Teaching and Learning


JWA Teaching & learning bulletin


Oustanding Teaching and learning at JWA

Catherine Ashcroft, History teacher, kindly shared her experiences with the use of collaborative learning techniques

Targeted Interview

We have attempted this with year 10 students. They were engaged and keen to carry it out. I walked around the room and they remained on task. They had to interview a person living during the plague. Then help him to improve his responses about what he thought was causing the plague and treatment of the plague. I then said that a person from the future arrived and could tell him what actually caused the plague. This allowed for assessment of their knowledge of what people thought caused it in the 14th Century and what we now know are the actual causes. It helped with reinforcing and developing knowledge. It was a safe environment for quieter students to involve themselves in class discussions. I am going to trial this with year 11 on their controlled assessment topic, they will stage an interview with Roosevelt.

 Ideas from Speak for My Partner

 We have done this with year 7 on their biased fairy tales from the villain’s perspective. We have tried it with year 8 on what slavery means. We have tried this with year 9 on popular beliefs about what caused illness in the middle ages. We have used silent time for thinking and writing.  Followed by students at random giving their feedback and the class have discussed SST of the work presented. The students have responded particularly well to “silence time.” They have enjoyed sharing their work. It has kept them on task and engaged. I intend to trial it with year 8’s when doing source work, with a focus on using and developing historical skills of inference, purpose and reaching conclusions about the reliability of the sources. 

 Ideas from Gather and Share

 Create A Human Timeline Each pair were given a date BC or AD. They had to work with others to find their place on the timeline.

 Students had to work out where they were on the timeline by asking questions and working as a team. I wasn’t sure if it would work or if it would be chaos. It worked well with the two groups that I trailed it with. I will definitely do similar activities as they really got a lot from it and have clearer understanding of BC/AD than the group that did not do this activity, that completed a more traditional task.


 Throwing the ball when doing a short quick Q&A session. This keeps students alert as it is completely random. Blooms hierarchy of questions is particularly useful for developing the questions during these sessions.

 Shoulder & Face Partners

 Working with shoulder partners and face partners helps with giving direction to students and gets them started during discussion or paired tasks.

 I am looking forward to trying and embedding more of the structures.

 Current Academy focus

 Don’t forget to use your ! sign if you are trying something new.

 At the last training session all staff were given a questioning fan to support differentiated questioning; use these to support planning and during teaching. To support this you could download the Bloom’s Buster ppt (the link to these outstanding resources is below).

Recommended resources/videos/websites

 http://www.slideshare.net/MariaMarthaManetteMadrid/the-art-of-questioning-12787198?next_slideshow=1  a slideshare resource on questioning


 Mike Gershon’s page has some really useful ppts to help with planning and teaching, including the Bloom’s Buster (improved questioning in lessons).