Learning and Teaching Bulletin

An update from the Learning and Teaching group

Learning and Teaching

The learning and teaching group has a fairly simple remit. We aim to improve the quality and consistency of learning and teaching at Craigmount:

Our priorities for this year are:

· 4 Phase Model

- AiFL

This particular bulletin will look at

  • Starters and plenaries
  • Expert teaching
  • Student voice at Craigmount
  • Ethic of excellence, practice and rigour


This issue is looking to gather together good starter and plenary activities you have tried in the past.

We thought that if we could ask each member of staff to come up with one example of a starter or plenary (or both) that they have used in the past, very quickly we will have gathered an excellent array, used across the school in different settings.

There is a template here, and a blank version for you to fill in here (you should also have been given a paper copy.)

If you would like to contribute to this very worthwhile "sharing good practice exercise" please return the form to Shona Wallace's tray before the February break.


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The following has been taken from Shaun Allison's blog.

  • There’s no prescribed ‘right’ way of teaching.
  • If it gets the right outcomes for the students, then it ‘works’.
  • There’s a great deal to be learnt from those teachers who have truly mastered the craft of the classroom.
  • There’s a large number of myths around, about what works.
  • It’s worth combining the wisdom of these great teachers with the research evidence base about what makes great teaching.
  • From this wisdom and evidence, there appears to be some firm pedagogical principles that appear to contribute to great teaching.
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If you were observing a teacher under these headings what would you expect to see?

  • How would you know?
  • What evidence would there be?
  • How would it differ from another teacher?
  • What would you see in note, teaching style or dicussion?

Student Voice – Feedback

Student feedback can be a very useful learning tool both for students and teachers. Ways to effectively do this are varied and depend on what your desired outcome of the feedback may be.

Is it

to allow students to reflect on their own pieces of work and build on this?

for you to see what students reaction is to a particular activity or unit of work?

to collect information on assessment?

Either way, giving students a method of voicing their own thoughts about their learning can be beneficial for all.

Below is a link to some examples that have been volunteered from different departments around the school (office 365 login required). Please feel free to add to the folder at any time



According to Hattie 2009 and Wiliam 1998, quality feedback is one of the most successful ways of improving learning. The question is, how do we ensure that the feedback we give is valued by the students and helps them develop?
critique and feedback - the story of austin's butterfly - Ron Berger
This video looks at ways that we can change the ethos within the school. A specific example is shown through this classic Austin’s Butterfly video about the power of critique. We shouldn’t accept mediocrity from any student; we should have aspirational goals for everyone and use specific techniques to enable students to reach them. I’ll be referring to Austin’s Butterfly a lot – as I have done in a couple of blog posts here and here.

This fits really well with Dweck's work on mindset. When you are presented with the final draft you might think that this boy has more talent. In reality he just needed to fins a way

Developing this ethos or ethic of excellence

  1. Start by showing exemplary work
  2. Refer to the work as drafts
  3. Give the critique time to work and make sure it is Friendly, specific and helpful
  4. Model the process by showing students how to do it
  5. Ban certain words like good, awesome and rubbish
  6. Ask the students to do the critique
  7. Critique the critique
  8. Redraft - dedicate actual time to this
  9. Show the work - if students take time to do it excellently, we should think about displaying it!
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Contemporary educational ideas