Mount Pleasant Primary School

Teaching and Learning Policy

"Teachers flourish best when in Key Stage teams or departments their talk is predominantly about teaching and learning and where they are privileged to observe each other teach, to plan and review their work together; and to practise the habit of learning from each other, new teaching techniques. But how does this state of affairs arise? Is it to do with the way staffrooms are physically organised so that the walls bear testimony to interesting articles and in the corner there is a dedicated computer containing learning ideas and linked to the internet.

Has the primary school cracked it when staff meetings are held in different classrooms and the school uses 'active' and 'passive' concerts of carefully chosen music, as part of their accelerated learning techniques."

Professor Tim Brighouse - "The School Effectiveness Unit"

We at Mount Pleasant, pride ourselves on a school that puts the craft of learning and teaching at the core of its work.

The school vision, mission statement, aims and objectives set the scene for all we hope to achieve for our pupils. We therefore undertake to:

  • - raise levels of attainment for all pupils, enabling them to achieve their personal best;
  • - develop confident, disciplined and enquiring learners, able to make informed choices;
  • - foster a love of learning;
  • - foster self esteem and personal responsibility, linked to respect for the needs and feelings of others;
  • - facilitate considerate and positive relationships with all members of the school community;
  • - ensure equal opportunities in relation to gender, race, class, special needs and belief;
  • - value and respect for all cultures;
  • - provide a safe and happy work place;
  • - promote a thoughtful attitude towards the immediate and wider environment.

In line with our development of developing the skills of learners, the following policy sets the school's expectations.

  • 1. Learning
  • - The quality of teaching has a high correlation with good or very good schools.
  • - This is achieved through teachers critically reflecting on their practice.
  • - Mount Pleasant teachers are highly skilled and experienced professionals who are already doing an excellent job in the classroom. Nevertheless, this does not detract from our professional and moral responsibility to seek constant improvement in our practice.
  • - Tweaking our teaching means we are not looking for a radical overhaul by being specific in identifying which aspects of performance need tweaking; and, identifying strategies to enable us to do the tweaking.

 

Questions teachers should ask themselves:

  • - What have the pupils learnt?
  • - How do you know?
  • - How is this learning activity helping them learn?

A question children can ask themselves as they leave the classroom:

  • - What have you learnt today?

Keys to effective learning:

  • - Pupils learn best when they are in an appropriate physical and emotional state and, when the brain is nourished and the pupils are relaxed, confident and motivated.
  • - Pupils learn best when they have an opportunity to work in their preferred learning style, i.e. visual, auditory, kinaesthetic. A multi-sensory approach to planning and delivery is therefore essential for optimum learning.
  • - As learners we progress through phases of learning - an overview - how and why we are going to learn about it - seeking detailed information - thinking carefully about it to understand it - finally to cement the information and demonstrate our understanding to review what we have learned.

Creating a state for learning

'We have no control over the state in which students arrive at our lesson. We have total control over our responses'

Pupils should be in an appropriate physical state to learn.

  • - The brain needs water to function efficiently -
  • § water bottles in the classrooms and
  • § water fountains in the playgrounds.
  • - Classrooms should be at an optimal room temperature of nearly 70 degrees.
  • - Receive a diet that is high in protein and low in carbohydrate -
  • § fruit tuck shop,
  • § the encouragement of parents to provide healthy tuck and lunch boxes through the PTAG,
  • § re-establishment of the breakfast club in September 2005.
  • - To accommodate childrens' differing attentional systems
  • § chunking down tasks into smaller or manageable units.
  • - Physical activity releases natural growth factors in the brain -
  • § playground games,
  • § freedom of movement around the classroom,
  • § music to accompany physical activity to energise children,
  • § PE,
  • § sporting activities during break times and after school.
  • - Good listeners which involves them in
  • § keeping their hands still,
  • § looking at the speaker,
  • § hearing what is said and
  • § thinking about it.
  • - It is essential that the teacher is clear with the pupils on the noise level expected.
  • - To engage attention in the classroom by
  • § never continuing to speak when the class is not paying attention -
  • § make expectations clear.
  • - The teacher needs to create a secure environment within which the pupils can work by
  • § creating a base camp for the pupil,
  • § a focus area around the board,
  • § an environment clear of clutter and
  • § a space for the teacher.
  • - Manage movement a group at a time to collect necessary resources. This will help the pupils to 'break their state' and increase the amount of oxygen flowing to the brain.
  • - Pupils will learn best when they are relaxed and focused upon what they are learning. Methods for creating this state in the classroom are helped through
  • § smiling
  • § identifying those pupils who have a low self image
  • § be welcoming
  • § use music at appropriate times
  • § avoid putting pupils on the spot
  • § giving them thinking time
  • § enabling them to ask questions without embarrassment
  • § giving time out
  • § making eye contact
  • § keeping them informed
  • § using positive language
  • § providing them with choice
  • § visualising success
  • § building confidence - self esteem - we cannot build it for people we can only create the climate and the experiences in which it is most likely to develop
  • § motivating the pupils, as they learn better when they want to learn, a self perpetuating the spiral of success
  • § using the language of success, hope, possibility and removing the language of failure and blame
  • § discovering what they are good at
  • § taking an interest in their achievements outside the classroom
  • § creating a bulletin / notice board
  • § recognising their success
  • § setting targets
  • § making praise and feedback specific
  • § marking
  • § engineering opportunities for those who lack confidence to do something for which you can use the term 'thank you'
  • § providing appropriate challenge
  • § using first names
  • § using the question - "How would an expert do it?"

