Dear Jerrelle…

 Dear coach…

This month: Science.

A question box was placed in the staff room and staff members anonymously submitted questions they had about teaching and learning.

  1. Any advice on linking group profiles to lesson planning?

    Thank you for your question. It is important to remember that the group profile is a working document that, if necessary, can be passed on to a completely new teacher to pick up the course and plan effective lessons which cater to all learners needs straight away. A mistake a lot of people tend to make is to record the “problem” but not the strategy to deal with it. For example, “Joe Bloggs has dyslexia,” it is good practice to have identified the additional learning need but with identification must come a strategy. “Joe Bloggs has dyslexia, Strategy: provide Joe with handouts on blue paper to enable easier reading.” Here you have a strategy to enable Joe to be on a level playing field with the other learners. His dyslexia made reading on a white background harder than students without it, so you have given provision to enable him to read handouts with as much ease as the other students. On your lesson plan, if you write “blue paper for JB” and provide him with the paper in session, which is a key example of using the group profile to plan your lesson.

You should also have set an initial assessment at the beginning of the term to gauge your new learner’s abilities in your respective areas. All tutors in science set an initial assessment specific to their discipline. The results of this can then be used to plan the sessions effectively. For example, all biology students had the task of researching animal cells, biologically drawing them, labelling them, and describing the components functions. From this, weaknesses and strengths in learner’s individual abilities in this discipline can be identified and used to plan the session. If Joe Bloggs did not use the correct biological drawing (BD) method, this weakness can be picked up on and used in planning. The group profile may show “Joe Bloggs struggles with biological drawing, strategy: provide student with BD rules, monitor in session and set homework accordingly.” Then when a session is planned, you will ensure the student has the BD rules to refer to and have this on your lesson plan. You could also use this information to plan what homework to set him, again, making a note on your lesson plan.

2. “innovation in assessment strategies,” this criteria isn’t always applicable in sessions, for example, enthalpy changes and displacement reactions. Other than experiments, what could be an innovative method of assessment?

Thank you for your question. In addition to the experiments, there are various ways which you could assess learners further using innovative methods and ILT. A quiz can be a beneficial assessment, it tends to engage learners, demonstrates what they have understood and can be done in a variety of ways. Using kahoot can be engaging for the learners and then give you a full report on the individual students performance. This links ILT and innovation.

Creating a quiz based on a popular television programme can also be engaging and innovative. A good example viewed at the college is a “deal or no deal” themed quiz. It was run the same way as the TV show but learners had boxes of questions rather than money in front of them arranged by the teacher. The questions had been placed in a certain way to stretch students at their relative abilities, the use of questions were planned using the group profile. Maths and English initial assessments were also used in the planning as some questions were based on these subjects. Students were given questions to challenge their abilities in maths and English based on the group profile initial assessment/ diagnostic results and analysis. This was an example of innovation, differentiation and allowed the tutor to effectively plan that part of the session using the group profile and evidence this.

Next month: maths

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