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Magazine Issue 58: Effective Teaching
April 2015

This month: What is effective teaching? What effect are you having in the classroom? Read about two teachers effects on their pupils and what happens when they work together.

Article: Effective Teaching & Teaching Effects
New Resources
Mike's Books
Additional Resources

This Month's Article:

Effective Teaching; Teacher Effects

Effective Teaching; Teacher Effects An inspiring Article from a Teach First participant and her mentor about effective teaching and how to learn from each other.

This is a Free Sample Resource

Categories: Article, Teaching & Learning, Other Subject, Educators

Tags: Teaching Personal Development
Are You An Effective Team?

Up to a point, in the film Oblivion, Tom Cruise and Andrea Riseborough are an effective team. Until the wheels fall off and Tom begins to sweat and Andrea starts to frown a bit. The question, "Are you an effective team?" pops up in the script and it's a worthy one to ask.I'd ask it at the start of every school day and keep asking about effectiveness throughout. And I'd stop using 'Outstanding', 'Good' and 'Requires Improvement' (when does anyone stop requiring improvement?). They are divisive and describe only end points, products, final states. "Are we being effective?" and its sister, "How are we being effective?" continually challenge our process of improvement. They keep us moving forwards.

The You Effect
To contemplate your effectiveness, define your 'effect'. What is it that makes you the teacher you are? What's unique about the learning you create and the journey you're on with your students?

Naoimh Campbell (Teach First participant) and Becky Mukiza (her school mentor) teach Year 5 at Braunstone Community Primary School in Leicester. Here they talk about their 'effects' and the synergy of working together:

The Mukiza Effect (by Becky Mukiza, Braunstone Community Primary School)
I'm an experienced teacher and I run my class like a business. I was once told I had 'The Mukiza Effect' and here's how it works:

My classroom ‘model’ is wholly reliant on the participation of each and every child. We all have a role, they are empowered to take charge of their own learning. I see myself as ‘The Company Director’, ‘The Facilitator’; the children have a responsibility to promote their own learning by becoming an active part of our journey.

This starts as soon as my classroom doors open. Casual check-ins remind the children that they are very much ‘on my radar’. This is followed by a morning briefing during which we have an open discussion about the class agenda for the day. Then I act as a Human Resource Manager, I direct staff (including myself) to hold mini ‘Performance Management’ meetings with each child during the course of the week. During these meeting the child leads a conversation about their learning, what direction it needs to take and how I can help them to make it move faster so that they can achieve more. We act as learning consultants for our children.

This shared class vision and focus on child initiated learning is prevalent throughout the rest of the school day. Occasionally in maths I allow the children to choose their own activity. They can sharpen their mental maths skills, focus on problem solving and reasoning or work through further examples in an area of maths they feel less confident in. I direct these children, to clear up their misconceptions, to boost their confidence and their ensure progress.

I firmly believe that this only works because the children understand their role as an independent learner and are empowered enough to choose what they need to do to maximise progress.

In my class everyone is someone and everyone is part of something.

The Campbell Effect (by Naoimh Campbell, Braunstone Community Primary School)
I've been teaching 6 months and it's been a gritty ride (see my article here). Becky is a great mentor and the idea of having an 'effect' has helped me to consolidate my skills, my targets and my sense of who I am in the classroom. So, for what it's worth, here's my emerging Campbell Effect:

Though only a few meters down the corridor from Becky, my classroom is a very different (but no less productive) place. We see ourselves as a learning community. Becky runs a business, I run a cooperative. They're different but equal. The children are very much aware of their strengths and their limitations, they are also aware of mine and my support staff’s. The atmosphere tends to be calm, informal with a lot of laughter. It lacks the permanent buzz of next door’s hive of activity, however, the children use their strengths to help each other become confident, productive learners.

We strive to empower the children with the tools to think for themselves, to have the confidence to venture into learning independently, whilst safe in the knowledge there are 23 people waiting for them to succeed but also ready (and willing) to build them back up when they fail. Yes, we talk openly and productively about failure. We sympathise, empathise and utilise our failure so that it will become tomorrow’s success story.

We are also open when we are struggling emotionally as well as academically, we support, nurture and encourage one another. Every school competition, contest or initiative is a chance for us to win or succeed. From attendance to reading races we are proud of our reputation and a win for one of us is always a win for all.

One model we have chosen to replicate from Becky's next door is child-lead conversations about learning. These are informal in nature but the aims and outcomes are the same. These conversations have had a huge impact on the children’s progress.

In my class, nobody slips through the net, everyone has a champion.

The Mukampbell Effect (by us both)
From two very different classrooms come two very different teachers. We have a strong professional relationship; we are partner teachers, mentor/mentee and friends. One of us is experienced; one of us just starting out; both of us committed to our children. We have a shared vision and ethos, but a difference in execution, and we believe that this is the key to our successful working relationship.

