Skip to 0 minutes and 0 secondsAndrea: Welcome, good evening. Welcome to the Differentiating for Learning online question and answer session with Chris here in England.
Skip to 0 minutes and 8 secondsChris: Hi.
Skip to 0 minutes and 9 secondsAndrea: And Dylan over there in America.
Skip to 0 minutes and 11 secondsDylan: Hello.
Skip to 0 minutes and 11 secondsAndrea: I always forget, but this time I have remembered. I am telling people at the start to have a pen and paper ready, so that you can make notes as you go through. I currently have. I'm going be looking through the themes that are coming out from what Chris and Dylan are talking about, as well as research articles that'll be referenced, and teaching ideas, because I know that these are really rich sessions. So, thank you first of all to the National STEM Learning Centre, for the opportunity of doing the calls and getting us all together because it's always useful. Thank you to Chris and Dylan for your time. Without further ado, we shall start.
Skip to 0 minutes and 38 secondsThank you, to you participants for your questions. So we will start with Rachel Jones. This first group of questions I've called classroom practice ideas. I'm going to ask Dylan to be the first to respond to this. So Rachel asks, during activities where pupils are placed in mixed ability groups or pairs, how can you ensure that the group interaction is valuable? She often finds that groups, some group pairings are more effective than others. So over to you Dylan.
Skip to 1 minute and 8 secondsDylan: I think the first thing to do is to start from the research about co-operative learning. And we know from the research about co-operative learning, that it's more successful when you have group goals and individual accountability. So when you have students working in a group, the crucial thing is that they all should be engaged in the same task. Which is learning a piece of material in this case, I guess. But the idea is, that every single student is accountable to the group for the quality of their contribution. So in other words, very different from project based on teamwork, the goal is not coming up with a good shared project. The goal is that everybody learns the same material.
Skip to 1 minute and 49 secondsSo the thing we have to do is to make sure that everybody in the group understands that they can't be successful unless everybody in the group is successful. So if one certain student learns it, and another student doesn't learn it in a pair, or a group, than it's failed. Because the purpose is not success at the group level, its success at the individual level. So I think it's very challenging to do this, and many teachers actually think they're doing it when they're not. But the crucial criterion for me is that every single student understands and they're accountable for the learning of everybody else in the group. Nobody can be successful unless everybody is successful.
Skip to 2 minutes and 25 secondsAnd that seems to be the key criterion.
Skip to 2 minutes and 30 secondsAndrea: Lovely, thank you Dylan, that's really helpful. Chris do you have anything to add to that one?
Skip to 2 minutes and 35 secondsChris: Only to say what is important as well is, teachers realising that children are actually a resource to one another. So I agree totally with Dylan that having a goal for the group is vital. But that, they'll bring with them different experiences, so different funds of knowledge that they can pull on. So realising that you'll get a richer source of data from a group than you will from individuals. Many teachers don't want to work in groups because they think some children will monopolise the group. But you get group work going well, the overall group outcome being that they all will learn from it. Then they can actually draw on and respond to knowledge.
Skip to 3 minutes and 20 secondsDylan: There's a technique that might be useful here. It's a bit radical so some people don't like it. I first heard it described by a mathematics teacher in Brazil named Roberto Baldino. The idea is, a team of four students is arranged every week. So the teams change every week, but teams of students in teams of four have to study a chapter from a textbook. And when the students think they've learned the chapter, everybody in the group is tested on the content of the chapter. Everybody in the group is awarded the score of the lowest scoring member of the group, whose name is not revealed.
Skip to 3 minutes and 58 secondsUnless everybody gets 10 out of 10, in which case the name of the student doesn't matter. But the important point is, that is one way of sending a very clear message, that none of us can be successful unless everybody's been successful. It's very challenging. People will say, "Well that's not very fair." And it's not a good reflection of what each individual student in the group learned, but as a way of saying we are a community of learners here together and we need to help each other learn, I think it's a very effective way, and again the teams need to be changed every week to create some variety.
Skip to 4 minutes and 38 secondsBut that is a very concrete technique that can actually be used to deliver this kind of differentiation. But it's quite provocative to some people because it feels somehow that you're holding back the high achievers. But of course, as research on co-operative learning shows, often it's the highest achievers who benefit most from collaborative learning because they're forced to explain their thinking to others. Incidentally, some research that came out last month shows that the mechanism by which this works is retrieval practice. So if one student teaches another, from a book, then they don't get the benefit. But when they are teaching each other from memory, they do get the benefit.
Skip to 5 minutes and 19 secondsSo it seems like the reason that teaching others seems to deepen our own understanding, is because it forces us to retrieve things from our own memories, rather than just parroting it out of a book.
Skip to 5 minutes and 32 secondsChris: Or being good at comprehension. Yes.
Skip to 5 minutes and 34 secondsAndrea: That's lovely. That's really useful. Thank you. From that discussion we've only had one question. Right, second question, this is from Anne Crathorne. Chris I'm asking you about this first. It's not really a question Anne says, but she would really appreciate some videos of differentiation in practice, seeing some. Of course we've got them on the course.
Skip to 5 minutes and 55 secondsChris: Right
Skip to 5 minutes and 55 secondsAndrea: Are you aware of any others?
Skip to 5 minutes and 58 secondsChris: It's quite an interesting question, or statement, because a lot of the videos that you see on YouTube or Teachers TV, or whatever are often showing the earlier parts of an AFL cycle, where people try to elicit acknowledge or find out whether kids have got misconceptions or where the problems are. You don't often see the bit where kids are actually working in different ways to actually get to the solutions or whatever. So I can't think of any off hand that you could actually go to.. But I think one of the things to think about, is to .. when You're teaching, have a look.
Skip to 6 minutes and 49 secondsMaybe have some marker children in your class and have a look at how they are responding to whatever it is that you've decided that they should do differently, in order to get them to that same learning point as the others. Or to think about what support they need and how to respond to that support. Because it's in that way you start to refine your practice and realise the variety of ways you need to work with children in order to take their learning forward..
Skip to 7 minutes and 14 secondsAndrea: Listening to you both actually, is making me think what you're saying ... That actually going in and watching another teacher, watching each other .. and Discussing, you know, picking out children and discussing and seeing each other's practice is probably more than beneficial than just watching videos actually. Helps you see what is recurring in reality. Okay the other thing to mention actually, I was going to mention it at some point, but there is resources on the National STEM Learning Center as well. So it's worth going to have a look at those and seeing what's on there.. But there's lots of clips of teachers teaching, and it's just having that dialogue and thinking about isn't it ..
Skip to 7 minutes and 45 secondsNot necessarily differentiation per se but actually just looking at classroom practice. Okay thank you Anne. Moving on to question three, which I'm bouncing first to Dylan. This is from Jennifer Ellis. She's tried some of the strategies we've talked about on the course before. But her district has become very data driven and wants to see differentiation in classes during observations., If they're not using something like Zip grid, which when they admin in class, differentiation is often noted. How can she show admin easily that differentiation is happening during these brief observations?
Skip to 8 minutes and 20 secondsDylan: Well, I think the difficulty with this question,
Skip to 8 minutes and 26 secondsis it depends on how much you want to [inaudible 00:08:29] and give the administrators what they want, even though it's not valuable for children's learning. So the real problem as John Mason memorably said, many years ago, "Teaching takes place in time, but learning takes place over time." So learning is a change in long-term memory. And what we want in differentiation, is differentiation in learning, if you'd like. Recognising different students' different starting points. Not differentiation in terms of the tasks we give them to do necessarily. That might be one way you do it.. But the goal is to meet each student's learning needs. So there's this ..
Skip to 9 minutes and 3 secondsThere's a danger that we actually do things that look like they're differentiating, but are hugely ineffective, because you're actually, for example pigeon-holing certain students saying "Well I don't think you can achieve this so I'm going to give you the easy work." And what is challenging for the students. So for me, I think that it's a political question. How far down that road do you want to go of looking like you're doing something, just for the sake of looking like you're doing it. But the reason that this course runs interleaved with the assessment for learning course is, that really differentiation of learning is all about finding out where students are, and then adjusting your teaching accordingly.
Skip to 9 minutes and 41 secondsIt's what David Ausubel pointed out 50 years ago. The most important determinant to effective teaching is what the learning already knows, ascertaining this and teach accordingly. And if we had one to one tuition, that'd be very easy. The challenge, of course, is how you do this in a group. How would you take a diverse group of students and change the learning activities so that more students can engage? I think one of the things we have to do, is to think about ask questions that get students talking, rather than questions that catch students out. The idea that the more students are talking, the more they're thinking. Those kinds of approaches are very powerful.
Skip to 10 minutes and 23 secondsIf you're in a vulnerable position as a teacher you might want to do something that might look like you're providing different work, for different students. It's not educationally valuable, I don't think, as a general strategy. Drives teachers to distraction because it's so much extra work. But It might me something you need to get administrators off your back.
Skip to 10 minutes and 42 secondsAndrea: Thank you, Dylan. Any thoughts, Chris?
