Learning and Teaching Bulletin

An update from the Learning and Teaching group

Learning and Teaching

The learning and teaching website is getting a little bit outdated and we are currently moving materials to a new location. In the meantime this bulletin will act as reminder of our priorities:

· AifL

· Active Learning

· 4 Phase Model


This particular bulletin will look at


  • our in-house CPD
  • The ABC's of sticky teaching
  • FiSH feedback

In-house CPD

As part of our Professional update we need to ensure we are meeting the new GTCS Professional Standards. Here at Craigmount the learning and teaching group have set up a wide range of in-house CPD activities which can be signed up to. So far we have had
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Session 1: The Standards in Focus (Part 1) Wednesday 20/8/14

Stephen Rafferty kicked things of with a look at the professional standards. A link to his slides can be found here.


In particular, this session looked at the Standard for Registration and the Standard for Career-long Professional Learning (in conjunction with the Code of Professionalism and Conduct).

It was stressed throughout that, outwith Newly Qualified Teachers and Student teachers, the standards are not intended to be used as a performance measurement tool but rather as a resource to support teacher self-evaluation.

Here at Craigmount many of the themes contained in the standards are being addressed through our daily work, CAT days and ISIS days.


The following is the briefest summary of what the standards contain:

Professional Values and Commitment

  • Social Justice
  • Integrity
  • Trust and respect
  • Professional Commitment

Professional Knowledge and Understanding

  • Pedagogy, learning and subject knowledge
  • Curriculum and assessment
  • Enquiry and research
  • Educational contexts and current debates in policy, education and practice
  • Sustaining and developing professional learning

Professional Skills and Abilities

  • deepen and develop subject, curricular, and pedagogic knowledge to be able to lead learners and the learning of colleagues;
  • question, develop and account for practice in critically informed ways and provide an informed rationale for professional actions;
  • systematically investigate, analyse and evaluate the impact of practice;
  • critically question and challenge educational assumptions, beliefs and values of self and system;
  • critically engage with a range of educational literature, research and policy to make meaningful links to inform and change practice, where appropriate;
  • work to create, contribute to, and lead a collegiate culture, through collaborative enquiry, peer observation with constructive feedback, professional dialogue and debate;work collaboratively across disciplines, professions and communities, locally and globally

Professional Actions

  • Pedagogy, Learning and Subject Knowledge
  • Curriculum and Assessment
  • Educational contexts and current debates in policy, education and practice
  • Sustaining and Developing Professional Learning
  • Learning for Sustainability
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Improving feedback

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Feedback is a very important aspect of student development. Lots of the time I find that we provide feedback but we don't provide time to allow the students to act on the feedback. We also frequently ask students to peer assess but the quality of the feedback they provide is not always very good.


To get the most out of feedback we have been looking at using FiSH feedback (Friendly, specific and helpful). The feedback provided MUST allow the student to make adjustments to their work and address the points that have been raised in the feedback session. We are trying to get away from comments like: "Good", " like the colour", "awesome" and move on to comments like: "I like the way you used colour in the top section of the poster, it really draws my eye to it", "You could have tried to include a little more information on the background of the character i.e. why is he acting the way he is...."


The poster is handed out along with the success criteria and a reminder of the brief. We have completed the feedback session by asking all students to leave their work on their desk, with a post-it attached, everyone goes round and looks at 2 pieces of work leaving FiSH feedback on each post- it note. I walk around the class checking the quality of the feedback provided and make suggestions as the session progresses.


The most critical part of this is to ensure we give enough time for the student to act on the feedback and make the necessary adjustments. This can be a homework exercise or, if time permits, an exercise in class. If we do not allow time for improvement of the work then the students will struggle to see the benefit of feedback and continue to leave poor quality comments.

An example of this in practice can be found below.

Session 2 - Multiple Intelligence (27/08/2014)

Mike Gray did a session on multiple intelligence. A link to his slides can be found here

The theory of multiple intelligences is a theory of intelligence that differentiates it into specific (primarily sensory) "modalities", rather than seeing intelligence as dominated by a single general ability. This model was proposed by Howard Gardner in his book Frames of Mind: The Theory of Multiple Intelligences. Gardner articulated seven criteria for a behaviour to be considered an intelligence.


Gardner firmly maintains that his theory of multiple intelligences should "empower learners", not restrict them to one modality of learning.


The issues for education relate to:


•Educational opportunities offered to people

•Opportunities to follow on through/from education

•How subjects are taught in schools

•How one perceives educational development

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***************BREAKING NEWS******************

There is currently a "slow chat" going on through twitter hosted by @GTCS asking the question "why, if at all, is it important for teachers to engage in/with research?"


To contribute to this or to look at tweets simply follow #gtcsPL

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Session 3 - Supporting teachers in training (03/09/2014)

Emma Dickson presented a session on supporting student teachers. A link to her presentation can be found here.


This session looked at:


  • The role of the regent
  • How to gather evidence
  • The role of the mentor
  • Students experiencing difficulties



This session was particularly useful for those departments who have student teachers or for those departments who are likely to get students teachers in the future.

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Session 4 - outdoor learning (10/09/2014)

Jacquie Grocott gave an insight into her reflections of the outdoor learning course. A link to her reflection document can be found here.


Jacquie spoke about the ways in which this course has helped her to develop outdoor learning. She spoke about:



S1 Food Webs

Students were each given a card to place around their neck with a picture of an organism from a Scottish Oakland Food Web on it.


S2 Weird and Wonderful World of Wildlife

S2 students took part in a bug hunt in fenced off areas in the school grounds which have longer grass, bushes and trees in them.


S3 Abiotic and Biotic Factors

Students were required to learn about sampling different factors as part of their studies into “Life on Earth”. We went outside and used light, pH and moisture meters to record different areas and habitats in the school grounds and we also recorded plant abundance using quadrats.


S4 Bar Charts vs Histograms

As part of studying genetics we look at variation between people. There are two categories - discontinuous and continuous variation and these are represented by bar charts and histograms respectively.


Higher – Plant Succession

Higher students learn about plant succession in Biology and I wanted to make it an opportunity for outdoor learning. As such students were challenged to zoom around an areas of the school grounds looking for the stages of succession.


The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award (DofE)


Comenius Shine Project


Alternative Timetable – Upland Day Hike

Craigmount learning communities

We met last month for a discussion on learning and teaching. We will aim to meet again before Christmas - all are welcome.


At the last meeting we looked at

  • solutions to group work
  • Using a big microphone
  • Post-it app
  • problem page
  • the Scottish learning festival.

We will keep you updated on this!

If none of this is of interest to you maybe the following piece of advice will be.........

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