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Using a Framework of 6 Key Principles to Increase the Effectiveness of Smaller Classes Maurice Galton Faculty of Education, University of Cambridge UK Professional Development Activities on Small Class Teaching - Seminar 14 July 2010 Hong Kong

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using a framework of 6 key principles to increase the effectiveness of smaller classes

Using a Framework of6 Key Principles to Increase the Effectiveness of Smaller Classes

Maurice Galton

Faculty of Education,

University of Cambridge UK

Professional Development Activities on Small Class Teaching - Seminar

14 July 2010 Hong Kong

six principles to guide improvements in practice
Six Principles to guide improvements in practice
  • Clear statement of learning objectives
  • Extended questioning during whole class discussion
  • More active pupil participation
  • Increased cooperation between pupils by working in pairs and groups
  • Less use of corrective and more informing feedback
  • More use of the assessment for learning approach

Whenever possible exploration precedes instruction and examples are situated in contexts that are meaningful to the pupils

justification for the six principles
Justification for the Six Principles
  • Empirical: John Hattie’s meta analysis of numerous studies shows that following these principles results in considerable gains in attainment.
  • Theories of learning (particularly social constructivist ones) predict many of these empirical findings, particularly the idea that ‘talk drives learning.’
six principles

CURRICULUM

PEDAGOGY

ASSESSMENT

QUESTIONING

ASSESSMENT FOR LEARNING

LEARNING OBJECTIVES

PUPIL PARTICIPATION

PAIR/GROUP WORK

FEEDBACK

Six Principles
making pupils metacognitively wise

LEARNING OBJECTIVES

STRATEGIC

THINKING

CONCEPT

DEVELOPMENT

KNOWLEDGE AND

SKILLS ACQUISITION

Mainly through whole

classes interactive teaching

and group work

… using plan-do-review cycle…

with emphasis on

task-processing feedback

Mainly by direct instruction

to whole class

Assessment through

‘dialogic’ questioning and

extended written work

Assessment mainly through

pupil reflection, self-evaluation

and class debriefing…

Assessment mainly by

short, quick questioning and

short answer written tests

Making Pupils Metacognitively Wise
first k ey principle specifying learning objectives
First Key Principle: Specifying learning objectives
  • Too often objectives are specified only in terms of the content or task (e.g. To count in tens from one to a hundred, to memorise the words of a song/poem)
  • Teachers need also to consider the purpose behind these activities. Is it to facilitate problem solving (counting), to aid comprehension (recitation), etc?
teachers tend to identify what pupils will do not what they will learn
Teachers tend to identify what pupils will donot what they will learn.

Which of the following tell pupils about learning? (success criteria which are shared with pupils)

  • To make a Christmas decoration
  • To be able to interpret a pie-chart
  • To improve ball throwing skills
  • To complete exercise 3a in your maths text book
  • To discuss what foods are good for us
  • To know when to use ‘a’ and ’the’
  • To draw and label a diagram of a simple electric circuit
some key action words when specifying learning objectives
Some key action words when specifying learning objectives

Low level (transmission): to recall, define, identify, state, recognise, name, list, measure

Medium level (application): to use, show, perform, explain, illustrate, predict, interpret

Higher level (understanding): toclassify, design, organise, compose, discover, summarise, conclude, separate

using key action words when specifying learning objectives
Using key action words when specifying learning objectives

e.g.To count up to one hundred in tens and to use this method to perform simple calculations more rapidly. (low to medium level)

e.g. To memorise a poem and demonstrate comprehension by acting out the parts of various characters in the narrative. (low to medium level)

some key questions when specifying learning objectives
Some key questions when specifying learning objectives
  • Have I not only described the activity but also its purpose?
  • Have I described the purposes in terms of expected pupil behaviour using action words?
  • Have I linked the stated objectives to appropriate use of teaching methods? In general the higher the level the less direct instruction and the greater use of teaching strategies based on the six principles.
second k ey principle extended q uestioning during class discussion
Second Key Principle: Extended questioning during class discussion
  • Much questioning consists of rapid exchanges between the teacher and an individual pupil.
  • These exchanges have been described as cued elicitationsin which the teacher asks questions while providing heavy clues as to the answers required.
second k ey principle extended q uestioning during class discussion12
Second Key Principle: Extended questioning during class discussion

In promoting higher level objectives, pupils need to partake in more thoughtful discourse. This requires teachers

  • To provide some ‘thinking’ (wait time).
  • To use encouraging phrases such as, “Interesting. Can you say more?” “Does anyone else want to add more?” rather than repeating the first answer.
  • To use classroom space flexibly.

example

example

dialogic teaching
Dialogic Teaching

Change in questioning strategies to promote dialogic talk:

  • structured and cumulative questioning which guide and prompt, reduce choices, minimize risk and error and expedite handover of concepts and principles
  • training which enables pupils acquire a repertoire of learning talk, which includes the ability to explain, to argue cases, to give reasons to back up assertions and to arrive at conclusions through negotiation
some key questions about extended class discussion
Some key questions about extended class discussion
  • How many pupils generally participated?
  • Were thinking times sufficient?
  • Did the pupils’ responses indicate that more than simple recall was taking place?
  • Did my (the teacher’s) responses help to extend discussion?
third k ey principle more active pupil participation
Third Key Principle: More active pupil participation

