Skip to 0 minutes and 0 secondsYEASMIN MORTUZA: Hello, colleagues. I'm Yeasmin Mortuza, here with my colleague, Jane Winter. And this is the recording of our second of three video diaries for report on Planning for Learning. So I'm going to kick off straightaway with a comment from Gladys, which Jane is going to talk about. Over to you, Jane.

Skip to 0 minutes and 20 secondsJANE WINTER: Yeah, thank you so much for this lovely comment, Gladys. I think it really encapsulates a very important part of the course. And I love that phrase, self-centred as a teacher. And I think that probably describes most inexperienced teachers and an awful lot of experienced teachers as well. I think at the start of your career you tend to focus on, what am I going to say when I'm teaching? What am I going to do? What lessons am I going to plan? And after all, what else can you focus on? That's the only thing you've got control of. The thing with experience, you learn to-- it's a bit like when you drive a car.

Skip to 1 minute and 0 secondsYour first driving lessons you're thinking, where's the steering wheel? How can I change gears? You're in the car and it's not really very good driving, and it's when you start to focus beyond and what's in the car just becomes a tool for what you need to do. And it's like that as you become an experienced teacher. All the things that you do, say, and plan, you're not concentrating on them so much as what you're doing them for. You concentrate on that learning. Listening to what they say, what they do, what they believe, and then your teaching fits what they need. So thank you so much for that lovely, lovely point, Gladys.

Skip to 1 minute and 37 secondsAnd I want to build on that now with something that Almut said. Loads of lovely comments from you, Almut. Thank you so much. And I've highlighted that first little phrase. He was actually talking about concept maps. He said, if you simply presented a perfect map, there won't be much thinking going on. And I think this goes back to what Gladys was saying. You can concentrate on your own explanation. You can make the most perfect explanation in the world, but there might not be very good learning because there's nothing for learners to fix it on. So perfect teaching, ironically, doesn't always lead to perfect learning.

Skip to 2 minutes and 16 secondsMistakes, on the other hand, are a bit more-- a bit more hookey, you know, that they sort of get people thinking and engage students. They force students to have to do the work. Instead of you doing the work, they're doing work explaining their thinking and thinking about what's wrong. And mistakes aren't banana skins to trip your students up on. They're actually a really, really valuable learning tool. And in this case, Almut actually talks about making mistakes himself for students to find and thinking about how many mistakes to give students. And obviously, making sure at the end of the lesson that they are supported to find out what actually were mistakes.

Skip to 2 minutes and 58 secondsWe're going to come back to that later on in the presentation. But for now, I'm going to come on to Nigel makes an absolutely fantastic point. And he says, that he's realised that sometimes when he's assessing, he's assessing the whole class. He gets a feel for what the whole class thinks, not what individuals within the class think. And you're right, Nigel. This can be a trap that we fall into and I've done it myself. I've been teaching, we're all swimming along fine, and I think everyone's got it. And then quite a way down the line, you suddenly realise you've got one or two children are floundering and you've not met their needs because you assessed the class as a whole.

Skip to 3 minutes and 38 secondsYou could also have one or two children that are really ready to be challenged and you haven't challenged them because you assessed the class as a whole. However, a lot of the time it's a perfectly good thing to do. When I was teaching about melting and freezing with my class, and we were thinking about what would happen if you put a coat on a snowman. And so we were going to wrap up lumps of ice in coats and put them in various places. There's no need to assess my class first, each individual, because I was going to give them all the same activity, whatever, and that would have been a huge waste of the children's time, of my time.

Skip to 4 minutes and 16 secondsSo sometimes you just need to feel what does the class think? But other times, you do need to know what individuals within the class think. So really, really important point that you brought up there, Nigel. Thank you very much. And I think, Yeasmin, you're going to talk about one of your own comments now.

