#15MinForum – 23/2/16
With less than 10 weeks of teaching until the first of the GCSE exams (gulp), this morning’s 15 Minute Forum focussed on exploring a range of strategies that might conceivably be classed as ‘intervention’ in the classroom to support those individuals whose data (from assessments/ monitoring/ marking etc) suggests they might need an exra nudge…
The idea of ‘intervention in the classroom’ is neither a new idea, nor one that should really be seen as something special that is rolled-out at certain times of the year. Rather it is a way of thinking about high-quality, inclusive classroom practice, sharply focussed on meeting all pupils’ needs, including targeted provision, within lessons, for individuals/ groups when necessary1. Clearly this has particular relevance for our exam groups in the run-up to their public exams, but the strategies discussed in the forum are really just about making sure our teaching approaches are highly effective at supporting the progress of all students in all classes across the whole school.
At the start of the session, I presented 6 strategies that could be used as a tool for targeting individuals:
- Targeted questioning (within a no hands-up classroom!)
- Additional/differentiated tasks
- Create opportunities within the lesson to engage with key individuals/ groups
- Peer scaffolding/ differentiated seating plan(s)
- Activating students as resources for each other
- Carefully considered deployment of support staff
Each group of staff was given an A3 sheet with one strategy on and tasked with discussing that strategy in relation to 4 key questions:
- What does the strategy actually ‘look like’? what is it?
- Why might this strategy work as a form of intervention?
- How might you actually do it?
- What else needs considering?
After a minute or so, each group passes its sheet to the next group (we went clockwise, but whatevs) and reviews what the previous group had written and seeks to add to it. After another minute, the sheets are passed on again and this is repeated until each group recieves the sheet they started with (which should be, by now, full of ideas from all other groups in the room… I’m sure someone somewhere has given this technique a name, but I think of it as snowballing – works well for generating ideas and sharing them around the room).
By the end of the session, we had begun (and it isn’t a finished product!) to explore each of the strategies – the sheets have now been pinned-up in our Learning & Development Room for staff to review, reflect, modify over the coming weeks as part of a working-wall of ideas.
I wouldn’t suggest these ideas are new to staff, but I know that I find taking the opportunity to sit and think and talk about these things has the effect of freshening them up in my mind… Now I’m off to reorganise my seating plans for my year 11 group…
1Some of the language here is rehashed from old National Strategies materials (like this), which promoted the idea of a model of intervention to support progress based on waves (where Wave 1 was about classroom practice), built upon upon in more recent DCSF guidance about Personalised Learning and Quality First Teaching (have a look at these webinar slides from @NataliePacker for a little more on QFT and the SEND Code of Practice).