This year, I have made a few small adjustments to my teaching. Part of it will link to my research on History teaching and Cognitive Psychology/Behavioural Economics and other aspects are just to ease organisation.
Everyone Starts With An ‘A’
After reading the RSA paper and thinking about the ideas from ‘Nudge‘, I have told all my students that the default grade is an ‘A’. It is their job to maintain it and not to ‘lose’ the grade. Where they submit work below the standard, they are given a ‘not yet’ and then specific help on what they need to do to improve to make an ‘A’ grade.
Short, low-stakes quizzes each week
Again, thinking about repetition and memory retrieval, I have started these quizzes with students from Years 9-12.
Using iTunes U and Google Classroom
I am using iTunes U with my Politics class to organise notes/videos etc. I will also be using Google Classroom with all my students to help with drafting/submission of work as part of the Everyone Starts With An ‘A’ idea.
Email for personal meetings not for questions
After reading this article, I thought the reasoning behind it seemed really sensible. Students in Y9 upwards will only get a reply from me if it is to arrange a meeting to discuss their work (which they must bring along). The benefit will be less time wasted on answering simple questions and more time actually talking to the students about work (which links to Everyone Starts With An ‘A’). My Y7 class is spared this as they think I am scary enough (I am).
As a student, Cornell notes seemed a really good idea but I never really used the process. After hearing Dale Banham talking about his success with them, I thought I would trial it with my Politics class.
Using the Pomodoro technique
After taking the Coursera Mooc ‘Learning How To Learn‘, I decided to adopt the Pomodoro technique for really focussed work (with the help of my R2D2 timer). I am also suggesting it to students as a way to overcome procrastination. I do find that I can only use the technique early in the morning before school starts or after students and staff members have gone home at the end of the day.