These are my thoughts on your reply Simon. Have confidence in your own abilities. I think that providing you can meaningfully identify where there may be issues with certain students and attend to their individual needs in the way that you deem appropriate then you are doing it right. Everyone would have a different way of approaching this and their method of applying differentiation will be different to yours. On that basis I would say that my approach is to continuously scan the group and adjust peoples technique as a 1:1 mini teach lasting a very short time possible even as short as 30 seconds. This can be exhausting as its like the old cabaret act of spinning plates you never stop but after a while once the students are moving up the learning curve away from the levels of imitation and manipulation life starts to get easier. As we both teach practical subjects I expect there would be commonality in the way we would need to differentiate.
On the the other subject I definitely agree with you on the limiting effect of criteria set by awarding bodies. A good illustration would be the NVQ Turning unit that I have delivered ( use of Lathes) which does not require the candidate to show any competence in the preparation of Turning tools!. (these are something that are used to cut the metal on a lathe, and are normally prepared by the lathe operator) Outside of trhe requirements of the unit I always taught lathe tool prep. I don't think that there is anything wrong in doing this as it is essential UPK. although from a purist point of view it could be considered unnecessary. This would be the other level of learning that you mention. Nothing wrong with expanding the learners horizons outside of what the syllabus asks for. It can be a very powerful tool to keep waning interest alive. In effect what you are doing is injecting more of the beer and thus the beer to froth ratio becomes more beneficial.
You are absolutely right, we deliver to the set criteria of the awarding body but and I think everyone knows this that sometimes standards have been lowered, this is certainly noticeable in my field of delivery, being from an engineering back ground certainly helps me, I know exactly what employers are looking for and what they want from potential new employees, so the course's are padded out to meet these requirements as well, you are right in saying that there is another level and as tutors or coaches depending on what hat your wearing I strive to take the learner past the main out come. This has a three way affect first I feel good about myself that I will not let standards drop, secondly the employer would get someone with a greater knowledge and thirdly the learner gets good quality tuition in this field that they then can expand on to other courses maybe get an apprenticeship and take into the workplace.
It amazes me Mark that sometimes providers get uppity about teaching outside the syllabus, but I suspect its more to do with GLH and getting the financial outcome in the shortest possible time. Like yourself I can see lots of positives.
What is the best (and/or easiest - because they're not necessarily the same!) approach for designing an inclusive session - do you plan what you want to teach and how you plan to deliver it, then go back to the start and check that your plan is inclusive? Or do you take your time from the start and plan inclusivity from square 1?
I supopose it could depend on the task, or the group of learners. I would imagine that if you knew the group of learners well and knew the various strengths or difficulties they had that one would be able to integrate enough differentiation into your session as you were planning it, whereas a new or unknown group you might want to plan what you want to do first then go back through it and decide how to differentiate to make sure the session is inclusive.
Andrew. I definitely agree with you with about the unconscious differentiation. In my private practice I have tried many times to start keeping logs and recording information but It always lags behind to the point of being dropped but it has never been a problem in as I have always seemed to be able to pick up where I left of and work on the fly.
I will admit that the level of over obsessing about the getting there in comparison to the final result was slightly discouraging when I started looking into teaching. The proof of the pudding is in the ingredients? I think not. But recently my mentor has suggested that Ofsted are starting to put more consideration into the results and hence being less critical of practice if it is delivering the goods.
Hi Tom. I personally figure out a session topic and activity that I feel is suitable and then try to make it as inclusive a possible when planning it. Knowing the activity. If it wouldn't be inclusive enough my prior knowledge of the group would have probably halted the process at the start. In contrast when I recently took on some student for solo performance development I didn't know their skill levels so I organised a show tell session in which they all played. this enabled me to evaluate their current status.
On the matter of log books. I have been working with logbooks with my one to one voice students. To be honest this was a pain for me last year and I felt that it was a bit of a waste of time, eating into valuable practical teaching time. However it was a necessary part of the assessment for the students so I did try and get things written down.
This year has been completely different. In a voice department meeting the discussion of the time spent on the logbooks was brought up. One of my colleagues suggested that it should be down to the student to fill this out and for the tutor just to put in a few important points or directions.
This has completely changed my view of the logbook. Each student now has a way of cementing what they have heard or carried out in their lessons, by taking notes in the lesson or after, in a form that they can understand. They have evidence of having processed the information and I have a formative assessment process that informs me from week to week that learning has taken place. It has certainly given the students more intrinsic motivation and has allowed each student to develop their own style of reproducing or evidencing their knowledge. This often informs me of particular learning styles or subjects that they find easy or more difficult to work with.
Never thought I would see the day. Hooray for logbooks!
I have been trying to introduce log books at the school. I have a idea for a learning diary I would like to put together. including stave/tab/chords sheet, a calendar, scale, chords, and practice notes. Apparently the school has the facilities to print such a thing. it's just getting the time to work it through with the staff. Hopefully this summer might provide the ideal opportunity.
Glad to hear your comment about Ofstead. That comes as a welcome change of focus. It has been the case that the process was becoming the yardstick rather than the outcome, a case of throwing the baby out with the bathwater. I like your comment about the proof of the pudding being the ingredients... not. Nicely Illustrates the concept. There is a very good article in the Intuition Magazine that you would enjoy reading by John Hattie talking to Geoff Petty here is the link http://www.ifl.ac.uk/membership/intuition/intuition-issue-11/interview.
He actually states that he basically doesn't give a hoot about how teaching takes place so long as the outcome is achieved.!!!!!
Thanks for that Andrew.
I'll take a look at it.
I don’t feel that there is a best or easiest way. Each class are individual, I think it is really important for each tutor to know their pupils in order to be able to make any learning environment inclusive. I find when I’m planning sessions I usually develop tasks to meet the needs of my learners, whilst trying in incorporate the session outcomes and assessment criteria. I do have a few duplicate sessions on a weekly basis, and the session is the same, but are adapted slight to ensure differentiation. How do you approach planning your sessions?
Unfortunately I haven't had to plan many sessions apart from the odd workshop here and there as part of the sessions I've been a part of, shadowing another teacher. Usually what has happened so far is that the main tutor is leading a class and I've been there to take small groups to another room and run through some practical sessions with cameras and lights etc, which has left a lot of room to plan much apart from organising the relevant equipment and thinking about what I want the learners to do with it.