TMS Teaching and Learning Policy

Introduction


Effective teaching relies on the commiTMSnt of teachers to ensure that every Student succeeds. Teachers need to engage students in productive learning, requiring an ability to make learning interesting and relevant. Teachers need to be proficient in building on what students know and in evaluating how well their students are achieving. To do these things, teachers need subject proficiency that supports them in challenging students at the highest level.

Aim of the Policy


To provide guidance to teachers on how to maximise the learning of every student.

Characteristics of Good Teaching are as follows (see appendix 1)


  •  Teachers show a good command of the subjects they teach
  • Planned lessons with clear learning objectives and appropriate teaching strategies
  • Interest, encourage and engage students
  • Challenges students and sets high expectations of students
  • Uses methods and resources flexibly to enable all students to learn effectively and make good progress
  • Makes effective use of time in a lesson and insist on high standards of behavior
  • Uses homework activity effectively to reinforce and extend what is learned in class

Characteristics of Effective Learning are as follows (see appendix 2)


  •  Students acquire new knowledge and/or skills, develop their ideas and increase understanding of principles, theories, practices and applications
  • Students show engagement and concentration and are productive throughout lessons
  • Students develop wider skillsets, including communication, critical thinking, collaboration and cooperation, creativity and problem-solving

Characteristics of Assessment for Learning Practice Related to Effective Teaching are as follows (see appendix 3)


  • Students’ work is assessed accurately and fairly, according to TMS expectations
  • Assessment is used to inform planning to meet the learning and development needs of all students.
  • Students understand how well they are doing and how they can

Policy Monitoring


This policy will be monitored by the following people:

  • Head Teachers
  • School Coordinators
  • HO subject leads
  • Teacher Self-Monitoring

Monitoring will be conducted by sampling of students’ work, talking to students and by observing/ talking to teachers.
In the first instance it is the class teacher’s responsibility to monitor and evaluate the quality of learning and to reflect on the quality of his/her teaching in the classroom. The Head Teacher and Coordinator will have the overall responsibility for ensuring the quality of teaching and learning across the school.

Appendix 1: Teaching

  1. Teachers’ command of the subject

    An essential starting point is that teachers’ expertise in their subject is at least at, but ideally beyond, the level required for the courses they teach. A lack of subject knowledge and a deficiency in subject pedagogy are likely to have a negative impact on what students learn and achieve. Teachers also need a good command of the assessment requirements of the awarding body in subjects and courses that are examined or otherwise externally assessed.

    Teachers’ knowledge is also demonstrated in the way they:

    • explain concepts and ideas in easy-to-understand ways that students can understand, and answer their questions accurately
    • make the subjects they teach relevant to students by drawing on first-hand experience from a variety of contexts including the world of work and links with other subjects, and supporting students’ capacity to apply what they learn in different situations
    • provide additional challenge for more able students and offer appropriate and useful support for students who need additional support
    • choose and use the most relevant resources to interest and challenge students, and which provide opportunities for students to study independently
  2. Teachers plan lessons with clear learning objectives and relevant and appropriate teaching strategies

    Effective lesson plans should reflect the teachers’ understanding of what needs to be learned, and how they will teach it to their students. A teacher’s lesson planning should indicate that thought has been given to how knowledge, understanding and skills are acquired by students. Consequently, it will be judged by how well it supports learning rather than its format or structure.

    The learning objectives that a teacher writes should:

    • be clear
    • build on what has gone before
    • be easily understood by students
    • support flexibility in achieving them
    • take account of students’ differing needs

NOTE: Teachers should consider making sure their objectives are S.M.A.R.T.
Planned activities in a lesson should be:

    • aligned to meet the objectives of the lesson
    • intentional, meaningfuland useful. 
    • Focused on ensuring Student development and advancement
    • activities that build on previous activities and avoid being repetitive, enabling students to engage with, and develop, their skills, knowledge and understandings in different ways.
    • active, constructive, intentional, authentic, and support students working in cooperative ways. 
  1. Effective teachers interest, encourage and engage students
    Teachers’ abilities to engage students is seen in students’ attentiveness, how well they engage in activities throughout a lesson, the extent to which they persist with trying to solve problems, and how eager they are to ask and answer questions throughout a lesson. Students’ interest is also evident in the care they show in their written work. A teachers’ own enthusiasm for the subject they teach will strongly influence students’ perceptions regarding it, and their level of interest in the subject. A good teacher will lead imaginative lessons that motivate Students.

