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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How to get the most out of lesson observations (detailed guide)

Posted by Rico Patzer on 8 January, 2020

Numerous studies over recent years have shown that high-level and consistent performance from teachers in the classroom is central to improving outcomes for learners. So, naturally the education world has begun to examine teacher effectiveness more closely and how it can be improved.

One of the main ways that teachers get feedback on their practice, in order to develop and grow, is through mandatory lesson observations, whereby a headteacher or a member of SLT sits in on a lesson to observe the teacher. However, despite their widespread use in schools, there is a great deal of data that highlights how ineffective traditional lesson observations can be. 

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10 of the best educators and #EdTech accounts to follow on Twitter in 2020

Posted by Alexandra Spalding on 5 December, 2019

Following educators on Twitter will help you to keep up-to-date on the latest advice and research in education, as well as find and share resources, and be part of a passionate, international community of professionals.

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

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How to identify and share successful teaching practice

Posted by Alexandra Spalding on 21 November, 2019

How did all of the students of 3rd grade teacher Mary Dunbar Barksdale in Brazosport, Texas achieve remarkably high scores on the statewide test, despite the fact that 94% of her students lived in poverty?

How did a handful of schools in Argentina’s Misiones Province achieve a graduation rate of 75%, when the overall completion rate for the province was only 50%?

How did the students in one school district in Mason, Ohio achieve very high scores on achievement tests and other outcomes when their peer districts performed so poorly?

What’s their secret?

 

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

Posted by Guest blogger - Josh Roy on 8 November, 2019

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. 

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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.

 

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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?"

 

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