London Festival Of Education- What Emilia Learnt


London Festival of Education
Saturday 28th February 2015

Blog post by Emilia Zullo

The first session I attended was ‘Outstanding teaching by Mike Gershon’

Defining outstanding : What is outstanding teaching?

All students make progress focusing on facilitating great learning; there is the need to focus on the underpinning good habits of teaching.

The 7 habits of outstanding teachers focus on progress and learning, the primary aim is helping and supporting learners to learn and progress.

1 Assessment in the round

  • Eliciting and using information
  • Opening up success criteria
  • Providing formative feedback (specific targets)

Learners need to have specific indication on how to succeed and what the success criteria are that is why is important define learning objectives, and targets

2 Planning for progress- what we need to look at to make sure it happen

  • Bloom’s taxonomy
  • Challenge
  • Implement targets and give students time to implement them

3 Personalising the journey

  • Feedback –targeted effort
  • Five elements of differentiation – words and writing, activities, things teacher can do, things student can do or use
  • Responding and adapting

Targeted feedback gives learners the direction of the journey

4 Understand your own expertise

  • Pedagogy
  • Students’ expertise
  • Psychology- emotional intelligence and cognitive psychology

5 Leading your students

  • Normalising mistakes
  • Modelling in any form
  • Making sounds judgments

6 Unpicking literacy

  • Words and minds (communication)
  • Speaking and listening
  • Writing as a technology

Techniques that can be used are key words: write a piece of work using a minimum of 6 words

7 Creating clarity and confusion

  • Questioning (socratic questioning)
  • Explaining
  • Modelling thinking

Ask questions to push thinking and avoid sloppiness.

The second session I attended was: What has assessment done for anyone?

The first speaker, Tina Isaac, has recently carried out comparative studies across seven countries, comparing high performing countries like Australia, Canada, China, Finland, Japan and Singapore against the state of Massachusetts.  What has become evident is that what is important for most of the high performing countries is creating a framework of accountabilities and that there is more use of teacher based judgment and one final assessment.  Assessment should gather evidence to be able to help learners along the way.

The international Baccalaureate programme was presented. The programme is based on more course based learning, performance in evaluated by teachers and verified externally.

Does diversity really matter?

I also went on a session on inclusion in which the two speakers had very different opinion about how far we have moved in society dealing with diversity and inclusion.

Have we gone full circle on diversity? Is equality bringing in black history?

We should be able to show people that is “normal” to be different

Diversity projects you into the discovery of yourself. Diversity should drive the equality of education

Yes the battle on diversity has moved on but in a linear way, diversity matters and is about the way you go about doing things.

The trauma rollercoaster

Camila Batmanghelidjh shared the 18 years’ experience of working with some of the most vulnerable children in London. She is a psychotherapist and founder of the Kids company .

Over the course of the years has collected more than 400 interviews of children who live in situation of chronic violence and abuse.

Through the interviews and collating over 500 studies on brain development  it has been possible to identify how the conditions in which the children live effects the development of the pre-frontal Cortes of the brain , the area that calms us down and controls our more native and instinctive limbic system.

For this children behaviour management is not the solution, children who have been exposed to such level of violence and abuse do not have an organised memory retrieval system that would allow them to respond to sanction and rewards.

The child needs to be taken out of the violent environment, trust needs to be built with carer, therapy helps and with time children can be included into mainstream schooling environment.

Part of studies presented is part of the book Shattered lives.

The final session was about SEN in further education. I was hoping to find answers to the questions I had, but it looks like there aren’t any at the moment.

Once learners terminate their school years there is very little help for them to develop into independent adults. The aim is for every learner to develop life skills needed to live a fulfilling life beyond school age.

It became clear that situations are different depending on the individual circumstances and the area in which the college is based. More should be done to involve employers in opening up opportunities for individuals who come under SEN.


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