Teaching, Learning and Assessment

Our approach to teaching and learning: Before the lesson teachers must:
  • Plan lessons using the “Designing the learning experience at LDA” document. This is applicable to all teachers; it is a suggested approach for planning for all staff, and a non-negotiable for staff on a support programme or Newly Qualified Teachers.
  • Use prior attainment, data and targets of all pupils in order that they can plan and deliver differentiated lessons which meet the needs of every pupil.
  • Include the use of starters to engage pupils at the beginning of lessons.
  • Make time to reinforce and summarise what is being learnt and allow pupils to reflect on their learning.
  • Plan lessons that include activities such as making pupils aware of the learning objectives and success criteria for pieces of work, developing the use of questioning techniques, the use of think/pair/share techniques and opportunities for peer and self-assessment; as well as setting clear targets for improvement. The use of the visualiser to address misconceptions also forms part of the expectations.
  • Use appropriate strategies from the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) toolkit (“Metacognition”, “ Effective Feedback”, “effective homework”).
  • Use the “ClassCharts” software to ensure that seating plans are up to date.
At the start of lessons:
  • Teachers will arrive punctually and meet pupils at the door/ entrance to their space.
  • Pupils should stand behind their desk with their equipment on the table and wait for their teacher to ask them to sit down.
  • The register must be taken within 10 minutes of the lesson starting.
  • Lessons will start punctually to ensure an orderly and speedy start to learning.
  • Teachers will set the context for learning, providing the “big picture” and linking learning with previous and future work.
  • Where appropriate, homework will be set.
During lessons:
  • Teachers will ensure a positive atmosphere which encourages pupils, develops a “growth mindset” and sets high standards. The teacher will regularly engage pupils in high quality learning activities and check for understanding.
  • Activities should encourage pupils to think, make predictions and explain their thinking.
  • For higher order questions, time must be given for pupils to think. Pupils should also be encouraged to discuss with their peers the answer prior to being asked to answer. Pupils are expected to stand up to answer this type of questions.
  • Live marking and peer assessment should regularly take place, with time to address feedback.
  • After a marked piece of work or assessment, “Review, Make Progress” (RMP) time must take place.
  • References to the learning pit must take place.
Teachers will establish high expectations by:
  • Being a positive role model and an enthusiastic learner.
  • Ensuring that there is appropriate challenge in the work set.
  • Providing clear examples of what good work will look like.
  • Challenging underachievement on every level.
  • Using higher order questioning to develop the depth of pupil answers.
  • Ensuring that the lesson moves at a good pace.
  • Enabling pupils to develop responsibility for their own learning.
  • Reviewing progress throughout the lesson.
At the end of lessons:
  • Teachers will use plenaries or recap sessions to summarise learning, emphasise key points, make links with other work and look ahead to following lessons and enable pupils to reflect on their learning.
  • Teachers should ensure that pupils leave the lesson in an orderly manner so that they can be on time for the next lesson. Teachers should manage corridor behaviour as part of the smooth transition of their class to their next session.
  • From November 2017, all homework must be set on the “Classcharts” software and in accordance with the school policy.
Growth Mindset
A key concept which shapes the ethos of our school is growth mindset, based on the work of Carol Dweck. Rather than simply praising success we praise effort and persistence.  We believe the best thing to do is to teach pupils to love challenges, be intrigued by mistakes, enjoy effort, and keep on learning. For pupils who find work easy we make sure they encounter more difficult tasks. Our pupils recognise that effort, persistence and good teaching are what help them improve. This approach links with how we mark work and give feedback too: we always mark giving prompts for improvement in writing via “RMP” (Reflect, Make Progress) so that all learning for all pupils, including the higher achievers, is seen as a way to grow. If pupils have fixed mindsets they find it hard to cope with failure: we teach our pupils to see mistakes and failure as positive. This makes for a very energetic and inclusive culture. A quote from Carol Dweck: "In a fixed mindset students believe their basic abilities, their intelligence, their talents, are just fixed traits. They have a certain amount and that's that, and then their goal becomes to look smart all the time and never look dumb. In a growth mindset students understand that their talents and abilities can be developed through effort, good teaching and persistence. They don't necessarily think everyone's the same or anyone can be Einstein, but they believe everyone can get smarter if they work at it." This is important because (1) individuals with a "growth" theory are more likely to continue working hard despite setbacks and (2) individuals' theories of intelligence can be affected by subtle environmental cues. For example, pupils given praise such as "good job, you're very smart" are much more likely to develop a fixed mindset, whereas if given compliments like "good job, you worked very hard" they are likely to develop a growth mindset. In other words, it is possible to encourage students, for example, to persist despite failure by encouraging them to think about learning in a certain way.” More details about Growth Mindset can be found on: http://growthmindsetforparents.weebly.com/

