Session 119: How do you develop pupil productivity?

Thursday 11th October 2012 hosted by @mrlockyer

Session Title: How do you develop Pupil Productivity?

Summary of the Session:
[pullquote]always tell the children that you cannot get into a car and drive it perfectly the 1st time, maths is like that![/pullquote]

Tonight’s Ukedchat was borne from my own frustrations as a learner, where I found it hard to remain focused and engaged, and wanted to see what techniques teachers were using to help encourage, nurture and develop the actual ‘work’ of learning.

Sadly, my question appeared to be either too vague for some, or too semantically-militant to others, their thinking being that I was looking for ways to encourage ‘factory-like’ conditions in the classroom. I would be stunned and saddened if someone visiting my classroom described it as like a factory. For a start, there are no hard hats.

It was a shame that productivity is seen as a powerful positive virtue as an adult, and yet this term when applied to children and learning is seen as something dangerous, rootless or even un-motivating.

Despite this ribbon of question-angst, there was nevertheless a great range of ideas from many contributors, a selection of which are highlighted, in no particular order, below.


Notable Tweets from the Session:
@ChrisEdwards83: productivity is increased by ensuring that children have ‘the right tool for the job’
@t2uGiveItAGo: For me, one of the key ways of improving pupil productivity is to make learning relevant..using examples that students relate to.
@MissPhilbin: I find using competition especially with group work improves productivity of students in class
@Day_tom:  It”s about making them feel comfortable where they are working so that they can focus on the learning
@MrsPTeach: Use quick fire multi sensory activity and find out what the kids enjoy (mine = drama) link the learning to that!
@davidhunter: sounds stupid, but playing rock paper scissors every five minutes during writing worth Y3 has increased output and motivation
@: bekblayton: Not that silly @davidhunter – mini plenaries and quick breaks can work wonders I find. Refocus and refreshes their thinking
@tmeeky: How can you make kids more productive/engage when they don’t see school as being relevant /effective in preparing their future?
@MissMugwump: Focus on process, progress and showing productivity and roles of group members more explicitly through learning task
@MrsPTeach: Make school their short term (ST) future – some kids cannot link that far ahead with now. Have a ST goal as a class
@AlexKilly: make the learning environment a happy and fun place to really get the chn engaged
@Vickycarl: Should we be thinking about quality work rather than productivity. I have to keep telling my Y2’s quantity does not mean quality!
@bekblayton: How about a simple one – no erasers on tables (!) Maybe a primary age problem…
@MrG_ICT:  Most memorable learning is not recorded in a book. SLT need to recognise this – children do. Videos, blogs, forums, philosophy
@MrAColley: I’m watching 1 of you. You don’t know which 1. If you can focus for x mins, everyone gets a reward. Read that somewhere… 😉
@Monty_Math: focus has to be on ‘productive’ learning not productive work
@CalvinKipling: Analyse carefully the tasks that the pupils are asked to do in a lesson. Are they really relevant to the intended learning?
@TeacherToolkit: Pupil productivity: Plan engaging activities. It’s that simple!
@bekblayton: Expectations need to be high too – pupil productivity can take many forms but it needs to be challenging!
@danielharvey9: Getting students in the frame of mind to work hard and creatively but also achieve.
@susanbanister: Productivity is not a great way to describe children’s learning #lastthought


Tweet of the Week
As a positive finish to the write-up, we collectively shared some good ‘if at first you don’t succeed’ messages, which make for great reading:


@Vickycarl: I think children are scared to make mistakes so often will not have a go, I encourage mistakes as a way to learn.
@Gwenelope: Me too. I tell them it’s ok, as they’ll learn from it and do it better next time.
@Vickycarl: always tell the children that you cannot get into a car and drive it perfectly the 1st time, maths is like that!
@Gwenelope: Mine is, Shakespeare didn’t get his plays right first time. He wrote them over and over again.
@Mrlockyer My favourite one is that there were 1,300ish versions of the Dyson-01 before the first one even sold. [Actually 5,127!]
@MrG_ICT: Also WD40 was 40th attempt.
Many thanks to all those who took time to contribute. For those who were unhappy with the question, it was drawn from a poll. Use your votes!


About your Host
I am @mrlockyer, a dangerously young-looking Deputy Head who lives and works in Kent. I have a deep love of teaching, learning and technology, and feel I should blog/tweet/write more, but life tends to get in the way! I completed my MA in 2010, which looking at learning online versus offline learning, and am currently saving up to pay for a Doctorate, with which I hope to explore the impact of pupil feedback on teaching. I have four children under eight and have not had a full night’s sleep for seven years, co-incidentally. I blog at

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