Teaching & Learning

The ethos of the Oakwood School Teaching and Learning Policy is governed by “The Oakwood DEAL”.  The Oakwood DEAL covers two main areas conducive to outstanding learning, namely;

  • Classroom Content
  • Classroom Ethos

Each of these areas are subdivided into the following aspects of high quality teaching and learning;

  • Classroom Content
    • Prepare
    • Share Outcomes
    • Motivate Learner
    • Active Learning
    • Apply and Differentiate
    • AfL and Intervene
  • Classroom Ethos
    • Effective Teacher Behaviours
    • Effective Learner behaviours
    • Conditions for Good Learning

Classroom Content: Prepare

Lessons will take place in a stimulating environment (appropriate seating plans, inspiring displays, appropriate resources), have a high level of challenge (will link to previous learning and the real world, be relevant from a rigorous curriculum, have high order questioning infused through the lesson and show the Big Picture).

Teachers will follow the school protocols of meet and greet the students, smile and be enthusiastic, foster an atmosphere of risk taking, have a positive classroom climate and build resilience within the students).

Classroom Content: Share Outcomes

The outcomes of the lessons will be shared with the students.  They must be differentiated to at least 3 levels, progressive, of a high level of challenge and levelled / graded where possible.  They may be shared by the students writing them down, reading them out to the class or by the teacher explaining them towards the start of the lesson.

Classroom Content: Motivate Learners    

All learning styles must be incorporated into the lesson to ensure that all learners are motivated. Examples of which can be found below:

  • Visual – different visual media types are utilised, information is displayed via tables and diagrams
  • Kinaesthetic – hands on activities are employed, where group work is undertaken individual students have defined roles to ensure no opportunity for passivity
  • Audio – Students are given the opportunities to read aloud and debate, the teacher may use targeted questioning to ascertain understanding and move a topic forward.

Classroom Content: Active Learning

Teachers must plan for some aspect of active learning to take place during a lesson to ensure that all students are highly engaged in their learning and have all the tools necessary to undertake the activities of the lesson.  Examples of these may be:

  • A focus table – students can self-refer themselves to the focus table for assistance and help from the teacher or a student expert in the class.  The focus table may also be used for additional intervention from the teacher
  • Have a timer on the board during which time the students may only ask for help from a fellow student, after this timer has expired they may ask for assistance from the teacher
  • Ensuring that the students have all required support available to them before having to ask for help, e.g.
    • Wordbank
    • Sentence starters
    • Notation
    • Key Facts
    • Different equations / formulae

This list is not exhaustive but employed activities such as these will help build the students’ resilience and independence.

Classroom Content: Apply and Demonstrate

Students must be given a variety of different ways through which they can apply and demonstrate the skills and concepts that are being taught throughout the lesson.  This must be through a variety of differentiated tasks with appropriate support materials for some students and extension / more challenging materials for others.  The activities must work their way up through the challenge pyramid and beyond the “applying” stage.

Examples of these differentiated task could be, e.g.

  • Students self select to start from 3 different points in a worksheet / text book
  • Students may be given a choice of different methods for explaining a historical event e.g draw a series of annotated pictures, write 2 letters from a protagonist, write a newspaper article arguing for / against.

These activities must be more challenging as they progress and move up the “challenge” pyramid.  They must not be “more of the same”.

Classroom Content: AfL and Intervene

AfL In the Classroom

The teacher must build in opportunities to assess the students’ learning at different points throughout the lesson.  This may be undertaking in several different ways. Examples of these are

  • Instant feedback methods, e.g. student whiteboards, post its, RAG, Big 5 etc..
  • Via targeted incisive questioning that works it’s way up through “What > Why > How > Apply.”  This is best facilitated through a no hands up questioning technique.

If the findings from these periods of AfL in the classroom show that a group of students (or individual student) has not fully understood the concepts and skills covered then the teacher must instigate an intervention strategy top address this.  In most instances this will be an intervention that takes place in the classroom although there may be times when it is more appropriate for a student / group of students to undertake an extracurricular intervention (e.g. return at lunchtime to go back through the topics)

AFL Via Marking

All students’’ books will be formally marked at least once every 7 lessons for that subject.  A teacher will mark in depth one piece of work that has been covered over these 7 lessons.  This piece of work may be an assessment, piece of homework, written task undertaken in class.

The teacher will write in purple pen:

  • A positive comment
  • An area for improvement with a target for the student to respond to.  This may be correcting some aspects of the previous work, an extension question to attempt or a prompt on how to improve / extend the content of the assessed work. The students will make this response to the teacher’s assessment in green pen before the next time the books are taking in for marking by the teacher.  This is usually undertaken within one week of the marking being completed.  If a student is absent for the response to marking activity the teacher must ensure that the student completes it at the earliest possible convenience for the teacher.
  • Basic spelling mistakes will be highlighted by the teacher in purple pen (up to 3 mistakes per marked piece of work) and these will be correct 3 times by the students in green.  Further information on marking literacy can be found in the school Literacy Policy.

The teacher will keep a written record of the quality of the assessed work in their teacher planner or other means and this will be referred to when communicating with parents via written / interim reports, parents’ evenings and phone calls.

Classroom Ethos: Effective Teacher Behaviours

The teacher will ensure that teaching and learning is varied and interactive (in line with the Classroom Content aspect of The Oakwood DEAL), that there is an inspiring classroom climate and apply appropriate, effective and appropriate classroom management techniques in line with the school Behaviour for Learning policy.  They will be a role model for students and student behaviour.

Teaching and learning will be differentiated via task, method and support aimed a provided a high level of challenge and pace for all students and student groups.  They will have high expectations for all learners, provide regular, constructive and interactive feedback.  A safe, inviting and ordered classroom will be provided which fosters a culture of risk taking and passion.  Rule and consequences will be displayed and applied in line with school policy.  Teachers will be punctual to lessons and adopt the G.A.I.N. mantra (Grad, Adapt, Inspire and Nurture).

Classroom Ethos: Effective Learners Behaviours

Teachers will ensure that students;

  • Seek assistance appropriately
  • Ask questions
  • Form opinions
  • Have different strategies for learning
  • Develop resilience and independence
  • Reflect on their wok
  • Check their personal progress
  • Make informed and constructive decisions about their learning
  • Make links to their previous learning

This will be facilitated through a love of their subject which will enthuse and inspire students.

Classroom Ethos: Conditions for Good Learning

The teacher will facilitate conditions for good learning by;

  • Accelerating students’ learning
  • Reflecting upon the students’ and their own learning, including take responsibility for and engaging in high quality C.P.D.
  • Making effective and appropriate use of ICT for teaching and the students’’ learning
  • Having a structured and collaborative learning environment
  • Undertaking assessment for learning in line with school policy

The above is a summary of the Oakwood DEAL for which all teachers new to the school will receive training.  By all teachers adhering to this policy Oakwood School is a vibrant, enthusiastic and successful learning environment for all stakeholders.

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