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Core Responsibilities (Primary): Working and Developing Together as a Team


This page has been archived. The content was correct at the time of original publication, but is no longer updated.
Created on 03 November 2009 by ncetm_administrator
Updated on 13 May 2010 by ncetm_administrator

The effectiveness of all developments within your team relies on you taking your colleagues with you and so the way in which you all work together is crucial.

You can have clear policies regarding, for example, assessment, but these will not be fully successful unless all teachers are actively working to embed these policies in their own practice. You may have a very well established set of planning documents which support colleagues in planning exciting and effective lessons for pupils but these work best when teachers are actively sharing ideas, discussing pedagogy and learning from their work together.

  • Are you a school that recognises the importance of continuing professional development for all its staff and encourages a culture of teacher enquiry and experimentation?
  • Do all teachers respond positively to the challenge of developing their practice?
  • What provision do you have for discussing ideas amongst your teaching colleagues and supporting them in any developments they are making?
  • What mechanisms are in place for collaborative planning and teaching, developing new resources, teaching ideas and pedagogy?
  • How are your colleagues supported in developing rich and effective assessment practices in their classrooms?

This module will help you reflect on these questions. Here is a suggestion of how you might use the materials:

  • look through and discuss (with your line manager/senior leader and your teaching colleagues) the list of example statements (also available to download as a PDF) and decide which best fits your stage of development
  • use the ‘moving to the next level’ questions to identify the steps which will help you and your colleagues move to the next level
  • use the ‘Stories of change’ (reflections and thoughts from other fellow subject leaders explaining how they have worked on these issues) to form your own next steps
  • record your thoughts in your own learning journal and specific actions and developments in the policy to practice pro-forma. You may also wish to use your Personal Learning Space to record your own thoughts and reflections. 

Description

Teachers rarely go out on courses or engage in other forms of CPD either outside or within the school.

Staff meetings tend to concentrate on the dissemination of information and the need for staff to implement certain actions agreed by the SL and SLT without any opportunity to discuss and/or try things out.

Teachers are often confused as to what they are being asked to do.

Assessment:

There is a lack of clarity about the purposes of assessment and teachers are ill-informed about the principles of good assessment.

There has been little genuine debate and discussion amongst staff about assessment which informs the writing and using of the school’s mathematics assessment policy.

Testing is used sporadically and not according to a coherent whole school plan.

Questioning is usually closed and used to assess fluency rather than understanding. Too often pupils are expected to remember methods, rules and facts without grasping the underpinning concepts or making links with other areas of mathematics and prior learning.

There is inconsistent attention to both mental and written work to ensure that they are developed, practiced and applied.

Curriculum and lesson planning:

Mathematics curriculum plans are either not available or if they are, not used by teachers to inform their planning.

Lessons are planned without reference to a clear curriculum plan informing continuity and progression.

Activities are planned in a haphazard and un-coordinated way with a tokenistic link to topics and themes.

Planning for teaching is mainly driven by the need for transmission of facts and ideas without an appreciation of the need for thinking carefully about the way ideas are introduced and how the learning situations that pupils are placed in helps them to learn.

Moving to the next level

If you are category 4:
  • Is there a process by which teachers who have engaged in some professional development activity feedback to the rest of their colleagues?
  • How could you inject a PD activity or discussion point related to mathematics into your next staff meeting?
  • If there is an assessment policy, how might you re-visit it to begin some discussion about this issue? If there isn’t might the case studies in the Assessment Key Element in section 1 of these materials help?
  • How can you develop more regular and consistent assessments across the school?
  • Are mathematics curriculum plans available for teachers to inform their planning?
  • Are mathematics curriculum plans used by teachers to inform their planning?
  • Is progression clear in a series of lesson plans?
  • Is planning for teaching mainly driven by the need for transmission of facts and ideas?
  • How could you begin to add some written support in your plans for how certain topics might be introduced so that pupils are supported in their learning?

