‘The kinds of questions teachers ask determine how far the discussion deepens children’s learning and understanding.’ (Wiliam 2008)
After embedding metacognition through learning powers, growth mindset and the learning pit, we worked on higher level questioning.
We trained ourselves using these question sets, a week at a time, until we were fluent in questioning. We team taught in lesson study groups, Japanese style, to hone our lesson delivery.
eg. In P4C
Is cheating in the Olympics the same as cheating in tag?
- Can you justify your opinion?
- What would someone who disagreed with you say?
- What is the difference between that view and your view?
- Is there another point of view?
Heated discussion prevailed. Opinions from the two camps included:
… guides the direction of a lesson and planning for individual needs.
… essential for good learning.
… allows us to respond to needs quickly.
… allows us to find out what they know, understand and where they make errors, and have misconceptions, when they are not engaged.
… allows learning needs to be evaluated at every stage to ensure all children are making progress and for next steps need to be informed.
… guiding questions through use of P4C can lead to deeper understanding on the part of the teacher or pupil.
As Wiliam said ‘We need to activate learners as instructional resources for one another.’. An unexpected outcome has been the children taking the questions from us and using them on each other. Pupil autonomy in action and of course they listen to each other more than they listen to adults!
… never dodge a good question…
“Chewy, my ship is fixed! Let’s get outta’ here. I’m excited to try new things, see new places. Don’t worry if it goes wrong! We’ve learned from our mistakes haven’t we Chewy? We just won’t get involved with The Rebellion again.
Get a growth mindset about you. Don’t just be a walking carpet Chewy. C’mon!”
The unveiling of Learning Power 5 coincided with our Japanese style whole-school Lesson Study. This event, which is set to become a termly fixture due to the awesomeness of the experience, took place in week 7 of Term 5. All teaching staff met in our Key Stage groups on Monday after school. Our mission, which we chose to accept, was to plan a problem solving based maths lesson pulling together as many features of growth mindset, Philosophy for Children and formative learning as we could muster. Putting our golden year of staff development towards a cutting edge formative learning experience for the children – and as it turned out – for us.
The Japanese model
‘Japan has succeeded in developing a system that not only develops teachers but also develops knowledge about teaching that is relevant to classrooms and sharable among the members of the teaching profession… When Japanese teachers plan a lesson collaboratively, they treat the result as a joint product whose ownership is shared by all in the group. When one teacher teaches the lesson and the others observe, problems that emerge are generally attributed to the lesson as designed by the group, not to the teacher who implemented the lesson. It thus becomes possible for teachers to become critical without offending their colleague. The discussion can focus more pointedly and deeply on the merits and deficiencies of the lesson and on the process of revising and improving it.’