We always appreciate being able to meet with a small group of teachers to discuss topical issues in a relaxed way. It’s nice to expand discussions beyond the people we work with every day. Under normal circumstances, it’s good to chat face-to-face over coffee and cake, but online groups have the advantage of no travel so it’s been a bonus to see new faces who would probably have been unable to attend otherwise.
Another advantage is the wider area that we can call on guest presenters from. At a recent meeting at the Mayfield Network in November, we invited Adrian Hall from the North East of the country who led a very engaging session on building resilience among students at GCSE by focusing on techniques that help students to engage without fear of failure or embarrassment. We tried out some questions under different types of pressure to get a feeling for how it may be for our students, and then picked up lots of tips that would be simple to apply. The next meeting will be in March, and details are to be confirmed.
In the Solent Network, we focused on the transition from GCSE to Level 3 and explored the fact that Year 12 are needing more ‘catch up’ than usual on GCSE topics, noticeably in the areas they are usually more confident with, such as surds and indices. This is impacting on teaching to a certain extent and conflicting coverage against understanding. We also had very interesting discussions regarding the practicalities of one-to-one tutorials/interventions outside of scheduled lessons which are now more difficult, partly because teaching bubbles need to stay secure. Everyone in the group was interested in sharing innovative online marking and assessments techniques and ways to do this in an efficient, Covid-safe way.
The Coffee and Pi Network, which normally runs in Oxfordshire, hosted an online meeting focusing on Large Data Sets and an associated project. Valerija Peles, one of our AMSP colleagues from the North East, gave an excellent presentation on Large Data Sets. Then Jess Barnecutt from Oaklands School in London demonstrated the Maths of Migration project which encourages secondary students to explore a database containing lots of migration data, at the same time informing them about the plight of Syrian refugees, making them human. You can find out more about the Maths of Migration project on the Tes website. The next meeting will be on Tuesday 19 January 2021, and the focus will be confirmed nearer the time. You can view more information and register for the meeting on the AMSP website.
In November, the Slough Teacher Network focused on the pedagogy of teaching force diagrams. The session was led by Toby Rome, who is the lead tutor for the AMSP’s Teaching Mechanics course. Toby’s enthusiasm for mechanics really shone through, and he showed the group a number of ways to increase the level of complexity when questioning students about forces. The feedback from the session was that teachers had really enjoyed it and had learnt something about questioning when teaching forces. It’s a pleasure to organise the network meetings to allow teachers to develop subject knowledge and to catch up with colleagues. The next meeting will be on Monday 8 February 2021, with a focus on using the Large Data Set to teach the Statistics element of the A level Mathematics syllabus. You can view more information and register for the meeting on the AMSP website.
The next Little Heath network will be on Wednesday 13 January 2021 with a focus on the 6Concepts project designed to support transition from GCSE to A level.
The next BBO network will be on Thursday 28 January 2021 with Mastery Specialist Jo Walker, on Making them Think – Mastery at L3.