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End of week video

Watch the course educators summarise the main learning points from Week 3.

This week you looked at how to apply the principles of teaching core skills. In particular, you focused on ‘Measure it’ and the importance of reflecting on your students’ skills to highlight strengths and weaknesses, evidence progress and direct next steps. You also looked at the principle of ‘focus tightly’, by directly teaching the step of the skill, and how you can bring the principle of ‘keep practising’ into your classroom.

This combination of direct teaching and on-going practise is the most effective way of building core skills.

Next week, the final week of the course, you’ll start planning to put all you’ve learned into practice by developing an action plan for building your students core skills.

In the video on this step, Freddie discusses the highlights from this week. He says:

This week, we’ve been looking at the guiding principles behind assessing and teaching core skills. It’s been another stimulating week of discussions and reflection and it’s been great to read so many thoughtful comments.
At the start of the week, we asked you to leave questions for me and Sandra to discuss in a Q and A video. We enjoyed talking about many of the issues that were raised in the comments section. If you have not seen it yet, the video is now available to watch on Step 3.2.
We then turned attention to the principle of measuring core skills. We firstly considered choosing an appropriate class to focus on. It was great to see that most teachers articulated a clear rationale for the group they chose. Sandra and I enjoyed the discussions we had with some of you on this step. One of the aspects you were asked to consider included the needs and abilities of the group of students you chose. Two particularly good examples of this came from Marija Stojanov and L Rt. I have included links to their comments below this video.
After this, we looked at different methods of assessing skills. Self-assessment can either be done by students individually or with support from peers or teachers. Denis Shumbusha provides an excellent summary of when it may be appropriate to use these different techniques. Teacher assessment can be done with either a holistic focus on the whole class or with a focus on individual students. There are pros and cons to these approaches and the teaching context is likely to make one preferable to the other. Tuulu Jantunen points out that while likely to be less exact, teacher assessment of the whole class is practical for teaching larger class sizes. Hala Moghrabi acknowledges that focusing on individual assessment means more effort for teachers but highlights the hugely positive impact upon learning it is likely to have.
Later in the week we considered the principle of focusing tightly, using your understanding of your students’ progress to ensure that you are targeting skill steps which are relevant and achievable. We emphasised the importance of students understanding the building blocks of a step, as it will provide scaffolding for learners to achieve the skill step. Once the building blocks are understood, you will then be in a position to teach, assess and reinforce the skill step. We asked you to come up with some specific ideas for how you would do this for step 3 of speaking, and you came up with some fabulous ideas. I particularly liked Bucurică Nicoleta Camelia’s idea for a game that involves students putting events from the closing stages of World War 2 into chronological order. I’ve shared the link to her comment below. Fellow educator Sandra also created an excellent summary containing some of the best ideas for teaching, assessing, and reinforcing this skill step. I have also shared a link to her summary below.
Another important principle we considered this week was keep practising, which gives importance to using core skills in many different contexts. It was suggested that, after teaching a skill step, we should look out for opportunities within our wider teaching that allow students to practise the skill. David Scott came up with several practical suggestions for how he would adapt his curriculum to accommodate a stronger focus on specific core skills, as well as link core skills to extra-curricular activities students are involved in. I’ve shared a link to this comment below too.
Thanks again for all your hard work this week. Next week is Week 4, our final week, and we are focusing on developing action plans to ensure you are well prepared to implement core skills teaching. Please keep up the excellent work. See you next week!

Comments mentioned in the video

Marija Stojanov

L Rt

Denis Shumbusha

Tuulu Jantunen

Hala Moghrabi

Bucurică Nicoleta Camelia

Sandra’s summary

David Scott

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Teaching and Assessing Core Skills

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