Teaching and Learning at Thorp Academy
The aim of Thorp Academy is to improve achievement for all by ensuring the consistency of outstanding learning. We believe that learning and teaching are the central and most important priorities of our Academy.
Effective classroom practice has the most impact on learners so in order to achieve outstanding learning our Teaching and Learning Model forms the basis of our professional development when good practice is built on and disseminated.
We seek to focus on active teaching methods which result in effective learning. We hope to:
- Engage students positively in their own learning
- Provide a blend of challenge and support
- Make learning enjoyable
- Make learning accessible to all our students
- Encourage an on-going enthusiasm for learning
Our Teaching and Learning Model focusses on three components that are essential for good learning experiences:
Assessment for Learning
Research shows us that pupils learn best when:
- They know what they are going to learn
- They know how they are going to learn
- They know how they will be assessed
- They know how to meet the criteria for assessment
In lessons this means that teachers give pupils more information about what they are going to learn (the learning objectives) and use more strategies to actively engage them in learning. Teachers use a variety of ways to assess the progress pupils make and pupils are part of the process.
What does AfL look like in a lesson?
There is a clear focus on what exactly is being taught.
Children are told the learning objectives of a lesson so they know exactly what they are learning and why. Questioning, marking and feedback will all be focussed on checking that all pupils are achieving these lesson objectives.
There is an expectation that the key components of AfL will be used to facilitate learning:
- Learning objectives with student friendly success criteria
- Use of skilled and differentiated questioning will be visible in lesson
- Students will receive quality feedback from assessed work set clear targets for improvement
Students need to:
- See intended learning for the lesson and over time (the big picture)
- See and explore what good learning looks like
- See what they can do and what needs to be improved
- Have time to make their improvements and judge their success
Cooperative learning is an extremely successful teaching strategy in which small teams of students work together towards a learning goal. They may also be working with partners or the whole class. Each member of the team is responsible not only for learning what is taught but also for helping teammates learn, thus creating an atmosphere of achievement. Students work through the assignment until all group members successfully understand and complete it.
Why use Kagan cooperative learning?
Delivering lesson content using Kagan cooperative structure is a way of easily increasing the amount of time students spend 'on task'. Along with this comes all the benefits of facilitating the learning of a class where pupils are all actively and simultaneously engaged in learning. Structures minimise the opportunity for pupils to become distracted, disruptive and then disaffected by giving them the skills to work with others and to learn independently of the 'teacher'.
Structures teach pupils social skills; interaction with other pupils, turn taking, listening to the views of others and sharing information.
Kagan Cooperative Learning has been the most heavily studied cooperative learning innovation of all time. Kagan continues to show success in cooperative learning because of their set structures which rely on individual accountability in the cooperative learning groups, which is something that is extremely important in order for cooperative learning to succeed.
Learning Skills/R-Learning Habits
Learning takes place at different rates and levels for everybody. We are all learners and each day we make progress in our learning. To improve the ability to learn it is important to know how to learn. Here at Thorp Academy we introduce students to the different ways of learning and equipping them with a range of learning skills. Our approach centers around our global Academy values:
The 5 Rs:
Relationships - Resilience - Respect - Responsibility - Reflection.
Please click here to view the 5 R success criteria
We place our focus on being responsible for one's actions and always being respectful to those with whom we work. The skills required to be part of a team and play an active and effective role within the team are made explicit. One of life's most important lessons - to learn from our set back and to be resilient in the face of difficulty or disappointment comes through in all that we do and the importance of honest reflection. Our aim - to ensure a Thorp Academy student knows how they learn best and what skills they need to learn most effectively and function as a well-rounded member of our society.
The 5 R's were introduced to students for 2014/15 and currently data is only being collected in Year 7. During the first term we are focussing on the relationship aspect of the 5 Rs. The Success Criteria are very challenging and we would expect to see many students gaining 3's or 4's atthe haf term stageduring the first term. This will gradually rise throughout the year.