Skip to 10 minutes and 47 secondsChris: I would just say, just to be open with these people, and tell them afterwards what they are likely to see in the lesson. And then ask them whether they saw it or not. If differentiation is happening, they should be able to recognise if you told them what to look for and it's there. Let them look for it, be open about it.
Skip to 11 minutes and 6 secondsAndrea: Lovely, thank you both. Some very sage advice there. Thank you, Jennifer, for your question.. I know that's not .. I presume if its in districts in we're talking America. But there's similar pressures in other jurisdictions around the world, I'm sure. Okay, moving on to Emma Turner's questions. This is, again, you Dylan I have put you down for this one first. The question is, How do you differentiate for GCSE class of boys with only one girl, and she's got the full range. She has students who point blank refuse to work, unless you're telling them what to write.
Skip to 11 minutes and 37 secondsGroup work can sometimes lead to silly behaviour, and students working with friends who do not most appropriately choose the activity that's right for them. How can you get in classes like that? And I know Emma's not the only person who's asked this. How do we get the students motivated, that's the thing, isn't it? To actually do the work themselves?
Skip to 11 minutes and 56 secondsDylan: Well, I think there's a kind of predominant assumption that we need to get students motivated in order that they learn, and that they are successful. Some recent research from Canada suggests that the direction of casualty goes the opposite way. In fact, there is nothing so motivating as being successful. So one of the reasons the students won't do anything unless you tell them what to write, is because they can't be wrong. If you tell me what to write and I write it and it's not correct, then it's your fault, not mine.
Skip to 12 minutes and 25 secondsSo what you have there, is students with a fixed mindset, or students who are so worried about failure, that they'd rather not try, and get in trouble for being lazy rather than actually taking a risk and learn anything. So, that, is something that I think you can't change quickly. But giving students success, making sure that students can understand that you can learn to do things. Every student has a growth mindset to begin with. I ask 12 year-olds all over the world, "Would you be able to learn to drive a car?" And every 12 year-old I've ever met, even if they can't drive a car now, they believe that they'll be able to learn to drive a car.
Skip to 13 minutes and 1 secondEvery 12 year old has a growth mindset for car driving. And the challenge for us is to give students enough success, so they see the same thing for mathematics and science, as well as the other things they can see that they can learn to do. In terms of grouping, I think, one of the things we can actually do is to have a conversation with our students, about different kinds of grouping for different kinds of purposes. So yes, sometimes you might want to let students work in friendship groups. But I think you might also want students to actually identify working groups. So the students are given a clear requirement.
Skip to 13 minutes and 41 secondsTell me somebody you think you could work with, who is not a friend, and that might be more valuable. What is interesting is we see quite a gendered response to this. Boys often choose the smartest person in the class, because he'll tell me the answers. Whereas girls are more likely to choose somebody of a similar, but slightly higher level of achievement because then they'll be able to learn from them. So I think we need to have a conversation with our students particularly the boys, about the purpose of this activity is learning, not getting the correct answers. Therefore, your best working groups might not be your friends, because they might not actually give you the answer because they're your friends.
Skip to 14 minutes and 24 secondsGetting students to start having a conversation around the benefits of working with different kinds of people. Also, having a more open discussion about hearing things from different perspectives. As Robert Swan, the polar explorer once said, "When everyone is thinking the same thing, no one is thinking." So the idea of heading different perspectives on sort of things can help you deepen your own understanding of something, and maybe having those kinds of conversations with students about why it's valuable to hear things from other people from a different perspective.
Skip to 14 minutes and 55 secondsAndrea: Lovely. Thank you, Dylan. Anything to add?
Skip to 14 minutes and 57 secondsChris: No I agree. And I think it ties in very much with the increasing diversity we seem to be getting in classrooms. If you see it as the result rather than as a problem. Think about that when you're drawing ideas. I think that could be really useful.
Skip to 15 minutes and 18 secondsAndrea: So it goes to see how it's our thinking. Lovely, thank you both very much, thank you Emma for that question. Moving on to Warren Brewer's question. Warren asks, and I'm going to say this to you, Chris, Warren's biggest concern is running out of time. How can you make sure that a lesson isn't too long when incorporated and differentiated learning?
Skip to 15 minutes and 34 secondsChris: Well, whenever any innovation is brought in, one of the main factors that teachers will tell us why they can't do it, is time. But, teachers can make time. It's about looking at what you're doing in terms of student learning, and capitalising the time that you think is going to be most useful in helping them move forward. So there might be some things that you don't need so much in the lesson, that you can actually do quickly, like taking the register, correcting homework, whatever it is. Maybe have ways of actually cutting down on that, to give more time to that talking and thinking.
Skip to 16 minutes and 18 secondsOne of the things I get our trainee teachers, the ones who are pre-service, at this stage in the year when they're coming almost to full competency, is to backward plan their lessons. To actually look at their lesson's structure, and not to start at the beginning of the lesson but where the actual, real learning is going to take place. Plan that in, and then fit everything else around. Because it's actually making sure you do give time to this, which is key to what's going on. So it's just sort of tweaking what you do already, and thinking very carefully about where the most beneficial parts of the lesson are for the learners.
Skip to 17 minutes and 1 secondDylan: I think this would be a much more difficult question to answer, if what we were doing is successful. What we have now in schools is teachers feeling like that they need to cover the syllabus, cover the curriculum. So they do it at a speed that students can't cope with, and then six months after you need to do it again, because they've forgotten it all. So, teachers would always say to me, and Chris has acknowledged, "We don't have time to do this." I always say the same thing, "Yes you do. You're currently spending it on something else that's less valuable."
Skip to 17 minutes and 26 secondsSo all of this is important, and one of the things you can do is create space to think about what the big ideas are, and what are the kind of 'nice-to-haves', but are not necessarily essential., So, I remember talking to Paul Spencely one of the teachers in the very first KMOFAP project that Chris and I were involved in, and he said to me, "You need to spend much more time on a particular matter, because students get those images as models. They use them to reason effectively, about questions like Osmosis which they haven't even studied correctly, because they've got this idea that matter's made of particles."
Skip to 17 minutes and 59 secondsThe corollary of that is, some stuff are nice to have, but it doesn't go anywhere. Like the phases of the moon. It's a great thing to teach, with torches, and tennis balls, things like that. But you know what, if students don't get this, nothing bad happens. There's nothing later on they're going to study that's going to be critically dependent on their understanding of phases of the moon. So I think we have to separate it out the things from, the essential from desirable, and then make sure that we commit first of all, to the essential.
Skip to 18 minutes and 29 secondsAnd then we assess the students, and if they've done what they needed them to do, then we actually do some of the desirable stuff as well. But the important part is, there's too much in the curriculum, what are you going to do about it? There's too much in our curriculum because basically, science and maths curriculum all over the world are paced to the needs of the fastest learning students, which means there's far too much for most students. You can't just teach at the speed that allows you to meter out the curriculum at the right pace. Some kids get it, some kids don't. I think that's immoral.
Skip to 18 minutes and 58 secondsI think we should be going slower, being clear about where the big ideas are, and taking more of our students with us. That's where the time comes from. As Chris says, it's a slow process, we can't change overnight. But I think just giving ourselves some slack, so we could use the information we're getting about students achievements to adjust our teachings to better meet their learning needs, that's the crucial concept here.
Skip to 19 minutes and 23 secondsAndrea: Absolutely, thank you both very much. Our next question from Victoria Hatfield, she's asking a question which I'm going to ask, Dylan, if you know any resources first. She's talking about creating differentiated lessons for more mature learners, ranging from 16 to 60. Is there anything in particular?
Skip to 19 minutes and 44 secondsChris: Why stop at 60?
Skip to 19 minutes and 46 secondsDylan: Well, obviously, I used to teach adult numeracy, in East London. And there's this idea in adult education that somehow adults are different from students. And they've even got this idea called, Andragogy, the idea that pedagogy applies to children, and that andragogy applies to adults. I think it's nonsense. Most people are happy to go to an orthopedic surgeon, even when they're grown ups. Even though orthopedic means straightening legs in children, originally. You don't go to an ortho/andra surgeon. Pedagogy applies to everybody, human brains are the same. Human learning is the same, adults often have more baggage than children. So I think we have to accept that.
Skip to 20 minutes and 35 secondsThe important thing is to actually start with a wide [inaudible 00:20:43] Which we design our starter activities. So that people with different experiences can actually get engaged in this, and then we focus the activity more as we learn more about the interest, and the strengths, and the weakness of the individuals in our groups. But for me, there are no different principles here, it's just being open to the idea that everybody should be able to engage in this activity. How can I start this activity in the widest possible way, ask questions and get people talking, rather than thinking ... and Here, by the way, I think making statements rather than asking questions can be very powerful.
Skip to 21 minutes and 14 secondsBecause you could be wrong responding to a question, you cannot be wrong responding to a statement. So I think if the goal is to get people just sharing their ideas and their experiences, I think making statements can be a very more powerful way of beginning those sequence of teaching activities than asking questions.
Skip to 21 minutes and 30 secondsAndrea: Lovely. Thank you Dylan that's really good. Anything to add Chris?
