Understand the barriers to learning and the current education context
The aim of this course is to provide you with guidance and advice so you can explore how you can best use the strategies of ‘Pre-teaching and Assigning Competence’ to support your learners to be active and influential participants in lessons.
Pre-teaching here is identified as additional individual or small group time with the teacher who will teach the lesson, in advance of the lesson. The focus of any pre-teach is on addressing the barriers the learners might have in accessing the mathematics in the lesson. The notion of assigning competence comes from the work of Cohen, Lotan and others at the Stanford School of Education.
The purpose of assigning competence is to raise the status of learners who have lower status in a group by explicitly identifying things they say or do that have the potential to contribute to the learning of the whole group.
We will start by looking at the thinking behind this approach and the learners with whom you might be working.
We will focus on pre-teaching in week two, assigning competence in week three before combining these ideas in weeks four and five.
The reasons why you have signed up for this course will be varied but it is highly likely that you are all looking for ways to change the status of some of your more vulnerable learners and support them to increase their confidence and participation in lessons and thereby raise their attainment.
Currently, in many schools and classrooms, there are some learners who are struggling to access age-appropriate content and teachers have to make decisions about how best to support these learners every day. One of the most commonly used strategies is to provide some extra time to support for these learners, in addition to their normal class lesson: ‘intervention’.
In the past this has often taken place after the lesson itself where a learner has been identified as struggling to engage with the new learning in class. One of the common challenges of any form of intervention is to ensure it directly benefits learning in the class lesson because the focus of learning in the intervention and the class are experienced as separate and distinct episodes of learning. We were particularly interested in improving the ‘status’ of these learners in class as research has found that learners with a higher status talk more and, as a result, learn more.
Throughout the five weeks of this course we will provide a range of ways for you to engage with the ideas presented to you. You will certainly gain far more if you are able to try out ideas with a group of learners as you work your way through the course. We hope that you will read and respond to each other’s comments as well as sharing your own ideas and experiences.
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