Use it or lose it

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That’s what they say about new learning don’t they? Put it into place straight away or it will never happen? It’s the old adage about those PD sessions you attend. You want to come home with at least one good idea  you can try tomorrow. That doesn’t test your very notion of being a teacher. And moves the students learning forward.

So, I was pleased to come home from a Critical Agenda day with Glen Pearsall, from Critical Agendas on Year 12 Literature with a swag of ideas and I’ve been trying them for the last two weeks. Some you know, of course, and just need reminding. Some were brand new. I liked Glen’s approach, which was focused on very practical strategies tied up with good research backing, and I liked his naming of these strategies as a kind of identifying common language.

Since the day I’ve talked more about ‘bundling’ evidence with the students, talked explicitly about ‘woven quotes’, have deconstructed and reconstructed the examiner’s report (as we did), have used Wordle (see above) to help unpack some key passages from Antony and Cleopatra, have used Wordle to compare student essays, have done the ‘May Essay, August Essay’ comparison, have done some peer to peer swapping and have completely rewritten my feedack sheet.

I was also reminded that the most important thing is that the students are doing the thinking and the work, and that despite the pressures of year 12 and getting ‘through’ the content, the richest, deepest learning is likely to come when students themselves are wrestling with the concepts, not being lead through them by the teacher.