Monday, 16 March 2015

My #ililc5 Experience - Saturday

It is almost a month since #ililc5, and it most certainly did not disappoint. I cannot tell you how much I look forward to this weekend every year, not only for the new ideas and approaches I learn, but also for catching up with good friends (not just virtual colleagues).

What I have been doing since then (to explain the delay of this post) is treading water, and in between times trialling ideas borne from #ililc5. So I am going to go through the sessions I went to, and feedback already on things I have tried.

Take Away Homework - James Gardner

There are often many posts on Twitter about takeaway homework, so I wanted to see how to go about it, and to leave with some ideas for my department. There are many ways to set it up, and many different tasks, so I will definitely be trialling this next half term.
The session brought up many questions, which led to some good discussions about homework. We also discussed tweaking the sample menus that we were shown, by maybe adding POINTS to each task - 10 points per 'easy' task, 50 points for more complex tasks, so students didn't just plump for an easy task. Set a points target for the homework.

James also used PADLET to collect student feedback in one place. It reminds me of Linoit.

Investigative Language Learning  - Ryan Hoy

This session was extremely insightful, and it was great to watch students being brought very much out of their comfort zone from the very start. The idea is that students are made to feel confused and unsure momentarily at the start, and as they progress through the tasks, they learn more and more to be able to redo the original task/question much more confidently. Confusion is brought into the equation to heighten the challenge and to induce engagement. Ryan has found that extreme challenge and group-based investigation have enriched his lessons.

Ryan has changed how he delivers lessons as a response to the following:

Students start the lesson off with a multiple choice task, when they stand in a different part of the room, depending on what they feel the answer is. This is an even better task if the students have no reason to know the answer. The example given to us was a History question, and I think it helps to put yourself in the shoes of students when you do something like this in a subject other than your own.

Ryan then gave us tasks to inform us further, this time relying on team work and collaboration. All the while, we knew that what we were learning and discovering was helping us answer the original question.

The key aspect of this session for me is that the students are doing most of the work. The onus is on the students to investigate, to not be dependent upon the teacher. The role of the teacher in this style of lesson moves from that of a leader and teacher to one of a roving prompter.

We discussed what makes a good investigation (which should be featuring in tasks and lessons):
  • Clues
  • Red herrings
  • Gradual informing
  • Team work/collaboration
  • Checks at key junctures
  • Intrigue
  • Intense challenge
  • Confusion
  • Shared outcome
An example of this is with Time teaching - instead of starting simply, give them the most complex phrases first, because they already know numbers and should be able to investigate the structure and work out what each bit means. This moves away from the repetition and spoon-feeding.

This ties in really nicely with my Bloom's section of my talk - why give the majority the simple structure and cap the complexity?

Ryan showed us a 'highlights' video of a lesson, in which Year 9s were accessing a Drugs lesson in Spanish.

The stages of learning went:
  • Vocab (jumbled)
  • Mixed sentences (stuck underneath the tables) - unjumble in groups - point of confusion, as the sentences are quite high level
  • clue for the sentences around the room - work together
  • translation
  • ranking
  • justifying
This was great, as it showed progress, engagement, independence, and the role of the teacher was to further question and prompt so that the tasks were accessible for all.

We had school review week last week, which meant nervous colleagues came to ask advice about lessons. As a direct response to this session, I recommended the "Confusion" strand to the lesson, the starter of "stand in the appropriate place" and collaboration.

So thank you to Ryan for this session. I will definitely be investigating this further - using Easter holidays to create Investigative lessons.

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