Preventative intervention strategies

Having already blogged on why I don’t think ‘whatever it takes‘ is always the best way to view intervention, I presented on preventative intervention strategies at Red House School TeachMeet earlier this week.

We’re in the middle of exam season and there’s a lot of last minute pushes, final revision sessions, drop ins and other inteventions. But it’s also the time of year where teachers can feel flustered and overwhelmed with the amount of last minute things to tick off the list.

Bu5111a797f718b853efb81701769a2916t with increased discussion about workload, retention and recruitment as well as shift towards linear exams, it’s an ideal opportunity to consider if the way things have always been done is the most effective: for staff and students.

 

 

1. Track data at a student, class and year level. Then do something with it.

  • There’s no point having data coming our our ears if we don’t do something with it. By recording data and linking it to key skills, AOs or question types intervention lessons/starters can be planned to address the weakness over time so students are confident, independent learners.

2. Add some power to your marking.

  • šDecide on a marking focus each fortnight (e.g. PP, SEND, HA) and place their books at the top. The books will still get marked but your most focused energy is put on a different focus each time.
  • Or, ask students to place their books onto two piles based on whether they understand/don’t. Mark the students who are unsure first and address any misconceptions they may have through a differentiated starter or a small group input during class time.
  • šGet students to write out their previous target at the start of the next piece of work.
  • šBefore students say they’re finished, they have to identify with a highlighter where they’ve acted on their target. For exam classes, students could also label where they’ve hit the assessment objectives.

3. Create a culture of learning from the day students enter your room.

  • šSelf service board: Place extension material, catch-up work, wider subject material on a board so students can help themselves.
  • šDrop in time: Rather than extensive revision sessions after school that can become additional lessons, offer 1-1s or small group drop-ins over time.
  • The language of excellence: Sometimes the language we use can go a long way in creating expectations. e.g. If you think you need to take it away and proof read, then I’m not going to notice if you ‘forget to hand your book in’.
  • šReading lists: Encourage students to read widely and offer a range of book types.
  • Independent study packs: Have material available for home study. They can also be useful for students who miss lessons or have alternative education arrangements.

4. And the big one: make KS3 count.

It also goes without saying that this year’s Y7s are the Y11s of the future, so closing progress gaps at KS3 through high-challenge curriculum, early intervention will prevent a significant chunk of the last minute chaos at GCSE. Excellence is a habit. If we intervene early and set a standard of excellence then there’s no reason for staff and students to be exhausted by exam season of Y11.

Finally, the future’s bright if we take time to create it.

For more KS3 posts:

On challenge

On engagement

On early intervention

On driving questions for rapid progress

On rethinking differentiation

Progress over time: Why there may be still a place for ‘well done’

In a time when Ofsted no longer grade individual lessons and there’s a move towards demonstrating ‘progress over time’, a new focus for observation, scrutiny and inspection has been identified: marking.

The major problem with this focus on marking is that – like when ‘Ofsted wants to see…’ was the be all and end all of lesson planning leading to VAK learning styles, thinking hats and brain gym (because we all know that without moving around the brain won’t get enough oxygen)  – marking risks becoming a tick-box, ‘prove we’re doing our job’ exercise where the primary people involved (student and teacher) aren’t the primary audience for the feedback being given.

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A positive message for all teachers from Ofsted. Any marking policy that’s justified by ‘Ofsted want to see…’ is misleading. (Click to enlarge)

It’s worth pointing out that Ofsted do not have a particular expectation with marking, they don’t have a set expectation about the frequency or detail of marking in exercise books, nor do they want to see ‘excessive written dialogue’ with students. This should be an announcement that makes teachers cheer, but it doesn’t because the general message of Ofsted appears to have been corrupted and manipulated into another stick to hit teachers with – namely that in order to show progress over time, your marking has to be excessively detailed with little tricks to show students are acting on feedback.

There are a number of problems with this approach:

  1. It assumes that the only way that meaningful feedback can be given is written
  2. If (1) is true, then all verbal feedback must be recorded with verbal feedback stamps (see @TeacherToolkit’s brilliant post about this here)
  3. That the only way to show student progress is if their response is close to the feedback given
  4. It risks creating a ridiculous culture of marking martyrdom where the ‘brilliant marking’ is usually the most detailed, most tick-boxy because it looks pretty on a page, thus having a negative impact on work-life balance and staff well being.

Then I’ll explain why I’d like to rediscover a sincere ‘well done’.

Continue reading “Progress over time: Why there may be still a place for ‘well done’”

Previous posts on Staffrm.io

Prior to opening this website, I have posted to Staffrm.io on a range of topics. The benefit of Staffrm is that, like Twitter, it’s a collaborative space for testing ideas that don’t have to be polished. It’s great for digitally jotting down some ideas and reading what other people are exploring in their own classrooms.

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Previous posts

“What do you think?” Thoughts on 360 reviews as a form of professional learning

Teach. Mark. DIRT. Repeat. Thoughts on streamlining marking

Why I’m banning ‘just Google it’. Thoughts on digital literacy.

Rethinking literacy: teaching literacy through high-quality texts 

“It’s on us now, isn’t it?”: some reflections on student feedback

Multiliteracy: more than reading and writing