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For all things Teaching, Learning and Assessment

Issue 11

Welcome to this month's TLA newsletter

With an exciting albeit exhausting start to 2016 thanks to our visit from Ofsted, you could be forgiven for thinking, Christmas holidays? When were they? What did I do to relax?

So this month's newsletter is all about fresh ideas and opportunities to poach good resources and practice to see you through February:

  • Do we get more from our learners when we ditch the questions and make statements instead?
  • How to survive your first year in teaching
  • The latest news from TeachMeet
  • We're on Twitter! @TLAcentral
  • Giving good quality feeback
  • EVENT: Free resources and sharing good practice at Beeston
  • CPD - latest courses you can sign up for
  • Central's Buddy Network - talking teaching and making friends
  • Reflections on Ofsted
  • Just for fun - a quick Valentine's Day quiz

You can dip into the teaching community's most inspiring thoughts and ideas by visiting the TLA team's new Twitter page - just look for See you there!

As ever, if you'd like to feature in the e-bulletin or have some ideas about what you'd like to see in the e-bulletin, please email the team at

Do we get more from our learners when we ditch the questions and make statements?

The art of questioning learners during our classes is one many teachers at Central have mastered and something all practitioners consider valuable. Many a new teacher aspires to develop the skills to question learners effectively when they're starting out, and for most it requires practice and patience.

An altogether simpler and less onerous approach might be to use statements, rather than questions, however. Toby French decided to experiment with statements rather than questions and got even the most reluctant learners talking - you can read more about it on his blog ( In the meantime, how can this technique be used in your lessons? See our quick reference below.
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Giving good quality feedback - 10 Top Tips

Use constructive criticism to provide positive suggestions for improvement

Write a brief summary of your view of the work

Ask questions that encourage reflection about the work – in the text and in the overall comments

Explain all your comments

Suggest follow-up work and comments

Suggest specific ways to improve the assignment

Explain the mark or the grade and explain why it is not better or worse

Offer help with specific problems

Offer opportunity to discuss the assignment and your comments.

Balance positive and negative comments

Remember: BTEC regulations do not mean you cannot give feedback !

TLA Sharing Good Practice event

Friday, Feb. 12th, 11:30am-1pm

Central College Nottingham - Beeston Centre, Beeston, United Kingdom

Come and have a chat, share some good practice and poach tons of free resources from the Beeston canteen.

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Fancy brushing up your knowledge and skills?

The TLC team will be running CPD on various topics during the week commencing 22 February 2016, including:

  • Observing others - how to observe teaching and learning
  • Effective feedback
  • Effective target-setting

Follow the link below for more information and to book yourself a place:

Why not team up with a buddy to talk teaching?

As part of the sharing best practice at Central, we are offering staff the opportunity to sign up to the 'buddy pool'. Once you sign up, you will be allocated someone who shares the same teaching interests as yourself. You can meet informally or simply email one another to discuss ways to share problems and improve practice in a particular area. It is completely informal and provides you with the opportunity to meet others from across the college.

Interested? Email:

And finally...

It's a thumbs-up to learners in Travel and Tourism for showing Ofsted what they're made of - thank you to them and to their tutor, Janine Brook:

"Quiet, hardworking, conscientious and studious teenagers ....... Where, you may ask? These are the words I would use to describe my travel and tourism marketing students on one of the Ofsted inspection days and in fact every lesson. They were not phased by the inspector visiting and wowed her with their exemplary behaviour and examples of promotional work. I am very proud to teach such a fantastic group"

- Janine Brook, Travel and Tourism

And a further well done to Richard Wain's students of Photography for their nerves of steel during the inspection:

“I cannot remember the Photography Department having such a light touch during inspection. We were, of course, on high alert throughout, thoroughly prepared and oozing quality. When we finally got an inspector venturing up our Runway Gallery (the corridor to the department), she was found to be in enthusiastic conversation with one of our talented students talking about the wonderful work on display. I was able to give the inspector a quick tour of the facilities and then I was requested to escort her down to the car park for a chat en route about work experience and the embedding of maths and English. Job done; it’s the Photography Department what won it!"

-Richard Wain, Curriculum Manager, Photography


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Just for fun

Contact us

If you'd like some coaching or training for your department, or have some ideas for the e-bulletin, please email the team at