At Royds we recognise the importance of consistency across lessons as well as the need to embrace creativity, imagination and put our students at the very centre of everything we do. To ensure consistency for our students we have a series of non-negotiables to which we expect all teachers to adhere every lesson.
All lessons begin with a BIG (Brain In Gear) activity. This is to ensure a calm and purposeful start to the lesson. In the majority of cases, this should be an activity which practises memory recall of previous learning. This approach is informed by the forgetting curve; most people forget knowledge very quickly, but if it is revisited, it is retained for longer.
Teachers will briefly outline the learning context (the what and why) so that pupils understand how the lesson fits into a sequence of lessons. The aim of the lesson must be clearly identified and be linked to subject specific concepts and processes. It should be displayed throughout the lesson and continually referred to by both staff and students. Teachers will state their expectations, so students are aware of exactly what is expected of them.
We have a simple learning structure called TDAR; Teach-Demonstrate-Assess-Respond.
Teach: Teachers are the subject expert and need to impart the knowledge and skills necessary for pupils to succeed in the content heavy new GCSE specifications. We would expect that the first part of most lessons would be the teach phase. Teachers need to make sure that this learning is challenging, that they explain it clearly and that pupils capture it in a meaningful form.
Demonstrate: Teachers need to give students the opportunity to show that they understand what they have been taught. In this phase pupils can work in groups, pairs or independently, but should not be reliant upon the teacher. Expectations of how students are to work will be made very clear with the use of “I expect…”
Assess: Whilst pupils are in the demonstrate phase the teacher will assess them to see how well the pupils have understood what they have been taught. During this time, the teacher is gaining an overview of common misconceptions.
Respond: We recognise it can be very tempting to carry on with an original learning plan but, depending on what teachers have discovered about what pupils have understood during the assessment phase, they may have to adapt subsequent strategy. Teachers might adopt one of the following approaches:
- Re-teach a small point if many learners in the class have got this wrong.
- Show an example of someone’s work in the class, which is of a high standard, discuss it and ask pupils to redraft their own in response.
- Decide to deliver an extra phase of learning on the topic next lesson if they realise that no-one in the class has understood.
Work with a small group of pupils who are struggling to understand the concept, whilst the others have work to do which deepens and embeds their knowledge.