Skip to 4 minutes and 36 secondsYEASMIN MORTUZA: Yes, indeed. Thank you very much, Dawn, for this comment and also for your comments all the way through the course. So Dawn raises a really, really important issue that perhaps affects key stage 4 teachers, maybe more than key stage 3 teachers. And that is meeting the demands of the curriculum vs. meeting student needs. So this is something that is very-- it can be very hard for a professional, for us, to get our heads around because we are there to, if you like, deliver on the curriculum. However, we need to be careful because we don't want to deliver it at the cost of authentic learning. So there's no point delivering the curriculum if the learning is superficial.

Skip to 5 minutes and 24 secondsSo we need to ensure that the learning is authentic and that might mean that some students will learn at a slower pace than others, but the learning is more authentic. And if the learning is authentic, then they're better off than having sped through the curriculum, picked everything off black tick box, when they haven't really-- the learning is not deep enough to make a difference to the student's understanding. And so we need to find the balance there that is, you know, works in the best interest of the student really.

Skip to 5 minutes and 59 secondsAnd so part of that is about changing our own mindsets, not to be, you know, a slave to the learning plan-- but right to the lesson plan, rather, but rather to use the lesson plan as a guide to building as much as we can in the lesson plan to help us think about misconceptions, likely stumbling blocks, and just make sure that what we're really doing in the lesson is responding to the students' needs rather than just going through those points. And it's OK not to get through all of the learning objectives.

Skip to 6 minutes and 32 secondsIt's OK because if there's a need to slow down, it's better to meet the students needs through authentic learning than to just cover the learning objectives for the sake of coverage. So thank you very much, Dawn, for raising that really, really important point. And what Sonia has to say is really interesting. She talks about flexibility. And actually, it's that flexibility that will help us to make the judgement as to whether, you know, do we need to speed through the curriculum or do we need to meet the needs of the students. Always the latter. But that takes flexibility. Because what the students are going to present you with is probably going to be different every time.

Skip to 7 minutes and 15 secondsAnd so we need to plan flexibly, but also be willing to deviate from the plan even if we've built flexibility into it. So the key thing there is not to panic, OK? It's much better to go with the natural learning flow. And the more experience we have, the more flexibility we can plan for as well. So we get more confident of that. So thanks, Sonia, for your comment there. Gareth talks about practise. Practise, you know, we do-- AFL is a really big idea. And I always say to the teachers I work with that. We should think of AFL as a career long learning exercise. It's not a one hit wonder thing. You know, coming on this course is great.

Skip to 8 minutes and 6 secondsIt is, but it is nevertheless a career long thing. By the way, we do have plenty of participants who take this course multiple times and it's for this very reason. And so here, Jane is kindly adjusted the title to say, instead of Practise makes perfect, Practise makes better. If we see ourselves as on a continuous learning curve, than what we do is we relieve ourselves from the need to be perfect. So having that ongoing journey is really, really important. And really we just need to reassure ourselves that a set of formative assessment is something that takes time to pick up. Some things we can pick up very quickly and run with very quickly.

Skip to 8 minutes and 47 secondsBut actually, it really is something that very highly experienced teachers will tell you that they continue to learn. But it does get easier with time and you do-- it becomes a pleasurable learning journey rather than one that we feel punished by. So next comment is from Dawn, again. So again, thank you, Dawn, for your quality comments all the way through. And she talks about misconceptions really. So when it comes to misconceptions, yes, we can plan for the misconceptions that we might know about. What it comes down to, though, is that what we're trying to uncover is what do the students think, not just what do we think or which box can we put them into?

Skip to 9 minutes and 33 secondsBut what do the students think? And when it comes to looking for misconceptions, all we're doing really is unpicking their understanding, OK? So we shouldn't be worried by this. We shouldn't be worried if the students express an unusual way of thinking about things or an unexpected response. But rather, instead of being worried, we can be fascinated by. Oh, is that what you think? And take it as a start point of their learning. So that way we eliminate fear, fear for ourselves, fear for the student, and it embraces this idea of authentic learning. So thank you very much. And be interested in their ideas, right or wrong.

