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Effective Teaching 1 - Introduction

Effective Teaching 1 - Introduction An Article introducing this year's focus on effective teaching.

This is a Free Sample Resource
Categories: Article, Teaching & Learning, Any Subject, Educators

Tags: Teaching Learning Research Active Learning Brain-Based Learning

Who Taught You?

I am in the middle of Portsmouth Habour in a 4.2 metre Laser Class dingy. A 128 metre, 6000 tonne ferry is heading towards me. It sounds 5 short blasts on its horn (this means danger or doubt - I don't understand your intent). Then I hear my navy instructor shout, 'Who the f*** taught you to sail?' I decide not to reply -  'you did mate' - because I'm actually very scared. Then he shouts at me again, helpfully, with instructions about avoiding the collision. I follow them without a thought. I survive and the ferry remains unscratched.

Several weeks later I'm out on the water again, this time in the Lake District. Wind conditions exceed my skill set and experience. A gust takes hold of the hired boat and it begins to flip. I'm scared again. But then, without a thought, I somehow follow the same instructions and bring it back under control. I survive one more time.

Learning with Fear

I've not served in the military but the Navy Sailing school in Portsmouth, UK taught me to sail small dinghies. The instructors did a superb job using a teaching style that combined fear, ridicule and humour. It worked (see above). What I learned whilst frightened was triggered again when the same fear took hold.

What is your first memory? Getting lost? Being found? Love? Pain? A colour? A smell? Chances are it's linked with a very strong emotion. Emotion triggers memory. Memory is learning. So why don't we see emotions referenced on lesson plans?: 'Use humour to develop a practical understanding of fronted adverbials'; 'Expand vocabulary through an ethos of ironic melancholy.'

What is Effective Learning?

During 2018-19 I'm dedicating 12 issues of this newsletter to answering that question. I absolutely guarantee that I won't find a definitive answer by July 2019. It's a wicked problem anyway - the only way to approach it is to poke it and see what happens, fully accepting that an answer will not be forthcoming. But by trying to answer it we'll learn more than if we ignore it and just passively accept someone else's answer.

Those of you familiar with my Challenge 10 Toolkit for schools know that I propose 8 features of highly effective learning - harvested from several pieces of international Meta-analysis. You'll also know that I don't for a second say that this is the list. It's just a list. My list. For now.

In fact the C10 process encourages you to find your own list and your own tools which are fit for your purposes. The technique asks you to think; to fully engage with your profession by working on three questions:

1. What do your pupils need in order to be successful citizens and global contributors?
2. Which teaching practices work best?
3. How can we use 2. to provide 1.?

My latest practical stab at the answer to 2. is a tool called Normalise. Download it here. See if it saves you any teaching time.

Relationships, Skills & Knowledge

View educational research in one way and Strong Learning Relationships is the most important factor in effective teaching. Look at it another way and it's Teachers' Professional Collective Efficacy. Still another view will name the rigorous sharing of compelling knowledge or of 21st Century life skills. No feature is fully correct but each one is part of the whole.

Whatever your philosophy of learning and however you approach the art and science of teaching, learning and leading, I'll give you some food for thought. 12 bites in fact; one each month until July 2019. Bites to challenge you, make you think; take your own ideas forward through confirmation or contradiction.

In the meantime, let's get started. Share with me the answer to this question,

What, in your opinion, is the single most important feature of effective teaching?

Have a lovely Summer.

Related Resources:

Challenge 10 Toolkit

Effective Teaching; Teacher Effects


Quality Teaching


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