Learning and Teaching Bulletin

An update from the Learning and Teaching group

Learning and Teaching

This bulletin aims to share good learning and teaching around Craigmount High School.

Some more good feedback surrounding our last issue of the L and T bulletin with more people spending longer reading the stories.

If you have anything you would like to share in next months bulletin just contact us (the L&T SIG) or share your ideas on the pedagooFriday board in the staffroom

Key things from this bulletin are:

1. Craigmount Learning Communities on the 25th at 3.45 in FCT

2. A better understanding of what we are trying to do

3. Developing a growth mindset by challenging yourself

4. Thinking about different resources to use in the classroom (external companies, your favourite box set etc)

5. Allowing students the time to reflect and improve.

What this bulletin is not about

Engaging in growth and development

Craigmount Learning Communities

After a mediocre response to our request for signup we have decided to change the way we do these. We are going to meet - initially on 25/11 (at 3.40 for an hour) in FCT to discuss good bits of learning and teaching that occur in our classrooms. This can be anything from activities that were particularly engaging, teaching that really helped students or just something that made it all seem worthwhile.

The idea is that we take away an idea or two that we would like to try in our own classrooms, go away and try it then come back and talk about our success (or otherwise)

To sign up drop an email to me before the 25th so that we can cater for the influx of members

@chsmodstuds using contemporary TV in the classroom.

As part of the Advanced Higher Modern Studies course, students have been looking at the reasons why people commit crime. We have been analysing the idea of people being alienated from society with a particular focus on the work of highly respected sociologist Robert K Merton from Columbia University. The students had already read his paper, taken notes, discussed and written a critical essay. At this point, their feedback was that this was the hardest part of the course so far to get to grips with. The students were able to repeat back the theory and the criticisms and their essays had been of a high standard. But they lacked convincing contemporary examples which the theory could be applied to.

After consulting one of my go-to sociology websites “The Sociological Cinema”, I struck gold. A set of examples which I felt the students would totally relate to. Teaching the concepts of Merton’s “Strain Theory” through the medium of popular HBO DVD box-set “The Wire”! I love this show and for the record it’s my all-time number 2 favourite box set (The West Wing is number 1 and I have used it many times when teaching US politics!). Anyway I digress…I asked the students to watch the clips and then tell me what theory it made them think of, then to go into more detail and explain how the theory could be applied to the situation. They got it straight away and we went on to examine another few clips and unpick what was being said about issues connected with our next topic – social class.

I think this lesson worked so well, because for the students it filled in the gap of how to apply the theory to contemporary life. They already had a reasonable grasp of the theory and its limitations which they had gained through traditional textual analysis and discussion, but this really made the connection for them in relating it to the modern world.

Using external companies in the classroom (@chsbuscomp)

An ethic of excellence and Dedicated Improvement and reflection time.

Planning for students to reflect and improve. Using summative tests for formative purposes. Ensuring that students are striving for "An Ethic of excellence" Ron Berger talks about why it is important to give Specific feedback. @huntingenglish talks about the use of dedicated improvement time in the classroom to strive for this ethic of excellence.