At last!! Hyde has won a game. The 28th league game of the season saw my beloved Hyde FC win 2.0 at Welling, their very first league win of the season. I revealed my support for Hyde to those who though I was merely a Manchester United fan in an earlier blog, http://blog.meolscophighschool.co.uk/?p=106, and defeat after defeat has been hard for my dad and me to take. It hasn’t stopped me driving the 50 plus miles to every home game and I was mischievously hoping that the first win would come on Saturday as I sat in the stand at Haig Ave with one eye on Hyde taking the lead against Southport and the other eye, looking left and across the fields, on the other love of my life-our school! Sadly, for Hyde, Southport equalised and we gained our first point since November. For the 20 stalwart fans that made the long journey down to Kent 4 days later, it must have been a tremendous feeling to be there when Hyde actually managed to hang on to take 3 points!
We Brits love an underdog and Hyde’s fame had grown along with support from the international soccer world as their winless record had grown. In terms of fans and finance Hyde are the smallest club in the league; in terms of tweets they now have the largest following! The hang-dog Manc humour has won a host of followers willing Hyde to win from all corners of the globe. Sky’s Saturday afternoon soccer host, Jeff Stelling has taken to donning a Hyde scarf when they score. [This hasn’t been often!] As a football club we will always have the record FA cup defeat-26-0 to Preston for every quiz buff to recall and as a town, Hyde will probably be remembered more recently for the dreadful Shipman murders and the senseless gunning down of police officers, Fiona Bone and Nicola Hughes. Soccer is only a game and of course it pails into insignificance in comparison but for the community of Hyde fans, the win does bring some pleasure and plenty of humour. Never stop believing!
As a school we are a small fish in the huge educational pool and not one of the well-known, century’s old public schools, selective grammar schools and not even an academy or free school-simply a humble but very proud little community school. Our results and successes, as with Hyde FC, matter to us and our community and we try our best to contribute to national educational discussions and share our ideas, not because we think that they are the best, but because we think that we should-if all schools would be open and make a contribution, perhaps teachers could actually take the lead and seize some of the initiative in the future of OUR education. Never stop believing!
On Monday this week I spent an enjoyable couple of hours after school watching a live internet broadcast where 4 colleagues from the world of education discussed the utility and future development of lesson observations. I’ve written a couple of blogs of late explaining how we have developed our lesson observations and sharing ideas from them; http://blog.meolscophighschool.co.uk/?p=134 and was able to share our ideas as part of the discussion afterwards on #lessonobs. I have strong views on grading lessons and the nonsense of the measuring of a teacher’s worth by 1 lesson observation so guess I’m a bit biased. http://blog.meolscophighschool.co.uk/?p=69 I made the point that
“We know our teachers best and have a variety of ways based on a myriad of information and data to decide how well they are performing-a couple of performances a year tells us they can perform a couple of times a year!”
It doesn’t tell us how their teaching is impacting on learning over time and we have been thinking about a far more thorough system that will fit lesson observations as just one contributory factor towards a teacher’s individual contribution towards learning and teaching.
I’m not going to write a detailed summary of the debate [we have discussed this quite a few times at school] if you are interested you can see summaries, the film and the participant’s slides/views on the mentioned twitter account. A few to start you with might be;
Robert Coe@ProfCoe23hVideo from yesterday’s meeting on #LessonObs http://new.livestream.com/L4L/tdt/videos/39562354 … (from about 8 mins in) Slides at http://www.cem.org/attachments/Lesson%20Observation%2013Jan14.pptx …
David Didau@LearningSpy23h NEW POST How can we make classroom observation more effective? http://www.learningspy.co.uk/learning/can-make-classroom-observation-effective/ …
Mary Myattalso spoke and has an interesting blog. She is an Ofsted inspector and much more.
“@ChrisMoyse: #LessonObs You may be interested in how we do things at my school. No lesson grades for 4 years http://chrismoyse.wordpress.com/2013/11/01/professional-development-at-my-academy-no-lessson-grades-ever/ …” #lcopp
Robert Coe began the discussion explaining his own research and that of a couple of other recent researchers into the validity of using graded lesson observations to measure effective teaching [and learning] and his conclusion was that they are unreliable-experienced heads seemed no more reliable than members of the public at selecting a grade. Alarmingly, he felt that the evidence of the effectiveness of different pedagogies was also limited. As a researcher, unsurprisingly he wanted more research into how observations and feedback can be used to improve teaching and the two teachers, David Didau and Alison Peacock offered some suggestions for the way forward. Alison, the head teacher of Wroxham Teaching School, an outstanding [3x] primary school had given Ofsted a portfolio of lesson study evidence rather than a list of observation grades and they had accepted that and found the teaching to be outstanding. You know what I am trying to develop here but it is a risk-they didn’t like me telling them that we don’t do unannounced lesson observations-we got away with it because colleagues were on great form-can we give them the portfolios we will be developing-YES! Never stop believing!
