Many teachers I meet in my consultancy and training role are in the final stages of their courses for this year. Despite summer term fatigue, there is an urgency, focus and push towards the finish line, which I know from experience can make the difference between pass and fail, merit and distinction, for some learners.
Here are some of the approaches that I have seen in action or discussed with people recently:
Use your data and other records to RAG rate your groups in terms of where they are with course work or exam preparation. Some useful questions to mull over or discuss with your co-tutor could be:
- Who is at risk of failing the course? What can I/we do in the next few days to tackle that?
- Who might be able to edge that pass/ merit/ distinction, grade C,B or A with the right feedback, guidance and boosting right now?
- Who could best provide that and how?
- Is there an element of the course that many learners have struggled with or haven’t completed?
- How can I/we build greater learner confidence and competence quickly with that?
- Where can stronger learners access additional practice resources to enhance their grade?
- How can I/we provide well-timed, specific feedback to move everyone on?
For course leaders/managers and coaches
Provide opportunities for teachers to collaborate in a focused way to review learners’ progress, for example:
- Have a team meeting slot for course teams to get into clusters and RAG rate their learners, then agree some action points.
- If appropriate, encourage peer review of a small sample of marked work in course teams with identification of one or two next steps for the learners.
- Create a swap shop slot for teachers to discuss their approaches for maximizing achievement. Some have a wall chart of assignments/tasks in their classroom and learners sign off when they have received feedback and final grades for each task, as a subtle form of peer pressure. Many teachers I know hold “mop up/catch up” workshops this time of year in which learners finalize work, do structured peer review tasks and meet the teacher for an action-focused 1:1 slot. When I have seen these sessions working well, they have had some shape, focus and output, as opposed to learners just sitting and chatting about the work aimlessly.
- If a course team sees that a learner is behind on several pieces of work, they can collaborate to prioritize tasks and create a chunked down plan to follow. Steps to complete every day or two can help learners to focus on micro tasks. Agreeing how feedback and/or supervision will work can also help at this point.
- Ask if they can do anything else to help. Some managers I know go round classes doing a pep talk to emphasize the need to stay focused and on track right now and support any staff with tricky groups.
- Drop ins can be a good way to collect examples of teachers’ approaches to maximizing achievement. Coaches can summarize and feed them back to teams, along with What went well (WWW) and Even Better If (EBI) points, if appropriate.
- Coaches can run workshops or bite-sized sessions on revision tips and approaches to stretching learners effectively. Here are some links that may be helpful for this:
All the best for that final push to maximize achievement before the summer break!