Working in education I feel everyday is part of a much bigger journey. Some days leave you feeling low whilst others leave you feeling an overwhelming sense of satisfaction.
In the classroom I have been on a journey for almost 4 years now and I am constantly striving to engage learners and make them want to learn. I have tried out lots of different strategies with varying results and I am not afraid to say that some of them destroyed lessons! But I learnt from those experiences.
Having responded to a tweet yesterday with a picture of a ‘learning journey’ from a lesson I was planning, I was suddenly inundated with positive responses, re-tweets and new followers. So I decided to blog about it in a bit more detail…
A learning journey (like the one below) is a visual representation of what students can expect to encounter during a lesson. I actually got the idea from @learningspy (please check out his blog for lots of great ideas!). The general idea is that it shows students a route to where they need to get to by the end of a lesson. I began using this last term and embedded it into all my lessons. Students were a bit weary at first but eventually it led to students coming into my room, congregating around the whiteboard looking at the learning journey and then questions about the lesson started to trickle through. I’ve also used it as a starter – “Look at the learning journey on the board, you have 2 minutes to construct a question about today’s lesson…” This has prompted good classroom discussions leading into the next step of the learning journey.
In addition to using learning journeys to help students map out a lesson and further clarify the content of a lesson, I have been experimenting with the way I have been sharing learning objectives with students. Again I can’t claim these ideas for my own! They were generated from reading @learningspy ‘s excellent book ‘The Perfect English Ofsted Lesson.’ The book discusses multiple examples of how teachers can share learning objectives with students and one method that I have found to be successful is shown below…
I have used the above method across all year groups (KS3, KS4 + KS5) and have found the majority of students respond well to it. Prior to using this method I would have my learning objectives and outcomes up on the board and would simply read them out. It felt like something I had to be doing but had little or no effect on the students. The method above makes students more accountable for their learning; they have to take in the learning objective, digest it and set their sights on a goal for the lesson by choosing a level to work towards. This will also help you with showing progress in lessons as students have a clear indicator of what they need to do achieve their target and beyond. One thing to note here is that I had to spend time explaining the difference between the terms ‘describe’, ‘explain’ and ‘discuss.’ With KS3 I went a step further and showed them model answers for each and getting them to practice writing using the three different terms.
The learning objective itself has been developed after reading @fullonlearning ‘s book and specifically her ideas on ‘marginal gains.’ By simply adding the words ‘so that’, students are given a purpose and told the ‘why’ before the ‘what’ and ‘how’. Again this is a really easy, quick win for teachers!
This is by no means an exact science and what works for one does not always work for others, but it is working for me so far! I am being observed on this lesson the first week back after half term by the CEO of my schools learning federation so I will feedback on my feedback then! My learning journey is only just beginning and all going well, I’ll never stop learning.
**Please check my reading list to find links to books by @learningspy and @fullonlearning . If you haven’t read them yet I strongly suggest you do so!!