Teachers agreed that they were now more explicit about their expectations and the learning culture of the classroom. They can see the impact of more responsiveness and a greater collaborative approach to learning. Children feel safer in making and discussing their mistakes. This has unlocked opportunity for particular children.
Learning partners were working well with all teachers. Children can see the value of the system and value the skills of others.
Three teachers no longer have success criteria in books but co-construct these with the class. Self-assessment is now more accurate and children know their next steps.
Rewards were no longer used in three classrooms. All other strategies were working well.
Vocabulary and definitions were being added weekly to working walls which children are using without being specifically taught.
Establishing new talk partners with new classes was much easier and smarter.
Prior knowledge questions had been well established and the impact was really eye opening. Explicit teaching was often required as follow up.
Easing the cognitive load has been embedded further in three schools by using resources available, working walls and knowledge organisers.
All teachers had trimmed their PP slides with only one focus per slide which has been effective to gauge understanding. Children are more focused on specific steps.
Four schools found it hard to continue with the learning powers because it had not been adopted throughout the school. With the whole school involved you would see the culture of the whole school change because of the specific terms and mindsets.
Magpie books had been introduced by 2 teachers which had encouraged independent learning and extended understanding of vocabulary.
As a year group we have introduced Magpie books which the children love. They are used to collect vocabulary and phrases from all lessons to help ease the cognitive load. A clear expectation was made for correct spelling and meaning before recording. All children LOVE them and take pride in collecting interesting language which they hear or see, and use them in a cross-curricular manner.
In one history lesson all were curious about what a corset was. We talked about it and most children recorded this word and drew a picture to illustrate it.
All teachers said they always had talk partner discussion following a question asked by the teacher of the class. This has been established as a whole school approach so has enabled a culture of purposeful talk. Routines are in every classroom so the change has been clearly shown across the school. The quality of children’s talk is more effective and developed.
Moaning and groaning has stopped now that talk partners are routine – they know they will be fine with their learning partner.
Removing rewards has been difficult at first with new classes but children have understood why, but unless it is school-wide it is difficult to sustain.
I have noticed a need to be very explicit and detailed about the learning culture changes when starting with a new class. Children in the previous year had fully accepted having no rewards, behaviour system and a ‘working together’ approach, whereas my new class struggled without their usual behaviour and reward systems. It has taken over half a term to begin to see children responding to the new methods. This raises questions about the need for a whole school approach and having it fully embedded in the whole school system.
Rich Clayton – Derwentwater Primary
Knowledge organisers and jotters have been used and some teachers have been surprised at how much children want to write.