Autumn 1 Half-term Digest

As we approach the end of a busy half-term, here’s a round-up of what’s been happening with learning, teaching and professional learning at #TimHeolddu.

Instructional Coaching | Cycle 1

Our first coaching cycle of 21-22 launched in September, involving a cohort of 16 teachers working with our team of instructional coaches. There was a real buzz around this and it was brilliant to walk around the school and drop in on some of the high-quality coaching conversations taking place. Thank you to the teachers who engaged so positively with the cycle, and to the coaches who have worked incredibly hard to make the sessions as productive as they have been. Here’s what you said about Cycle 1:

This is a really strong indication that we are the right lines with our approach to professional learning. We’ll continue to work hard to get it right for everybody, but it’s really encouraging to see at least 90% Good / Excellent responses in all aspects of the process. A reminder that Cycle 2 starts on Monday 8th November 2021. You can access all that you need to know about coaching at Heolddu on our Charter website.

Self-directed Professional Learning

For those who weren’t involved in the first cycle of coaching, I hope that you were able to make a productive start on your selection for self-directed learning. I know that several teachers have found the Roseshine’s Principles workbook very helpful – remember that you can continue to work on this throughout the year – and lots of you have completed the Seneca courses in Cognitive Science. I’d be really interested in hearing your reflections on these and your plans for working your findings into your teaching practice. For those of you about to start your self-directed learning cycle, you can find all of the options available to you here.

Learning & teaching | Excellent Behaviour

Excellent behaviour is our number one learning and teaching priority. Pupils must be able to attend closely and directly to the content of the lesson if learning is to happen. This is not just about compliance and manners, it’s about promoting high expectations and positive attitudes to learning. I really would encourage all staff to look again at their classroom routines to ensure:

A strong start
Pupils should be greeted at the door and directed to their seats and to their work. Some departments are making effective use of Do Now Activities linked to the learning intention for the lesson; this can be a really helpful strategy. A strong start sets the tone for the lesson. Here’s a useful example of the strategy in action.

This technique, more accurately known as ‘Habits of Attention’, seeks to establish routines that cause students to focus their attention during class and build stronger attentional habits. In addition, it seeks to use the signals people send when they attend to someone else to a build stronger, more inclusive learning community.

Explicit exit routines
Learning should be maximised, and pupils should expect to be working as close to the end of the lesson as possible. Pupils should not be dictating when the lesson ends. An explicit exit routine can help to bring calm, order and purposeful end to the lesson. Here’s a useful example of the strategy in action.

Diolch yn fawr! Have a great half-term break!


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