Skip to 21 minutes and 33 secondsChris: No. I think what would quite interesting is the concept cartoons, that we've introduced in this assessment for learning, MOOC. It's from Millgate publishing written for students, but you can actually get on the materials, one way to just writing your own and actually having those pics of three adults with speech bubbles and things that they might say, it could be a useful way to actually start that off. Doing the things that Dylan was just suggesting about, it's very much like the kids, ut just a slightly different version for the adults, see what adults want to say in stasis statements.
Skip to 22 minutes and 14 secondsAndrea: That's lovely. Thank you. Thank you. It's got that breath, give it a chance to explore the breath that they may bring to the learning. Okay, thank you. So our last question in this section, Chris I'm going to ask you first,, this is question is from Debbie Niblock, it's about practical work. So how can I differentiate for experimental work when a specific objective is desired, such as reaction between corporate oxygen? Are there some examples of differentiating practical work, that would work possibly with in class experimentation?
Skip to 22 minutes and 44 secondsChris: Right. Where do I start with this one? Well, there are different, you might have different intentions with practical work, anyways.. So you might be doing copper to copper oxide, or you might be doing marble chips and acid. But it's, what are you working on with your learner's, are you interested in the actual reaction itself and describing that reaction? Are you interested in using it to collect data in order to work out and create formulae? Are you doing that particular practical because you want them to actually understand rate and get, and collect data from workout rates to action? Or maybe changing variables as you go along instead of control and manipulation of variables?
Skip to 23 minutes and 25 secondsOr are you just seeing if they can follow instruction? So there's lots of different ways that you can actually do practicals and make them purposeful. And one of the problems in science we find, is that often science teachers just do practicals because they do motivate kids on the how, and they don't think about the reasons why they're doing them. So once you've sorted out your purpose, then it becomes easier to differentiate because there are different levels and degrees of, that kids will have problems with or be able to do.
Skip to 23 minutes and 54 secondsSo for example, quite interesting wasn't actually a chemistry one, it was one working out rates in physics, but suddenly this teacher realised that kids didn’t really understand rates, the problem was not with actually reading stuff off the graph they got, but it's actually they haven't gotten an understanding of rate. They didn't realise where that was on the graph and what that actually meant. Whereas, some of the kids couldn't even understand scale on the graph they'd actually drawn. And so all sorts of things came out, needs for different kids in the class, and so then she was able to differentiate.
Skip to 24 minutes and 31 secondsSo first work out your purpose, then work out where all the possible misconceptions, or possible difficulties that they might have, where are the strengths and weaknesses, get them going, think of part of the task where you're going to make the decisions, when you've got some evidence of how they are doing and then make that judgment and then start differentiating. So it's quite a few steps in there. And practical is quite complex, because you might be teaching skills or you might actually be helping children with a conceptual development in that particular science area. No, sure, it's probably similar in mathematics. Dylan where you're much more the expert than me.
Skip to 25 minutes and 13 secondsDylan: Yes, although generally, I think practical work or investigative work in mathematics is by nature more open ended. And therefore it needs itself to differentiation much more, because then it's up to the students. There's a famous examination paper offered in 1966, where paper three was one four hour paper, they were 10 questions in the which students had to choose just one. And one of the options was investigate the mathematics of a chessboard, and it was up to the students to decide what the questions were, and then to come up with some interesting I hypotheses or ideas.
Skip to 25 minutes and 49 secondsSo I think, generally, in science you are trying to find a particular result or get students understand a particular thing in mathematics, generally, it's either a problem or a genuinely open ended investigation. So I think it's just naturally easy to do in mathematics, because there isn't often a pre-specified end point.
Skip to 26 minutes and 6 secondsChris: Well, sometime this week, had one of the ones on our Sysmic project, where the students actually investigated symmetry in flags, of different countries. And although it was quite open, there's only so far you could actually go, or at least with the flags that we found, that we're working on anyway.
Skip to 26 minutes and 28 secondsDylan: Alright. Because there's a wonderful example there with the French flag, because the three regions of the flag are not the same area, it's very interesting. Most people assume that they're the same size, but they are not. It's a wonderful way of teaching about fractions.
Skip to 26 minutes and 41 secondsAndrea: Right. Moving on, our next little section, there's only a couple of questions that have come up this time on this. I'm going to pick out ideas that are related to students competence and resilience.. Yes, and I think we may have touch on that a little bit earlier, when you were chatting Dylan about the .. when he talks about driving and growth mindset, the kids wanted to learn how to drive., So our first question comes from Sajeda Bano I'm going to ask Dylan, she's got three questions, really, so I'm going to start with the second question that she's put down.
Skip to 27 minutes and 13 secondsWhich is, she's going to try the KWL grade, she'd like to understand how to use the response it generated from it in the lesson? Would it have to be pre-planned what you expect students to reply so that you can have all the right resources and materials ready, what a student responded, and they would like to do something that was outside the remit? And how could you arrange for that?
Skip to 27 minutes and 36 secondsDylan: One of the things about teacher expertise is that experienced teachers are very good, can to be able to determine whether an unusual response from a student is a chance to advance the whole classes learning or will be a distraction, and not as teachers often completely ignore contributions from the class or sometimes they get in the rabbit hole, and they just follow that one idea, even though it's not relevant to the issue at hand, it's not particularly interesting either.
Skip to 28 minutes and 1 secondSo I think one of the things that nervous teachers don't do, that expertise to do very well, is to be constantly thinking about the goal of this lesson, where I'm trying to get the class to, does what that student say help me move the class towards that goal. And so, obviously, the students say, can we have a trip? That might be a genuine suggestion, or am I just use avoiding work? So I think you should probably give them some parameters about what kinds of suggestions are likely to be something that you can act upon. But I would say, depending how far you are along in your career, I would script it even further.
Skip to 28 minutes and 38 secondsSo I wouldn't, use one of those ideas [inaudible 00:28:41] multiple choice questions. I'd use multiple choice questions where you are pretty sure what each of the incorrect options means in terms of what you will do. And the obvious thing to start off with, is if you have diversity, get students to discuss with a neighbour. That's the thing that Harvard physicist Eric Mazur does all the time. He lectures for about 20 minutes, asks the students a question, if nobody gets it right, he might teach some more. If everybody gets it right he'll move on, but the most likely outcome is that some get it right, some are going to get it wrong.
Skip to 29 minutes and 6 secondsSo then he'll invite them to discuss with a neighbour. Now, the interesting thing is, sometimes after students have discussed it with a neighbour, they actually get worse answers the second time around, than the first time round. But that's actually a very revealing point about the lack of depth in their understanding. So I think the really important point is, trying to script until you get more comfortable with the improvisation. It's just like learning to play musical instruments, learn the scales before you try to improvise.
Skip to 29 minutes and 35 secondsAndrea: Yes, lovely. Chris anything to add?
Skip to 29 minutes and 37 secondsChris: Yes, I think just to say, there's only so much you can prepare in advance. Kids are pretty interesting people, sometimes things just completely off guard not expected at all. And it's fine to say, that's really interesting, I need to think about that and come back to you about that one, if you're not sure. Or even if it's not relevant to the learning we're going to be doing today,. but may be something that you should pick up later, to park it. Certainly on the .. We had a primary project in Wales, and teachers used to have a board where they parked questions or parked ideas to pick up later. Sometimes they would come back to it in the class.
Skip to 30 minutes and 17 secondsSometimes they would just say, pick something from the park board and go and source out for homework or extension work or whatever. So, it all becomes part of learning.
Skip to 30 minutes and 28 secondsDylan: And the other point you could actually make, you can use that kind of parking lot for questions, as something that you revisit every Friday, for example. So you might actually say, "Has anybody been thinking about any other questions in the parking lot, does anyone want to bring any of these questions back to the class?" So, the idea is, you actually have the student looking at these questions in the parking lot during the week, and thinking, has my thinking moved forward in this area? And can I actually help the whole class move forward. It creates a much more dynamic feeling about a learning community.
Skip to 30 minutes and 58 secondsAndrea: Yes. Lovely, very nice. Thank you both for your ideas there. So the second question that I'm going to take from Sajeda is about the competence activity that we've used, so Chris this one is for you. She's saying, if you do use confidence activity, like the one we've got on the course, where the students are directed to go where they feel confident, and would it not inhibit their self-esteem? She says, students at this age are very self-conscious, it's secondary students, and would perhaps not like to show, or try out different activities where they might shy from their peers that they're did not quite understand it? I think, so what's your thoughts on that?
Skip to 31 minutes and 33 secondsChris: I think, this time around, they maybe don't choose appropriately. They might go for something definitely easier than they need. But if they start to get into it, and realise that they can maybe move on to something that's maybe a little bit more difficult, or something that's actually more challenging and gain from there, they soon learn to ask to do that. I mean, back when I was teaching, it was a long time ago now, I had difficult sheets, the other sheet green sheets and blue sheets with different difficulties, and the kids could choose.
Skip to 32 minutes and 9 secondsAnd lots of them used to choose the easiest one first time around, but I used to just go around and say, "Oh, you are doing really well with that, why don't you move up a sheet?" Or if they're really stuck in that say, "How about a few questions, you go back to this one, and then move up?" And they soon got into the habit of being able to recognise what it was they actually needed. I saw this dumb, personally I did it, when I was working on the assessment is for learning project in Scotland.
