well planned and include a variety of strategies from a range of sources, (including the Specialism), strategies which relate to the different learning styles of the class members
- When the physical environment of the learning space is conducive to the learning experience, (in terms of creativity, colourful displays celebrating pupils’ work, access to drinking water, etc.)
- When tasks and resources are differentiated in a manner appropriate to the abilities of students
- When students understand clearly what is expected of them in any given task and when feedback from the teacher is positive, constructive and detailed and helps them to improve next time
- When students have opportunity to experience examples of excellence, both in school and in the wider community, so encouraging modelling in their work. In this context, some of the most effective learning occurs during fieldwork and in well-planned visits to community venues, to industry, exhibitions and cultural events, for example
- When students are encouraged to be self-directed and take to responsibility for their own learning so as to become independent learners who have the capacity for self-critical reflection about their learning and
- When students are supported by others, both at home and in peer- groups; learning is often most effective when small groups have opportunity to work collaboratively or when “study-buddy” practice is used; home learning is most effective when there is parental interest and involvement.
How do teachers achieve best learning outcomes?
- By having a warm, caring relationship with pupils and by treating all students with respect
- By having high expectations of students, involving them in consideration of learning intentions and individual targets for achievement and by challenging them to improve their learning
- By being well-prepared for lessons and by using a wide variety of stimulating strategies, techniques and resources which in turn stimulate and foster creativity on the part of the students
- By giving students opportunity for active and collaborative learning so as to develop social learning skills, (for example, working together on projects and practical experiments, activities which they have a say in choosing and designing)
- By giving students opportunity to use language to connect new ideas, concepts and information with what they already know and with other areas of learning in their curriculum
- By encouraging students to consider how they as individuals actually learn and by developing their thinking skills to help solve problems and make decisions in a variety of contexts;
- By using appropriate technologies in their teaching, engaging children in the use of ICT to discover, manage and present information as an integral part of learning
Assessment for Learning is an ongoing process, integral to the learning experience, which will guide and motivate pupil progress. The process should be characterised by;
- An open relationship between teachers and students, one which allows risk taking on the part of both but which guarantees positive feedback and guidance from teachers in response
- A shared understanding and agreement about what is expected in tasks, including understanding of the success criteria for assessment; (sharing examples of “good” practice can be beneficial for many students); this is a vital early stage of the Target Setting process; if a student is not clear in his/her understanding of the target, it is unlikely that they will know whether or not they have reached it!
- The development of active listening and questioning skills so as to enable meaningful dialogue about learning
- The practice of self-evaluation of performance as an on-going strategy within all assessment procedures; opportunities for peer evaluation are utilised where appropriate
- The practice of giving individual students detailed feedback, (written and/or oral) about their performance and the ways in which they can actually improve performance; (Note- the use of marks, grades, position in class, etc. while necessary and expected by pupils and parents, can be counter-productive for some students. Teachers do need to have such data for Assessment OF Learning purposes; the emphasis, as far as students are concerned, should be on dialogue and guidance about learning.)
- The recognition and celebration of progress and improvement over time by the student’s teacher.
Tracking Pupils Progress
- The tracking of pupil progress over their time in school is necessary
- to gauge the quality of their learning and the success of our teaching;
- to identify strengths and areas of difficulty in the pattern of pupil progress, so as to trigger intervention;
- to generate information which will be the basis for target-setting procedures and
- to provide data which will be of assistance in measuring school performance and improvement over timeThe procedures for recording Assessment of Learning so as to track pupil progress are as follows;
- Subject leaders (HODs) work with their department members to agree a set of FIVE assessment tasks which cover the range of learning objectives relevant to their particular subject for that particular year. A clear marking scheme is in place for these tasks, based on agreed level indicators; moderation of standards takes place within departments, (and across departments where necessary); account will be taken of the need to set differentiated assessment tasks, as well as putting the principle of differentiation by outcome into practice
- The three Cross-Curricular Skills, Communication, Numeracy and ICT, will be assessed in agreed tasks set by selected departments during the course of Key Stage 3
- Performance data will be fed into Assessment Manager in SIMS and accessed regularly
- by Heads of Year and Form Tutors in monitoring the progress of pupils in their groups
- by School Leaders and by the Learning Manager for overall monitoring purposes and
- by Heads of Department and Subject Teachers for continuous monitoring of progress, for target-setting purposes, for feedback to parents and for the production of annual school reports to parents.