 

Creating a learning environment

Create an environment which is:

  • - physically comfortable
  • - welcoming
  • - relaxing - use of music at appropriate times
  • - attractive and cheerful
  • - reassuring and emotionally safe
  • - stimulating and motivating - motivational posters
  • - informative - display key words and key information around the room - some experts believe that 99% of learning is subconscious
  • - interactive - use of wall displays to ask questions and stimulate thought
  • - novel - change the displays and room layout at regular intervals
  • - neat and tidy - mess = stress

Behaviour management

  • - plan for good behaviour
  • - actively teach rights, responsibilities, rules and routines
  • - keep the focus on the behaviour of concern rather than personal argument
  • - actively build trust and rapport
  • - model the behaviour you wish to see
  • - always follow up on issues that count
  • - be proactive in repairing and restoring relationships
  • - give them a way back
  • - planned ignoring - praising appropriate behaviour from those nearby

 

Learning Styles

People learn best in different ways. Each one has a preference for the way in which we receive information and the way in which we process it. When we are given frequent opportunities to work in this way learning will be optimised. A conscious attempt to allow individuals to work in the style that best suits them must lie at the heart of any attempt to improve and accelerate learning. There are three ways main ways in which learners choose to receive information:

  • - visual learners - some will prefer to see text, while others respond better to diagrams and visual images
  • - auditory learners - hearing information
  • - kinaesthetic learners - kinaesthetic tactile of haptic learners who need to touch and feel during learning and kinaesthetic internal learners being those who learn best when their emotions and feelings are activated through stories and metaphor.

Although there may be an understandable temptation to group students by learning preference, this is on overreaction and unhelpful. Pupils have preferences and most are multi-sensory enough to flourish in the classroom environment.

Providing a variety of learning activities is the key for ensuring that all types of learner have extensive opportunities to learn in their preferred style. Therefore, the more variety that we can build into our lessons, the better. Our ultimate goal is to provide variety and choice of approaches within each and every lesson.

Strategies for learning through multiple intelligences

Linguistic

  • - any activities involving reading, writing or speaking
  • - writing reports and summarising
  • - class or group discussion
  • - class debate
  • - describe out loud what you are doing as you do it. Explain what you are doing and why
  • - describe something either in writing or orally, in your own words
  • - make up rhymes, jingles and so on
  • - use mnemonics

Logical / mathematical

  • - predict what will happen next / what will happen if....
  • - sequence activities and timelines
  • - use statistics to find a pattern / reach a conclusion
  • - use flow charts
  • - classify information
  • - use diagrams and lists
  • - use learning maps
  • - set problem solving challenges

Visual / spatial

  • - visualise outcomes
  • - visualise information
  • - use peripherals - display key words and key information on the key wall
  • - use learning maps
  • - attach pictures or images to key words / information to improve memory
  • - convert text / key information into a picture or a diagram
  • - drawing and using graphs

Musical

  • - use music at appropriate times of the school day
  • - students make up raps, songs and rhymes
  • - use rhythm to learn key information
  • - put key words to a familiar tune
  • - acknowledge and praise performances and success in extra-curricular music

Bodily / kinaesthetic

  • - acknowledge and praise success in extra-curricular sporting activities
  • - use 'state breaks' to keep pupils in an appropriate learning state

Intrapersonal

  • - individual work
  • - silent work
  • - personal target setting
  • - reflect on work. Prompt pupils to consider why they attempted it in a particular way, to what extent was it successful and so on
  • - reading
  • - group work
  • - role play
  • - discuss plans / ideas/ answers with a partner
  • - class discussion / debate
  • - peer teaching / helping another pupil
  • - team challenges / problem solving
  • - reporting back presentations

 

Structuring lessons

The four key phases of a lesson are:

Phase One - Overview

  • - link the lesson build upon the foundations of existing knowledge and understanding
  • - provide an overview - provide the big picture what they are going to learn and how they are going to learn it
  • - describe the outcomes - what will be achieved by the end of the lesson - by the end of today's lesson you will all.........
  • - introduce the key learning point - the pivotal point of the lesson a piece of crucial information that pupils must grasp in order to progress to the next unit of work
  • - stimulate curiosity - questions are an important feature of learning in the early years. We should encourage pupils to generate the questions to improve motivation and learning
  • - set the challenges - I bet you can't....... is something no child, will be able to ignore

Phase Two - Input

  • - provide new information
  • - teacher input
  • - multi-sensory input

Phase Three - Process

  • - making sense of the information
  • - activities to develop understanding
  • - opportunities to process information in preferred style

Phase Four - Review

  • - demonstrate understanding
  • - know what you know
  • - reflect on what and how you have learned
  • - recap and review

Effective Learning is when we:

  • 1. Connect the learning - connect to past learning - children to demonstrate / reminded
  • 2. Give the big picture - the picture on the front of the jigsaw - what does the structure of the lesson look like?
  • 3. Describe the outcomes - the objectives - by the end of the lesson you will understand that.........
  • 4. Give input - make sure that the input is, wherever possible, multi-sensory
  • 5. Activate understanding - go deeper into the learning
  • 6. Ask children to demonstrate understanding - provide frequent opportunities to show understanding and test understanding
  • 7. Give opportunities for review and recall - make provision for regular review sessions during and at the conclusion of each learning experience.

 

Equal Opportunities

Mount Pleasant Primary School is committed to equality, including racial equality, for all members of the school community. The school promotes a positive and proactive approach to valuing and respecting diversity, and will not tolerate racial harassment of any kind.

 

"The mind is not a vessel to be filled, but a fire to be lighted."

Plutarch

Ratified:  Jan 10
Reviewed: 19th Dec 2012
To be reviewed: December 2015