Skip to 32 minutes and 35 secondsAnd a teacher in Dundee I was working with, was a very, very tough set of labs to learning mathematics, and had been quite low attainment previously. He started getting them to select how many questions they needed for homework to move them forward. And they actually became quite honest, they didn't go for nine or one, they would say, "No, I'm struggling with this, maybe I should do several questions. Which ones should I do sir." Eventually, they actually could choose their own questions from selection he gave them. It brought them into their learning.
Skip to 33 minutes and 8 secondsSo I think encouraging kids to look at what they need, and to make decisions about moving forward, yes it needs modelling to start off with by teachers, but eventually, they become part of the actual learning community to do that much better for themselves.,
Skip to 33 minutes and 26 secondsDylan: I think young children can understand this. If you got a rugby player, or American football player who wants to get stronger, what's going to help them get stronger quickest? Lifting weights that are easy for him to lift? Or lifting weights that are hard for him to lift? And most children can very quickly realised that lifting weights that are harder to lift is going have a bigger impact on your strength, than lifting the weights that are easy. And so I say the same thing is true for any kind of learning. If they could do this easily, this is not helping you get smarter.
Skip to 33 minutes and 59 secondsSo the idea is that students, we should be helping students understand, that they should be rejecting work that they can do easily, because it's not making them smarter. And so that the whole idea of being in the zone, work as hard enough to make you work at it, but not so hard you can't do it. That is the kind of thing. That's the learning zone. And if the work is easy, then you will get a good mark from the teacher. But you want to actually learn anything, and getting students to understand that, therefore, they're wasting their own time.
Skip to 34 minutes and 30 secondsAndrea: Thank you. Thank you both very much. And moving on now to a question from Sony Santos, and Cheryl Scott also had a very similar question. So Chris, and the main thing that they're struggling with, is students who lack resilience, who are not willing to put any effort in and are scared of being wrong. How can they help them get confidence in answering exam questions?
Skip to 34 minutes and 52 secondsChris: I've seen so many things done by different teachers. I mean, one of the things that works quite well, is to give students answers to questions that other kids have written, other than the way we do come from the classes, or maybe the teachers marked up and get them to look at those answers and to comment on and suggest how they might write better answers. Maybe doing that, as a class start off with, and then working in groups and work as individuals. So they start to see what expectations are, but also have, you can actually have a go at something and then improve on it.
Skip to 35 minutes and 29 secondsAgain, going back to come over project, the first project that Dylan and I, with Paul Black did together, I remember one of the mathematics teachers, instead of giving them the exams that 14 year olds normally got to practice, she's used to just select the hardest questions from one of the stock papers. And they worked in pairs on that, and then when they'd actually got answers, then they're given the marking scheme, and they actually go through that and give feedback to one another. And the kids were saying things like, "Oh, I couldn't have got this far on my own."
Skip to 36 minutes and 3 secondsBut this bit helped me or they say, I mean, they even said, "I can see now you get marks for working out, that teacher used to say that 100 times to me in the lesson." But they've actually gone out themselves to go through that process. So I think that having activities that shows them that, you don't necessarily get things 100% right first time, that you can add two things, you can use others to actually help you get there. Before you then put them in that rather bowlful position, that we put kids in an exam to where they are on their own, give them something that they might find difficult to actually start.
Skip to 36 minutes and 40 secondsSo things with get going, get them moving in the classroom is a good starter.
Skip to 36 minutes and 44 secondsDylan: Another technique that I think is very successful where you've got past copies of exams. And that's true in Europe, that's generally not true in the United States. But if you've got some past papers, and what do you could do is ask students under exam conditions working on their own, to complete an exam or part of the exam, but then don't mark their answers. The next day, you give students back their individual scripts and working in teams of four, they had to produce the best composite response.
Skip to 37 minutes and 13 secondsSo if I'm not very confident, I don't have to join in the discussion, I'd have to say, "Well, I got 37 for this, and everybody else got 25," therefore I'm wrong, because the students can keep their responses private. But the idea is, the group has to agree that the best answer that we've got between us is, 37 to this question, or whatever, or 25, or an algebraic expression. And that then promotes two things. Doing the exam under test conditions, gives you the retrieval practice. And you also get the benefit of what's called a hyper correction effect, when students found out that answer they thought was correct, is actually incorrect.
Skip to 37 minutes and 52 secondsAnd the more confident they were, that they were correct, finding out that it's incorrect, actually improves that long term memory by more. So those kinds of techniques where students can actually not have to tell anybody that they got it wrong, but they can see what the correct answer is, and it can join in the group discussion can be very powerful. And of course, a nice thing about that particular technique is the teachers don't have to mark the students' papers. The students do it for themselves and then the teacher can lead a whole class discussion at the end. What's table one answer to this question? What's table two answer to this question?.
Skip to 38 minutes and 21 secondsAnd then you can actually have the whole class discussion around have we got consensus. In a more discursive subject like history, you might then say, "Well, what are the most important features that an answer on this question would include." So you can't put everything in there, so what is the the marker... what is the examiner looking for? As one body language teacher, Ian Storey said, "Give your examiner a break, and not a break down." I had the idea of talking to students about what is the examiner looking for here? What would make it really easy for the examiner to give you the marks? That I think can be a very helpful conversation to have with students.
Skip to 39 minutes and 3 secondsChris: That isn't if they get they understand the concept of quality, what's the quality answer?. And then how do I actually articulate that, which kids don't know.
Skip to 39 minutes and 16 secondsAndrea: Thank you. That's very helpful, again, your discussion this question, and what we have learned and making me think about, that the three of us are working on a plan for learning online course, that's going to be coming towards the end of the year. And some of these things about a little more clarity looks like, I'm being explicit about learning, we're going to be thinking about those in terms of planning for them in advance. So that's something that this course will compliment that we can look up in the future and people look out for. OK, so moving on to question number 10.
Skip to 39 minutes and 44 secondsNow this is really interesting actually, I don't think we've had this many questions in the category like this that I've had before. So this have termed developing others, so Dylan I'm going to ask you first., We've got a question from Meda Charisma Thondee and teaches think about how they work with colleagues to develop this process. Meda is asking how can we encourage teachers who resist change to go for differentiated practices, many of the trainees are complaining that differentiation is time consuming. How can misconception be demystified?
Skip to 40 minutes and 13 secondsDylan: A simple answer, it won't. Differentiation is time consuming. It's why people don't do it, it's much easier to assume that all the children in the class are identical. And we're going to teach to the middle of the class or the top class of its top set, or the most destructive and it's the bottom set, yet is it much easier to make those kinds of assumptions. Unfortunately, children don't learn as much and therefore, we have to accept that there's a trade off here, the more effort we put into differentiation, the more likely we are to engage more of our students. But then we would drive ourselves crazy by spending too much time preparing student learning.
Skip to 40 minutes and 52 secondsOne of the things I think we should say, is be up front, it is going to take longer, but it's going to lead to better learning, which you I don't have to end up re-teaching quite so much. I think the other thing is, I would benchmark this for trainee teachers. And I would say expect to spend twice as much time preparing teaching, as you do marking. Many teachers do things the other way around, and therefore the marking just isn't productive. It's just not a good use of time, but this is the point I was making earlier when people said, "We don't have time to do this." You do, we are currently spending on something else less valuable.
Skip to 41 minutes and 27 secondsAnd this is a really important point. There's only so many hours in the day. The question is, are we using the hours we've got available to plan our teaching in the best possible way. The big idea here is not marking is bad, but an hour spent marking might have been spent in a different way, that would have resulted in even more student learning. That's the crucial point. Everything has an opportunity cost, what else could have done with that time and would I have produced more student learning? That's the question that every teacher should be asking constantly.
Skip to 41 minutes and 58 secondsChris: I think the pre-service teachers because it's, it's hard when you first commence it by profession. Particularly science in the UK and in some countries where they teach across the three sciences have, you know, it's quite hard to actually do and that does take time and what I encourage our mentors to do, is to give students lessons. That will get them to come see you to a topic or lesson and then ask them how they differentiated for the class they are going to teach.
Skip to 42 minutes and 28 secondsSo differentiation is an important thing, the basic structure of the lesson and what actual resources you need, initially are there for them and then you just asked them to differentiate it so they realise that's where they should spend their time.
Skip to 42 minutes and 41 secondsAndrea: Yes, lovely. Thank you very much you too. Moving on, Chris now we've got another question from Joe Lloyd, who is science lead in a primary school. She's trying to encourage teachers to use inquiry Chuck child approach and its aimed to improve in teaching, and learning, as well as mastery. The stumbling blocks so far, are around differentiation and assessing individual progress when using the approach, she's used model for box concept cartoons. But some teachers still seem reluctant to take a risk. How does she convince them, that it's not just about worksheets?
Skip to 43 minutes and 21 secondsChris: In our recent projects, the Sysmic projects that we did, which was a pan European project. Where we did have primary classrooms, where inquiry student, and inquiry in part of it. What our teachers actually found was that they just sampled how the students were doing. And so they thought very much of the actual collection of data to show how students were doing, so just rather like a bad quote. And you would actually collect different pieces of that quote and at various times constructing certain to get to see where you got to. On both the individual pieces of quote with your assessment evidence, you could make judgments and be informative about it.
