The Best and Worst in Teaching and Learning

8th December 2011

1. Questioning

Best: Deep, higher order, building on each other and that get pupils (and you) thinking and wondering why. At best developed by the pupils themselves.
Worst: Superficial, recall based where no-one really cares about the answer anyway
2. Stretch
Best: Allowing pupils to move forward, skip bits they find easier and move on to things that challenge and interest them
Worst: Meaningless, boring and unhelpful extension work added on at the end (more of the same cf. Higher order thinking) practically as a punishment for having completed the initial work
3. Routines
Best: Clear, consistent routines that allow pupils to know what to expect, stop them feeling insecure and demonstrate fairness
Worst: Pointless rigidity that gets in the way of creativity
4. Working together
Best: Effective team teaching e.g. cross curricula projects where both teachers contribute and stimulate each other and pupils
Worst: Extra staff deployed without purpose or understanding of how they are adding value
5. Assessment for Learning and peer assessment
Best: Encouraging a growth mindset where everyone’s interested in how they can do better, where pupils peer assess to help each other improve. Detailed reviewing of work
Worst: Pupils only ever grading or marking each others’ work without any “so what…” and thinking assessment = levelling. Marking all the time
6. Research
Best: Pupils finding information for themselves, sharing and teaching each other
Worst: Expecting pupils to research independently without teaching them research skills and setting out success criteria
7. External visitors
Best: Bringing people in from outside who have something clear to contribute, know why they’re there and how best to contribute
Worst: Bringing people in who have no aptitude or training in working with young people just to ‘talk about something’ or because “they’re from business, they’re bound to be inspirational mentors.
8. ‘Failure’
Best: Allowing pupils to ‘fail’
Worst: Not helping them to succeed next time
9. Purpose
Best: Learning that results in a ‘product’
Worst: Pointless activities and… ‘make a poster’ ad infinitum
10. Fun
Best: Making discovery and learning interesting in and of itself until it feels fun
Worst: Dependence on games or doing things just because they’re entertaining.
Any thoughts? Don’t forget to comment or tweet to @LKMco #BestAndWorst