The Learning Pit

“The Learning Pit” as a tool that we use at Lord Derby Academy to help our pupils develop a growth mindset to embrace challenges in their learning journey and to understand that learning is hard work. A study by Harvard University shows we learn a lot about ourselves when learning does not come easy. Resilience can be learned and is necessary skill for all of us to get through those tough moments in life. We want our pupils to think critically and solve complex problems. To achieve that competency, pupils need to persevere and be resilient when they are challenged in their learning. The Learning Pit analogy is important in that it gives pupils control over their own learning. The goal of the Learning Pit for pupils (as well as parents) is to understand that learning is supposed to be a challenge. Pupils are able to recognise when learning is hard or when they are in the pit. It is common to hear pupils at Lord Derby Academy state, “I was in the pit today.” Another priority for our school is for pupils to learn how to learn. The Learning Pit visual helps pupils understand that learning is a challenge, but we can get better at it (“get out of pit”). To get out of the pit, pupils must reflect on their own learning and identify what skills and strategies they need to get out of the pit.
Questioning at Lord Derby Academy Instead of ‘hands up’, teachers ask pupils to discuss their answers to higher level questions in pairs for a short period and then choose an pupil to respond, reporting on their discussion. Selected pupils are required to stand up, a model we imported from our visit to Shanghai and has proven successful in developing our pupils’ confidence. Teachers then engage in a dialogue with the selected pupil, exchanging three or four responses to probe more deeply.
  • What were you saying in your pair?
  • Why do you think that might be the right answer?
  • Can you link that to what James said earlier?
  • Does that happen all the time or just in this case? And so on.
So, what changes when you ask routinely, ‘in your pairs, discuss…..’:
  • Crucially, in doing this teachers are creating a small bubble of security around each pair; a safe space where they can think for a while and say whatever they like. ‘I think X’, ‘No, I think Y’…’I haven’t got a clue’, ‘I wasn’t really listening’ ‘It is more complicated than that… maybe it is X except when it is Y?’
  • In this bubble it is safe to admit you don’t understand and the pair can pluck up the courage together to report this back. Easier to say ‘we don’t get it’ Every single pupil can engage in answering the question; they are all generating answers simultaneously – and there is less chance of hiding. Shy pupils will speak to their partner; the blood comes out of the stone! It has an immediate effect.
  • Two heads are better than one. Pairs can debate their answer. They can then rehearse it and feedback to each other’.
  • When the teacher brings the class together to hear answers, the pupils are repeating something they have rehearsed. It is easy to report back ‘we thought that maybe it is XYZ’ when you have already thought this through…’ compared to being put on the spot with a cold question. It is crucial in the report-back phase to ask selected pairs directly to share their discussion; it means everyone needs to be prepared to report back in case they are asked. Using a building process is also key here – anything to add, to challenge, any better or different answers?
Use of the Visualiser All classrooms have a visualiser and it is part of our expectations that regular use is made of the visualiser. Here are some ways in which teachers use a visualiser in the classroom:

1 Address a common misconception Whilst pupils are working, teachers walk around the room and look at pupils’ work. If teachers notice a common error or misconception, teachers place one pupil’s work on the visualiser and ask pupils questions that will help address the misconception. Teachers ask the class how many pupils also made the same mistake- that will build pupils’ confidence.

2 Give live feedback to pupils This will help pupils improve during the lesson, rather than waiting for marked work to be returned.

3 Model skills to the whole class Teachers show the class how to perform a particular skill easily by demonstrating it on the visualiser.

