Teachers as LearnersAt Newington Green our staff are learning too. We are committed to providing high quality, continued professional development to all of our staff members, in order for them to develop teaching and learning in new and innovative ways.
Our Teacher Learning Community
At Newington Green our staff are learning too. We are committed to providing high quality, continued professional development to all of our staff members, in order for them to develop teaching and learning in new and innovative ways.
Our Teacher Learning Community (TLC) was set up in January 2013, in partnership with the London Borough of Islington. The aim is to develop assessment for learning techniques in our school and continue to develop the quality of teaching and learning, with a focus on children’s progress. The project is primarily based on the research and materials of Dylan Wiliam and John Hattie.
“The research evidence suggests that when formative assessment practices are integrated into the minute-to-minute and day-by-day classroom activities of teacher, substantial increases in student achievement – of the order of a 70 to 80 percent increase in the speed of learning-are possible…”
From teachers to schools: scaling up professional development for formative assessment
Siobhan Leahy (Edmonton County School, Enfield, UK) & Dylan Wiliam
How does it work?
Every half term, the staff at Newington Green meet to study a piece of research, linked to an area of assessment for learning or whole school improvement. Each member of teaching staff creates an action plan for trialling a new idea, linked to the research. They then invite a colleague to observe them teach with this specific focus in mind. During the peer observations, teachers fill in a feedback form for their colleague, which they later meet to discuss in detail. This is an opportunity for staff to share good practice and enter into a professional dialogue. In Spring Term of 2015, the community also carried out a community based action research project, working together to find out more about pupil resilience and discover effective strategies for developing resilience in school.
Areas of focus for this academic year
- Guided Teaching to Drive Progress
- Differentiation and Challenge
- Embedding Growth Mindsets
Previous Areas of Focus
- Questioning to elicit information about learning
- Enabling effective dialogue
- Opening up Maths – open ended application in maths lessons
- Deepening pupil learning using reflection tools (metacognition)
- Feedback to move pupils’ learning forward
- Effective use of learning objectives
- Effective use of success criteria
- Challenging the more able
- Activating pupils as owners of their own learning.
- Activating pupils as instructional resources for one another
- Developing pupil resilience – a community based action research project spanning over four months.
- Developing the use of shared success criteria.
What do staff at Newington Green think about the project?
“…I found it really valuable to hear from colleagues about their experiences with pupils in their class. I will use the ideas that I have heard about from other members of staff. It is good to share good practice. It has been a thought provoking experience”. (Laura Dwyer, Music Specialist)
“It was good to experience this as part of a community – to listen to the ideas of colleagues and see the impact of their interventions on children in the same school. Discussing data collected allowed me to explore new ideas in a safe environment and absorb them more readily than if I’d just read the information. It was also useful to hear from staff working with a range of ages to see how these experiences differ across the school”. (Georgina Simmons, Year 1 Teacher)
“I’ve loved seeing peoples’ different teaching styles/classroom management. I’ve also really liked having a window of opportunity to be reflective with another teacher- it’s great having the time to discuss and try out new things, which enrich our teaching and children’s learning. I’ve really enjoyed the INSETs … it’s been nice seeing that some of the things you do in class anyway are valid and great for children’s cognition and development”.
“I have found the TLC has provided me with a focus and direction on a specific area of a lesson. The practical support offered by peers has encouraged me to think ‘outside the box’. For example: one lesson feedback suggested children use hand signs to signal they were thinking the same thing … I knew this wouldn’t work for my kids (they like to be hands on) so I made flashcards for them to show me their thinking instead. This has been much more successful, and never would have been considered if it wasn’t for that initial suggestion. All children now feel listened to and participate with enthusiasm.
As we develop further by focusing/reflecting on different areas of a lesson it can only enhance my practice and benefit the children further.
The most positive thing about the TLC for me, is that I don’t feel as if I’m being ‘watched’. Instead I feel the advice is ‘guiding’ me.” (Class Teacher)
Teaching and Learning Newsletters
At Newington Green our teachers and support staff also share examples of good practice, CPD opportunities and interesting educational research, via our half-termly Teaching and Learning Newsletter. You can download published editions of the newsletter here:
For more information on the research of Dylan Wiliam and John Hattie, please see the links below.
If you would like to find out more about the Teacher Learning Community (TLC) project at Newington Green Primary School, please contact Jessica Smith (Deputy Headteacher – Teaching and Learning) via the school office on 0207 254 3092 or email firstname.lastname@example.org