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End of Week 4

Watch your course educators as they reflect on the final week of the course.

Congratulations on completing this four-week course on teaching and assessing core skills. Hopefully you now feel confident enough to:

  • understand how core skills can be broken down into steps
  • use the Skills Builder framework as a basis for assessing where your students’ existing strengths and development areas are, and use these to decide where and how to focus your teaching
  • understand how the six principles work to build these skills effectively
  • reflect on your experience of putting this into action, with a better understanding of what works well and what the challenges could be
  • plan how to take what you’ve learned and apply it to help your students develop.

Of course, this is only the beginning of putting what you have learned into practice, and you can continue to access materials and ideas through the British Council and the Skills Builder Hub.

In the video on this step, Sandra discusses the highlights from the final week of the course. She says:

Hi everyone, and welcome to the final video of the final week. It’s been a great week and it’s been really rewarding for us to see all your ideas and suggestions beginning to take shape.
We began the week with some action planning, and looked at how to get started using the Skills Builder Hub. You were able to create an account and think about your group and what skills and steps to begin with.
After assessing your group, the Hub recommends lessons to help you get started in the ‘Build this step’ menu. You selected a lesson for your chosen group and said why you had chosen it. There were some good reasons and choices in this step. For example, Tuula Jantunen chose ‘Desert Island Decisions for teamwork step 7 (I contribute to group decision making, whilst recognising the value of others’ ideas) because she has used this type of activity successfully before. Choosing an activity that you are confident your students will be comfortable with is a good way to start integrating the skills into your lessons. And many of you chose activities for this reason.
Clifford Mwewa chose a lesson focusing on teamwork – a topic that many of you chose to work on – ‘Working well with others’ – because he feels that the topics shown in the lesson, such as being pleasant, being enthusiastic and encouraging, are practical things that would be good to encourage with his learners.
This was followed by a video and an article on how to begin pulling your ideas together to make a proper plan. You were given a template to use, and we’re very happy that so many of you found this really helpful. The template focused on the why, how and when, and from the comments it was clear that it helped you all to start thinking more logically about your reasons for picking specific skills and steps.
For example, Ratib Abas Atiku chose teamwork because their students dislike working in teams, hate sharing marks, and hate to compromise their ideas. This seems like a good basis to focus on this.
In 4.7, you considered how the different parts of the Skills Builder framework might work with your students. There were some good ideas for adapting or changing some of the suggestions, often these were related to the topic of context and cultural differences, as well as making materials more accessible, or simplifying and adapting them for your learners.
In 4.8, you looked at your current plan, and the areas you are finding difficult to complete. There were a lot of common themes here. For example, Gerard Brady listed three areas that covered a lot of what many of you were saying:
  • Finding time to investigate the skills in more depth.
  • Finding and matching relevant materials and activities to the steps.
  • Finding ways to integrate them into my existing lessons.
Other potential difficulties were how to practically assess your students in large or mixed ability classes, as well as getting students to recognise the importance of the skill themselves. Something that Freddie mentioned in the comments was the idea of flipped learning, a learner-centred approach that involves students being active in, and accountable for, their development outside the classroom. This method can free up time in the classroom, although as with anything, it can work better with the support of your school and management. We’ve added a link below for anyone who might be interested in learning more about that.
Finally, we’d all like to say a big thank you for joining in, and for being so enthusiastic about the topic. It’s been great taking part in the forums and discussions with you all, and we hope that you will take what you’ve learned into your classrooms, and begin helping your students to develop the skills that will help them not just in education, but in their everyday lives. It may take time, effort and adapting, but in the end, it will be worth it.
Thanks again, and goodbye.

Information on flipped learning

Tuula Jantunen

Clifford Mwewa

Ratib Abas Atiku

Gerard Brady

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Teaching and Assessing Core Skills

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