Six of our outstanding practitioners taught a lesson to highlight assessment for learning strategies and examples of how to check for progress and understanding.
Having participated in a Teaching the Teachers CPD session before at a previous school, I organised six members of our teaching and learning team to teach a thirty minute – whistle stop – lesson to a classroom of teachers in our most recent blanket #CPD session.
Teachers themselves stepped outside their comfort zones to embrace learning once again and put themselves in the uncomfortable chairs of their students. We had teachers reminiscing and reliving their music, PE, drama, geography, French and English lessons. Comments, as I breezed from one session to the next, went along the lines of “if only I had had Mr Davies when I was at school, English would have been brilliant!”
So what is it that makes them ‘brilliant’ in their subject areas?
- Subject knowledge?
- A variety of engaging strategies?
- Targeted questioning?
- Rapport with their students?
- Challenging learning objectives?
- Passion? Enthusiasm? Confidence?
Or all of the above and more?!
Our teachers had planned their lessons to ensure there was plenty of strategies to observe the progress being made by the students [our colleagues] and that a form of assessment for learning had taken place. At the end of each session our ‘students’ were requested to reflect on what strategies had been deliberately used that they had noticed and how they could use these in their own practice.
We know how busy it is during a normal school day to observe others [although I think it could be top of my most impactful CPD opportunities to date] so for colleagues to experience two snap shots of lessons within the sessions provides an opportunity to see strategies in action – so important to be able to put them into practice with confidence.
Feedback was positive, staff had enjoyed the session but had the all of our ‘students’ observed the practice that we wanted them to? What would be taken away and introduced into lessons with quality?
Reflection feedback varied. As predicted, some staff had observed the higher level strategies that had been more discreet than others, most had pulled a sound level of understanding of the strategies that had taken place and everyone had taken something away from their ‘student’ experience.
On my own reflection, I know I would improve the process for next time. Two sessions of thirty minutes was hard pushed, and actually the reflection time would have more impact if it had been a longer time as soon as the lesson was finished.
A forty minute lesson with colleagues watching a lesson on the big screen with ‘real’ students in action and the teacher responding to them, with an opportunity to observe carefully and pick out strategies and good practice and discuss teaching and learning will be a more valuable CPD session in the future.
Teaching the Teachers certainly created a collaborative feeling amongst our staff, our teachers did a fantastic job to inspire colleagues with their creative and engaging lessons. It was great to see Jeff [Deputy Head] learning to play the keyboard, and Collette [Head of Year 9] keen to answer the questions in her French lesson! We had colleagues from across the school discussing teaching and learning and supporting each other in our own learning.
It’s never going to be perfect but as long as there is reflection and you can identify areas of strength and areas to improve, we can only make it better next time!
Thanks to all our Tenby staff for getting involved!