David felt that lesson grades will go in 3 years and if you read his blog-learning spy-you can see his passionate arguments BUT only a small minority of schools involve themselves in the discussion and although most teachers dislike observations and grades I’m not sure of what others are proposing in their place or even how they are used. David Weston who leads the TDA and NTEN [of which we are part of the lesson study/CPD programme] pushed the case of lesson study and we obviously agree and have explained why we are involved. http://blog.meolscophighschool.co.uk/?p=129 There are benefits to using lesson observations for both the participants and the observers and if the conversations are developmental, we believe that they are a powerful form of supportive and effective CPD. Alison Peacock spoke of “an intangible sense of optimism” at her school and I would hope that we are using our observations to develop something similar here. If you are reading this and work in a job where your performance is constantly assessed and against certain criteria to determine pay, you might think that we are whinging teachers and should have our teaching measured-it is the most important thing that we do. Our problem is that the measurements used are unreliable [in the opinion of some of us] and this is especially the case, as Coe pointed out at the extremities of the graded measure-1 and 4 [outstanding/inadequate]-we don’t see as many of these grades and the consequence of being graded a 4 can finish your career. This may be based on an unreliable grading. We all want the best teachers possible in our job; observations and measures to determine the most effective teachers and teaching have to be based on research, reliable evidence and be developmental-we might then just begin to hear the teacher tigers ROAR!
We can learn from each other-that’s why we always share our great teaching ideas [internally and now externally in our blogs] and I sent a couple of pictures of Bronagh Dooris’s Spanish lesson I was observing last Friday with Helen Hallmark to pedagoofriday-a site where teachers share ideas every Friday. I thought others might be interested to see what she was doing and it was a colourful and enjoyable lesson and presented nice photo opportunities! Teachers from other schools ‘favourited’ the tweet and the people behind the pedagoo scenes asked if I would give them a quick write up to explain what was happening. I wouldn’t normally share so much of one teacher’s work [no teacher’s pets!] but I have linked this to whole school and faculty issues to show how we develop ideas and react, in this case, to a student learning walk survey.
I ‘borrow’ lots of ideas from sites such as pedagoo to send whizzing around staff emails on our visual learning thoughts weekly spot and thought it only fair that we shared back. I did promise a short blog this week-the attachment does have lots of pictures! Thank you to Bronagh and Helen for their help.
As a school we have worked hard to support our students to make the most of any peer assessment/critique opportunities and to encourage quality dialogue following any teacher feedback [oral or written] Some of our tactics were explained in an article for the Leading Edge schools and we shared more in our blog http://blog.meolscophighschool.co.uk/?p=180. I’ve ‘borrowed’ lots of ideas to use with our staff for years and the development of pedagoofriday and blogs has given the chance to share back. One idea that raised some interest was a couple of photos that I sent of a Spanish lesson that I had observed earlier in the day. Observing lessons is a real privilege and even more so when the students are really enjoying their learning and the teacher is prepared to try something different to develop an area of pedagogy that has been their Achilles heel. Enjoyment and engagement may not always be good ‘proxies’ for learning but the relationships built during fun and creative activities surely supports an environment more conducive to good learning and retention in future lessons.
Having realised that perhaps Hattie’s research finding 80% of peer assessment is inaccurate may be an underestimate, we have been developing a 3 pronged approach of supporting any critiques with specific scaffolds, Verifying It Please [learning checked and verified by more than one peer assessor] and encouraging the peer assessor to give specific examples as part of their feedback.
The whole process is supported by stickers and stampers, is monitored via our book monitoring and student surveys and has had an impact on the oracy and evaluative learning to learn skills of our students. They come to us below national averages and have left showing pleasing progress-we feel that our peer critique and development of feedback dialogue is one of the contributory factors. However, MFL, in our school, have always found it challenging to peer assess to the same level of dialogue as other subjects have. They are not comparing like with like of course-it is difficult to comment as fully and leave specific examples in a foreign language [especially for our lower sets] as it is using their own language [yes some still struggle with English!] and responses to feedback probably require more DIRT time to assimilate and respond and rely on feedback question/answers more. The faculty have tried out different ideas and Bronagh, who joined us as an NQT last year, enjoyed reading in our after-school reading club, Zoe Elder’s words from ‘Full On Learning’ and hopefully we are working towards both sides of the learning and teaching drivers.
Bronagh has trialled different peer assessment ideas in lessons and developmental dialogue scaffolds with her marking and feedback. The lesson I observed with her subject leader was in the context of the students having described and compared where they live and she was hoping that their learning would progress to extending and developing their basic descriptions by using connectives and high level phrases. She began by the students forming a human sentence where they each in turn added a word and then set them off with post-its to construct a sentence on their tables.
The success criterion was;
Bien-must give a structured sentence
Muy bien should add opinions to their description
Excellente could use justified opinions and another tense
You may agree with using such criteria-you may not-we use all different ideas at present.