4 Teach the use of calculator / dictionary / etc.

5 Get pupils to establish the success criteria of a piece of work

6 Use for peer reviews Teachers show different styles of work and get the class to comment and contrast them / teachers get pupils to compare a piece of work against success criteria / teachers get pupils to give other alternatives than those on display.
Marking and Feedback Policy Introduction: Our marking policy has been redesigned to further support and challenge pupils to maximise their potential. At Lord Derby Academy, we value teacher feedback that is specific, timely and tailored to a pupil’s needs. We also recognise that pupils must act on feedback for it to lead to progress.

Key aims:
  • To offer feedback to pupils on how best to develop their knowledge, skills and attitude to learning.
  • To ensure that pupils respond appropriately to this feedback.
  • To train pupils to self-improve though editing, redrafting, self and peer assessment so that their reliance on the teacher is gradually reduced.
  • To mark less and achieve more, allowing teachers time and energy to plan and deliver exciting, vibrant lessons.

Types of feedback: Teachers will offer formative feedback based on targeted pieces of class work and/or homework. Whilst the marking requirements are consistent across the school, there will be some variation relating to marking for different subject areas which has been agreed. Pupils will also receive summative feedback after formal assessments so that pupils can improve. “Live marking” (feedback in books whilst pupils are working) also forms an important part of feedback and should be frequent.

Teacher’s Feedback: When writing feedback in the pupils’ books, the 3 following features must be used and applied:

1. Effort and Understanding grades An effort grade and an understanding grade should be applied on the formative and summative pieces of work identified as needed to be marked in the SoW. For consistency we use the following: For the effort grade, one of the following letters: O:  Outstanding effort G:  Good effort RI: Effort requires improvement I:  Inadequate effort Below the effort grade, the teacher writes an understanding grade, using one of the following letters: 1: Exceeding expectations 2: Meeting expectations 3: Below expectations 4: Well below expectations

2. Marking and Feedback codes Through the use of a consistent feedback code throughout the school we aim to save teachers’ time through the use of abbreviation. We also aim to encourage consistency and to raise standards of reading, writing, communication and maths.
VF:  Visualiser Feedback

3.Teacher’s comments A very short comment, if appropriate, can be written if the piece of work shows good features.  Positive stamps, stickers may also be used.

Feedback on written work will include a task/or tasks, introduced by the letters RMP (Reflect, Make Progress): e.g.  RMP: - Redraft the bracketed section with more quotes to support your ideas -Check the grammar points identified in the texts Teachers need to differentiate between a ‘mistake’ – something a pupil can do, and does normally do correctly, but has not on this occasion – and a ‘misconception’, which is the result of an ongoing misunderstanding or gap in knowledge. Misconceptions will require that a teacher uses appropriate strategies to correct the misunderstanding or fill the gap in learning, usually addressed through RMP.

Responding to teacher feedback – Reflect, Make Progress

 Pupils respond to teacher feedback by completing “RMP” time (“Reflect, Make Progress”) during the following lesson.  This also provides an opportunity for teachers to re-teach aspects of learning that have not been secured.
Other types of feedback
  • Teachers are expected to make regular use of oral feedback, live marking and use the visualiser for instant feedback on pupils’ work. When a teacher uses a pupil’s book under a visualiser to address a certain error, the code VF (“Visualiser Feedback) will be written in the pupil’s book.
  • Teachers will also make appropriate use of both peer feedback and self-assessment in order to further improve pupils’ work. Teachers are expected to use these strategies only if they generally result in demonstrable improvement.

Use of different colours used in marking Teachers mark in RED for deep marking and live marking.  Pupils use GREEN for editing, corrections, reflections and responses to teacher marking or self-marking and PURPLE for peer assessment.

How you can help your child You can do this by:
  • Sharing an interest in your child’s work; books are sent home regularly
  • Ensuring “RMP” tasks have been completed
  • Encouraging them to read the comments and to use them as a guide for improvement
The Homework Policy at LDA is currently under review to reflect changes in our marking and feedback policy and newly introduced foci in Teaching and Learning. The “Classcharts” software will also be introduced in the autumn term 2017 to support teachers with setting, sharing and monitoring homework and for parents to have better access to their children’s homework.

What purposes should homework serve? Whole School Approach to Homework