Skip to 44 minutes and 6 secondsBut also, when you've collected several pieces and send together and thought about how the class were working on a particular topic, let's say they're working on something like forces, you could actually look at how is the plastering on forces and then use that to inform your planning for the next few lessons. So it's just really about being strategic at planning and thinking how you might do that. And not that you've got to assist everybody on everything, all of the time. Particularly the ideas are coming from the kids, because you've got to tap in to both their thinking, and the way they're articulating their thinking, and work out what evidence you need in order to make your judgments.
Skip to 44 minutes and 48 secondsSo that's quite a few steps to go, in terms of doing that on the fly in the classroom. And still really over time, take the time with it. If they're doing inquires within time to do their inquiries, let them come back and be resilient and repeat and try different things. And each time you can sample different kids or different groups or different skills that you're actually looking for. And in that way, you can actually build up that picture of your class, will help you both use assessment evidence for summative purposes. But also for formative purposes.
Skip to 45 minutes and 21 secondsDylan: I think one thing that might help teachers here, is an acknowledgement to the role of errors of measurement. So typically, with any measure of student achievement, the error of measurement is generally equivalent to about six months progress, for a typical learner. So if you're assessing students all the time, it's like when you're trying to lose weight, you weigh yourself every hour, there is just not any point because it's not going to change that much and certainly not in any kind of stable way. So, I think crucial the point is, is it spot on, we need to have varying our assessments and understand that assessing the same students on the same content all the time is just not helpful.
Skip to 46 minutes and 2 secondsBecause things don't change that quickly. So the idea of understanding that because any assessment is error prone, we need to wait until there's a chance that something might have changed before we assess again.,
Skip to 46 minutes and 19 secondsAndrea: So Dylan this question is to you. This is from Nathan Cheung again, about developing others. So, Nathan asks, teachers in my team have often asked me about how we can differentiate explicitly when they're being observed formally, is this possible as so many professionals have slightly different view of differentiation, and how can it be evidence in the short observation window?
Skip to 46 minutes and 37 secondsDylan: One of the things I think is very useful to do in observation, is conducted two different kinds of observation for teachers. One is against some set of criteria, if you like, it's the performance teaching. So we're going to use traditional way of [inaudible] the teaching quality. The second kind of observation is one in which teachers are evaluated solely in terms of the quality of their own learning. So in other words, you don't tell the teachers how good it was, you say to teachers, "What did you learn in teaching that lesson?" And teachers very quickly pick up that if they don't try something innovative, they going to have nothing to say.
Skip to 47 minutes and 15 secondsSo if nothing goes wrong, if nothing goes slightly askance, then you're going to have struggle to actually say, what did you learn in teaching lesson? So acknowledging that are two different kinds of observations, the show us what you can do observation, and the show us you trying something really wacky, and see how it goes, and then we'll judge it entirely in terms of what you learned in terms of your own teaching a performance. And I think just having different sets of rules, or different kinds of observations, can very quickly create that cultural shift that makes people take risks.
Skip to 47 minutes and 51 secondsAndrea: That's very good. It's nice to learn. Anything to add Chris?
Skip to 47 minutes and 54 secondsChris: No, straight answer.
Skip to 47 minutes and 55 secondsAndrea: Yes, very nice. Thank you very much. Thanks for that question. Thanks Dylan for your response. Right. Moving on to Marion. Chris, so Marion has asked, time as we've heard has come up several times, is often the biggest reason excuse offered on implementing new ideas in school. What guidance can you provide or suggest for the stumbling block for teachers and the teachers face, particularly in science, some of the stumbling blocks Marion has highlighted are, the neat program our cost is for a number of teachers well before commencement related to resources that needs to be created in advance such as worksheets, or hands on online assessment tasks, they need to plan and all the practical equipment at least a week ahead in terms of risk assessing.
Skip to 48 minutes and 33 secondsSo your thoughts.
Skip to 48 minutes and 42 secondsChris: I think the best thing you can do is to work with others. Because even when you are paying resources for different topics in science, people often fall behind anyway, and you have to sort of negotiate issues to your technician, whether that certain things are available or not. So I wouldn't let that deter you. But I would work with colleagues and look through the planning for a particular topic and sort of suggest, well, why don't we teach these three after all these three lessons and then stop and discuss and think about what have we learned from each of our classes, and how am I going to help in the next ones that are actually coming up.
Skip to 49 minutes and 28 secondsSort of things that we in secondary schools UK anyway, are not particularly good at in science. Primary teachers are much better. They do medium and long term planning, as well as short term planning. And they're much more likely to do that. So I wouldn't just sort of set sail on the sea of differentiation and hope you'll find your way through, without any other concerns of rocks or something, I was thinking of it being very much more that you are actually sailing with others. And similarly, looking out for some things, others may be looking out for others, but you'd actually have, I think, a more favorable journey if you do it with colleagues.
Skip to 50 minutes and 6 secondsBecause then, you would actually to be aware, then some may go ahead of you, some may drop behind, but you'd be more aware of the different ways particular activities might go with kids. And that gives you that room of preparation that you need sometimes to do in differentiation, particularly if it is a topic that you not taught very much before.
Skip to 50 minutes and 25 secondsDylan: And if you can get hold of them, the very earliest examples of the national curriculum for science in England, had some very nice models of progression. We've lost a bit of that in recent revisions to the national curriculum. But the earliest, the 1988 version, had for each strand in science, some very nice models of what is it that gets better when somebody gets better in science. And those can be really useful charting points or checkpoints, for seeing whether the students are making progress over a sequence of lessons, rather than just the individual lesson. Because the single lesson doesn't contribute much. It's the connections between the lessons of sustained learning over time that really causes for progress in learning.
Skip to 51 minutes and 8 secondsAnd yes, of course, we have school leaders insisting that they want us to be the progress in our lesson, which of course doesn't happen. Teaching is a marathon, not a sprint.
Skip to 51 minutes and 18 secondsChris: Absolutely.
Skip to 51 minutes and 19 secondsAndrea: Absolutely. Thank you very much. And thank you Marion for that question. But you got your responses. So this question was liked by lots of people. Moving on now to section I called have challenged all and we've got a couple of people here, Charlie, Warren and Rachel Jones, who asked explicitly, but lots of others in the course have liked this question. How do I ensure, so I'm going to Dylan first, how to do I ensure I'm challenging both the high achieving students and the lower achieving students? There are many lower ability students in my class.
Skip to 51 minutes and 49 secondsDylan: Well, I can see why this is question is popular. And I'm sure people are going to be disappointed by the answer, because there's no simple solution to this. But I think the really crucial points is to de-center the activity. So that it's not focusing on the explicit concepts too quickly. So, let's take a math example, because I think the pictures are quite clear here. If I want to teach students to add fractions, then I need to know that students can generate sequences of equivalent fractions. And if they can't do that, then there's simply no point. And so that's one thing where a classes abilities that can be very differentiated.
Skip to 52 minutes and 25 secondsIt's very easy to cope with math questions where, 10% of children can do it, when they're seven and only 80% can do it, when they are 14. So for some very conceptual things then the learning is quite slow.And some students find it much easier to understand than others. And so in general, I would say try to actually move away from that that kind of activity, certainly,, as the starter activity towards one which allows students to bring their own experiences of the world, for example, you doing a lesson percentages, you might rather say, "Here's the definition of percentage," you might say, "What does it mean when people say 50%?" 50% is half marks, 25% off.
Skip to 53 minutes and 14 secondsSo you start with people's experience of the world, and then you try to progressively make it more rigorous, making more formal but try to start it off, so that every single student in the class can actually have some idea what you're talking about. And then I think you've got a chance for engaging more the students, but I think we have to recognise that, some students find learning school stuff a whole lot easier than others. One estimate is that, the highest achieving children learn at five times the speed, of the slowest children in the class. That's why we see the range we do
Skip to 53 minutes and 51 secondsand the big mistake we can make is trying to build on sand foundations [inaudible 00:54:00] those things that really don't, it's there's no simple answer here. The fact is that human brains are very different. They last of a different rate and we have to acknowledge that.
Skip to 54 minutes and 24 secondsAndrea: Thank you, Dylan. Anything to add Chris?
Skip to 54 minutes and 26 secondsChris: I see teachers do things where part way through the lesson or towards the end of the lesson, they actually ask kids, sometimes if they have exit slips to make a note of things they found easy, and things they found difficult today. And focusing in on, in the next lesson or later that lesson, on one or two of these difficulties maybe work in small groups. Is one way of actually dealing with that. Because you might find what one kid finds easy, another kid finds difficult and vice versa. But not to avoid the fact that, all kids at some point are going to find things difficult.
Skip to 54 minutes and 52 secondsIt is just what is, difficult and how are you going to deal with it is important.
