Time and Space
Teaching and Learning Dialogue Group - January 2018
This isn’t a science lesson! Rather a reflection on the time and space that we don’t often have in our lives to think about what we do in our classrooms.
In trying to find common starters for our CPD Monday groups, Jo reminded us that we had shared some educational quotes on the first CPD Monday and maybe returning to one of these as a conversation start might be a goer. Jo suggested this quote from the first CPD Monday from Vicki:
We need to create time and space for teachers to reflect on their practice in a structured way, and to learn from mistakes.
- Bransford, Brown & Cocking, 1999
Within our working day we are bombarded by so many external influences that it would be virtually impossible to keep the very best of them at the forefront of our minds, and so often we revert to our natural and engrained practices without reflecting in a structured way.
So amongst the suggestions for a starter from my colleagues tonight I really liked the concept of considering positive aspects of education – things maybe we have picked up from Twitter which counter the relentless negative portrayal of education we see in the news.
Another idea for a starter was ‘Do you ever go off plan?’ It is so easy to become entrenched in our own curriculum areas and so healthy to hear from other curriculum areas.
My favourite was – did you use multiple choice today? Firstly, I have learned so much about multiple choice since the Shanghai teachers came to Twynham and I believe that I have become good at crafting questions that reveal misconceptions. However I am not sure whether they create the level of desirable difficulty that the Bjorks have shown to support long-term retention of learning and effective transfer to new situations. However, as the extract below from their paper below suggests, I should create some space to think about this more deeply.
We suggested to Adrian, Sarah and Jenny that everyone in the group could potentially say no to this question and it might fall flat on its face. But the group had thought of an excellent solution to this and it was this that was my takeaway from tonight’s session – Could I have used multiple choice today?
So I’ve written this in my diary to remind me to build this into my planning. Because I could have used a multiple choice question today but it’s not an engrained habit and I didn’t build the space and time to plan for it. However now I’ve got it I can use it as a starter in tomorrow’s lesson or in a future lesson as retrieval practice and over time consider how I can test it for desirable difficulty.
Extract from Can Multiple-Choice Testing Induce Desirable Difficulties? Evidence from the Laboratory and the Classroom Elizabeth Bjork, Nicholas C. Soderstrom, and Jeri l. Little, University of California, Los Angeles: