Thursday, 19 February 2015

Practical Pedagogies 2015

We're having a two-day conference at my school, the International School of Toulouse, in October. If you can, come. It will be good.
Click on the image to go to the conference website. You can click through to see the programme. It's really varied - a whole range of approaches to teaching across Primary and Secondary that teachers want to share!

It's being coordinated by Russel Tarr, our impressive history teacher. Russel also runs the brilliant history site and also!

We had a coference like this back in 2012, "Practical Learning Technologies in the Classroom", focused on technology in particular. I ran a session with Estelle on blogging in primary and got my first taste of this kind of thing. The whole event was great!

The conference owes something to the "teachmeet" model - which is where teachers meet and have short 7 minute presentations on something that works well for them and that they want to share.

For instance, at the teachmeet at BETT this year I did a 7-minute micropresentation on getting the students contributing voluntarily to the class blog.
This year I've put down to jointly run three workshops. I'm so pleased to do this jointly, partly because it's with three brilliant colleagues, partly because it means more sharing of and reflecting on good ideas in the run-up to the conference. And because there's ten months to go, there's space for more experimentation, reading, thinking for us before we run the sessions.

Valuing talk in the classroom

I'm doing this one with E. We began to talk about our session and what we're going to explore when we were at BETT, and we still need to talk more about this, but there are some directions I'm wanting to explore.
One is dialogic teaching. Have a look at Ilana Horn's summary of the book Beyond Best Practice to get some idea of this: responsiveness to what children say.
The next is the Thinking Together project. I want to start with their way of getting groups to define the rules for how they work together and move on from there: Are these useful rules for discussion? (pdf)
And then there's Pie Corbett's Talk for writing - giving children spoken models that they can imitate and improvise from.
[Edit: here I must add in a photo from my friend Mick and his EAL group discussing friendship:

So, a lot to be exploring!

Big questions & philosophy with children

This one I'm doing with R. Last year I did regular "Big Question" times with my class. But I need to see what other people are doing in this area - and the main approach is Philosophy for Children (P4C). This will give you an idea of some of the key principles of P4C. But central is a kind of pattern: a stimulus (perhaps a story), children posing questions, knowing how to select the ones that are big, ie  not just specific to the stimulus, and debatable, not just a question of finding information. The children then select a question to discuss, get in a circle and begin. Hold the egg when it's your turn to speak, pass it to someone cupping their hands when you've finished.
For me, I want to make it a bit wider than what is these days considered philosophy, to include psychology, cultural studies, anthropology and the like - matters which in the past were within the ambit of philosophy.
Next week we're going to try reading/telling The Hare and the Tortoise to our classes and see what questions come up from this.

Students’ creativity in maths in Primary and Secondary

With J - great to have a session spanning Primary and Secondary. "Designing tasks that have a divergent component. Everyone can do something different, at some point. Everyone can interpret the task in some way that’s their own. Creating space so that students can show their own approaches to whatever maths is being studied. This can be just the way different strategies are acknowledged for a piece of arithmetic." We'll kick off with a practical activity which allows participants to go off in their own direction - then share our experience. Really want to look at the importance of talk in this too!
The problem with running sessions though is that I'll miss so many other brilliant sessions!

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