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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Alexandra Spalding

Recent Posts

How to teach remotely: 10 resources

Posted by Alexandra Spalding on 5 January, 2021

With the news that UK schools will be closing once more due to Coronavirus, we thought we'd share and refresh our list of 10 resources from back in March 2020, that provides great tips on how to teach remotely.

We know there’s no quick fix and one size certainly doesn’t fit all, but these tools to teach online could be a great place to start. Keep up to date with all the resources we're sharing over on our Twitter account @IRIS_Connect

Share any resources you’ve found to be useful in the comments section below so that fellow readers can benefit. 

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10 of the best educators to follow on Twitter in 2021

Posted by Alexandra Spalding on 4 January, 2021

Following educators on Twitter can help you to keep up-to-date on the latest advice, trends and educational research, as well as exploring and sharing resources.

Be part of a passionate, innovative, international community of education professionals.

If you’re not sure where to get started, here’s 10 educators we recommend following right now (list in no particular order):

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How video technology can support Initial Teacher Training

Posted by Alexandra Spalding on 11 December, 2020

Teachers, and those responsible for teacher training, have recently needed to develop new strategies and approaches to adjust to the changing demands in Initial Teacher Training.

As a result of limitations around school visits and face-to-face training, it’s become increasingly difficult for mentors to meet with trainees in the field, which means ITT providers have had to find other ways to be able to make judgements on trainee progress, provide efficient and quality feedback and enable trainees to get peer support when they need it.  

Rethinking the traditional processes that have underpinned ITT for as long as we can remember has required a lot of time and effort for everyone involved. But as with any innovation, the use of education technology in supporting Initial Teacher Training also provides huge opportunities.

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Closing the gap: How to improve your assessment & feedback skills

Posted by Alexandra Spalding on 4 December, 2020

Formative assessment, along with effective feedback, is one of the most impactful parts of teaching and when done well, it can foster significant improvement. 

What is formative assessment?

Formative assessment is any learning activity which reveals information to teachers and learners which can be used to improve learning. This is distinct from summative assessment, the intent of which is to provide terminal grading. Formative assessment allows teachers to understand where a learner is currently 'at', so that the teacher can a) adapt future instruction to better meet learning needs b) consider differentiating their support, and c) enable effective feedback to and between learners.

 

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Dialogic teaching & classroom talk: How to improve dialogue and oracy

Posted by Alexandra Spalding on 27 November, 2020

“Dialogic teaching harnesses the power of talk to stimulate and extend pupils’ thinking and advance their learning and understanding.” - Prof. Robin Alexander

Is great dialogue taking place in your classroom and across your school?

It’s well worth taking the time to reflect on this given the robust evidence that dialogic teaching (more broadly known as classroom talk) is key to improving formative assessment of pupils.

Research shows that there is a direct relationship between dialogic teaching and improved individual and collective academic outcomes. A report recently published by the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) shows that spending more class time on meaningful dialogue that encourages pupils to reason, discuss, speculate, argue and explain, rather than simply give the expected answers can boost primary pupils’ maths, science and English results.

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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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