University of California
Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter
Teaching and Learning Policy
Learning is a dynamic process which begins at the time of conception and continues for the rest of our lives. At stages along this learning journey we partake in formalised learning in which we may interact with other human beings who may take on the role of teacher. This invariably happens within the confines of a school. The school being the environment designed to help pass on the knowledge, skills and qualities required as preparation for adult life. Our school is a section of a partnership involving pupils, families, the local and extended communities and school staff that give all the opportunity to develop each child’s formal learning and to promote everyone’s spiritual, moral, social and cultural development .In this way our school is pivotal in the formation and preparation of opportunities, responsibilities and experiences for life.
This policy is for all teaching staff, Governors, parents, members of the community and appropriate outside agencies, including OFSTED, to appreciate our drive for high expectations and our strategies for ensuring that teaching and learning are effective. It sits alongside all other curriculum and management policies including the policy for ‘Performance Management’. It should also be read in conjunction with OFSTED documents and other relevant information including “The Code of Conduct for Teachers” that will drive our standards forward.
Making a Difference
Much work has been done on how pupils learn and multiple intelligence theories. This policy considers how as practitioners we can motivate all to ensure effective learning.
Research suggests that there are many ways to ensure that effective learning takes place within the different learning environments that a child may encounter within a school. All staff have the ability to make a difference and all must consider the following:
• There is no one right way to teach, but teachers and TAs enhance their effectiveness when teaching is purposeful, efficient, clear, structured and adaptive. Good teaching takes into account all aspects of assessment, prior learning and the individual needs of each child. • High expectations are paramount
• Good teaching involves more than exposition and arranging activities; the nature of the interaction is carefully designed, with differentiation matched closely to pupils’ actual abilities and needs. • Good teaching is where the pupils are given opportunity to extend their ability to take charge of their own learning. It is where teachers establish active links to enhance pupils’ learning styles. • The effective learning environment is orderly, stimulating, attractive, safe and supportive. • The effective teaching atmosphere encourages learners to value and draw on their own experience
• Good lessons are carefully planned and involve pupil participation as often as possible. They have pace, good questioning strategies and opportunity for reflection. • Learning to learn entails increasing scope for pupils to use their initiative and to develop a capacity for independent work according to age range. • Effective teaching occurs when pupils are given opportunity to apply the knowledge and skills they are taught. • Effective learning design allows pupils to summarise what they have experienced and reflect carefully • And effective teaching is complemented by fair discipline, positive reinforcement, and explicit formative feedback.
Every member of staff must consider their professional characteristics and reflect and analyse how each pupils’ learning can be enhanced in preparation for the future. It is the role of all staff to dissect their teaching to ensure outstanding teaching and learning opportunities for each child.
Monitoring Of Teaching and Learning
Monitoring is a regular feature of our school and has become embedded into the culture and working life of our school life .It enables all to have an accurate picture of performance and developments in learning. It is a positive attribute in moving the school forward. Monitoring will occur in a variety of forms :-
• Regular monitoring of lessons as part of Performance Management. • Monitoring of lessons as part of specific school initiatives and developments. This will include in-depth monitoring of the core subjects. • Half termly classroom monitoring on working environments and pupils’ learning. • Half termly monitoring of planning and assessment files. • Half termly monitoring of pupils’ books by SMT and appropriate co- ordinators. • Weekly monitoring of books as part of phase meetings. • Weekly light touch monitoring on specific subjects to increase our overall effectiveness and efficiency.
Monitoring will positively support teaching staff through :-
• Improving individual and team performance
• Expanding skills, knowledge and insight for all
• Providing a supportive working environment for all
• Improving communication that results in improved learning opportunities for pupils.
• Identifying individual, team and school needs.
• Developing individuals monitoring skills as part of the school’s effectiveness and efficiency.
Monitoring is about accountability and will give all the opportunity to discuss positively and staff will be given feedback on lesson observation and scrutiny of their planning and pupils’ work. Written feedback will include a summary of agreed actions to be put in place for the following round of monitoring. Monitoring of lessons, planning, pupil’s work and associated self reviews will provide the basis for the School Development Plan and the vehicle from which Governors and all other interested agencies can gain on the effectiveness of our school.
Induction of New Staff
To ensure that all new staff have a successful induction and immediately enhance the learning of pupils, the school will allocate a member of staff to work alongside the new member. School procedures and expectations will be discussed and the opportunity to set out the professional needs of the member of staff will be formalised. Appropriate professional development will be instigated and expectations set.
Continued Professional Development
Effective CPD is a planned progress. It will be the systematic and progressive improvement of competencies across the school. It is about the meeting of individual and the school objectives and therefore is intrinsically linked with the Performance Management policy, the School’s Development Plan, pupil performance and the needs of the individual.
CPD will be designed to meet the individual’s immediate and future needs, it will give a structure to each person’s career development whilst having an impact on pupils’ learning
However, each person must take responsibility for reviewing and fulfilling their own needs and school will hold each accountable for developing their own potential. The individual therefore must continually assess their needs and discuss issues with appropriate senior managers.
