Welcome to Cramlington Learning Village and to our 2010 Refresh your Thinking conference edition of The Muse, our teaching and learning bulletin. The Muse was started as a vehicle in which teachers could reflect on their classroom practice and share ideas. As well as excellent timetabled opportunities for staff development and training, every Wednesday afternoon and our own annual two day T&L conference for example, staff (teachers and support) can further share ideas, innovation and good practice in this forum. In a large school such as ours this provides everyone with the opportunity to contribute to professional development.
The articles in this special edition have been written by staff across the school; deputy head, one-to-one support staff, ASTs and heads of department, training teachers and NQTs, teachers with many years of experience and there are even a couple of crosscurricular pieces. These last examples highlight the importance of teachers reflecting on and sharing their work – many of the ideas found within these pages, though often subject specific, can provide inspiration for all teachers in school to try something new. And because a successful approach has at its heart good pedagogy, we have attempted to distil the essence of each article so that it can be adapted to many situations.
This year we continue to develop the Cramlington model of teaching and learning. Cramlington Learning Village has, in recent years, achieved consistently outstanding Ofsted reports through use of the teaching & learning model. This issue kicks off with a summary of the model by Mark Lovatt including our touchstones of pedagogy and a split view lesson planning framework. We also have a focus on the Thinking touchstone in this issue, produced in association with TEEP, the Teacher Effectiveness Enhancement Programme.
As ever PEEL, the Project for Enhancing Effective Learning, provides more inspiration for great teaching ideas and Sarah Shepherd reveals her darker side by turning ‘dirty tricks’ with her year 10s! PEEL in Practice is an excellent resource that focuses on developing learner skills and gives teachers hundreds ideas, explanations of why they work and of peer-reviewed commentary (details on access can be found in the article).
Increasingly students need to become independent and, continuing in the PEEL tradition, I have been trying to remove the feeding spoon from my sixth formers by helping them to plan for a modules’ learning, providing them with everything they need to plan for an entire module. They had to decide what, where and when they would learn! This was an attempt to really personalise their experiences and included seminar type inputs.
Other articles in this issue explore many and varied issues including enthusing students in ICT with a Dragons Den challenge, using stop motion animation to visualise abstract concepts, using a scientific approach to teaching music, some powerful ideas for lesson starters (informed by recent research by Geoff Petty and John Hattie), intervention strategies, time reviews and the enquiry cycle, sequential questioning and selfcorrecting worksheets and the largest knitting needles you will ever have seen!
You will see, as you peruse these pages, that articles are written by, and aimed at, teachers and education professionals at all stages of their professional careers, from NQTs, to heads of faculty and senior management. So you will find, as do our own staff, that some articles will be more pertinent to your situation than others. And frequently what is read here, as with good ideas anywhere else, often simply provides the seed for further inspiration, just as any good muse should do!
Have a safe trip home.