Skip to 55 minutes and 2 secondsAndrea: Yes, okay. Thank you. Thank you both. That's really helpful. In fact, for those questions, as I said, it's quite popular and surprises. So moving on to our next question, again which is quite popular. This is from Clarke Hall, I think we've already started talking a little bit about this, so Chris this is for you. So if there is anything to add and we should think about when you talked about, if students can be trusted about the work sheets. How can we be sure all students will choose activities that are challenging to them, and not just take the easy option?,
Skip to 55 minutes and 23 secondsChris: As I said you can't. Some of them will take the easier option first time round, but it's, as I mentioned encourage them to try harder, or even asking their partners to pick the sheet for them. Again, they might not do it sensibly the first time, but kids a very good at recognising who can, and who can't do various things. And in actually sort of also suggesting to others that they might try something either, if they need a bit more supporting or that they need a bit more challenging in. So, just has to be open about it, rather than try and hide it. Kids know the differences, it's not hiding the differences, it's not of masking the differences.
Skip to 56 minutes and 7 secondsIt's actually providing them with support to move forward that's important.
Skip to 56 minutes and 8 secondsDylan: And the other thing you can do is, is brief students. So in our office, students have chosen a task and worked on it. You say to them, "So, was that a hard task or an easy task for you? Was it hard enough to teach you new stuff? What did you learn?" And depending on the relationship you have with the students, you can actually tease them, you have to say, "Now, that wasn't a very smart choice, was it?" You deliberately chose that task because it was easy, because you are being lazy. And the better the relationship we have with our students, the more likely we're going to be honest with them.
Skip to 56 minutes and 40 secondsAnd when they actually skiving or avoiding work, we can call them on it. I think ultimately, it comes down to that personal relationship that the best teachers develop with their students. That allows them to actually say, "Come off it, you chose that because you wanted an easy time. You know you're not going to learn anything by doing it, what's the point?"
Skip to 56 minutes and 59 secondsAndrea: Absolutely, thank you. Thank you Clarke for that one. And I put this one down for you as well Chris, because this is a science question. This comes from Daniel. Daniel says, and I think this is something, I don't know if this is, again, across the world, but it's definitely something that's coming through in England. We're trying to build a mastery for stage three and key stage four for science curriculum, it uses a whole class style approach, he'd like to know your views on this style of teaching? In particular, how differentiation can be used effectively, to ensure that a grade one to seven targeted students, can be challenged mastery skills and concepts and make sustainable progress?
Skip to 57 minutes and 36 secondsChris: I don't really know how to start on this one. I think one of the things that's happening here, because there are now having changes the way that teachers have to report children's progress at different ages in the UK. Is that many schools have introduced, as a teacher here suggests, these all comprehensive assessment tracking devices, where they assume you can actually track children on a scale of one to seven, or one to nine, from age 11 all the way through to age 16. And they're using the assessments, so they gave 16 year olds, to actually assess 11 year olds, in my view, it's madness. And they call it flight pass in most schools.
Skip to 58 minutes and 28 secondsAnd, whereas, we would like something in terms of progression that got some cohesion to it, and some comprehensiveness to it. Learning doesn't go in straight lines, we made a mistake earlier in the UK when we started using learning ladders.. Where we thought that ... It assumed that they were equal jobs or equal distance between the learning rungs Learning is not like that. We had an student in the mathematics department at King's College, when Dylan was there, and I'm still that when I was there, and Brenda Denver did some research looking at primary children. Looking at how their learning progressed, over when they were looking at basic news thing. And it wasn't the straight line, there we're also sort of trajectory.
Skip to 59 minutes and 19 secondsSomethings they picked up quickly, other things some kids picked up slowly, or different routes through. And I think one of the most amazing things, is sometimes kids learned, even when the teacher haven't taught that bit, they learn other things they picked up other things. So it's a messy business learning this, and although you can plan the opportunities, we can plan challenges, it's not easy to pre-map the steps kids are going to take. You can just look every now and again and take samples and see whether you are actually moving forward, and whether things have moved forward. But you cannot plan that journey.
Skip to 59 minutes and 53 secondsThe landscape is three dimensional, in assessment and there are troughs, peaks, bogs, wherever you would like, if you think that topology of that learning landscape and the differentiation part of it, is you helping the kids moves forward, whether it's boggy ground you’re getting them through, whether it's a hill you're getting them to climb, or it's a nice straight and easy path. You need to recognise that and help the kids forward and just occasionally stop and summarise and make sure that you have moved forward from when the last time you looked. The pre-planned ones are actually just really straight targeting many teachers in terms of that planning, in my opinion.
Skip to 60 minutes and 33 secondsDylan: Just to quantify that, in the Leverhulme numeracy research programme at Kings, we tracked about 1600 students, in four different local education authorities, over four years of junior schooling. And we tested them every six months, to see how much progress they've made. And so we used an equated test, so we can actually measure learning trajectories. And of all those 1600 students only students, only 11% made steady progress. So for 89% of the students, there was at least one point where six months later, they had a lower level of achievement than they have six months earlier. So, for 89% of the students, learning went up and down. For 11% they fairly, steadily increased.
Skip to 61 minutes and 15 secondsSo, this whole idea that students learn in this predictable need way, it's just not true. The world isn't like that, students are not like that. The important thing is, we're sensitive to our students, we find out where they are, before we try to teach him anything else.
Skip to 61 minutes and 30 secondsAndrea: Lovely. Thank you. Thank you both for such advice. And moving on now to a question Dylan, from Paul Simon. And they asked, they work with students, and I thought this is a slightly different twist to what we've had, we've got individual learning plans, some of them are gifted but some are children with very little knowledge of English. So how can you differentiate the children who have English as additional language issues?
Skip to 61 minutes and 58 secondsDylan: Well, at some point, if the range of achievement in the class is so great, I mean, for example, in many secure units for young people in the criminal justice system, for example. You might have a group of 10 students, which are as diverse as the entire population. And I think there, you really are talking about for a significant report of a day individualisation. You have to work with each child individual learning plan. The important thing is to think about it in terms of trade offs. Obviously, if you try to treat the whole group as one group, it's going to be not very useful for most of the students.
Skip to 62 minutes and 33 secondsAnd if we treat the students as individuals, and if you've got a class of 20 students, then every hour each student is going to get three minutes. Actually, it's not even enough because when you got students working individually,
Skip to 62 minutes and 44 secondsteacher spend about half that time administrating, and definitely [inaudible 01:02:46] 90 seconds per child, per hour, which is just also crazy. So I think the thing we have to look for is, for different kinds of activities, to what extent can we group students together in a meaningful way. And also accepting that sometimes each child will need to be working individually, and other times, it makes sense to group them together. And just being smart about those choices, just realising there are trade offs here, I think technology can have a role, you might not be asked students to watch a Khan Academy video, for example, and discuss it to do so full of activities.
Skip to 63 minutes and 18 secondsSome seek work in maths is very helpful, some reading and science can be very helpful. So I think it's just recognising that we can't stay the extremes for very long, we can't teach diverse groups of students as a single group forever, and we haven't got time to individualise for every single student, for every single learning activity. The question is, where are those smart trade offs? Where can we actually group them together without doing too much damage to their individual learning? Whether that makes sense to actually say, "I'm sorry, but I got to see you afterwards to sort this out." Because you are clearly thinking about this in a very different way, than the rest of the group.
Skip to 63 minutes and 54 secondsAndrea: So, that specific group of children that Paul Sammy was talking about, Susie. Now, Susie Howard she's asking about, it looks at her school are grouping children in groups of four that are already mixed abilities. How does she ensure that when she's given them activities, that the children are working activities that fit their level of understanding? So I'm going to ask that to you Chris first.
Skip to 64 minutes and 18 secondsChris: I'm not sure she means that, that in the group of four there is mixed ability or it's mix ability class that work in groups of four. So let's look at both ways of thinking about it. I think for first, some things about mixed ability classes, and you've got groups of four or whatever size, you can just replay what Dylan answered to just the previous question. Because sort of what you're saying is relevant to that. If you are deliberately mixing kids, say you got the highest attainer in the class, with two mid attainer,. and the low attainer. I have to ask you why you were doing that? It could be that you'd set the work so that the ..
Skip to 65 minutes and 4 secondsIt allowed different input, so that the mid attainers could understand the problem, the low attainers are having and the high attainer could be the teacher within the group. But it seems a strange way of doing things. I think you'd have, I can't imagine the assessment you would do, to successfully make sure that you actually group those kids right by that. And I think that, as long as you're grouping is purposeful, you don't need to worry too much about whatever assessment you've done to decide on the data that you're using to actually form those groups. I find that teachers are very good at knowing who would work well together, and who wouldn't work well together.
Skip to 65 minutes and 44 secondsWho would find this particular activity challenging, who would need support on this particular activity. And to do the groups like that really, so that they can then use one of those results, they can use one another challenge, and as we said earlier, that they have a group responsibility for actually trying to come to some solution for every opportunity or some product, for every work that they are producing.
Skip to 66 minutes and 10 secondsSo that it's a state of just being work out, a definition of, I don't know, extinction, or natural selection better working on that anybody in the group should be able to give the groups answer to what the definition is, but not necessarily the process or in the group actually doing that particular part of it. So as far as testing them to say, that's group over there, can we have an answer, your group answer and then name a kid, and you can then pick out the one you actually want to get evidence from.
