If you’ve yet to venture out to see open classrooms, or your workplace has not yet arranges them. Joanne Miles has written about the value of an open door approach in THIS BLOG.
So today was filled with green doors! Unfortunately for open classrooms, these had to take a backseat as my highlight of the day was that a learner emailed me this evening to say she had finished reading The Kite Runner. She was the last one left to read it in the class and it completely made my day! 🙂
I was desperately trying to complete my Bingo grid but some corridors were clear of any green doors 😦 or even red ones 😦 Thursday and Friday are my next opportunities for exploring and the time I have is even more limited by then so it could tricky for me to claim my bingo prize!
What I saw:
I saw some learners in electrical engineering working on some robots with Stephen Whiting. All the learners were at different stages and this had resulted in an incredibly collaborative and supportive atmosphere. After speaking to Stephen, realised he was taking the lesson for an absent colleague- this was perhaps the best lesson ever?!
I was then bowled over by an LLD/D maths lesson.
The teacher began the lesson with reviewing their targets. Hannah had grouped the learners according to what their target was and she asked each of them to tell her what their target was- each of them knew. Could I be so secure that my learners could do the same? I think I’ll leave that question hanging for now…
She then asked all learners to write down the date in their notebooks- 11.11.14 She then started by asking their learners to use their targets on the numbers. For instance: what’s half of each number in the date? What’s the difference between one number and another in the date? This was perfect differentiation with learners of all levels in the room- by setting an overall task but then each of them breaking off to focus on one thing within that. I guess the important difference to the learning and progress of these learners was certainly the level of wonderful LSA support provided with clear reinforcing of instructions and directed questioning. She even seamlessly integrated technology when a calculator’s screen wasn’t clear for the learner and allowed him to use his phone instead.
I then went into another LLD/D lesson where I’m afraid I caused a slight disruption to the learning as some of the learners (one in particular) wanted to introduce themselves. I felt really bad as I had just wanted to be an invisible presence so for this, I apologise profusely!
The learners were all working on colouring in a map of India where they were considering the climates and learning new words. Once again, the learners were aware of their targets as a couple of them were mentioning them. Sarah and LSAs in this room were giving wonderful praise to engage the learners and they had such a wonderful rapport with one another; the atmosphere was really calm and welcoming. Once again, the LSAs showcased fantastic questioning skills where they were appropriately stretching and challenging the learners. Lots to learn from them!
I then had a wander down to motor vehicle’s #PIODiscover session where a few green doors attracted my attention along the way.
Ian Campbell was reviewing the results of a quiz with learners. There was a real celebration of learning in this classroom with one learner having a go at a calculation on the board. He ended up with an incorrect answer but he knew he had gone wrong somewhere. He turned to the class for support and one of them came to up to the board to help him. They then threw it out further as they neared the correct answer and received direction from someone else, with some prompting from Ian. A large round of applause ensued! Failure had been overcome collectively.
I then neared the #PIODiscover of motor vehicle but I saw that Lee Brame had a green door so I had a wander in. There was an entry 3 class of learners in this workshop who we’re being challenged by Lee to achieve far more than the qualification level expected of them. I spoke to many of the learners who were working on cars and they could explain what they were trying to do and what was involved. I was impressed by the Google site Lee has created, which also houses examples of learners’ work, which seem to be FAR beyond entry 3 level and will set them in good stead for progressing onto the next level and their future careers.
I then had a chat with a couple of learners about their plans for the future. One learner recognised the number of years it might take him to get there, but he was committed to becoming a mechanic. The other wasn’t as convinced by the long journey ahead and was seeking an apprenticeship instead. In the army. I asked him why he was choosing that route and he said, it’s a job, isn’t it? It always breaks my heart when a young person chooses the army, or indeed any career, because ‘it’s a job’ rather than feeling able to pursue a real passion. These learners exist in every classroom and I continually wonder what more can be done within the education system to overcome this?
I then noticed Ian Grace was in class teaching a group of learners about gears. He showed them a video a couple of times and then brought out an example, I love a bit of realia! There was so much maths being embedded so successfully in this lesson. He made it seem easy! He had great questioning skills and ensured that he got around the whole room to speak to as many learners as he could to confirm their understanding, with some bouncing for fe confirmation from other learners too.
I then had to dash off by 4pm to meet with someone and then run a new teacher essentials session and realised I had never made it down to motor vehicle’s #PIODiscover session proper 😦
There will likely be no green doors for me on Wednesday- a meeting in Oxford and then an open event. Thursday and Friday MIGHT provide the opportunity to dash round in a moment I can grab. As always, a green door week provides such a unique opportunity for me to see my colleagues in action, learn from what they’re doing and be inspired by the learning taking place right across the College!