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Student surveys can be illuminating

Student Surveys Student surveys can provide very useful data for teachers regarding their own teaching practice. In particular, they can help teachers to reflect on their teaching strategies, planning processes, lesson activities, assessment instruments and their rapport with students. This year I took a two-pronged approach: A short ‘tick and flick’ survey asking questions such…

In the middle

Book review: In the Middle by Dr Michael Nagel

One of the most interesting trends in pedagogy in the last decade or so has been the increased interest in cognitive neuroscience and its implications for classroom practice. Neuroeducation is the term used by those in the know to describe how neuroscience is being used to inform our knowledge about how students learn. While a…

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Zero tolerance on mobile phones the key to academic success?

Recent research out of the UK has demonstrated that banning mobile phones in schools significantly increases academic results, particularly for the battlers. The results found an overall 6.41% improvement in exam results school wide, as well as a 14.23% improvement in results for the lowest prior quartile of performers, where a no-mobile-phone policy was strictly…

Rubrics– articulating clear learning goals

One strategy to help students understand the learning goals for a task is to provide a simple rubric.  The rubric should break down any jargon found within the success criteria so that students can understand the learning goal (and establish a link between their own work and their likely grade).   I distinguish between what I…

Declarative and Procedural Knowledge checklists – articulate clear learning goals

The first step to a good formative assessment strategy is articulating clear learning goals.  One effective way to do this is to use a Declarative and Procedural Knowledge Checklist.   Cognitive psychologists classify knowledge into two categories: declarative knowledge (which the learner knows or understands) and procedural knowledge (which the learner is able to do).  In…

My professional growth goals

According to AITSL (2012), teacher growth and development is the central factor in establishing a performance and development culture in education.  As part of my ongoing professional development, I have set some professional growth goals based on the following broad categories: Formative assessment Student motivation Religious Education content, curriculum and pedagogy “Reflective teachers systematically set…

Body image: function over form

Bree Abbott of Murdoch University raises some interesting and insightful advice in her article for The Conversation, Teaching girls to prioritise function over form for better body image.  Essentially, Abbott hypothesises that one potential cause for the increase in body dissatisfaction among adolescent girls is that girls stop focusing on what their bodies can do…

Consolidating student learning: lesson closures and plenaries

At the beginning of this teaching year I set myself the professional goal of improving my lesson closures/plenaries.  Students need the opportunity to consolidate their learning by reflecting on new material, making important links and recapping on newly learned facts and concepts. This year I have tried and tested a number of different lesson closure…