On Saturday 9th February baby Jack and I attended my first Research Ed conference in Birmingham. It was a great day: I caught up with colleagues and made some new connections with teachers from across the sector. As a first time delegate with baby in tow I found it a slick operation: I got a lot out of the day and felt comfortable that I was able to look after Jack and his needs throughout the day too. See my previous post for my top tips on bringing baby to a conference. I interacted and tweeted my experiences from both the MTPT twitter handle and my personal one. See some of the interactions #MTPTProject had and the support that the education community have for parents bringing their little ones along to CPD opportunities. I hope this gives those of you reading this who have children some confidence, hope or reassurance that both you and your baby are welcome at events like this. Take up Tom Bennett’s plea ‘more babies at future Research Eds please.’
Most of the sessions I attended were English based: Assessing writing with Daisy Christodoulou; a live lesson on Hermes with year 7 pupils from Dame Elizabeth Cadbury; the KS3 English curriculum by Rebecca Foster (see her blog on her presentation here); and a session on using meta-cognition in the classroom by Celeste Cheung.
What will I take away to reflect on and look to implement in my own work?
- I’ve come away with a fantastic reading list: articles, books and research that is evidence based.
- Before I went on maternity leave my department were using 5-a-day challenge starters. I want to keep doing this across year groups and developing a bank of these resources. In addition, I want to develop these for Film Studies GCSE.
- The English staff at Dame Elizabeth Cadbury created a bank of CPD revision videos for their staff in order to support subject knowledge, modelling skills for revision, and to provide a point to ensure consistency across the department. Resources do exist out there that do this to a point, but I think there is something powerful about pupils and teachers watching people they know completing tasks that is really powerful. This is also a way of helping pupils to develop their meta-cognitive skills. I’ve looked into this using the app Explain Everything. As I set about developing a new Film Studies GCSE for September 2018 I may experiment with this more.
- The live lesson session also reminded me of the power of the visualiser. I want to use this more in my lessons when I return.
- Rebecca’s session on the KS3 curriculum gave me so much inspiration and hope as well as offering a really practical way of creating an interleaved curriculum. As I develop the new Film Studies GCSE I’m going to think critically about how I might create a truly interleaved curriculum.
- Tom Bennett’s session on what good schools have in common was a reminder about the importance of consistency, school cultures (of the staff and pupils!), and that expectations need to be explained explicitly. I shall be bearing this in mind when I return to teaching following maternity leave. My classroom practice and identity will have shifted and I will need to work smarter with the time I’m given. Being explicit and consistent with what I mean by ‘respect’; ‘how to enter a classroom’ etc. is going to be crucial for be able to hit the floor running.