he topic that I had selected to teach was added value.

After the initial completion of my subject knowledge audit, production topics

had been highlighted as an area of weakness that existed within my knowledge.

Pupils had also struggled with previous numerical topics thus added value was

an excellent topic to improve both my knowledge and the confidence of pupil’s in

their numerical abilities. According to

J McCrane (2010) Good subject knowledge is an important input, but it is not a

static component has to be worked on, and according to the teaching standards

all teachers must display good subject knowledge.

The first step I took when designing my lesson was to

research the curriculum of the Welsh board.

Brooks, Abbott and Huddleston (2013) describes the importance of a good

knowledge of the curriculum when deciding how to deliver a lesson. Through conducting the curriculum research, I

was able to determine exactly what needed to be included for this topic. After

discovering exactly what needed to be included I tasked myself with updating my

own knowledge of the subject. I did this by looking at the resources of

teachers who had previously delivered my chosen topic and by studying several A

level text books.

When I had improved my own knowledge of the topic to

an excellent level (see observation feedback) the next factor I had to consider

was different learning needs and ability levels I had within the class. I

constructed an annotated seating plan showing both target and aspirational

grades. The two main methods I used for differentiation were extension

activities and differentiated questioning. The worksheets that I produced were

designed so that all abilities should be able to complete them with more able

students stretched and challenged through scaffolded questioning and extension

activities. This meant that I could differentiate without the knowledge of

pupils, I felt that if the weaker students were not able to complete the

worksheets they may become demotivated leading to disengagement. The extension

activities for each part of the lesson will be discussed in detail. I had

decided against using the “some,most and all” method of differentiated learning

outcomes as I feel this is outdated instead preferring to differentiate

learning outcomes by target grades, students were also given aspirational

grades to further promote their progress. According to Mark Harris (2016) For most teachers, the primary aim is to support students

to help them realise their potential and achieve aspirational target.

Leda (2010) describes that subject

knowledge alone is not enough to deliver a good lesson. Taking this advice I

completed further research into different learning theories to seek guidance

for the best way to deliver my lesson. The theories will be discussed in the

following paragraphs.

The starter activity consisted of a very general

question to introduce the topic. Students had to think about why they paid a

lot more for a cup of coffee at a coffee shop than it would cost to make the

same cup of coffee at home. This introduced the concept of companies adding

value to a product so that they could make a profit. Students of all levels

were able to understand the starter activity and all students were actively

engaged. A Kagan (2009) approach was used for pupil’s initial thoughts, they

were given one minute to think by themselves, one minute to discuss with their

partner and a further two minutes for the group of four to bring their ideas

together. I used blooms taxonomy to develop answers from the class. C grade

students could give basic reasons why the coffee was more expensive, B grade

students to progress this to analysis and A grade students could evaluate the

reasons. Each student was comfortable answering their question and more able

students could still be stretched and challenged. According to Ofsted the use off

Blooms taxology can help students learn well and make good progress.

Although I actively try and make my lessons student

the led the next section of this lesson did take a more lecture style format.

Taking guidance from the Welsh board specification I was aware that students

needed to know and understand several definitions concerning added value. In

this section of the lesson I dictated to students the definitions, explained

them and students made notes and highlighted.

According to Leonard (2002) as long as the instructor has the full

attention of the listeners and can shape the content in a way which is

accessible to the learners, then highly successful learning can take place

through passive learning. After discussions with my observer and my own

reflections I feel that it may have been more beneficial to let students have

time to think about their own perceptions of the definitions before giving

guidance.

From my experiences of the classes prior learning I decided

to include an activity to differentiate between added value and profit,

students had often struggled with the concept of taking other costs into

consideration when talking about and describing profit. I included a diagram to

show in visual form how added value is calculated. Fleming and Mills (1992) suggested four modalities that

seemed to reflect the experiences of the students and teachers with visual

being one of the methods. I felt that students who had not understood the

definitions from the lecture style approach would benefit from this. With added

value explained both through dictation and visually I felt that students were

now able to discuss the difference between added value and profit. Vygotsky

(1962) describes how learning takes place through the interactions

students have with their peers. Taking this into consideration I decided to let

the students discuss the question in pairs, I felt that this worked well with

all students producing good answers and taking part in a class discussion. With

these activities complete students had completed the first of their learning

outcomes. After the completion of every learning outcome has taken place

students tick it off on the front of their resources, at this stage I also

asked if anyone did not think they had completed the first learning outcome,

this would allow me to recap and explain further if required.

