In this final “Quick and Effective” article, I’d like to highlight four useful and practical (and fun!) Assessment for Learning (AFL) strategies that require the bare minimum of preparation and can be implemented straight away. Each of these can be used to supplement an existing lesson or – in the cases of the first three – serve as building blocks for an entire lesson!
I'm cheating a bit here... this article is really a shameless plug for the "Yellow Box Methodology", innovated by the George Spencer Academy and made famous by the fantastic Ross Morrison McGill (@TeacherToolkit). The Big Yellow Box completely changed my marking process, and made it better in every conceivable way. Not only did deployment of this strategy make it possible to zip through essays and homeworks in a fraction of the time, but it made my marking far more effective....
Two years into teaching, I was in the staffroom scribbling furiously over yet another essay in department-mandated green pen when a colleague asked me a simple question that completely changed my approach to marking. Even better, it ultimately led to my marking becoming faster, more effective, and more efficient!
Whenever I need to teach a large amount of dry content in a short space of time, the Recall Challenge is my go-to strategy. It’s engaging, highly effective, and turns “cramming” into a competition – and one grounded in solid pedagogical methodology, to boot!
The trick to guaranteeing that independent research is meaningful and worthwhile lies in equipping your students with the tools that they need to succeed: step-by-step instructions, clear aims and a sense of purpose, and guidance as to what they should be looking for. Enter... the Research Review.
This is one of my favourite variations of what Alex Quigley, writer of The Confident Teacher, calls “Post it note pedagogy”. The mileage of this task depends very much on the subject and the topic; while it may not be appropriate for everything on the curriculum, it works a treat when revising concepts that provoke discussion! I sell this to my students (with tongue ever-so- slightly in cheek) as “the educational party game where everyone’s a winner..."
For the months of September and October I will be publishing weekly articles on effective teaching strategies for trainee teachers and NQTs. This first entry is an broad overview based on my own experience in the profession, but subsequent articles will offer brief (but, I hope, useful and practical!) examples of lessons, ideas, and resources that saved my bacon on more than one occasion!