    A good teacher therefore:
  • manages and motivates reluctant Students
  • relates well to all Students in a class
  • encourages students to try out new tasks and work independently
  • values what students know and say

Teaching which does not stimulate interest, encourage or engage is evident where students are easily distracted or spend time off-task in a lesson, or where students see little relevance in what they are doing.

  • Effective teachers challenge students

    Effective teachers have high expectations which extend students intellectually and creatively. Teachers show high expectations by:

    • teaching in ways that match students’ learning needs and help them attain the curriculum targets
    • using higher order questioning that provides challenge and extends students’ thinking
    • modelling subject specific thinking
    • using materials and learning resources creatively and effectively

 

    •  
    There is a lack of appropriate challenge in teaching when students are asked to engage in mundane tasks or unnecessary routines and where there is indiscriminate praise or acceptance of work that is not of a good enough. This is evident in students’ work that is always marked right and is too easy.
  1. Teachers use methods and resources that enable students to learn effectively

    Methods, resources and organisation of a lesson should result in high standards of work and behaviour.
    An effective range of methods and resources include:

    • ways of teaching and resources that excite, inspire and motivate students to contribute and develop their ideas
    • multi-modal teaching strategies
    • good explanation, demonstration and questioning that informs deep learning and probes understanding
    • practical work, investigations and problem-solving activities that develop students’ skills and creativity
    • careful grouping of students enabling collaboration
    • good quality materials that help students learn
    • opportunities for students to apply what they learn
    • thoughtful and useful integration of ICT to support learning

Where methods and resources are not being used effectively, they are either over-directed or being used indiscriminantly.

  1. Teachers make effective use of time and insist on high standards of behaviour

    Good teaching establishes a productive climate for learning so that the focus in a lesson is on learning rather than controlling behaviour in a classroom, and where students’ contributions are valued. A productive climate is one where:

    • a prompt and stimulating start to the lesson;
    • clear and efficient organisation of activities and groups;
    • fair and clear exercise of authority;
    • effective support for students by the teacher or other adults;
    • mutual respect and properly established work habits;
    • relevant activities that engage the interest of the students;
    • an emphasis on self-discipline and mature behaviour;
    • consistent and effective implementation of behaviour management policy;
  2. Teachers use homework effectively to reinforce and extend what is learned in class

    Homework should always complement work in class, extend students’ learning and support students’ achievement. Homework should:

    • provide challenge
    • be helpful and interesting
    • make reasonable assumptions about students access to resources at home

Appendix 2: Learning

Learning is the outcome of effective teaching combined with students’ ability to persist with learning and their attitudes to school.

  1. Students acquire new knowledge or skills, develop ideas and increase their understanding

    There will be times in lessons when teaching will be focused on consolidation of learning (revision), but in most lessons there should be new learning if students are to make progress and achieve. From a series of lessons designed by a teacher, there should also be appropriate coverage of the scheme of work.

    Students should:

    • be able to explain confidently and clearly what they have learned in a lesson
    • be creative and show initiative when asked to apply what they have learned to new situations
    • understand how current learning relates to previous work and what might come next
    • ask questions that show a desire to continue to learn
  2. Students show engagement, application, concentration and work productively

    Students show interest and understanding when teaching is stimulating. Effective teaching relates new learning to what has already been learned, encourages Students to connect ideas and to think imaginatively and critically. In such circumstances, students will work intently and will consistently produce work of a good standard. Good teaching also encourages students to manage their time well and to complete work in the time available.

  3. Students develop wider skillsets, including communication, critical thinking, collaboration and cooperation, creativity and problem-solving    
    Good teaching supports learning as follows:
  • Students are helped to be more self-reliant
  • Students work collaboratively on tasks and share responsibility for completing them
  • Students are encouraged to use their time and make the most of the choices they are given
  • Students are encouraged to plan their time to complete activities, including homework, to prescribed deadlines
  • Students are enabled to select and use the most appropriate tools and equipment for their learning
  • Students are supported to focus on the task and are productive when working independently

Appendix 3: Assessment for Learning Practice Related to Effective Teaching

    1. Teachers assess students’ work thoroughly and constructively
      In support of effective teaching, assessment should be used as an informed and planned component of teaching. It should support teachers in understanding students’ strengths and helping teachers to support students in recognising and overcoming their difficulties with learning.

