TEACHING AND LEARNING STRATEGY

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1 Seevic College TEACHING AND LEARNING STRATEGY Key values Respect Responsibility Results February 2013 Version February 2013 Page 1

2 1.0 INTRODUCTION At Seevic College every student matters. To achieve excellence the College must make the strongest possible impact on each individual student, and the strongest possible impact on employers and the wider community through the development and progress of its students. A key focus of this strategy is the responsibility of the student. However hard staff work, if students do not do their part, results will never be what they should be. The engagement of learners in their work (supported where applicable by parents/carers) is therefore essential. It is important to achieve a balance between learner voice and learner discipline. Seevic s values are: Respect We treat everyone with equal respect and warmth Responsibility We are each responsible for our actions and successes Results We identify potential, raise aspirations and achieve excellence To help build a strong community of learners all staff must play their part to motivate and to inspire students, to help ensure that all students work hard and productively and to make college life and learning an enjoyable and engaging experience. 2.0 THE FUNDAMENTALS 2.1 A clear picture Data, information, its analysis and, particularly, frequent and effective use are key. The College and each team needs an accurate and comprehensive and real-time understanding of what is, or may be, required of it and of how well the team (and College) is performing, and then needs to take appropriate action based on this understanding. 2.2 Clear vision and strategies The College, and in turn each team, needs a clear understanding of why it is there, what it needs to achieve, the values it should hold and how it will act to achieve its purpose. To achieve goals, strategies and plans are needed for each team and the college. These must be affordable and achievable, and they must be flexible enough to cope with rapidly changing circumstances. 2.3 Teamwork - building and developing staff and teams The operational focus of this strategy will be the team: for faculties, this means the areas led by Curriculum Area Leaders. For the majority of students and staff, the greatest levels of performance are reached when there is strong teamwork both within teams and cross-college. Effective leadership and management is essential to ensure that all team members are deployed in a way which best plays to their strengths, are coached, developed and supported, have strong working relationships and benefit from efficient, fast communication. The key focus for action and decision-making should be at team level. This requires teams to be functioning as groups of truly inter-dependent staff, constantly exchanging information and ideas, sharing and resolving problems, devising new strategies and solutions and improving the way in which resources are deployed. Version February 2013 Page 2

3 2.4 Management and leadership At all levels staff and students can expect that all managers will be: Clear on expectations and roles Courteous and polite in all circumstances Supportive Equally, staff and students can expect that all managers (whether of staff or students) will know whether tasks, performance and results are on target and if not, that managers will intervene to the extent which is sufficient to achieve target performance. This means that managers must be fully involved in the work of their teams. They must be fully aware of what is taking place through, for example, talking and listening to staff and students, analysing data, and taking part in the key activities of their team. Teams, and particularly team leaders (CALs) should have considerable freedoms to respond quickly and flexibly to situations on the ground. 2.5 Honesty and integrity Teams are encouraged to find creative solutions to problems, and to be flexible and responsive to unfolding situations. They also need to ensure that awarding body requirements are 100% complied with, and that student achievement is absolutely authentic. It is essential therefore that senior leadership adopts a no-blame approach to genuine mistakes, and that staff feel able to be open about problems and mistakes, and to seek help at a point where it can be deployed in time to turn things around. 2.6 The responsibility of students However dedicated the teaching staff, however carefully formulated the plans and strategies, success and high grades will not materialise if students do not play their part. Very few young people arrive at college with high levels of personal organisation, commitment and self-discipline. However, these characteristics can be taught, and must be learned if our students are to succeed in the workplace and higher education. Schools and colleges which succeed in instilling a culture of discipline and hard work generally set the tone from the top, with governors and principal taking the lead, and management and staff at all levels supporting the culture. Support from parents/carers is also important. At Seevic, the Student positive behaviour policy will be enforced to support staff in getting the best possible outcomes from their students. On their part, staff should remember the principle of treating students as individuals: there are some students, (for example on courses which engage NEETs) for whom relatively modest steps towards engagement represent big achievements. 3.0 TEACHING AND LEARNING Any curriculum model deployed should: iv i. Ensure maximum success in terms of qualifications achieved, and (where measures exist) value added ii. Ensure the wider skills, characteristics and attitudes needed are developed iii. Play its part in enabling the College to be a vibrant community of learners Ensure delivery teams focus on all elements of learning and targets Version February 2013 Page 3