When endeavouring to apply newly acquired knowledge to novel situations, pupils generally find it easier to gain understanding through ‘learning by doing’. It helps if

  • The context is a familiar one
  • Ideas are shared through activities such as ‘brainstorming’, creating ‘concept maps’, etc as a form of initial scaffolding
some key questions about active pupil participation
Some key questions aboutactive pupil participation
  • As far as possible was the task situated in a context which was meaningful for the pupils?
  • Was there some initial exploration of the pupils’ ideas before activity began?
  • Was the task sufficiently motivating?
  • Did pupils demonstrate understanding by reaching reasonable conclusions?
fourth k ey principle increased cooperation between pupils
Fourth Key Principle: Increased cooperation between pupils

Group and pair work often fails because

  • There is not sufficient academic challenge.
  • Organisation allows only some children to actively engage in the task.
  • Rules of cooperation have not been established and are not re-enforced.
  • Class does not engage in a debriefing session in which they discuss how well they worked together, etc and ways of doing better next time.
key questions about i ncreased cooperation between pupils
Key questions about increased cooperation between pupils
  • Was adequate time allowed?
  • Did the task allow most of the pupils to actively participate for most of the time?
  • Were pupils reminded about the rules (e.g. taking turns, listening carefully etc.)?
  • Did the class have a chance to discuss how well they worked as a group/pair?
fifth k ey principle less use of corrective and more informing feedback
Fifth Key Principle: Less use of corrective and more informing feedback
  • Much feedback consists of showing pupils where they went wrong and then providing the right answer (corrective feedback)
  • Feedback can also be used to help pupils to learn how to spot their own mistakes and eventually to self-correct (informing feedback)
3 kinds of feedback
3 Kinds of Feedback
  • About Self: should focus on effort rather than on person. Thus ‘That’s a good try’ rather than ‘Well done’. Purpose is re-enforcement.
  • Task processing: (informing) ‘Where have you got to?’ ‘What do you think may have gone wrong?’ ‘What are you going to do next?’ Purpose is self-regulation.
  • Evaluative: (corrective) most powerful when it is about faulty interpretation rather than supplying missing information. ‘Show me how you got that answer’ rather than, ‘ You need to do it like this.’
key questions about less use of corrective and more informing feedback
Key questions about less use of corrective and more informing feedback
  • Did I praise effort as well as success?
  • Did my questions help pupils to spot where they went wrong or how they could improve their work?
  • When correcting a piece of work did I get the pupil to show me how s/he arrived at the answer?
sixth k ey principle u se of the assessment for learning approach
Sixth Key Principle: Use of the assessment for learning approach
  • Assessment for learning makes use of formative assessment in order to diagnose pupils’ learning difficulties and thereby provide the required teaching to remedy these deficiencies. At its lowest it employs techniques such as ‘traffic lights’ to sort pupils into groups for attention. At its best it is personalised and caters for individual needs.
key questions in the use of the assessment for learning approach
Key questions in the use of the assessment for learning approach
  • Were the forms of classroom organisation sufficiently flexible to allow groups of pupils with similar learning needs to come together?
  • Was much of the formative assessment based on what pupils said and did rather than what they wrote?
  • Did I build these oral assessments into a pupil profile?
professional development
Professional Development
  • In facilitating teachers’ paradigm shift in pedagogy, the approach of “Learning Circles” has been crucial. Both inter-school sharing across subjects and intra-school sharing of pedagogical issues, which focuses at any one time on a specific aspect of pedagogy, allows teachers to observe and evaluate each other’s classroom practice and thereby enhances the participants’ professionalism.
how can teachers best monitor and evaluate their small class practice
How can teachers best monitor and evaluate their small class practice?
  • When applying the six key principles, teachers are advised to ask a colleague for help in monitoring their classroom practice. (If that is impossible, then they can record their lessons.)
  • To ask pupils for evaluation data. (Asking pupils merely whether they enjoyed the lesson or learned anything is unlikely to be useful.)

example

example

slide27
How do teachers know that they’re doing the things that will help promote learning in smaller classes?

As a group (or individually)

  • Regularly review progress by asking themselves a number of key questions
  • Then try to identify the sources of evidence
  • Then consider what explanations that different kinds of evidence provide
  • Then discuss what actions need to be taken next (e.g. to re-plan the lesson)
some indicators of success
Some Indicators of Success

What teachers of small class might look for

  • A shift from interactions with pupils which are brief and random to those that are longer and more sustained.
  • Lessons that often provide opportunities for pupils to explore their ideas before formal instruction begins.
  • An increase in the proportion of pupil talk, much of it occurring between pupils.
  • Evidence of ability to assess pupils’ understanding on the basis of what they say rather than what they write.
  • Willingness to change classroom layout to meet the requirements of different learning tasks and different kinds of learning talk.
  • Encouragement to pupils to reflect critically on the procedures and methods used when actively engaged on tasks.
key references
Key References

Hattie, J. and Timperley, H (2007) The Power of Feedback, Revue of Educational Research, 77 (1):81-112.

Hattie, J. (2005) The paradox of reducing class size and improving learning outcomes,International Journal of Educational Research, 43 (6) 387-425.

Watkins, C (2003) Learning: A sense-makers guide, London: Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL).

Galton, M. (2002) Learning and Teaching in the Primary Classroom, London: Sage Publication.

Wood, D. (1998) How Children Think and Learn, Oxford: Blackwells.