      The effective teacher uses assessment strategies as an encouragement for students to comment on and assess their own work, and understand and use the criteria that are being used to assess their work.
    2. Teachers use assessment to inform their planning to meet the learning and development needs of students
      Teachers should use assessment to guide their lesson planning through:

      • analysing students’ oral and written responses to questions in order to adjust the pace and methods of teaching
      • review of students’ progress in knowledge and understanding, including whether learning outcomes are being achieved at the end of each chapter/ unit of work, to inform teaching

      Teachers should use assessments as opportunities to regularly review and refine the pacing and the instructional methods they are using. For example:

      • Information about students’ progress gathered through assessment should be used as a foundation for checking students’ progress as well as for deciding changes to teaching practice
      • Teachers always follow-through on Student assessments in order to provide the maximum support to students
      • Teachers use assessment as a reliable means for responding to students underachievement
    3. Students understand how well they are doing and how they can improve
      For deep learning, students:

      • know that making mistakes always happen and they can be used for improved learning
      • understand that work that is always marked as correct may not be challenging enough for them, and ask for more challenging work
      • have an honest perception of how they are doing in different subjects which is consistent with that of their teachers and what they need to do to improve

To improve the quality of assessment for learning teachers need to:

  1. Involve students in their learning, by
    • Explaining clearly the learning objectives for lessons and activities
    • Sharing assessment criteria with students and showing them how to assess their own learning using the assessment criteria
    • Helping students understand what they have done well and what they need to improve
  1. Model quality in learning by using strategies that
    • Encourage students to listen to the responses of peers to questions
    • Showing students how the assessment criteria have been met in students work
    • Encouraging students to review examples of work that do not meet the assessment criteria to understand what steps can be taken to meet the assessment criteria, as well as using examples of work to illustrate the ways the assessment criteria are being met
  1. Give feedback to students on their work by
    • Focusing on the accomplishment of the task, regularly and while it is still relevant (current)
    • Stimulating students’ own correction of errors or improvements in work
    • Using scaffolding to help students use their knowledge and skills for learning in order to think things through for themselves
    • Giving feedback on progress over a number of attempts regarding their work rather than feedback on a single piece of work
    • Giving students the skills and confidence to ask for help
  2. Develop Student self-assessment and peer assessment
    1. In self-assessment:

      • Students reflect on their own work
      • Students admit to problems without losing confidence
      • Students make judgements about their work in relation to the assessment criteria along with feedback from the teacher
      • Students work out the implications of their achievements and difficulties for future learning
    2. For peer assessment:
      • Give students the ability to share work to allow them to see different ways of doing things in order to extend their own skills sets
      • Help students become clearer about their own expectations as Students through encouraging them to work with peers to explain strengths and weaknesses
  3. Use Effective Questioning
    An effective teacher uses targeted questions in their lessons which match their understanding of students’ capabilities. Added to this, they use students’ answers to uncover any misunderstandings and to deepen students’ understanding within the group they are teaching.

    The kinds of questions that teachers ask and the way they are asked influences the confidence of students. Teachers should aim to develop a supportive environment in which Student contributions are valued.
    Teachers should use questions carefully in relation to their direction (to whom they are asked) and distribution (across the class).
    Lower order questions for factual recall should be used to check on previous learning, but these should be minimised and questions that probe the underlying logic or structure of students’ thinking should be used. There are six types of questions for teachers to use:

    1. Questions to clarify
      ‘What do you mean by that?’ and ‘Can you give me an example?’
    2. Questions that explore assumptions
      ‘Why do you think he said that?’
    3. Questions that investigate reasons and their evidence
      ‘What are your reasons for saying that?’ and ‘What evidence do you base your argument on?’
    4. Questions that explore implications and consequences
      ‘What might be the consequences of behaving like that?’ and ‘Do you think you might be jumping to conclusions?’
    5. Questions about viewpoints and differing perspectives
      ‘What would be another way of saying that?’ and ‘How do your ideas differ from X’s?’
    6. Questions about the question
      ‘How is that question going to help us?’ and ‘Can you think of any other questions that might be useful to ask?’
      Give students time to respond to questions. Teachers should have an expectation of thoughtful answers to questions and students should be encouraged to generate further questions of their own.

             Teachers should avoid these common errors when questioning:

      • Asking too many questions at once
      • Asking a question and answering it oneself
      • Asking questions only to students who the teacher knows have the answers
      • Asking a difficult question too early
      • Asking irrelevant questions
      • Always asking the same type of question
      • Not indicating a change in the type of question
      • Not giving students time to think
      • Failing to build on answers