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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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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TeacherTales: How we saved lesson time delivering exam feedback via video

Posted by Guest blogger - Chris Webb on 30 January, 2020

Giving quality feedback to students is time consuming but, as the EEF points out, we know it’s effective in improving the quality of learning. Here at The Blue Coat School we’re always trying to improve how we feedback to students and in the last 18 months we’ve been sharing short videos of us talking through exam questions that students can watch in their own time. 

 

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TeacherTales: How I support SEND pupils with these 10 tips

Posted by Guest blogger Dr Maria Jagiello on 16 January, 2020

I believe in inclusion and I often wonder if we’re providing the best possible academic progress for our SEND learners within mainstream schools. Do we have enough time to spend with them? How can we improve their progress regardless of sets, or mixed ability classes? How can we teach them to the best of their abilities within overcrowded classes, struggling budgets and other daily difficulties?

I consider myself lucky - I am a SEND specialist teacher who has worked at a special school and is now working in mainstream. It’s given me a different perspective and an opportunity to compare and apply various approaches, techniques and views into my teaching practice. The majority of strategies I’ve learnt from specialising can be easily adapted and adjusted to meet our pupils’ needs in mainstream schools. Here are my 10 tips to support your SEND pupils better.

 

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TeacherTales:  What is oracy and why does it matter?  How to help pupils find their voice

Posted by Paul Coffey on 12 September, 2019

Guest blog by Paul Coffey, St John Bosco Arts College

What is pupil Oracy?

It means that pupils are able to break down complex tasks; create and then implement possible solutions, and then convince others of them. It allows our pupils to articulate complex ideas and gives them confidence in themselves and their abilities. It provides them with the tools they need to compete and thrive in the world. 

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Prep learning - my journey into implementing metacognition and self-regulated learning

Posted by Neil Williams on 8 July, 2019

What is prep learning?

Prep learning is a learning method that promotes the teaching of metacognition and actively supports independent learning, mindfulness and self-regulated assessment.

Pupils using the prep learning method access a teacher-made website which allows them to study exemplary work, both written and visual, to develop a deeper understanding of their qualification curriculum.

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