It’s been awhile since my last post so I thought a wee update was in order!
In the past couple of months, we’ve had a lot going on around Roslin, but also around Midlothian.
- In March we had visitors from all around the UK come and visit Midlothian and Roslin was one of the schools they could visit. If you’ve read Kerry Dolan’s summary of that day, you’ll know it was very successful! At Roslin, we were very nervous – we feel we are still so early on in our journey that we didn’t know if our work so far would really stand out. We were wrong. It was wonderful to have visitors speaking to the pupils and staff and the feedback we received reflected all of the effort staff and pupils have invested. I was quite proud that day, of both our school and our authority.
- We are continuing to develop our work on learner dispositions. Our upcoming CAT session in May will look at what teachers have developed in terms of ideas for implementing Guy’s work and how we will use that to start next session. An interesting thought from Carol Dweck recently (as mentioned by James Nottingham this week) is that perhaps we need to be thinking about ‘good learning’ instead of a ‘good learner’….food for thought:) At our CAT session, we will be spending time looking at what some of the other schools in Midlothian have been doing in relation to learner dispositions and using their ideas to help move us forward.
- Our Learning Council have been carrying out observations across the school, with a particular focus on feedback, learning intentions and success criteria. This directly relates to the areas in which teachers were trying to improve. The Council have their own special stickers that they can give pupils that show they found ‘evidence of good learning’ or ‘evidence of fantastic effort’. We will use their notes at our CAT session to help us improve further.
- May is the month of self-evaluation for most schools and Roslin is no different. The SMT have already been working on how we will successfully incorporate the National Improvement Framework, HGIOS 4 and the visible learning school matrix into our self-evaluation. We’ve also spent time thinking about how our next improvement plan will reflect our visible learning culture. I would really like to see/hear how other schools have approached that! At a time of year when the energy levels are starting to dip, these are the things we need to focus our energy on to ensure progress and improvement are at the forefront of our thinking.
- Our cluster of schools will be meeting in June to decide action plans for all of our working parties for next session. Visible Learning will be a key focus of that – with a main priority being the transition to high school and how we link the work we have been doing.
- We finally found time for Kat Mathers to share her very thorough notes from the Visible Learning Conference. It was a great staff dialogue and it was so great to see people going away and trying things out the next day. There was a definite buzz following that meeting! One of Kat’s most important messages from the conference was how important the teacher is and the quality of our practice. This aligns itself so well to how we have approached VL at Roslin – continually trying to get better at being better.
- It’s also the report writing season – I have noticed a huge difference from last year to this year in how I write my reports. The language I am using is different and the way in which I describe the pupils as learners has greatly improved.
- This week in Midlothian, we were lucky to have James Nottingham join us to share his work on Challenging Learning and the Learning Pit. It came at the right time as I think we were all needing to understand this idea more clearly and learn how to approach challenge more effectively with our pupils. I took a lot away from my time observing James and from his talk to all of my colleagues. What I like the most is that what I’ve taken away, I can try on Monday – immediate impact from quality research and sharing of knowledge. He talked about finding the balance between WHAT and HOW to learn and the need for a deliberate focus on how to learn. He discussed the importance of creating opportunities for cognitive conflict and how we need to move away from getting them to ignore one side of the argument. James is so easy to listen to and I know so many people left his session yesterday feeling inspired and in the pit about the pit!
It will be a busy last 8 weeks of term and I look forward to updating you on our next steps. I cannot speak highly enough of how much the power of blogging and Twitter has impacted on not only my own practice, but those around me. The importance of sharing and helping each other move forward should not be underestimated!
Thanks for reading:)