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Module 2: How Pupils Learn

Week 1: Understanding How Pupils Learn

This week focused on exploring how pupils learn.  Rosehshine's Principles of Instruction were introduced, although not fully explored. The importance of both the working and long term memory and the impact that this has upon successful and sustainable learning were explored.

Evidence and Research:

Explore with your ECT the evidence and research they have engaged with this week.  You may want to frame your discussion using the following questions:

  • What do you understand by the role of memory in the learning process?

  • How might you define the difference between working and long-term memory?

Application and Exploration of Practice and Setting:

The ECT will have observed a segment of another teacher's lesson this week focusing on how they promote working and long-term memory as part of the learning process.  Invite the ECT to share with you what they observed and the pedagogies and approaches that the teacher used to support the pupils with working and long-term memory.

Reflection and Discussion

From their learning this week, ask the ECT to discuss the imoact that this has had upon their thinking and practice.  You may wish to ask questions such as:

  • How has your learning this week shaped your thinking about how pupils learn?

  • What elements of learning will you take into your own practice?

  • Have you had the opportunity to adapt your practice as a result of your learning?  If so, what was the impact?  

Week 2: Prior Knowledge, Misconceptions and Introducing New Content

This week focused on building pupils' knowledge and learning through exploring how a pupil's prior knowledge enables them to access learning, how to plan for, identify and respond to misconceptions and how to introduce new content.

Evidence and Research:

Explore with the ECT the importance of understanding their pupils' prior learning and planning for, and addressing misconceptions.  You may want to use the following questions to frame your discussion:

  • Why is it important to assess your pupils' prior learning?

  • How should pupils' prior learning inform your planning?

  • Why is it important to identify and address misconceptions both within your planning (pre-empting) and within the lesson?

Discuss with the ECT their understanding of working and long-term memory and the role each play in learning as well as encouraging the ECT to share why breaking down new material into small steps is important.  You may want to frame your discussion with the following:

  • Talk to me about the role of working and long-term memory in the learning process.

  • Drawing upon your knowledge of working and long-term memory can you explain why it is important to break down new content into small steps and the advantages this brings.

Application and Exploration of Practice and Setting:

This week the ECT considered prior knowledge, misconceptions and breaking down material into small steps for  a forthcoming lesson.  Invite them to talk you through their planning process and how this adapted to focus on prior learning, misconceptions and small steps.

Reflection and Discussion

The ECT was invited to use a chosen reflective framework to reflect upon their planned lesson.  Invite them to share their reflection with you.

Week 3: Cognitive Load Theory

This week will focused on exploring Cognitive Load Theory, bringing together the ideas of working and long-term memory and exploring how cognitive overload can be avoided for students. The importance of supporting autistic students to manage cognitive overload through the development of metacognition was also explored.

Evidence and Research:

You may want to discuss with the ECT their knowledge and understanding of Cognitive Load Theory and how autistic students may find cognitive overload more difficult to manage.  Here are some questions to frame your discussion:

  • What do you understand by Cognitive Load Theory and how does think link to the ideas of working and long-term memory?

  • Why is it important to avoid cognitive overload in the learning process?

  • What do you understand by intrinsic, extraneous and germane cognitive load?

  • How does this theory apply to learners with autism?

Application and Exploration of Practice and Setting:

The ECT was asked to consider their learning whilst planning a learning activity.  You might want to discuss how they applied their learning to their planning process.  You may wish to ask the following questions:

  • How did your learning influence the planning of your learning activity?

  • How did you minimise distractions within the learning environment and through your resources?

  • Is there anything you did differently or changed based upon this week's learning?

  • Were there things that you were already doing well to avoid cognitive overload?

Reflection and Discussion

Invite the ECT to reflect upon their learning activity.  You may wish to frame the discussion by asking the following:

  • How did you adapt your practice as you monitored progress within the lesson?

  • What adaptations would you make for future teaching?

  • What were the strengths of this lesson?

  • What are the key areas for further development?

Week 4: Teaching Complex Material and Content

This week focused on supporting students to engage with and understand more complex learning material and content, identifying the importance of breaking down complex content and explore strategies to support the teaching of such knowledge, skills and concepts.

Evidence and Research:

Discuss with the ECT why it is important to break new and complex learning into small steps.  You may want to frame the discussion with the following questions:

  • Why is it important to break down new and complex learning, content and tasks into small steps?

  • How can you do this?