> Stories of change

Description

All teachers are encouraged to go on courses that they would like to attend, however the match between course content and areas within the mathematics development plan are not always appropriate.

There is an agreed process for teachers to apply to go on courses and teachers are regularly encouraged to feedback to the rest of the staff regarding courses they have attended.

Assessment:

There is a lack of clarity about the distinction between assessment for learning and assessment of learning.

Much of the assessment practice adopted by teaching staff is aligned with testing (both formally and informally) but is rarely used in a formative way.

Curriculum and lesson planning:

Teachers’ tend to rely on familiar strategies and approaches to enhance learning. There is an awareness of age related expectations for their own pupils and planning addresses pupils’ needs, aspirations and prior attainment.

Teachers make use of curriculum plans but use them mainly as a source for activities.

They are aware of the intended learning for each unit of work and planning is based around mapping out a teaching sequence. Lessons have some differentiation and involve a range of learning resources including practical, visual and ICT resources that pupils can use to support, test and confirm their learning. The classroom environment is well managed and there is a clearly defined mathematical area but the environment is not always used to best effect to stimulating to pupils. High order questioning is occasionally used to develop mathematical thinking and there are some opportunities for pupils to practice, discuss and apply their learning.

The curriculum plan clearly emphasises the importance of both mental and written calculation but practice is inconsistent in the way that skills of mental and written calculation are developed, practiced and applied. There is some evidence of links to other subject areas and other external sources to enrich the learning of mathematics within and beyond the classroom.

Moving to the next level

If you are category 3:
  • What steps could you take to ensure that PD opportunities (including courses) that staff engage in take into account whole school and personal needs and priorities?
  • How can you begin some debate within the school about what forms of PD are helpful to teachers? (You may find the Professional Learning microsite on the NCETM portal helpful).
  • How can you use your existing assessment policy to begin some discussion and development of more formative forms of assessment?
  • How can you encourage teachers to try out some new ways of teaching topics (for example, those that your pupils always find difficult) and how can these new ways be discussed and integrated into curriculum plans?
  • How can your curriculum plans support teachers in being aware of age-related expectations but also allow them to plan activities which move pupils on from where they are address their needs, aspirations and prior attainment?
  • How can discussions in staff meetings about how you teach and assess certain mathematical topics inform the development of your curriculum plans?

> Stories of change

Description

Professional development is seen as being more than just external courses.

Courses and other CPD initiatives are undertaken by staff and there is an expectation that the themes of these need to be directly related to planned mathematics developments and/or personal CPD needs.

Staff meetings emphasise discussion and debate (informed by the CPD opportunities experienced by staff), ensuring that all staff have the opportunity to make sense of the issue being raised and the policies and practices being discussed.

Assessment:

Teachers are aware of the difference between assessment for learning and assessment of learning and have practices which make the distinction between the two.

Questioning is employed to develop mathematical thinking, address misconceptions and assess knowledge, skills and understanding.

Curriculum and lesson planning:

All teachers use learning objectives well in lessons to support pupils in their learning.

Teachers use a range of teaching strategies and approaches to ensure all pupils can participate, progress and achieve. Teachers are fully aware of age related expectations throughout the primary phase and planning and teaching addresses pupils’ needs, aspirations and prior attainment.

Teachers are aware of the intended learning for a unit of work and planning is based around mapping out a coherent and engaging teaching sequence. Lessons are well paced and appropriately pitched and progress is made by all pupils. Teachers use curriculum planning documents to construct lessons which are engaging, enjoyable and challenging. Opportunities for pupils to practice, discuss and apply their learning in a variety of contexts are planned. Practical, visual and ICT resources are well used in lessons to enable pupils to support, test and confirm their learning.

There is some attention to both mental and written work to ensure that are developed, practiced and applied. There is evidence of links to other subject areas and other external sources to enrich the learning of mathematics within and beyond the classroom.