The SDP for each school academic year is available for all working or involved within school. It gives the direction for the school and will indicate how CPD will be organised. Each individual’s performance management objectives will reflect the needs of school and the individual.
Planning, Preparation and Assessment
Planning, preparation and assessment time is organised so that teachers can work with appropriate colleagues. It gives opportunity for the termly and weekly plans to be scrutinised, assessment of learning analysed and the learning needs of the pupils met. Each phase leader will organise the sessions so that each teacher can maximise the time available. During the sessions the following will occur:-
• A selection of books will be scrutinised to ensure marking, presentation and that progress is consistent and of high quality. • Work is analysed and assessment drives the next planning. • The needs of groups including DSEN and Gifted and Talented pupils are discussed and appropriate planning is put in place. Differentiation is put in place. • Target setting is put in place, monitored and updated. • IEPs are updated as appropriate and new IEPs written at the relevant times. • The needs of staff are discussed and information, as required, passed on to the SMT. • Teaching and classroom practise are discussed
• Relevant plans and information is prepared for TAs
• The sessions will also discuss resources and ICT
All teaching members of staff are given specific details on the formats for planning and the layout of files. These will be scrutinised at phase meetings and by the SMT and co-ordinators throughout the school year to ensure corporative effectiveness.
The different forms of assessment are dealt with in the Assessment Policy. All teaching staff must use the information and apply the knowledge to their teaching. Assessment must be consistently used to drive teaching and learning forward. Within this, target setting must be active with all pupils understanding their targets and how they can achieve them. Parents must also be updated of their child’s targets using the school’s pro- formas. Targets must be displayed in classrooms and within the pupils’ books for core subjects.
Marking and Feedback to Pupils.
The Marking Policy deals with marking issues in detail. Teaching staff must be up to date in marking and marking must give clear indications of how the pupil can move forward appropriate to age . Comments must be positive and opportunity must be given for pupils to act on comments and work on issues that have arisen. Marking will be scrutinised at phase meetings, whole staff meetings, through coordinators monitoring and by the SMT. Pupils will be asked through interviews and in monitoring whether marking and feedback has improved learning.
Regular audits of resources are to be carried out by coordinators and phase leaders prior to each block of work is undertaken. Within this remit is the organising of school visits and appropriate visitors to enhance the curriculum and learning opportunities. Pupil Premium, the grant to provide increased opportunities for pupils and to improve learning and reduce gaps between groups of pupils, will be used in part to fund these enhancements.
The Pupils’ Voice
As stated, good learning is facilitated when pupils have the opportunity to take charge of their own learning. Pupils have a voice and at all keystages staff must give credence to pupils and include them in the planning and delivery of lessons. By monitoring of planning and through discussions with pupils, the SMT will look for this. Prior to specific blocks of work, appropriate to age, pupils will be given time to consider the work ahead and give input.
To ensure that every child has the opportunity to gain the range of learning skills to prepare them for life, teaching staff’s planning must show that within lessons pupils have ownership of their learning through teamwork, problem solving, research etc.
The Role of Governors
The Governing Body of is given at each full governing body meeting and at appropriate sub committee meetings details of monitoring and the review of performance and attainment across the school. As part of its role, the Governing Body will scrutinise our results from monitoring, assessment and internal reviews and ensure that our approaches are consistent and promotes our drive for excellence. Each Governor is linked with a specific area of school and will be in termly contact with co-ordinators to ensure they are fully briefed on teaching and learning. Co-ordinators of core subjects will report to governors termly to again ensure accurate information is passed on. From this the Governing Body will be active in teaching and learning across school.
To ensure effective learning for our pupils, parents have to be an informed and active partner. Courses are run throughout the year to update parents on our teaching techniques and strategies so that they can support learning at home and help with homework. Termly Parent feedback sessions are held to update parents on their child’s attainment and progress. At these sessions parents will be given written information on their child’s targets and next steps. They will be given their child’s levels for the core subjects and how this compares to national statistics. For DSEN up to date information will be given and discussed. IEPs will be available for parents to sign and remark on.
Yearly school reports will be issued in the summer term and will accurately reflect on the child’s attainment and attitudes. It will also give targets for the next academic year and how parents can support their child.
Informal discussions will also take place throughout the year as required to keep parents informed. The Parent Support Adviser is available to help liaise with parents. The PSA will also arrange parent courses to upgrade the parents’ own skills in core subjects, these will have a direct positive effect on pupils’ learning as seen from past experience.
Walsall Children’s Services support school through a variety of important vehicles. The School Improvement Officer will routinely meet with staff and discuss improvement, initiatives, data and monitoring of teaching. Officers will also oversee teaching and learning and support school with CPD issues. Other outside agencies such as Walsall Business Partnership will be used to support the curriculum and maximise learning opportunities for pupils. The school works with local schools and local communities also to improve learning opportunities and inspire pupils.