Skip to 66 minutes and 42 secondsDylan: Sorry, I cut across you.I call this technique reporter at random. So one thing you must never do with any of these groups, is tell those students in advanced who's going to be reporting back. So the idea there is, that we know it's a group of four, that one of us is going to be asked to report back, we don't know who's going to be until right to the very end. So if Andrea is not paying attention, I'm going to be on her case. Because if she's not paying attention, and she happens to be the one who is asked for a response, we're all going to look bad.
Skip to 67 minutes and 13 secondsSo we use, you can use peer pressure to actually get the students to make sure that everybody's engaged in this. So that everybody understands this, so the whole group will look good, no matter who is chosen. I think about the idea of reporter at random is a very good way of implementing the ideas that Chris was just talking about.,
Skip to 67 minutes and 32 secondsAndrea: Our next question, is down for you Dylan., This is from Gishy Koshy, how do you differentiate your progress. when you're working with the same lesson outcome? So the same ... That's interesting. What do you think of that Dylan?
Skip to 67 minutes and 51 secondsDylan: I'm not sure what Gishy means by outcome. Because often you won't get the same outcome, for all the learners in the class. But I do happen to think that if you're teaching a group as a group, then you should have the same the learning intention for all the students. But you might acknowledge there will be differentiation and we know what they achieve. I was talking to a certain teacher the other day, and I said to her, "What is your learning intention for this lesson?" And she said, "For the students to learn the names of the bones of the human body." And I said, "Really all 206 of them?" And she said, "No, no."
Skip to 68 minutes and 12 secondsI realised that she actually had a set of nested criteria. So she wanted every student to get the major limb bones, the clavicle, the scapula, the ribcage, and then for other students, she'll actually expect more. And so she had a series of nested success criteria.. And so she was actually .. but She was very clear about her non-negotiables, this assessment would not have been successful unless every student gets Femur, Tibia, Fibula, whatever. So I thought that was a very interesting approach.
Skip to 68 minutes and 44 secondsNow, obviously, in other areas is not quite clear cut as that, but I think the idea that we have the same learning intention for all the students in the group that we're teaching as a group, but accept them any differences and how far they get, I think that's quite a quite an interesting idea. And the thing, the other thing, of course, is we have to accept the students are starting in different places, some students may have a mother who is a doctor, and is very clear about all these bones. Because they had been picking up since the age of three.
Skip to 69 minutes and 10 secondsSo it's about recognising that the students differ in where they start from, don't think of where they are going to reach. The important thing is, we figure out what's the non-negotiables, and in particular, are there any things where, if everybody hasn't got this, we're actually not going to go forward. And there, there's no simple answer to this, because it depends A. On the class, but also the importance of the content. So in mathematics, for example, place value, it's really important that everybody gets this. Roman numerals, not quite so important.
Skip to 69 minutes and 40 secondsSo the idea is, we should make those judgments based on our professional decision, about how much will it damage the class, if we go forward with these students not getting it. Versus how much will the damage the class if we go over this point again, when most of the students have got it. So it's always that professional balancing act, that you can't take any abstract it has to be taken with a view or particular group of students in a particular context, and in terms of particular content matter.
Skip to 70 minutes and 7 secondsAndrea: Okay, thank you. Chris, anything to add to that one?
Skip to 70 minutes and 20 secondsChris: Only that, to realise that, I'm sure so many teachers do, that having learning intentions that students get to, even if they can't get there themselves, if they actually hear or see other students getting there. It just gives them a starter for next time when they come around to that particular bit again, so if they are doing Roman numerals, they might not get them the first time, but they might get them the second. or third time around if they see other students actually getting them. It's a very .. Yes, it's the zone of proximal development helping them get there with others.
Skip to 70 minutes and 47 secondsAndrea: Lovely. Thank you both. Thank you for your answers. Right. Moving on to our next question from Jann Little, Judith Diaz, has the same question. So Chris, Jann says that they have exceptional educ students included in their core classes, most of these are two to four grades below grade level. Any suggestions for differentiating with these students?
Skip to 71 minutes and 9 secondsChris: Well, it can be harder in that, maybe you've got to actually think really carefully about what these students going to need, in order to take them forward. The most important thing, as with any class is finding out what their needs are to start off with.. So what do they know already in this topic? What can they do already? And then knowing the way .. Know something that leads to the way that they've learned on other things, will actually help you in terms of planning what they need to know, to move them forward. And obviously, you've got the system so special needs assistance, who can actually help you with that.
Skip to 71 minutes and 52 secondsIt's up to then, just as they do in many earliest classrooms negotiating with those other adults, both in the planning and in the delivery, and in the assessment of those kids, having a comprehensive move forward so they actually are supported by everyone that sat with you in the classroom.
Skip to 72 minutes and 12 secondsDylan: I think one thing to remember, is that this is not an exceptional situation. Different countries have different approaches to dealing with a range of human achievements. So in Japan, in England, in Sweden, they promote students, socially. They had a birthday, they move on. In Germany and France, they have a great base system so that if you haven't reached the standard for the next grade, you repeat the grade. The biggest problems come in countries like the US, where they have a great base system, but they still operate social promotion.
Skip to 72 minutes and 47 secondsSo you actually end up with students who are two to four grades behind the grade level, that's not exceptional, that is happening in every single classroom, just about in the US. If you don't find some way of assigning students to different classes, you're going to have this huge range of achievement, which is going to be at least eight to ten years. So in a class of 11 year olds in science, you're going to have some students who are functioning at the level of the average 16 year old, and some who are functioning at the level of the average five year old. And that's just a fact about the way humans learn.
Skip to 73 minutes and 23 secondsSo the important thing to remember, why we have a course on differentiation for learning, is because this is an inevitable fact of how humans learn. And we are in this during this course, because we think the idea of grouping students into different classes based on their achievement is probably less satisfactory than trying to deal with the range of student achievement in one class. So it's inevitable. It's real. We have to do what we can figure out what to do best.
Skip to 73 minutes and 57 secondsAndrea: Okay. Lovely. Thank you. It's really interesting. Right. Dylan, this next question is from Simonet, it's a maths question. They would like to know what could be classified as differentiation in math? Because they are struggling with it, and they're not sure what their plan without knowing it or are misunderstanding it. Someone has told them that if they provide listeners with worksheets according to their ability. But then, and Simonet goes on to talk about it. If it's like they're giving different worksheets to students with different content so some might be doing additions, some might be doing addition with subtraction, and they're worried that are they not setting up the students for failure in their exam. If they've not covered the content.
Skip to 74 minutes and 31 secondsDylan: I think the important thing is, students differ. And the question is, what were the productive ways of dealing with those differences? So in mathematics, one way to do it is to give different worksheets, to different students. We tried that in a lot of schools in the 1980s in England, and it was pretty unsuccessful. Teachers were spending time producing three different lessons, for every lesson. One for low achievers, one for the middle achievers, one fort the high achievers, students were allocated the wrong worksheets, because the teachers haven't had much time to think about the worksheets, because they had to do three times as many different worksheets, the worksheets were often a very poor quality.
Skip to 75 minutes and 13 secondsSo none of those things I think are entirely satisfactory solutions. The important thing, I think, is to think about, to what extent can we de-center these activities. Can we have a maths activity that doesn't require you to have a particular level of knowledge of subtraction, or fraction, or equations, before we even get started. So it's about thinking about ways into activities that allow you to do that. My favorite example is the area of a trapezium, you give a class in middle school students the challenge, you show them one way of finding the area of a trapezium.
Skip to 75 minutes and 46 secondsTake a trapezium, slice it horizontally halfway between the parallels, flip it over now you got a parallelogram, height, half h, base of the parallelogram a+b. Okay, then you asked students, how many conceptually distinct ways are there of finding the area of a trapezium? Turns out that they are exactly 13. And so what you've got there as a task, that it is really challenging, because it's rigorous, but it also has massive amounts of headroom. So as a teacher is walking around and sees the students working with these problems, the teacher might see one group which actually got a lot to learn and says to the students, "Okay, one of these methods involves properties of similar triangles."
Skip to 76 minutes and 23 secondsTake the trapezium, complete the triangle, and then use the properties of similar triangles to subtract the area of a smaller triangle, off the area of the larger triangle, that involves some quite sophisticated mathematical calculation. But the important point is the teacher has given the same task to the whole class, but then she's probing and pushing and when some students get to a particular point,.
Skip to 76 minutes and 53 secondsthe teacher is finding ways to stretch those students without making those students [inaudible 01:16:55] Because every student in the class will get at least one correct right answer. And then the differentiation comes by challenging, so some students get more answers. But more importantly, some students find more challenging ways of tackling the same problem. So I think that, for me, is a model that can work in mathematics. And I call it inclusive differentiation. The idea is we differentiate in an inclusive way, so that students are challenged, by recognising that they have differences in their starting points, and their capabilities.
Skip to 77 minutes and 26 secondsAndrea: And moving on, then, Chris, I put these last two questions on the miscellaneous. So the first one is from Lily Lang. Chris, she is asking, she's got one major problem, which comes with differentiation, the way she sees it, is that the increased the amount of questions that they have to generate, as well as more complicated tracking about what everybody is doing. Can you think of some low tech and free options, but easier tracking and recording?
