What the Best School do…..

Huntington Schools Junior Leadership Team

The following  points are generated from our initial research into student motivation (reading materials are referenced below).

The Best Schools do………

‘Outstanding schools make their high expectations manifest in students achievements, and they do this by sustaining a school culture that compels and supports students to achieve’

Build a culture of excellence-children will then fit into this culture because it’s expected. Students need to value something-raise the bar in terms of expectations. Have higher expectations in everything: more trust, more responsibility and deeper and broader accountability. ‘Insist on a culture that thrives on being stuck and finding a solution that isn’t simply to stop work, put up your hand and wait to be spoon fed’ Mistakes are essential steps to competency link failure to factors that students can repair.

‘I believe that work of excellence is transformational….when students see their best work’ Ron Berger.

Schools should focus on quality not quantity. Produce work that reflects or represents excellence for that child. Challenging goals are vital even for low-level learning.

We need to see students working much harder than teachers. We are looking for; students working hard, enjoying their learning, making progress and above all in flow.  

Always look for outstanding examples of work-have a library of these resources.

Have quality work celebrated everywhere. Show what quality work looks like find inspiration-critique strengths and weaknesses of quality work. What makes this work strong? Model outstanding practice and use models to set the standard of what to aim for.

Cultivate positive peer pressure-get students to buy into a culture of excellence.

Use peer pressure and class pride to raise standards (culture of excellence). Resist a high praise culture for low effort.

The teacher qualities that matter to students are as much about how they are treated as how they are taught (Rudduck 1998). If the teacher does not like them (even perceived dislike) students are unlikely to be interested in the subject taught. They particularly dislike teachers who do not bother to learn their names. Engagement is transmitted through classroom climate.

Engaging research is not only great for staff but works with students too. Encourage staff to engage in educational research. The best schools; develop research/action research across the school. Allow staff to develop –researching, training, information sharing.

‘if we had a grading system in my school it would have to be described as this: a piece of work deserves either an ‘A’ grade or a not done’. Allow students to re-do work or take re-tests. Let them have the chance to improve (DIRT).

The classroom effect is at least four times the size of the school effect E.g. it’s teachers in the classroom that have the greatest effect on student outcomes. ‘The quality of an education system cannot exceed the quality of its teachers’ (Barber & Mourished 2007)

Adopt a ‘love the one you’re with’ strategy to improving teachers’ pedagogy.

‘The only teachers who think they are successful are those who have low expectations of their students.’

IMPROVE TEACHER PERFORMANCE-the single largest effect on student outcomes.

Use professional development as the first phase of teacher development. Remember it’s what you do in the classroom which truly affects the children and young people you work with. Don’t buy talent buy mindset!

The best teachers look at the evidence of their teaching, through their students. They look at the way their students learn and respond/reflect on what they have seen (adjusting their teaching to suit). Research found; the use of assessment to inform instruction, particularly at classroom level, in many cases doubled the speed of student learning. Foster great teachers and achievement will follow (Dylan Wiliam).

Only ask questions that; cause thinking or provide information for the teacher about what to do next.   You must plan effective questioning-this is a must…   plan a series of questions, not just single surface questions. Reasoning questioning has high impact.

‘Effective feedback should cause thinking’

Allow time to act on feedback-provide extension activities for students who complete feedback before the allotted time is up, this allows all students the time to develop their work. Feedback is a recipe for future action-make feedback constructive. Give less but more focussed feedback.

‘Integrate formative assessment practices into lessons for substantial increases in student achievement’ (could be 70-80% increase in the speed of learning).  

Whole-class instruction is the students’ least preferred way of learning! Reduce teacher talk it disrupts flow 30% teacher led 70% leading own learning.

Schools can influence student mindsets and ultimately improve motivation.

Get every member of staff to make a small shift in their embedded practice. This will then have a seismic effect in overall outcomes. 

As a teacher show you love learning, have a passion for your subject. This passion is infectious.

Feel safe-safe to take risks-safe to care about trying hard. Experts have high respect for students. Experts have long term, working memory. Teach students memory techniques and the workings of the brain. 

An ethic of excellence-Ron Berger                                                                                               EMBEDDED Formative Assessment-Dylan Wiliam                                                                     Evidence based teaching-Geoff Petty                                                                                           Expansive Education-Bill Lucas et al                                                                                                          Full on Learning-Zoe Elder                                                                                                                            How Children Succeed-Paul Tough                                                                                                    Mindset-Carol Dweck                                                                                                                                        The Lazy Teacher-Jim Smith                                                                                                        Outstanding Teaching-Engaging Learners –Andy Griffith + Mark Burns

Coming next….teaching staff and students the benefits of knowing how your memory works 



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