Application and Exploration of Practice and Setting:

The ECT will have considered how they may apply this learning to their own practice.  

Invite them to lead a discussion on how they plan to adapt and develop their practice as a result.

The ECT may have been to observe a colleague to look at how they break down new and complex content and activities.  If they have done, invite them to share what they observed and what ideas they will take from this observation and apply to their own practice.

Reflection and Discussion

The ECT will have reflected upon a lesson that they have recently taught where they have introduced new or complex learning or activities.

Invite them to share this reflection with you.  You may have questions linked to their reflection.  Asking why? and how? will support the ECT in deepening their thinking.

Week 5: Literacy and Learning

This week focused on the importance of develop literacy.  The ECT considered the importance of the acquisition of good literacy skills and considered how they could develop literacy beyond English lessons.  The ECT considered how literacy and reading can be supported for autistic learners and the approaches that are taken within the setting to support such development.

Evidence and Research:

Invite the ECT to share with you their understanding of approaches to teaching literacy and reading and how these are taught within the school curriculum. Also ask them to share useful strategies to support autistic learners to read.

They may draw upon their learning but also upon their own experiences from the ITT programme.

The following questions may scaffold your conversation:

  • Why is the teaching of literacy so important throughout education and across subject?

  • How do you understand the teaching of literacy and reading is built across the curriculum and phases of education?

  • How might you effectively support an autistic learner to read?

Application and Exploration of Practice and Setting:

The ECT will have spoken to a colleague about the teaching of literacy and reading within the school, observed a colleague teaching literacy and also taken a look at the OU Reading for Pleasure website.  Invite the ECT to share what they have learnt from these activities.

You may want to frame this conversation with the following questions:

  • What is you understanding of how this setting approaches the teaching of literacy (English) and reading?

  • Having observed another colleague teach literacy/English, what strategies and resources did they use to support the learning?  Were these effective?  Why or why not?

  • Tell me about the OU Reading for Pleasure Project.  Might this be a useful resource for you?

Reflection and Discussion

The ECT will have reflected upon a lesson they have taught over the week where they taught elements of literacy/English/reading.  Invite them to share their reflections with you.

The following questions will stimulate their reflection:

  • Did you embed English teaching into other subject areas?  Which? What aspect of English did you embed?

  • Where you taught English or English within other subjects, what approaches did you use to support your teaching? How successful were these? How do you know?

  • What resources did you use to support learning?  E.g. word banks, gapped handouts...

  • How will you adapt your teaching in the future to include more English teaching across other subjects?

Week 6: Consolidation of Learning and Practice

This week focused on consolidating learning and the ECT was introduced/re-introduced to encoding, storage and retrieval, with a focus on retrieval practice.  Spaced practice was also introduced and the ECT trialled some of these approaches within their own teaching.

Evidence and Research:

Invite the ECT to explore their understanding of the process of consolidating learning and the role of retrieval practice.  Also invite the ECT to share what they understand spaced practice to be and how this supports learning.

The following questions may scaffold your conversation:

  • What are the three stages of learning consolidation?

  • Talk to me a little about retrieval practice and why this is important.

  • Are there any specific retrieval activities that benefit pupils with SEN?

  • What do you understand by spaced practice and how does this support learning?

Application and Exploration of Practice and Setting:

The ECT was asked to set an out of class activity or homework for their class/learners and also trial a retrieval practice activity.

You may wish to ask the ECT:

  • What retrieval practice activity did you trial?  Have you used this previously?  Why did you choose to use this particular activity?

  • Did you set an out of class activity/homework to consolidate your pupils' learning?  Describe this activity to me.  What considerations did you make/think of when setting this activity? What this successful?

Reflection and Discussion

The ECT was asked to reflect upon the retrieval practice activity they trialed using a reflective framework of their choice. Invite them to share their reflection with you.

 

It is also observation week, this week.  Use the majority of the mentor meeting to reflect upon your observation focusing on how you have seen the ECT embed the learning from this module into their practice.

The key elements of this module to consider might include:

  • Pedagogy to support working and long-term memory

  • Assessing prior knowledge

  • Pre-empting, identifying and responding to misconceptions

  • The introduction of new and complex content and material

  • Managing cognitive load

  • Embedding literacy into their teaching, beyond English lessons

  • Consolidation of learning.

This week the induction tutor will have also conducted their termly visit and you will want to discuss this with the ECT.  You will have received, as with the ECT a copy of any notes of visit and/or observation reports.

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