Skip to 77 minutes and 50 secondsChris: Okay, well, I agree that you may need more questions. I'm sure working with colleagues is a way to do that rather than doing it all yourself. I wouldn't worry about tracking, I think, obviously, we need to have some accountability within our classroom. We don't need to track step by step what each individual is doing, you just need to every now and again, collect some evidence and see whether they've move forward, from where they were last time that you actually looked. Now the course over a year, and the course over a term, there are lots of opportunities to do that tracking without doing, what I see some teachers doing, trying to track lesson by lesson, how kids are doing.
Skip to 78 minutes and 34 secondsAs was pointed out earlier, they don't move forward that quickly, and tracking every few weeks or every few months is certainly enough evidence, to collect evidence of progression. And that's what you should base your system on. Rather than trying to do it step by step, lesson by lesson. Use as medium and long term, rather than short term.
Skip to 78 minutes and 57 secondsAndrea: Lovely. Dylan anything to add to that one?
Skip to 79 minutes and 0 secondsDylan: Just the question, is one that I'm not entirely sure is very sensible, because it's about looking what the teacher is putting into the process rather, what was he was getting out of it.. So tracking what the students .. The activities that they're doing, is far less important than what they're learning as a result. So as Chris said, focus on periodically collecting information about what's changing in the students capabilities. That will be much more helpful guide to planning, rather than recording that these students have finished page 57 on the textbook and that student has just been evading finishing page 43. Now, to me, the most sensible way or planning what you do next in the class.
Skip to 79 minutes and 43 secondsChris: Or you can predict even this, I think, if I work on this in a month's time I'd expect them to be able to do this, have a look at that, that's a good way of checking where the progress is at, the rate that you actually would want. And that's one way really of trying to plan out what you're doing over the year. Because as much as you said, time is a problem, but you can plan out your time, if you actually are thinking about where do I want to get them to by a certain point, and how I'm going to get them there.
Skip to 80 minutes and 13 secondsAndrea: Yes, lovely. Thank you very much, thank you too. So our very last question. And this comes from Paul Davis, I'm going to direct this to you first, Dylan, and it kind of links in the way actually,. I said miscellaneous but these both look at learning over time. Paul is asking, how do you see the relationship between the learning that an individual one lesson compared to a series of lessons? How can teach you support the idea of delayed gratification?
Skip to 80 minutes and 37 secondsDylan: Well, the delayed gratification is a separate issue. But I think in terms of the planning, it's an issue of a grain size. And the thing is really important to understand that the grain size is different for different aspects of the same subject, and different between different subjects. So let's take an example I used earlier, if we are teaching students how to add fractions, then I need to know as precursor knowledge, they can generate sequences overgrown fractions, so the grains size is really small, it's less than sized. I need to know they have this particular skill before, I can actually build on scale touching, use it in a different procedure.
Skip to 81 minutes and 14 secondsBut if I'm looking at the ability of students to draw inferences from passages of text, the change in that ability is much slower, much, much bigger grain size. And then the important thing is to be clear about what's the useful grain size for thinking about this. And we can actually very easily get involved in far too fine grained activities. We collect information that's just not useful to collect. We make the opposite mistake, which is to think about, to cause a grain size, which means that we're not collecting information that would really help us make smarter decisions about what to do next with our students.
Skip to 81 minutes and 51 secondsBut the important thing to remember is there's never going to be a single answer to this, it'll depend on the content and will depend on different aspects, of different topics for the best grain size to use.
Skip to 82 minutes and 0 secondsAndrea: Anything to add to that?
Skip to 82 minutes and 0 secondsChris: No, good answer given.
Skip to 82 minutes and 1 secondAndrea: Great, lovely. Right. Well, I think that's it for the end of our questions. So I have been making notes as I've gone along. And I'm sure those of you who did what I said, and got a pencil and paper, it the start, there was lots of different teaching ideas that we've been given. And personal grouping of students, I think, has come out as a teaching approach. It's more about the purpose of the teaching approaches, I think, that anything else that you've talked about. Particularly getting students talking, and so you can get them thinking, and that was through questions, our parking lot, our statements and returning to ideas over time.
Skip to 82 minutes and 40 secondsThen lots of research articles, as always, which have been really useful, which I've made a note off. So I'm going to go away and see if I can find some of this myself, as I always do. But I think in terms of themes that have come out for me, and again, you two, feel free to challenge, and working with others to develop practice. Whether that's observing students that are in each of the classrooms, or planning together, or reflecting on our practice, Be that against criteria when we're observing or whether that's about what we think we've learned from actually trying things out.
Skip to 83 minutes and 11 secondsMaking students active and members of our classroom learning community, I think, it has come across really strongly from a lot of the ideas that you've talked about. That they're not participants but actually really important in that they're not just sitting there and receiving but actually active through that process. And then being explicit has come out, I think if we could get the words that you've used, explicit has come out a lot. Being explicit about the purposes of group work, being explicit about the challenges that we're expecting students to engage with, and why that's important for their learning. And then being explicit and debriefing that learning.
Skip to 83 minutes and 48 secondsBeing explicit about practical work, and what we're hoping students to achieve from that, and then that we're differentiating and it's the key thing that is for learning. It's come out all the time. It's not for task, it's not about labels, it's all about our students needs. And that it can take time to do this. It takes time to do this. And I think one other thing that's come up about time is that, learning takes time, and as you she taught that, and about the graduality.
Skip to 84 minutes and 9 secondsThat some of this learning can be quick, and some other things longer and that we can make time if we think about it by thinking about what we're doing, what's most helpful for our students, for their learning, and I think particularly focusing or big ideas and those key foundation. So that planning is coming out as being really important and key thing of all is that we're making the students come with us. You said that, both of you have said that, as we've gone through and think about whether we need to stop over on us forward. So a lot of really useful ideas that have come out I don't know if you've got anything to add to that.
Skip to 84 minutes and 43 secondsChris: That's a lot..
Skip to 84 minutes and 43 secondsAndrea: Yes, you've .. If we did a word count of the transcript is probably a PhD, is the amount of words that you both talked. I think we've mentioned the resources, we've mentioned the online courses that you both do are really helpful for our learners. So a big thank you to National STEM Learning Centre. To Max in the background for the work he's done. And then finally to both of you Chris and Dylan for all your expertise and really reflective thoughts that helped us all to make progress. Thank you very much.
Q&A with Dylan, Chris and Andrea
The question and answer (Q&A) session is your opportunity to post a question to Chris, Dylan and Andrea about your teaching practice, your context and differentiating for learning.
Take a look at outstanding questions from your weekly reflection grids, issues you’ve raised in discussions or perhaps something from the course content you would like to find out more about.
A recording was made on 14 May and the video was uploaded on 22 May. You can save this step to your favourites to quickly return to it later.
If you missed this Q&A opportunity, join us on step 5.10 for the second Q&A.
Topics and questions addressed in this recording
Classroom practice ideas
- 0m50s - Group interaction and learning success - Rachel Jones
- 5m45s - Videos of/viewing differentiation in practice - Anne Cramphorn
- 7m50s - Showing that differentiating is happening in observations - Jennifer Ellis
- 11m25s - Classroom and behaviour management in differentiating for learning - Emma Turner
- 15m25s - Keeping lessons to time - Warren Brewer
- 19m25s - Creating differentiated lessons for adult learning - Victoria Hadfield
- 22m22s - Differentiating in practical work - Debbie Niblock
- 26m50s - Preparation for responses to KWLH grids Sajeda Bano
Students’ Confidence & Resilience
- 31m10s - Using confidence activities - Sajeda Bano
- 34m40s - Helping students who are scared of being wrong gain confidence - Sonia Santos and Sheryl Scott
- 39m45s - Time required to change practice Meda Charisma Thondee
- 42m55s - Enquiry, child-led approach - Jo Lloyd
- 46m15s - Lesson observations of differentiating - Nathan Cheung
- 48m00s - Constraints around implementing new ideas - Marian R
How to challenge all
- 51m20s - Challenging both high achieving and lower achieving students - Tiahne Wareing and Rachel Jones
- 55m10s - Ensuring students choose challenging activities - Claire Hall
- 57m06s - Mastery and differentiating - Daniel Vickers
- 1h01m35s- Students with individualised learning plans - Pelsamy Naiken
- 1h04m00s- Mixed ability groups - Suzie Harwood
- 1h07m30s - Showing progress with the same lesson outcome - Gishy Koshy
- 1h10m50s - Exceptional education students Jann Little
- 1h13m55s- Worksheets and differentiating in mathematics - Simonet vd Westhuizen
- 1h17m27s - Creating questions and tracking/recording learning - Lilia Lang and Anne Cramphorn.
Learning over time
- 1h20m18s - Learning within a lesson vs learning over a series of lessons - Paul Davies
- 1h22m03s - Andrea’s summary of the question and answer session
Thank you for all your questions, we tried to address as many as we could within our time available. We hope you find the responses informative and look forward to your thoughts.
Please note the download is not for redistribution (© 2018 STEM Learning).
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