You need to work less hard...

This tip is inspired by seeing an image on the internet. It’s one of those inspiring images that people post, people like, and then move along from. It went something like this:

“if you read just 1 book a day to your child, they will have read 1825 books by their 5th birthday”

The message most people take is that reading is great, and that reading to children is a great thing. This is absolutely a great message, but I took something a bit more from it. ‘If you read 1 book a day to you child, they will have read 1825 books by their 5th birthday’. I’ll suggest that the real answer is actually 0.

Your child will have listened to you tell 1825 stories. This is a brilliant thing, and you should absolutely do it, but they won’t have read anything. Note, this is not a tip about the merits of listening to stories vs kids reading themselves (I chatted to an early years teacher about this); it’s the mistaken idea that if you do something for a student that they will have done it, and that just because you’ve told them something they might know it. Passive vs active.

Here at Rethink we encourage active learning over passive learning. Here’s a few very easy things to put into practice active over passive learning. (and it’s not just avoiding front of class teaching)

·  Suppose you go and help child with a task. If you show them how to get the solution to one question, stay with them for next question, but expect them to do it on their own.

·  Look at teaching time in your lessons. Students need to be spending at least 80% of it working independently.

·  Look at tasks in your lesson. Decide what you need to explain, and what students are capable of finding out for themselves. Students retain far more of things they’ve found out themselves, then thing’s they’ve listened to (indeed the best retention is something they’ve taught somebody else)

·  Consider your questioning. Does it involve students in a conversation, or are you simply talking to them and asking them for some answers to questions because you think you should? (consider recording your lesson and watching it back if this is a possibility – it is brave to watch yourself teach, but you’ll get a lot of insight)

Always try to make what you are doing as active for the students as possible, and with all our tips, the key is consistency.

Jigsaw teaching