An English Teacher's Toolbox

An English teacher at a Secondary School in the UK. * Sharing and questioning the day job. * I teach KS3/4/5.
* Looking for inspiration and motivation, to share with others. * Looking to constantly improve and grow. * On Twitter at @MissBex_M *
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schoolcommunity:

The Guardian: Exams chief warns against emphasis on English and maths GCSEs. Overall progress by pupils studying English and maths is a better measure of school performance than an over-emphasis on exam results, England’s exam regulator has told the government in response to its overhaul of…

Something we’ve focused on in recent department meetings is how we, as individual class teachers, can reduce the amount of ‘teacher talk’ that’s happening.

Our acting HoD set us an interesting challenge before half term, to record the amount of time we ‘teacher talk’ in 6, 1 hour lessons. We then had to reflect and consider, a) at which points in the lesson were we talking the most and why? b) how did the pupils’ behaviour change at different points? and c) what strategies might we be able to employ to reduce the talk?

On reflection, I realised that for me the biggest amount of ‘teacher talk’ was at the start of the lesson, where I was setting up the context of the lesson and the task. One way I’ve dealt with this in the last few months is through the use of ‘bell work’ (see earlier post). This strategy enables students to be actively engaged immediately and independently, as the task requires little or no elaborate instruction from the teacher.
Here are 2 recent examples:

image

and…

image

Both of these activities allow for complete independence as soon as the pupils enter the room. If they are unsure, I direct them back to the board or to ask their table or teaching assistant (where applicable).

The use of bell work means I can set up the lesson, deal with issues and sort register etc. without eating into the learning time.

Another strategy which has helped me to decrease ‘teacher talk’ is to give very clear, concise instructions visually as well as verbally. This means using the PowerPoint/ Smartboard to support my task instructions clearly. For an example, see below:

image

The reinforcement of the LOs and clear instruction means that I can spend more time supporting individual students, rather than repeating and reexplaining tasks.

Of course, there are other strategies to employ. For example, you can use students as teachers, or set tasks up so that the ‘dialogue’ is in the style of verbal football. But I’m interested in other ideas.

What strategies do you see as useful in cutting ‘teacher talk’ and increasing the pupils’ time spent engaged in independent activity?

missmillward1:

#TheCrucible revision: Essay feedback #MostCommonProblems #ThingsToFix

missmillward1:

#TheCrucible revision: remember this character chart you were all meant to do? Have you used it? Can you complete it now, from memory?

missmillward1:

#TheCrucible revision: are you familiar with the framework? Can you apply it to ANY extract? Do you know the terms? If not - find out! #CraftedText

missmillward1:

#TheCrucible revision: A who’s who of the play. Do you know this? Can you write about them? What if they’re minor characters…?

You can find some of my ‘shared’ resources available on @tes here

Useful and could be adapted to other examples #like

classroomcollective:

Ways to Analyse an Image

(via betheteacheryouloved)

Great Cause and effect poster to use with kids #like

oscarlearnoscarteach:

(via betheteacheryouloved)

#CreativeWriting #Exemplar #Resource #Analysis #FeatureSpot #Mine

I created this to use with year 9. I want them to identify ways of creating atmosphere. Here, I’ve used the weather.

But I also want them to ‘peer assess’ and to suggest ways to change and improve.