How to have an exceptional year

5 tips to boss this academic year.

It’s that time of year when we start to think about the teaching year ahead. The results are out, timetables are done and we are looking forward. Here are 5 tips to help you navigate the year with a smile of your face. Have a great one!

  1. Try out a new pedagogy

The best way to feel fresh in teaching is to try fresh ideas. Why not make it your mission to try out a new pedagogical strategy or idea? To help you decide, we have selected the top 3 which are proven by research and implementation.

  • Flipped Learning – send some of the learning outside of the classroom before the lesson starts. Select a video, blog post or journal and get your students to interact with this ahead of the lesson. When they arrive at your lesson, start with an activity that encourages them to share this knowledge. You’ll be amazed at the interaction and interest flipped learning generates. For more info check this out: https://educationalhipsters.com/2017/11/29/from-hip-to-flip/
  • SOLO Taxonomy – We love the power and potential of SOLO taxonomy to explore what students know and don’t know. It’s hands down the best differentiation tool out there and is effortless to implement. SOLO works on 5 escalating levels and allows you to structure the learning objectives to suit all abilities. Check out this blog post on SOLO: https://educationalhipsters.com/2018/03/19/going-solo-joeburkmar/
  • Try some new Tech: VR (Virtual Reality) or AR (Augmented Reality) Engage the inner digital native with free and accessible EdTech. Google created a free App called Google Expeditions which is an immersive learning experience featuring over 1,500 VR and AR experiences. You can also download Google Cardboard so students can make their own VR headsets. To learn more about VR and AR check out this link: https://educationalhipsters.com/2019/05/27/google-ar-and-vr-inspired-learning/

2. Pimp your classroom

Give your classroom a fresh feel. Why not change it up a little? Ditch the traditional desks in rows model and opt for something progressive. This is an exciting movement currently. To find inspiring ideas check out Pinterest or Google future classrooms. There is a plethora of cool and affordable ideas out there! Educators tend to be resourceful people. Why not ask local companies to donate furniture, you’ll be amazed at what comes your way. If the idea of agile learning spaces excites you, check out these links https://educationalhipsters.com/2019/02/01/agile-learning-spaces/ and https://educationalhipsters.com/2019/08/06/classrooms-of-the-future/

3. Attend a Teach Meet – If you have been to a TeachMeet you’ll know how great they are. They are rocket fuel for the brain and you’ll pick up new ideas, inspirations and maybe some free stuff!

Teach meets are free events run by teachers for teachers. The format normally involves TED talks, mini-presentations, live demos and top tips. Some Teach Meets provide free food, a goodie bag and raffle prizes. It’s a great place to meet new colleagues and meet new ideas. To find your local Teach meet EventBrite is a good place to search. We are helping out with a Teach Meet this year, check the link here if you are local https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/teach-meet-sp7-2019-tickets-63797352599?aff=ebdssbdestsearch

4. Go home on the bell at least ONCE a week – Your well being and presence of mind is so important. Look after yourself by going home early (on the bell, not before) once a week. Use this time to pursue a hobby or take a class, walk, surf etc … It’s even worth letting others know this is your ‘on the bell today’. Teachers work incredibly hard so no-one will begrudge you a little ‘you time’. Try it, you’ll feel 100% better for it.

5. Coach or be coached – coaching is a great way to improve your practice, whether you are the one doing the coaching, or receiving it! Many schools use the GROW model and have teachers working in pairs or collaborative trios. This usually involves conversations about the learning, discussions around strengths and areas for improvement and observations of teaching.

You could volunteer to coach another colleague or offer to film/have your lessons filmed. The process will be hugely helpful and you’ll learn lots from it. Check out these insights about coaching from Leonie Hurrel on the talking teachers podcast: https://thetalkingteachers.podbean.com

Cool, we hope those little gems help you have an exceptional year!

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