Finally, I found time to write this blog (must do better next time)!
It was a great pleasure to meet and spend the day with our 50 NQTs in Midlothian on 13th August. There was a great buzz in the room and some really interesting discussion and debate. I’ve also been lucky enough to meet many of them through school or ASG development sessions on the in-service days.
The purpose of this blog is to share information with supporters and those working alongside NQTs about the programme of learning we are engaging in this year. We will be working with a small group of NQTs who will act as a focus group providing feedback and shaping the nature and content of our learning over the session. The focus of the programme is ‘evidence into practice’ and therefore NQTs are asked to go away and try things out and come back and share their experiences and importantly the impact on learners. The programme complements a range of career long professional learning activity taking place within Midlothian this session (for more information have a look at LearnPro).
At the welcome meeting in July our NQTs were all given a copy of John Hattie’s ‘Visible Learning for Teachers: Maximising Impact on Learning’ and were asked to read at least one chapter. We didn’t specify which chapter and suggested that they read the one that appealed to them most. It was nice to see so many books coming back and looking read and well used, some even had notes sticking out of them. We started the session with some reflection and sharing learnin. A popular chapter of choice seemed to be the one on feedback with many questions for discussion emerging.
We creates a workbook for the sessions they will contain the key information and plenty space for recording activities/ discussion. We will add to this as the programme develops. We hope that by the end of the year NQTs will understand the key messages of visible learning and the 5 strands (visible learners, know thy impact, feedback, inspired and passionate teachers and visible school), be able to share these key messages with others and make links with their own practice. As this blog is aimed mainly at NQT supporters or those in schools working alongside NQTs you might want to take the opportunity to ask them more about what they learned and what they have done as a result of this.
So what did we do?
We talked about Hattie’s continuum of influences and discussed some of them in a bit more detail. NQTs took some time to reflect on this and any future actions they may have in relation to what they learned. You might want to explore what they are now doing with this. We focussed on two particular influences; student – teacher relationships and student expectations. Rita Pierson’s TED talk, ‘every kid needs a champion’ is worth viewing and I think our NQTs enjoyed it too.
The afternoon focussed on the strand of visible learners or ‘assessment capable learners’ and I encouraged all NQTs to take time during their first week to ask their pupils ‘what makes a good learner?’ Asking this question will give them a lot of information about their pupils’ perception of learning. This will help our NQTs (and indeed any teacher that asks this question) identify where they want their pupils to be at the end of the term or the year and then plan how to help them get there. We need to know the goal in order to plan the journey and then make it visible for ourselves and our learners.
As I said at the beginning of this post, the focus for NQTs is on ‘evidence into practice’…this means they have some work to do! During the session they completed an assessment capable learners action plan (pg. 14) and they are to bring the findings from this with them to the next session. We will use this information to generate an action plan of focussed enquiry and evaluate the impact this has. We know schools are data rich but the question is how well do we use this data to inform what we do, so, their second task is to have some discussion with their supporter about the data the school has about pupil attainment. NQTs have an outline pro-forma for recording this discussion and key questions. In summary we are interested in what data you have, what you do with it, what gaps you think you have and what you might want to do differently.
You can view the prezi used on the day by clicking here.
You might also be interested in some of the visible learning spotlights available for download on the Educational Psychology Service website.
If you want to hear more from John Hattie himself you can listen to the interview he did last week via this iPlayer link.
Why not also follow the Midlothian Educational Psychology Service and Education Team on twitter – @mideps and @mideduteam to keep up to date with all sorts of developments including #visiblenqts and #visiblelearning.
Don’t forget to post questions and comments and we can share our thinking and learning with each other.