Improving learning in a professional context: a research perspective on the new teacher in school

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Subjects: Research ; Employment ; Policy ; Workforce development ; Teaching and learning ; Providers of education and training. Series: Improving learning series. Skip to main content. Back to search results New Search Get Citation. Author: McNally, Jim ; Blake, Allan Abstract: This book presents new evidence on how teachers learn to be teachers, suggesting that more attention be paid to the emotional, relational, ethical, material, structural and temporal dimensions of the teaching experience.

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If you discuss ideas with your learners, you can get a clearer view of what understanding your learners have about a topic, and put right any misunderstandings. Reflection Watch the video of a teacher talking about how he uses questioning. Do you use any of these techniques in your own classroom? This video shows good use of closed questioning.

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How would you adapt this for your own classroom? Feedback Feedback is the process in which learners come together with their teachers to discuss where they are in their learning, where they want to be in their learning, and how they are going to get there. It usually involves looking at a particular piece of work done by the learner. The aims and objectives of any assignment must be clearly understood by both the teacher and the learner. Feedback might involve marking. If you do want to add a grade, give this later on, so that the learners read the comments before they receive the grade.

Effective feedback depends on task-focused comments, rather than ego-focused comments.

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They might also be scared of trying something they find difficult in case they lose their high place. Weak learners can feel as if there is nothing they can do to get better. You should aim to provide feedback to each learner that praises task-focused aspects of their work, but also contains targets about how to improve their learning. Now, can you think how you can make the description of the main character more striking? Reflection Think about a time when you gave feedback to a learner that could be described as more ego-specific than task specific. What might you have done differently?

In this video, Dylan Wiliam explains why task-focused feedback is more effective than ego-focused feedback. In this handout, by the RAPPS project, you will find lots of suggestions for different ways of giving classroom feedback. This feedback is based on an understanding of what makes a successful piece of work. The teacher is vital to this process, as teachers know their learners and can help them to develop their critical and reflective thinking skills. Giving learners independence is a great way for them to take responsibility for their own learning. Peer feedback also helps learners to develop their social skills and to use higher-level skills such as thinking critically and analytically.

A successful peer feedback session requires learners to 'think like a teacher' for each other. The learner then has to give their partner ideas for how to improve the work. In doing this, they will both be increasing their own understanding of what makes a successful piece of work.

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Improving learning in a professional context: a research perspective The findings reveal that new conservatoire teachers are concerned relations with parents and colleagues, organizing class work, to insufficient materials and supplies. Improving learning in a professional context provides vital new evidence on in a professional context: a research perspective on the new teacher in school.

For example, learners could use pictures to describe positive and negative aspects of the work. Reflection Watch the video of learners taking part in a peer feedback session. Notice how independently they are working. Would this be effective for your learners? In this video, learners explain what they like about peer feedback.

The Organizational Context of Teaching and Learning

Learning cannot be done for them by the teachers. In self-assessment a learner evaluates their own work, and thinks about their own learning. This helps them to make sense of what the teacher says, relate it to previous learning and use this for new learning. Ultimately, self-assessment enables learners to set their own learning goals and be responsible for their own learning. However, be aware that learners cannot become reflective learners overnight.

It takes time and practice to develop these skills, and the role of the teacher is crucial in encouraging this. Introducing learners to self-assessment When you introduce self-assessment to your learners, carefully guide the process. To start with, give learners a list of questions to ask themselves, and write down the answers.

Ideally, you will talk to each of your learners individually to guide their thinking until they feel comfortable with the process. Self-assessment is an activity which requires one-to-one tutorials to be fully successful. In these short sessions, you can ask questions to help your learners to reflect on their studies. Having thought about how their work could be improved, your learners can then set themselves targets to make their work better.

These targets can cover any aspect of learning, from time management to asking more questions in class if they do not understand something. However, learners often have to take summative school tests such as end-of-year exams or final exams. Return marked test or exam papers to learners, so that they can spend time understanding where they earned most marks and where they had misunderstandings.

After the exam or test, find out which questions were answered less well by most learners. This will give you important information about what subjects, ideas and skills your learners need to work on. You can then focus on explaining the areas of the syllabus that gave problems to most learners. Your learners could also re-work exam questions in class in pairs or groups as a peer-learning activity. How effectively am I using questioning? It is a good idea to structure questions so that learners give detailed answers, revealing exactly what they understand about a subject. Try waiting for at least three seconds after asking a question to get better responses from your learners.

How effective is my use of feedback? Giving your learners task-focused feedback instead of ego-focused feedback can help your learners to feel motivated to try harder with their work. How effective is my use of peer feedback? Encourage an atmosphere of mutual supportiveness in your classroom. It is helpful to explain to your learners why peer feedback is being used and how they are going to benefit from it. It is a good idea to start a peer feedback session with an in-depth discussion of success criteria.

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You could show your learners examples of successful work from previous years. You know your learners, so you can judge whether to put them into small groups or pairs, and whether to put learners in a group with their friends.

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How much do I use self-assessment in my practice? Students initially learn self-assessment from their teacher: they follow your lead when you give them feedback about their work. Self-assessment will be most successful if you encourage your learners to practise regularly, e. It is also helpful to give your learners open questions to get them started, e. Am I helping my students learn effectively from summative assessments?

If possible, always return marked tests or exams to your learners so they can learn from their mistakes. It is also helpful to select questions that gave most learners problems and go through them in class. It can be successful to adapt your future schemes of work based on what learners found difficult to allow more time to teach challenging concepts. What is the best way to get started with AFL?

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Here are four straightforward ways to introduce AFL into your teaching. Try out as many of these activities as you can. Afterwards, reflect on your experiences and consider how you can develop the technique to fit into your regular teaching schedule.