1. The session which has had the most immediate impact on my teaching was delivered by Rodica Ernst-Militaru and Plonie Nijhf “How teaching metacognitive skills changes teachers and students”. We have all seen methods of how to teach problem solving techniques to students but how much time do we spend coaching students to do these steps, and slowly remove our input until they complete the full process by themselves? Rodica and Plonie demonstrated the META-method to solve problems which can be broke down in to 4 steps:
- Understanding: spend time highlighting key words, and vigorously analyse what the problem wants from you.
- Connecting: Make a detailed mind map of all the things you know about the topics identified from the first step
- Strategies: formulate a plan and start to solve the problem using the mind map you have just created
- Check your answer
2. Bruno Reddy (@MrReddyMaths) and his timetables rock stars had to be seen to be believed. Students from key stage 3 were answering around 150 questions correctly in a minute!! @mathsjem wrote a section on her blog about it here, and I can’t put it any better – so I won’t! But I would recommend you take the time to read what Jo wrote about this as it is highly informative. Although I will add my praise to the young students involved, and I look forward to the conclusions Bruno will make from his exciting study.
3. Mark McCourt (@EmathsUK) spoke passionately about teaching for mastery, and the fact it is nothing new. He really did make the obvious obvious, and made me question why these points haven’t been raised before. Referring maths to a Jenga block where the most important blocks are the foundations and the key principles why do we feel the need to keep adding blocks on the top by trying to keep up with what the scheme of work says we should be teaching this week. I was teaching my Year 10 class today factorising and expanding quadratic equations, when it became apparent that multiplying negative numbers was holding them back. If it wasn’t for this talk by Mark I may have persisted with the lesson as planned – but with his talk still ringing in my ears I dropped the original plan an spent the rest of the lesson working with negative numbers. With 1600 hours across 11 years and only 320 concepts to learn to get an A* why do only 5% of students get there? Mark spoke about the driving test and how you only pass when you can do all the skills. Driving instructors don’t move on until skills have been learnt, so why do we as teachers rush students through topics just to stick with the scheme of learning – we have the time, but we must make sure the blocks are built patiently and solidly.
The only negative from the day, after rushing home for the football, was the result – If only Roy Hodgson used the research and evidence available to him to better effect! Unlike England I want my students to perform well and get the results they deserve.