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Teacher Trance

The last couple of weeks in school feel like a trance, I'm sure this is the case for many other teachers across the country. We're in the middle of the most hectic term in the year, and yet I feel as though I'm running in automatic; sort of like a trance. 
As every other teacher in the country does; I have deadlines, meetings, fixtures and moderation days coming out of my ears, but I feel I'm working in a zone of performance. Lessons are flying past with energy, interventions and progress, the meetings that I'm holding are positive and productive, and deadlines are being met. Is this based on the experience I've had of this time before? Or is it coming from the extra planning and work that I completed during Easter and after work?
Is what I'm feeling similar to when you hear athletes speaking about their zone of performance or 'flow'? Csíkszentmihályi coined this term and has published research to demonstrate that this is possible for people to experi…
Recent posts

Intervention, the Key 20 approach

Key 20

The key 20 approach is one I developed during the completion of my NPQSL course, based on early and effective intervention. The focus is to triangulate academic, behaviour and attendance data to highlight underperformance and concerns that can be improved upon.

The key group of 20 students are selected to be 'easy wins' that are underperforming or causing concern and would not normally come onto the radar of a head of year or key stage. This does two things, it engages staff with knowing 'grey students' in the year group and also helps to address issues early and before the mad rush of Year 11.
The process is a two week cyclical routine that consists of data collection, review and intervention through student ownership.

2 week Cyclical process:
Day 1 Data gathering
Day 1 Pastoral discussion - review
Day 1 Identification and communication
Days 1-14 Intervention

Data gathering
Data is gathered and analysed against agreed levels that can be varied over the course of …

Is assessment in ks4 Core PE relevant anymore?

A recent meeting ahead of a data storage and tracking program change has made me think; is assessment in core ks4 PE still relevant? There is no questioning it's relevance in GCSE PE and how important a role it plays there, but what about in Core PE?
Historically in the department I work in, KS4 is assessed based on performance levels in sport against the GCSE criteria set by the exam board being studied. These grades are then never shared formally with parents, they're at most shared with students informally and aren't put forward for external examination. I personally feel that this has limited the approach to physical activity as a whole and thus the development of students physical activity levels post secondary education. 
The questions that keep circulating my head are: - does assessment in Core PE overly formalise an activity that needs to be viewed as fun? - is assessment and thus viewing quantifiable progress fundamental to students enjoyment and involvement? - does ta…

Proactive and Reactive Behaviour for Learning

Every school has a behaviour policy that is used consistently by all members of staff, right? The questions I get asked and I'd like to answer are; how do you employ it? How can you work proactively in your classroom so that you don't have to get to that stage? If the situation does arise, how to use it?
In order to answer these questions, I have split Behaviour for Learning into two phases; proactive and reactive. These will allow you, the reader and teacher, to see the differences in the two approaches, and how you can go about using them in your own classrooms. Both of them involved the key idea that you have to take control, behaviour for learning in your classroom is your responsibility and only you can change it. 
For the purposes of this blog; proactive is: the processes you go through in order to plan and engage your pupils so that low level disruption and off task behaviour doesn't occur. (I.e. Preventing bad behaviour from happening) reactive is: the processes you go t…

Goldilocks and the three levels of challenge

Challenge is one of the most important 'buzz words' across the education system and is certainly evident in the Academy I'm working in. Challenge is important for pupils to progress and achieve, but it must be at the right level. If the porridge is too hot (the challenge is too high); pupils will be turned off in your lessons and begin to perform off task, if the porridge is too cold (the challenge is too low); pupils will complete work too easily and will be left with spare capacity to behave off task, but if the porridge is just right (the level of challenge is accurate); pupils will engage fully with the task and progress through the task, or more simply eat it all up!
I've used Goldilocks as an example to portray pupils approach in lessons through a story that everyone is familiar with. Over the course of the story, Goldilocks has to try different temperatures of porridge and different mattresses before she feels comfortable to eat/sleep. In the context of a lesson,…

My first term in Leadership

This term was the biggest whirlwind that I have been involved with, exciting in every aspect and draining with every step. Common misconceptions of leadership having the time to do everything required went out the window before the first day, and the juggling act began. I feel that I have managed to keep all the relevant balls in the air, make the relevant impact on each responsibility and still manage my extra curricular commitments (school and personal). This hasn't come easy however, with weekends and evenings going out of the window and endless flack from my better half about work/life balance. 
What's been the biggest challenge this term?
There have been too many challenges to list individually, however one of the biggest has been evidencing successes and areas for development. This has led to some of the hardest conversations I've ever had, but the ways in which I have approached managed, structured and supported these conversations, has enabled them to be productive r…

Chunking the steps to success in more ways than one

Pupil engagement and progress are key issues in any lesson and aspects that require input from teachers to specifically structure interventions in their lessons. This blog is the result of many conversations that I have held with multiple teachers last half term based on maintaining pupil engagement during lessons. 
The technique that was always the agreement was chunking tasks into 5-10 minute tasks. This is especially relevant for boys who find it hard to concentrate on extended tasks. The chunking of tasks in lessons can take two different forms which I identified with another teacher; completely separate tasks that fit together like a jigsaw, or one task that is periodically developed to aid challenge. What we did identify however, is that each of these 'chunks' needs to be differentiated to the relevant level of pupil attainment in the lesson. 
1. Separate task chunking
This involves different tasks being introduced every 5-10 minutes. This allows for the development of enga…