4 To do this, under normal circumstances, curriculum models will need to employ a differentiated and active approach in which: Each student is treated as an individual Students are actively engaged in learning and given stretching goals Although a focus on each individual student is key this does not preclude collective learning far from it. To develop a community of learning collective learning and mutual support are vital - but always in the context of how such an approach best moves each individual student forward. 3.1 Successful learning (see also Seevic s Guide to best practice in teaching & learning) There is broad agreement from research, and the identification of best practice, as to the key components of teaching and learning. Amongst the most important are: 1. Skilful and committed staff 2. Team work (staff and students) 3. Ensuring a healthy, stimulating and safe environment 4. Ensuring appropriate materials and facilities 5. Ensuring the whole learning of students is well structured 6. Setting clear and challenging targets 7. Ensuring progress is being made 8. Developing skills, knowledge and understanding 9. Reinforcing and applying learning / skills 10. Information giving 11. Introducing and embedding concepts 12. Building motivation, keeping students interested 13. Addressing individual student need 14. Ensuring sufficient student support 15. Effective formative and summative assessment 16. Effectively sharing best practice 18. Curriculum extension (enrichment) 3.2 Planning All curriculum models used must be based on clear planning to reduce risks and increase effectiveness. Each course and each class must have clear plans, describing the essential components and approaches to be used. Each course must also have plans (at both course and lesson plan level), which describe: i. What needs to be achieved / learned by students Ii. by when iii. What exactly needs to be in place iv. What is required of each person in the wider delivery team Though detailed, clear planning is essential, such planning is not intended to be an administrative burden. Each team will need to decide on how it will balance the following: the demands of external parties like moderators, where more formal plans may be required, and clear records need to be kept and accessible communication with fellow team members, which can take a variety of forms the general need to minimise bureaucracy and focus on the central business of ensuring learners are working to achieve their goals Version February 2013 Page 4

5 The importance of having sufficient records to enable actions to be tracked and monitored for effectiveness See Minimum expectations for Schemes of Work and Guidance on session planning. 3.3 Targets, monitoring and teamwork Each course must have targets in terms of success rates and where applicable, value added. In turn each student must have targets for their performance and their achievement. Targets should be clear, stretching and agreed with students. They should not be just yearly targets but targets for each session / group of lessons / day / week module / unit as appropriate. At the beginning of each lesson / day (etc) students must have a clear idea as to the target gains / improvements / progress for that lesson / day - that is, what specific knowledge / skills etc they should have mastered by the end of the lesson / day. Clear targets normally have a dramatic effect on motivation and progress. As the focus is on successful learning it is important that students, each day achieve their target Learning Outcomes (LO).* These targets should be part of the overall plan (see 3.2) to ensure each student successfully completes the required curriculum for the year. Assessment is not necessarily formal. Furthermore, use can be made of peer assessment and online assessment to reduce the burden on the teacher. The main point is that a clear picture is formed of each student s progress. The other key point is that where a student is not achieving targets, intervention occurs. Students who have not acquired specific skills, knowledge etc should be followed up and given the opportunity to rectify this. Should they refuse, Positive behaviour policy procedures may apply. To enable such an approach to work managers, teaching staff and relevant other support staff will need to work closely together in teams. They will need to know each student, and their daily progress, in order to know what support is needed. A brief daily meeting where students are the entire focus helps with this. * Targets for students should be couched as learning outcomes specifying what a student should know, understood or be able to do by the end of the session, not the activities that may help this learning. 3.4 Personal Learning Plans (PLP) The mechanism for capturing overall (not lesson) targets, achievements, attendance, commitment, action plans, progress and intended destinations will be the student s Personal Learning Plan (PLP). This also serves as an effective vehicle of communication with students and their parents.* * While it is not intended normally to be prescriptive about specific systems in an overall strategy document, the PLP offers great advantages in saving staff time (e.g. with phone calls) and in facilitating monitoring students. 3.5 Additional Learning Support For many students ensuring adequate progress will require additional learning support. A comprehensive individual support plan (ISP) is detailed on the student PLP. The ISP is based on an in depth interview with the student and a member of the learning support team and the results of specialist assessments. The plan outlines the individual profile of the student and where appropriate access arrangements for examinations and formal assessments. Most importantly it provides recommended teaching and learning strategies for the individual student. Version February 2013 Page 5

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