We are brave enough to challenge each other, to take other’s ideas and make them our own - or to admit when we have made a terrible call. We have a positive-error-culture in year 5! We teach each other’s classes on a regular basis because we genuinely believe that we each have something positive to offer our children.

It is coming to the end of the Spring Term and, safe to say, we adore each and every child in our year group. They are bright, feisty, imaginative and eager to learn.

In our year group, everyone is someone and part of something; nobody slips through the net and everyone has a champion.

Take the Time
You've a million and one other things to do. Planning, marking, data, meetings. But for many of us there is a holiday coming up. Take an hour or so out to think and write. What is your effect? What makes you the teacher you are? And if you like, send it to me and I'll publish it here. Then we can really start getting to grips with effective teaching. We can be an effective team.

New Resources:

Power Question Thinking

Power Question Thinking A Thinking Skills Tool to extend questioning and deepen understanding. For use in assessment tasks, plenaries and AfL in the moment.

Categories: Thinking Tool, Questioning, Teaching & Learning, Any Subject, All Ages

Tags: Questioning Assessment
Teacher Premium Resource: Login or Upgrade to Teacher Premium to access this resource.

Power Question Thinking Powerpoint

Power Question Thinking Powerpoint A Thinking Tool Template in Powerpoint for saving time when using Power questions in class.

Categories: Thinking Tool, Questioning, Teaching & Learning, All Ages, Any Subject

Tags: Questioning Assessment
Teacher Premium Resource: Login or Upgrade to Teacher Premium to access this resource.


Numeracy Think Sheet - Capacity

Numeracy Think Sheet - Capacity A Think Sheet to help pupils who have a basic grasp of capacity to deepen their thinking and understanding.

Categories: Think Sheet, Thinking Skills, Mathematics, Junior

Tags: Capacity
Teacher Premium Resource: Login or Upgrade to Teacher Premium to access this resource.

Mike's Books:

Find out how to make your classroom practice more effective and how to help others to do the same:

Creating Extra-Ordinary Teachers
by Mike Fleetham & Branton Shearer

Creating Extra-Ordinary Teachers <br> by Mike Fleetham & Branton Shearer A Book, Creating Extra-Ordinary Teachers: Multiple Intelligences in the Classroom and Beyond, that was co-authored by Dr Branton Shearer. It demonstrates how to use MI to enrich teaching and leadership, and how to inspire others to do the same. It'll give you a useful edge in your role as coach or innovative teacher. Includes a free online MI profile and development activities.

Available in our shop

Find out more
Categories: Book & EBook, Leadership, Educators


Additional Resources:

Thinking Classroom Archive:

101Q Thinking

101Q Thinking A Thinking Skills Tool using categories to prompt the creation of many different questions. Challenge pupils to exceed the target of 101.

Categories: Thinking Tool, Questioning, Thinking Skills, Any Subject, Junior, Secondary

Tags: Questioning
Teacher Premium Resource: Login or Upgrade to Teacher Premium to access this resource.

Quality Teaching

Quality Teaching An Article providing you with food for thought about what it means to be an effective and improving teacher.

This is a Free Sample Resource

Find out more
Categories: Article, Teaching & Learning, Other Subject, Educators

Tags: Quality Teaching CPD

Bloomin' Thinking Prompts

Bloomin Thinking Prompts A very simple Prompt Sheet to get pupils thinking in different ways - inspired by Bloom's thinking taxonomy.

This is a Free Sample Resource

Find out more or Download now:
Categories: Other Resources, Thinking Skills, Any Subject, Infant, Junior, Secondary

Tags: Bloom's Taxonomy Questioning

Questions for Learning

Questions for Learning An Article that describes many different sorts of questions and then organises them into 4 basic categories. Also includes a teacher-self-check: How's your questioning shaping up?

This is a Free Sample Resource

Find out more
Categories: Article, Thinking Skills, Any Subject, Educators

Tags: Questioning Bloom's Taxonomy


Engaging Students with Poverty in Mind
by Eric Jenson

Engaging Students with Poverty in Mind <br>by Eric Jenson 5 years of quality teaching can completely close the achievement gap between poor and more advantaged students. But which research and classroom techniques should we use to do this? Jensen's mighty follow up to his 2009 Teaching with Poverty in Mind clearly shows us how - with evidence to justify his approach.

Available from Amazon

Opens in a New Window
Categories: Suggested Books, Teaching & Learning, Children

Tags: Poverty Grit Growth Mindset


EEF Toolkit - What is most effective?

EEF Toolkit - What is most effective? The Teaching & Learning Toolkit - a summary of educational research on teaching 5-16 year olds. Check in here BEFORE you take on new initiatives and new practices.

Opens in a New Window
Categories: Websites, Teaching & Learning, Children

Tags: Effectiveness Growth Mindset

Next month we think about... Problem Solving