Marking and Feedback – how to get the most impact from it?


For the January 5th Non-Pupil Day one of the workshops staff can choose from is all about how to get the most impact from the hours we spend marking students’ work every week. The DfE workload survey suggests that teachers who work a 55 hour week probably spend around nine hours of that keeping up with marking and feedback. But there’s a lot of research, pointed to by the Sutton Trust, that suggests that merely marking books doesn’t add much value to kids’ learning. It’s a certain type of marking that helps kids move forward. Our workshop focused on ways of making marking more impactful for students, and possibly less punishing for busy teachers.

Thanks to HeadGuruTeacher’s blog about Close the Gap marking at his school. We like the emphasis on ‘instead of’ tasks – developing marking at Isca shouldn’t be about doing MORE marking, just about doing marking in…

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10 Steps for Avoiding Teacher Burnout

Literacy Teaching and Teacher Education

As many of us start a new semester I (Clare) found this article on ways to avoid teacher burnout very interesting and relevant. Although written for teachers, I found a lot of the advice relevant for me as a teacher educator. I particularly liked point # 2  – remember to keep up your fitness level! The article by Ben Johnson is from the excellent website edutopia . Here is the link for the article:

“Why did I want to be a teacher?” We all face burnout, sometimes on a daily basis, and in my case, especially after fourth period. Most of the time, we can pick ourselves up, brush ourselves off, and go back to the drawing board to try another strategy to find success with student learning. I have to admit that it is getting more and more difficult to make that transition back to a willingness to…

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What makes Great Teaching – a report from the Sutton Trust.

The highlights nicely summarised with a link to the report.

The latest report from the Sutton Trust is a review of the research into what makes good teaching. Created for an international summit in Washington about teaching, the document summarises research into effective teaching methods and also looks closely at how we can continue to improve teacher effectiveness in schools.

One of the most interesting things was how it was reported in the national press – the headline in the TES was “The Seven Deadly Sins of Teaching’ – the focus being on what the report suggest we should not do in the classroom. And of course this isn’t necessarily true – what the Sutton Trust report says is that there is little evidence for the effectiveness of these things. It seems to me that such negative reporting also doesn’t help us to focus on what we can do to improve our own teaching in the classroom.

So here are the six things…

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Learning: Process vs. Product

Food for thought! #edchat #ukedchat

The Teaching-Learning Synergy

'I am Here for the Learning Revolution' photo (c) 2008, Wesley Fryer - license:

Image from KimP’s blog

Is learning an outcome? Is it a process? Here are some interesting reads about the debate.

Learning theory: models, product and process

Pick up a standard psychology textbook – especially from the 1960s and 1970s and you will probably find learning defined as a change in behaviour.  In other words, learning is approached as an outcome – the end product of some process. It can be recognized or seen.  This approach has the virtue of highlighting a crucial aspect of learning – change… continue reading

Product or process?

Picture the scene. You walk into the reception area of your local primary school and you see the wonderful displays of artwork created by the children. There are paintings and drawings, and there are mobiles and models made from cardboard, silver paper and other materials, all resplendent in their vibrant colours. It is a bright celebration of learning…

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Reducing Coasting in Group Work

Class Teaching

group workThe 15 minute forum tonight was led by Emma Mason, our Deputy Leader in Maths & Assessment Without Levels Leader.  Emma shared her thoughts and strategies about how we could make group work more effective. Group work is an interesting one.  In certain subjects like PE, it’s an essential part of the subject.  Likewise in aspects of other subjects, where students have to work together on practical tasks, such as science, working as a member of a group is important.  The issue comes when group work is introduced into other classroom based subjects, that don’t lend themselves naturally to group work – like maths.  If the activity is not planned well and there’s no thought given to why students have been asked to work in a group, the outcome often resembles the picture above – and learning is limited.   So for example, if you are using group work for students to ‘find out’ some new knowledge…

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This much I know about…the workload debate


I have been a teacher for 26 years, a Headteacher for 11 years and, at the age of 50, this much I know about the workload debate.

I’ve just completed a 63 hour week; by the time I get to Sunday bed time that figure will be 70 hours plus. I write that as a fact, not a complaint. From doing my bus duty to leading an eight hour strategy meeting with Headteacher colleagues to teaching Economics A level, I love my job.

None of us working in schools goes underground to dig coal. In relative terms, our working conditions are pretty good. We have long holidays. As Shakespeare said, working with young people, Physics the subject, makes old hearts fresh. Every day our teaching always has the potential to be joyous.

It’s a year this weekend since I wrote about how my job has impacted upon my relationship…

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