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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TeacherTales: How my lesson observations went from crippling critique to collaborative conversation

Having trained in a challenging environment, being deprived of meaningful (in-school) feedback for about two years, and being bombarded with observations from all possible sides, I feel I should be better placed than any to take criticism. Don’t get me wrong, I recognise that feedback is fundamental for my development as a teacher. But, I still can’t help the very human reaction that I believe exists in many of us, where negative feedback, however it’s dressed up (EBIs etc.), doesn’t exactly inspire motivation and joy. 

feedback should be reconceptualised from the ‘positive’ and ‘negative’ model to a collaborative and cumulative conversation.

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6 challenges of teacher reflection & how to overcome them

Posted by Alexandra Spalding on 1 November, 2019

There is one quality above all others that makes a good teacher - the ability to reflect on what, why and how they do things and to adapt and develop their excellence in teaching. As the Lifelong Learning UK Standards make clear, reflection is a core component of effective continuing professional development (CPD) and key to becoming a skilled teacher.

But teacher reflection is not just essential for teachers. According to research by Prof. John Hattie, developing excellence in teaching has the single most powerful influence on student achievement.  Read more about the benefits of self-reflection >

Here are some of the challenges that teachers face when reflecting on their own practice and, more importantly, how you can overcome them.

6 challenges of teacher reflection and how to overcome them

 

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Smarter marking: How I improved my work-life balance with these 5 techniques

Posted by Stephanie Anne Dudley on 16 October, 2019

Guest blog by Stephanie Anne Dudley, T&L Lead, The Excel Academy @Sad_English

 

Unfortunately, being a teacher is difficult. 

Really difficult. 

The reality of it is that it is a vocation, as no one would work over a fifty-hour week unless you really believed in it, deep down. In approaching my seventh year of teaching, I feel that this is the year where I will stop working harder but will work smarter.

The main question I will be asking myself this year is: 

Am I going to mark this? Why? And, most importantly, what is the point?

Headline & quote Twitter GIF Template 1024x512 - 3. Top tips for smarter marking to improve your work-life

 

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Is collaboration the key to a successful Multi-Academy Trust?

Posted by Graham Newell on 6 October, 2019

 

In the Recommendations for MATs in Ofsted’s investigation into ‘Multi-academy trusts: benefits, challenges and functions’ (July, 2019) it is stated:

“MATs need to ensure that collaboration within the trust is used effectively and judiciously to maximise the benefits of shared expertise and mutual learning, while minimising the unproductive networking for its own sake”.

Throughout the report the value of collaboration within schools, across MATs and with other schools in the local area is clearly recognised.

Imagine if every MAT used the ‘power within’ to ensure that every school truly became a ‘learning community’ - a ‘knowledge creating school’.

“The power of collective capacity is that it enables ordinary people to accomplish extraordinary things” - for two reasons. One is that knowledge about effective practice becomes more widely available and accessible on a daily basis. The second reason is more powerful still—working together generates commitment.” (Michael Fullan, ‘How the World’s Most Improved Systems Keep Getting Better” p 72)

Is collaboration the key to a successful Multi-Academy Trust?

 

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TeacherTales: Professional Learning Communities - 4 tips to creating one in your school

Posted by Andrew Ball on 27 September, 2019

 

First things first, what is a professional learning community?  

A PLC is a group of educators that meets on a regular basis, works collaboratively and shares knowledge creating a professional dialogue to improve teaching skills and student outcomes.  Simply put, it’s professionals coming together in a group to learn.  

Guest blog by Andrew Ball, Quality Manager & Teaching Learning Senior Leader,  Itchen Sixth Form College.  @MY__teaching

Young partners discussing in meeting at creative office-1

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Collaborative CPD: 6 ways you can support academies in your trust

Posted by Edward Williams on 20 September, 2019

According to data published by the Department for Education in July 2019, there are now 8,725 academies within multi-academy trusts (MATs) in the UK. Despite this number being just over 27% of the total number of schools within the UK, MATs employ a disproportionately large number of staff, with over 44% of the education workforce working for a MAT.

 

6 ways you can support academies in your trust

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