Exploring what matters

Welcome to the IRIS Connect blog space where you can join conversations and discover free resources, tips and summaries. We hope you find something useful for your professional development and learning.

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guide to improving teacher happiness and wellbeing

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Effective Teacher CPD: 10+ points to consider before choosing a course

Posted by Rico Patzer on 27 November, 2020

For many school leaders, the importance of effective CPD for teaching staff needs little explaining. As the DfE’s Standard for Teachers’ Professional Development straightforwardly puts it, ‘effective professional development for teachers is a core part of securing effective teaching.’

We know that teachers themselves are also firmly invested in honing and developing their skills. According to an LKMco and Pearson survey, the prospect of making a difference in pupils’ lives motivates 92% of teachers to stay in teaching, so any further opportunities to increase their impact in the classroom are likely to be received with enthusiasm.

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How to support your teachers’ wellbeing through a pandemic

Posted by Alexandra Spalding on 26 November, 2020

As autumn term comes to a close, the terms ‘teacher wellbeing’, ‘teacher self care’ and ‘teacher wellness’ have reported higher than usual results in Google. But it’s unsurprising really, given what 2020 has had to offer. You only have to take a look at the Twitter threads and hashtags to understand how overwhelmed and exhausted the education sector is.

Before the Covid-19 pandemic struck in early March, teacher happiness and wellbeing were already critically low and driving many teachers out of the profession. Unachievable workloads and lack of autonomy were reported as the main factors. But skip forward a few months and teachers now have the added challenge of bubbles, social distancing, pupil absence and continued isolation to contend with. 

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Classroom talk: How to improve dialogue & oracy

Posted by Alexandra Spalding on 19 November, 2020

It's vital that learners have the dialogue and oracy skills required to discuss their learning with their peers and respond to questioning and assessment. This gives teachers an opportunity to discover where best to focus on that learner's development.

So, what exactly do you mean by dialogue?

In this sense, dialogue is more than ‘just talk’. It involves teachers and learners commenting and cumulatively building on each other’s ideas, posing questions and constructing interpretations together (Alexander, 2008).

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Questioning in the classroom: How to improve your skills

Posted by Rico Patzer on 5 October, 2020

Teachers use hundreds of questions every day so it's important to use them with purpose and know which questioning techniques have the biggest effect in which situation. From a pedagogical point of view questions serve two crucial roles:

  1. To check for understanding i.e. to identify misconceptions and provide corrective feedback.
  2. To invite dialogue, that is, to help students develop a better understanding of themselves and their progress, share their deeper thinking and to make deeper connections within the content.

Some teachers consider these two purposes to be at odds with one another; they are not. The trick is to strike the right balance between the two and to use them strategically and at the right time within the learning process. The outcome of a good question, whatever its purpose, is that it encourages thinking.

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3 steps to great instructions: How to avoid cognitive overload

Posted by Alexandra Spalding on 30 September, 2020

First things first, what is cognitive load theory? Cognitive load theory describes how the human mind processes new information. The more we have to process at once, the harder it becomes to complete a task effectively. When dealing with new information, the brain can process anywhere from three to seven elements at once. This becomes even harder if those elements are interactive.

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Is your school ready for the next generation of teacher PD?

Posted by Graham Newell on 24 September, 2020

 

Summary of the EEF report on Remote PD

“School professionals can gain knowledge and skills from remote PD, ultimately leading to gains in pupil outcomes” (EEF, August, 2020)

Professional Development has been an unfortunate casualty of the current crisis with the Education Endowment Foundation acknowledging that the Covid-19 pandemic has made traditional PD exceptionally difficult to deliver. Alongside Durham University, the EEF undertook a rapid evidence assessment aimed at summarising the efficacy of remote professional development and reviewed evidence into fully remote and blended approaches to PD. 

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