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Robert Powell
Trading as RCP Training & Consultancy
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Outstanding Teaching, Learning and Assessment - the Handbook

Most leadership teams in schools and colleges will have experienced the heart v head dilemma where the desire for creativity, passion and teacher autonomy in teaching and learning is confronted by the need for rigour, progress, and accountability. In this book Robert Powell shows how the balancing act can be achieved.

He sets out three sets of principles, one set for teaching, one for learning and one for assessment. He shows with a wide range of practical strategies, how a policy based on principles can lead to varied but outstanding practice characterised by passion, participation and progress.

Teachers of different age groups and subjects will be able to break free from a ‘teaching by numbers’ strait jacket where all lessons have the same structure and feel.

Principles such as ‘all lessons begin with clear purpose’ are non-negotiable, but Robert shows how there might be seven or eight ways to meet this principle. A principle such as ‘there will regular reviews of progress’ allows teachers to check on progress at a time that is right in the context of the learning rather than having to hold a plenary at the end of each lesson because school policy says so.
So, a teacher of mathematics with a low-ability group might have a review every ten minutes, a teacher of English might check progress half way through lesson two when the class has finished reading the play, and a teacher of music might have a review after a two weeks when early composition plans are in place, with day-to-day progress monitored in learners’ personal logs. Teachers will review progress but use their professional judgement to decide how and when.

Robert’s principles cover the following key agendas. All include practical strategies.
Robert has led inset on this agenda with hundreds of schools and colleges and the book has been re-printed five times. The head teacher of the high-achieving school below that adopted a principles’ approach following a series of inset sessions, has now displayed the school’s teaching, learning and assessment principles in the entrance hall.

“Money well spent! Rarely does the booking of an outside speaker lead to educational transformation. However, Robert’s ideas have challenged our preconceptions in a hugely positive way.”
Neil Finlay, Headteacher, Walton High School, Staffordshire
  • Principles for teaching: classroom management; shared purpose and engagement; literacy and language; questioning and participation; review and celebration.
  • Principles for learning: clarity and confidence; deep understanding; differentiation and challenge, development and transfer of skills.
  • Principles for assessment: learner invulvement; monitoring progress; shared criteria; targets; peer-and self-evaluation; marking, feedback and feedforward.
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