Skip to 10 minutes and 13 secondsWe should never show more enthusiasm for right answers and less enthusiasm for wrong because that's just going to-- that's just going to kill the journey and then students going to be fearful of presenting us with misconceptions. We want to show that we value them both. But we're trying to move the students on from incorrect ideas towards correct ideas, but they're very much part of that journey. So valuing what they think, whether it's the right idea or not. So I thank you very much, Dawn, for that. Our next comment comes from Sachiko. Just a very quick point here. Sachiko thanks for your quality comments the whole way through.

Skip to 10 minutes and 55 secondsAnd that is we don't, when it comes to assessing and just understanding where the students are at, we don't have to-- we can look for informal ways of picking this up. It doesn't have to be a formalised process that we plan for. Just using our ears and eyes, we can pick up information, that MAP assessment as well. So it happens all the time. So formal assessment, fine. Informal assessment, often better and yields up more, you know, more important, live information. So thank you so much, Sachiko, for your comments. I'm going to hand back over to Jane for a comment by Jason. Over to you, Jane.

Skip to 11 minutes and 34 secondsJANE WINTER: Yes. Thank you, Jason As I said, we'll linking back to what Almut said earlier in the course about-- earlier in the presentation about making mistakes. Student's mistakes are excellent. They tell us what they think. They get students thinking. But it can be difficult to get students to make those mistakes if they're a little bit reticent about sharing their understanding, in case they're going to be judged, or mocked. So a great way of helping to create that classroom where everyone just feels safe to make mistakes is to make mistakes of your own. And it's actually a great learning tool in its own right. And I love what Jason says.

Skip to 12 minutes and 15 secondsHis less confident students much prefer looking at his mistakes then making their own. And it is great fun, isn't it, to see what mistakes the teachers have made. There's different ways you can do this. You can present this as, oh, here's a sheet with some deliberate mistakes. And I used to work with younger children, myself and my TA, we used to have a discussion in front of the children, you know, and I'd recite, well, Mrs. Huckle, I believe that blue cars always go faster. And she'd say no, no, Mrs. Winter. I don't think the colour of the car makes a difference at all. So I'd really inhabit that mistake. And another way of doing it is with the concept cartoons.

Skip to 12 minutes and 50 secondsIn a way, I think Mrs. Huckle and I, we were being living concept cartoons when we did it, but then the children really invested in trying to find out who's right and they're protected from their own mistake. Often it would be a misconception I heard in class and then I would voice it for the child and make it safe. So thank you for that, Jason. As I said, lots of different ways to do that. But it's very important to show children we're not scared of being wrong. Being wrong is a great chance to find out something new. So when I used to find out that blue cars, it didn't make any difference. I'd be, oh, that is so interesting.

Skip to 13 minutes and 25 secondsI'm so fascinated. I've learned something today. Thank you so much. And then show them that it was actually an exciting thing to have been wrong, not a shameful thing. Yeah. And I think. Time to wrap up then, Yeasmin.

Skip to 13 minutes and 38 secondsYEASMIN MORTUZA: Our next video diary we'll be coming up in roughly a fortnight's time. So please keep your comments coming in and also please look out for our request for permissions as well. It would be really nice to be and share what you have to say with a wider audience. So thank you and see you online.

Mentors' video diary and your advice to colleagues

Jane and Yeasmin recorded their second video diary on 1 November with a selection of highlights from course discussions. A transcript will be available soon.

Next week we will consider in more detail how we can plan for learning over the medium term. Part of this will involve thinking about how you work individually and with colleagues. With that in mind, we’d like you to finish this week by noting what you would take back to your department and school.


Supporting your colleagues

Imagine that a colleague in your department or school has asked you to provide advice about how to plan to be responsive in lessons. What would be your key idea?

Post in the comments below.

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This video is from the free online course:

Planning for Learning: Formative Assessment

National STEM Learning Centre