Tlt13: Chris Chivers

Chris is talking about differentiation or, match challenge and expectation. It’s also, naturally, about personalisation.

Good differentiation requires analysing to start with: know your children, get your room together so it does its job too, bring together your resources and create a learning space. Plan for progression, but knowing the individual children at the bottom of that and knowing where you want them to be is really important. Context is vital. Consider your timescale: when will you drop the essentials in? Reviewing and recording are important, but the doing – the classroom activity – is the most important. Having a dynamic, rather than just teach-and-learn, is quite important.

We look at the teacher standards, particularly the one about expectations.

Differentiation by outcome is useful once, as a test. Through support can be dangerous, because students can become dependent. By task is a bit more difficult: spreading a task over several levels can be time consuming. Differentiation by expectation?

How about planning as a hypothesis? If you set your lesson up as a hypothesis, you’re testing it out. This might make you more able to consider what is going well and what is engaging students, and then more able to tweak your plans afterwards to improve them for next time. It even allows for adaptive teaching within the lessons, which is part of the teacher standards.

Don’t write a script, write big highlights. When you’re on a road trip you note down the big towns you’ll be passing through, to every village, and the same goes for planning lessons. This will help you to build momentum towards the best possible progress.

The big question is how to ensure that each child is challenged at an appropriate level. The learning objective becomes what the lesson is about, while the success criteria describe the steps that need to be taken to get there.

Chris suggests having targets on a flip out sheet at the front of the book, so that students can always see what the targets are, both in terms of level/grade and the things they need to do to get there. This can also provide discussion points in class, or the basis for intervention, or the context for individualised commentary when marking. Use the levels as progress descriptors within this system, and focus on what they can do.

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