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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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TeacherTales: How we provide remote, autonomous and truly continuous PD

 ‘In order for students to learn they must do something’. This ideal is the same for all those who teach or support education and training. At times, well intended, top-down approaches to CPD can be too broad and not specific enough to meet the needs of individual teachers. In addition, measuring the impact of generalised CPD on learning and progress is a constant challenge. 

In response to this, we at Middlesbrough College asked ourselves two simple questions: 

  • What CPD should teachers immerse themselves in that will have a direct impact on their students?
  • Who should be responsible for identifying what this is?

The answers seemed strikingly simple: professional teaching focused CPD should be explicitly tailored to a) the teaching practice needs of the teacher and b) the pedagogical needs of their students. 

As a result, the Middlesbrough College Teaching Innovation Group’s (T.I.G’s) were born.

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TeacherTales: 5 key staff development strategies during a pandemic

Posted by Guest blogger - Chris Harrison on 28 January, 2021

Since Covid struck in 2020, so many things have been put on hold as we collectively navigate our way through unusual and challenging circumstances. Outside, gatherings have ceased and socialising has taken a significant hit.  We now see this taking place in schools, too: cross-over of staff is rare or non-existent as we strive to keep teams safe. Even when schools were full of pupils many teachers were like passing ships as they drifted around in their own bubbles.  Many of us have tried to tackle these issues digitally with get-togethers, quizzes and virtual meet-ups and these can have a really positive impact: just seeing others and interacting with them can be such a boost. 

One area in our school that we had struggled to maintain was staff development: courses have ceased or gone digital; TeachMeets and BrewEDs are digital or postponed; learning walks have had to be rethought; school visits are a no go and cross-pollination of good pedagogy is significantly damaged. Within this blog I hope to unpick some ways of combating this digitally – and more specifically through the use of IRIS Connect.

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Teacher Tales: Using video to support the recruitment process

Posted by Guest blogger - Chris Harrison on 12 June, 2020

In these most unusual times, school recruitment has had to be adapted significantly, and not only to ensure that schools can still recruit, but to support candidates in showcasing their abilities. Based on a large volume of questions and interactions that have been shared on Twitter, this is clearly worrying both sides when it comes to thinking about how to make it as effective as possible.

As a school we recently faced the same issues and therefore decided to create a streamlined recruitment strategy using our existing systems. Within this blog I will share the template we have created and how the IRIS Connect system has helped to support candidates display their skills, knowledge and experience throughout the recruitment process.

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TeacherTales: How we created a user-friendly curriculum model online

Posted by Guest blogger - Chris Harrison on 12 May, 2020

Moving to a new school or year group can be a huge challenge; you have to learn new systems, structures and pedagogical styles whilst getting to know your class and the rest of the staff. So, having a central system with banks of resources, lesson clips and templates can be incredibly useful as you settle in school-life and get to know how things work. 

With this in mind, we decided to create a number of curriculum groups in IRIS Connect with a view to creating a school pedagogy and curriculum model for our teachers. We’ve gone from recording lessons and running internal film clubs (these were incredibly useful starting points) to now building banks of lessons that help to quality assure the teaching that’s happening in our classrooms. Our teachers can now refer to the platform with approved resources and teaching clips whenever they need it.

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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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