The sentence was then peer assessed according to shared criteria and the peer assessors had to leave their feedback on the table on a different coloured post-it [it had to have two specific examples that could be used on it] and also take away [on a different coloured post-it!] a couple of ideas that they could use to enhance their own sentence. The pairs went back to their own table and read the feedback the peer assessors had given and then amended their sentence accordingly. Bronagh then sent the peer assessors back again to verify that their advice had been taken and used. As her class mascot is Pablo [who gets chucked around in questioning] she can ask the students to PABLO it-Peer Assess Borrow [2or 3 ideas to take back] so you can Learn [from the peer assessment process] and use your learning to improve your Own.
PABLOING it! The peer assessors highlighting where their advice has been used successfully!
A learning conversation followed based on the grade success criteria and I asked where the students felt that their learning should go next to achieve the B and A grades [they are year 9 students]-they were able to work out what was needed next, although Miss would be needed at this point to expand!
Different teachers use different ideas to encourage meaningful conversations and support feedback/PA-FISH, Berger and have scaffolds designed to suit their subject [lots on our blogs] Helen the MFL subject leader uses MONSIEUR in her French lessons.
Bronagh and Rebecca use SENORITA in Spanish with the students when they critique each other’s work and offer feedback advice.
Our 2013 Learning Walks [our walks interview students and not teachers] looked at dialogue and feedback across the school and the whole set of student comments and evaluations showed that they really valued feedback advice, feedback questions that they could respond to, teachers [or peer assessors] checking that their advice had been met and so on. MFL responses showed that they were perhaps behind in their practice, hence the follow up conversations about the difficulties any lengthy dialogue and feedback might present for the linguists. The students felt that their learning benefitted from the left hand side comments and wanted more of the right hand side.
|What works best for the students?||What do they think would work best if they were the teacher?|
|Comments to improveMarking my own/peer assessmentTeacher writing comments to improve and teacher checking themThe questionsChallenges
Comments on how to get higher level and spellings
|Put comments to improveGive questions to help themPositive commentsGive them a task to do independently and see if they need helpRetry activity after feedback to earn a higher level and achieve your target
2 stars and a wish-children would get more praise
Let peer who gave 2 stars and a wish check it
Go over everything with a quiz and give challenges on the previous topic
Go over a couple of students books with the whole class so everyone can learn how to improve
There was some good practice with feedback given
|Specific feedback the students can understandSpecific feedback in all books but much more developed in someChallenges issued in 1 set [can you still remember what these words mean?]plus ways to improve asked for1 thing we have done well-1 thing to improve upon“Great paragraph with good sentence structure. To improve say what age your family is and what clothes they wear”
Positive comment and stickers
Evidence that the students have checked the feedback
We need more time to check
Evidence that the students have successfully responded to the feedback
Miss checks and corrects-gives level
Miss gives us targets to improve-we respond- Miss checks our response
Sir checks for us
The dialogue goes on!!
Not that much with peer assessment
|Self/peer assessment related to a specific criteriaNot developed too much-area to considerMark test and swop booksSelf/peer assessment with an explanation/exampleNot done
Swop books and leave a what they have done well comment and target for improvement
Give levels and strengths and weaknesses
The self/peer assessor checks that their feedback has been successfully met
No evidence-to develop
The process is verified
No evidence-area to develop
But more with the use of feedback questions
|Questions are set by the teacher as part of the assessment process and the students answer themTime given to answer e.g. “Can you spot the pattern?” She corrects them if they are wrong.Miss-“How would you say also?” Me-“tambien”Miss checks it-now use it!
“What connectives do you know?”
When we get our books marked we get a question and will answer it-Miss responds
Sir puts “Write this in French for me”
Not all did questions
The questions are specifically aimed at levels/grades/hierarchical skills/misconceptions
Seemed to be at misconceptions or to support the topic/skill
Questions are raised by self or peers and answered
No evidence-to develop
The questions/answers are used as part of revision/written specifically into schemes of learning/used as ‘flipped learning’
Area to develop
The student research provided evidence for Helen and Bronagh to consider and they have responded very quickly to embed peer assessment approaches into their own practice and to share their ideas with other faculty members [and all colleagues.] You can see that no questions were raised or answered by the students themselves. This is an area of current interest to me in the midst of lesson observations and book monitoring. For example in science, the teacher’s main emphasis in KS4 marking is on the practice papers and questions and they tend to use feedback questions in books to prompt the students to respond to areas of misconception or knowledge they need to know. The responses aren’t usually as developed in quality or quantity as some of the ‘written’ subjects-the scientists have thought really hard about developing literacy to improve written answers and I have been suggesting that when they give time for the students to write an answer to the feedback question, they give some extra time to allow their partner to add more to the answer to improve the quality [the all-conquering connective might jump into place!] of the original and then they need to write their own question about the topic, based on the 6 mark questions that they find difficult-thus murdering a flock of birds with the same feedback stone.
No more from me! Back to Miss Dooris and her student’s books to show you the development in action. I can’t show you the ensuing learning conversations but the peer assessor would have to justify and explain their SENORITA choices verbally and with written examples if they could manage it.
Not sure A matches S!