I have been a teacher for 27 years, a Headteacher for 12 years and, at the age of 51, this much I know about working out whether my teaching is improving (including my slides from researchED 2015 !)

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Laura McInerney taught me lots about teaching yesterday, and that’s all you can ask from an education conference, isn’t it? I learnt why what works for one won’t work for all. I learnt how power works in a classroom (it depends upon who has most power to coerce, who has the most power to reward, who has most legitimacy, who is most admired, who is the most expert and who knows the most…and you really need to teach in a way which empowers you, especially with challenging groups of students, aka don’t choose a role play activity if you are rubbish at role play yourself as you will see your power in the classroom evaporate into the ether). I learnt when group work works and when it doesn’t. And if you can afford a copy of Group Dynamics by Donelson R. Forsyth, it comes highly recommended by Laura…

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How well did my students do in their examinations this summer? I spent most of my researchED 2015 session exploring my students’ 2015 results and trying to answer this question so that I can improve my teaching next year. There is a golden thread running from my teaching through to my students’ examination results. Whatever I did to try to improve my teaching last year will manifest itself in the data from this summer’s results. Summer 2015 is over, but if I do not spend time analysing forensically my students’ examination results, then I forgo the opportunity to learn about the impact of my last year’s teaching. If my modifications to my teaching worked, evidence that they worked will be there in the examination results; if they didn’t, the results will tell me and I should stop doing whatever I am doing. Click on the slide below for my presentation. Do email me if you want to ask any questions.

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Thanks again to Tom and Hélène for organising a fab conference. It was a privilege to be involved.

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This post has 9 Comments

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  1. I find your approach so refreshing, John. I met someone this week and when I asked how summer results has been she wrinkled her nose and said, “Well, not great, but as I expected.” I can remember making the same response earlier in my career. How much more powerful is it to look at results and think: what can I learn from this that will help me, and future cohorts, do even better than this year? ‘How can we?’ rather than ‘why we can’t’…. I know it’s easy for me to say this now, but if we have a critical mass of teachers who take the ‘How can we?’ approach, I do think the profession could move mountains.
    Have a great year.

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