Towards the end of last year, my school scheduled some peer observation sessions where we could go and watch one of our colleagues teach and, hopefully, gain some insight into how others work and maybe pick some things up on the way.
I went to reception, and absolutely loved it! The biggest thing for me was how all of the small groups worked and buzzed about getting on with their tasks. So, I had a few conversations and came up with a game plan working toward delivering KS2 content this way – using groups rotating around tasks throughout the week, working independently, being challenged, and getting lots more adult input. This would, hopefully, stop that seemingly natural draw towards students who always need a little extra help, and even the playing field in terms of support time per pupil.
It seemed to be working.However, some concerns were raised following a formal observation. These knocked me a little bit (OK, a lot bit) as we (me, my TA and my class) had worked really hard in the first half term to get into good routines of where to work and, more importantly, HOW to work.
After some time to think it through, I’ve focused on the positives. My class were on task throughout the session, with little complaining or bothering of me whilst working with my focus group. There was Challenge all over the place and everyone could say what they had done at the end of the session.
And I’ve learnt something. I’ve learnt that I can’t yet truly walk away from “traditional” teaching (delivering a concept/skill and getting the class to work on it in different ways). So the next phase is this:
Work in blocks – 2 weeks, say – where you explicitly deliver a skill. Once the skill is secure, have a single “writing” week (obviously slightly different for maths) where everyone has timetabled support time with an extended task whilst others work on independent and challenge tasks.
It’s a work in progress, but one that I’m excited to be working on. I love innovation, but sometimes you’ll hit stumbling blocks. Last week was a stumbling block, but one I need to learn from and take some positives.