Taking a step backwards…in order to go forward by @TheChrissyT

Thinking about the classroom environment...and olde assessments!

Although I am very much actively researching and trying to implement this Shanghai style of teaching and application to learning, I have felt that this week that I have tried to reflect a little more on ‘how can I adopt this in the British classroom?’ rather than ‘how can I make my classroom like a Shanghai one?’

This is a re-blog post originally posted by Chris Tomkins and published with kind permission.

The original post can be found here.

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Something I have found very interesting is the use of displays; with our school having a very pro-active approach to ‘learning walls’, I was intrigued to research about their existence elsewhere; obviously particularly in Shanghai.

To me there is no doubt it is minimalistic and this was the views of other teachers that I have chatted to about what they saw on a recent exchange programme to Shanghai.

Have we gone over the top with displays in our education settings? – one of my well-respected, extremely experienced (and sometimes controversial) PGCE mentors highly agreed with this philosophy and I distinctly remember her telling me on my first placement visit: “You rip down those displays as soon as you get the chance!” (Despite it not being my classroom!) as it cluttered the children’s minds!

I would never question the brilliance of how they look, but how functional are they when other out performing countries seem to not be using them?

A very backwards step in assessment, but…

Picture As it was SATs week AND despite the fact we are AWOL (assessing without levels!) I decided I would give my class the very old and unpopular Y3 Optional SATs Paper, just to see how they did…no priming them; no pressure; no prior thought to; no teaching to the test & techniques; they just needed to try their best etc.

And they performed the best I have known a class to perform in it…was this because of how I had tackled subjects by pulling them further and further back? Going deeper, down to the bare bones of the mathematics in some cases! (e.g. doing grid multiplication but relating it to basic arrays of the 3x table etc!) or was it that I had a stronger cohort than previous years?


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