Moving to the next level

If you are category 2:
  • Is there an expectation that teachers use their curriculum plans as working documents and regularly annotate them with their own ideas and reflections of how things went?
  • Is there a mechanism for these annotations to be fed back to you as subject leader to add to and enrich the documented plans?
  • How are all teachers encouraged to have an issue related to their own teaching and their pupils’ learning that they are pursuing and developing?
  • What mechanisms do you have for ensuring that there is regular input from colleagues in staff meetings about things they are teaching, issues they are working on, the achievements of their pupils, etc.
  • How do you make sure that your assessment policies and curriculum documentation reflect what is going on but also lead and provoke further developments in teaching and assessment?

> Stories of change

Description

There is an overall acceptance that teachers need to work together in a culture of experimentation and teacher research and teachers need to feel ownership of the developments that a school has agreed upon for these to be successful and long lasting.

There is a learning culture across the school which encourages thoughtful enquiry amongst all colleagues; a culture where everyone is thinking about and working on their teaching.

Teachers regularly engage in collaborative lesson planning and observe each other in each others’ classroom.

Every teacher has a set of personal targets that they are working on (linked to agreed elements of the mathematics development plan).

All teachers are encouraged to experiment and to try things out in their own practice.

Staff meetings give a regular platform for teachers to feedback on things they are trying out.

When policies have been agreed and desired practices articulated, time is given to allowing teaching staff to embed such practices in their regular habits.

Regular professional development discussions take place between subject leader and individual teachers to discuss things they are working on, to raise issues and attempt to resolve challenges.

Assessment:

There has been considerable debate about what assessment is for (i.e. to support pupils’ learning) and the principles of assessment for learning are well embedded in practice.

Teachers use learning objectives creatively in lessons. They have discussed and worked on a variety of strategies for encouraging their pupils to think about their own learning, to be aware of how well they are doing and what they still find difficult and need to work on.

Teachers not only have good systems for tracking pupils’ progress but them in a thoughtful way in order to respond to the pupils learning needs.

Curriculum and lesson planning:

Teachers use curriculum plans flexibly and creatively to support the learning of their pupils.

Teachers understand the importance of having clear weekly plans which lay out the teaching intentions and planned activities, questions and teaching styles but use them flexibly to allow for pupils’ present state of understanding and comments and progress in lessons.

There are opportunities for pupils to assess how well they are doing and how they can improve. Teachers can identify quickly the pupils who need more support than others and provide appropriate intervention to help them maintain their progress.

Teachers use a broad range of teaching strategies and approaches to enhance learning. They recognise that some teaching approaches are better suited to promote particular learning and outcomes.

Teachers are fully aware of age related expectations throughout the primary phase and planning addresses pupils’ needs, aspirations and prior attainment.

Teachers are aware of the intended learning for a unit of work and planning is based around mapping out a teaching sequence. They ensure pitch and pace of work is appropriate to the rate at which children learn and use well-directed questioning to motivate, assess and promote reflection, analysis and enquiry. Teachers demonstrate and display models and images to support methods, promote thinking and develop strategies and these are used to build links between areas of mathematics.

Carefully planned questions and activities allow pupils to spot rules and patterns and make predictions and generalisations.  Practical, visual and ICT resources are an integral part of lessons for pupils to support, test and confirm their learning

Moving to the next level

If you are category 1:  
  • Are there opportunities for your staff to undertake long-term, innovative professional development if they wish?
  • Do you have strong links with your LA and HEI colleagues in the area to support you in this?
  • What are the mechanisms for reviewing and developing your curriculum documentation?
  • To what extent is your curriculum documentation playing to the strengths of your teaching staff but also used as a mechanism for inspiration and influence?
  • How does your curriculum documentation support your teachers go beyond the statutory requirements and use any distinctive qualities of your school, its history and its surroundings?
  • How influential are you in your area? Do other neighbouring schools benefit from your ideas and expertise?

> Stories of change
 


 
    
 
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