Leadership of Self: The ‘Why’ behind the Pedagogy.

pedagogy

/ˈpɛdəɡɒdʒi,ˈpɛdəɡɒɡi/

noun

1.          the method and practice of teaching, especially as an academic subject or theoretical concept. “the relationship between applied linguistics and language pedagogy”

 

The method and practice of teaching, what does pedagogy mean to you? While lots of teachers argue about what to teach our pupils; I would like to talk about the ‘why’ and how. (Yes, I’m aware this sounds like an advert for Simon Sinek).

Starting with the why: As a secondary school teacher, I ask myself this question daily, to realigning my actions towards my own core purpose. Why am I teaching the pupils in my care this lesson?

Here are some over the reasons, I find myself answering with:

1.          I believe all pupils deserve the best possible chances to succeed.

2.          I believe pupils should become great global citizens.

3.          I believe in giving my pupils the academic passport to choose to take the path they choose, whether that be career wise or within academia.

4.          I believe my subject is amazing, and it will be amazing for them to learn this. This will in turn foster a love of learning.

5.          I believe learning the skills and knowledge in this lesson will serve them well in life.

6.          I believe that they can be inspired.

7.          I believe pupils deserve a safe space, where all pupils feel able to make mistakes.

Now to the how. Now we know the why, the how should fall into place. There no one better placed to judge ‘what is right for their pupils’ than a classroom teacher.

Well, Let’s start with planning.

How

1.     I believe all pupils deserve the best possible chances to succeed.

Number 1 is about all pupil inclusion. For me, this means all pupils are challenged and supported to access the tasks you set for them.

To the list: all pupils, differentiation, stretch and challenge, all abilities and needs catered for.

2.     I believe pupils should become great global citizens.

This is important, whether you teach in a cosmopolitan metropolis or you teach in a rural village. Your pupils may and probably will interact with people across the globe as well as people in their locality. Also, to build an environment where pupils have the right to belong in your classroom.

Is your teaching representative of the world? Representative of your pupils? Or even representative of the truth? Here I would think about using varied examples in lessons and in the curriculum. Who are you actively promoting? Are all your examples cis white able middle-class hetero males? Mix it up and be representative.

To the list: the ability to communicate articulately, to disagree respectfully, to resist democratically, to be kind, pupils embrace and appreciate people for who they are, uses different examples of success including all protected characteristics.

3.     I believe in giving my pupils the academic passport to choose to take the path they choose; whether that be career-wise or within academia.

This is being able to answer exam questions –  yes I’ve said that – but notice I haven’t said let’s all now teach to the test.

In the perfect world, assessment would be based on a system where pupils are valued for their skills and thought processes, instead of a simple test of memory and performance on a particular day. However, we don’t live in that world… yet.

I do recognize that there is also an argument to say that if you fulfil the rest of the why quota, outcomes may become a by-product.

To the list: Exam literacy, use of exam questions, zip tests and retrieval practice, and formative exam assessment.

4.  5. 6. I believe my subject is amazing and it will be amazing for them to learn this. To foster a love of learning. That these skills and knowledge in this lesson will serve them well in life. Essentially that they can be inspired.

4, 5 and 6 are about inspirational teaching, I did not start teaching to become an exam coach, a curriculum deliverer or a task manager (Twistleton 2010). I embark on my journey to ignite the fire, a love for learning in young minds within my subject and beyond.

To the list: SERVE method, interesting/engaging, appreciation of the value of learning, to foster profound learning.

  1. I believe my pupils deserve a safe space, where all pupils feel equal.

Is your teaching representative of the world you? representative of pupils? Or even representative of the truth? Here I would think about using varied examples in lessons and in the curriculum. Who are you actively promoting? Are all your examples cis white able middle-class hetero males? Mix it up and be representative.

So, all in all here’s my list.

a.    Ensure all pupils receive a fair share of my time. (the use of an interaction tracker is useful)

b.     Differentiation so that all pupils have the opportunity to access the lesson, including stretch and challenge.

c.     Communicate articulately.

d.     To disagree respectfully and to resist democratically.

e.     Using different examples of success including all protected characteristics.

f.      Exam literacy, use of exam questions, zip tests and retrieval practice, and formative exam assessment.

g.     SERVE method, to foster profound learning.

h.     Use varied examples of success.

I am not suggesting that we incorporate all of the above into every lesson on top of the lesson’s objectives, but over a module of work, we should attempt to. In fact, I’ll blog on how I plan a module of work…

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