The next activity involved calculating

added value, students worked alone to complete a question in their packs. The

question involved a very basic calculation of added value. I felt that although

the question was basic it would show if any students were struggling with the

theory behind the calculation. Through circulation I was able to complete formative

assessment to check that all students understood the concept. An extension

activity was given to students who had completed the initial task. On

reflection I feel that I should have included several choices of extension

activities and students could choose one based on the grade that they aspired

to get, I feel that this would have provided motivation and helped students

stretch themselves further.

The next activity involved students

researching ways of added value. I feel that it is important to encourage

active learning within the classroom. Constructivist learning

theory emphasises that individuals learn through building their own knowledge.

(Bransford et al., 1999) describes how learning can be developed by connecting

new ideas and experiences to existing knowledge and experiences to form new or

enhanced understanding. There are two ways of adding value, by increasing

perceived value and by cutting costs. On reflection I feel that it may have

been useful to get students to research one of the ways and then teach it to

one of their peers with the other student teaching the other method. I feel

that the teaching to a peer would help further enhance students’ knowledge.

Once the research had been completed students were able to engage in a class

discussion, this enabled me to differentiate using progressive

questioning. Again, using Blooms

Taxonomy students who were less able were asked knowledge

style questions, with some analysis and evaluation, the students of higher

ability were stretched and challenged by having to give a more detailed evaluation.

I felt that this approach worked well as all students could participate and the

more able students were still challenged. During all stages of questioning I

always linked it back to assessment criteria and the AO marks that are gained

in examinations.

An assessment in the form of a past paper

question formed the next stage of the lesson. The past paper question was

sourced directly from the exam board thus provided a good example of how the

topic may be tested in an exam. I feel that summative assessment is important

as it provides an important measure to show that progress is being made and

that the concept has been understood. The question was then taken in marked and

feedback given. On reflection I feel that it could have given a marking scheme

and got students to peer mark their work, this would have been a useful

exercise and could have helped cement knowledge. According to Falchikov,

N (2005) peer marking can encourage better learning by seeing other students’

successes and weaknesses.

For their next activity students had to

use the knowledge that they had gained and apply it to a real-life situation.

In groups students were given a potato and asked to come up with methods on how

to add value. I felt that by giving students the object to add value to it

provided a kinetic learning element to the task. Students were actively engaged

throughout the activity, and I feel participated better than they would have

with just a written question. I feel that collaborative learning also help

build knowledge, according to Totten, Sills, Digby, & Russ, (1991) The shared learning gives

students an opportunity to engage in discussion, take responsibility for their

own learning, and thus become critical thinkers. Differentiation could take place through

differentiated scaffolded questioning with more able students encouraged to

evaluate to a higher level and the less able students still encouraged to

evaluate to the best of their abilities. On reflection of the activity I feel

that I should have put students into groups of mixed abilities rather than

grouping with their peers due to seating proximity. Mixed groups would have

allowed more able students to lead and to encourage ideas from less able

students, by me defining the groups I could also have decided how many students

would be in each group According to Rau and Heyl (1990) , smaller groups (of three)

contain less diversity; and may lack divergent thinking styles and varied

expertise that help to animate collective decision making. Conversely, in

larger groups it is difficult to ensure that all members participate.

The penultimate task involved students

evaluating how added value would affect many different stake holders. Students

were working alone and filling in a spider diagram in their work books. From

prior learning I was aware that students knew the aims of each of the

stakeholders and at this stage of the lesson they now had a sound knowledge of

added value. I felt that the introduction of some independent learning would

help the progression of students, they already had the tools required to

complete the activity. As suggested by Independent Learning:

Literature Review (2008) independent learning increases academic performance

and increases student motivation. During circulation I was able to

differentiate by asking students questions and asking them to evaluate to the

best of their individual abilities. On reflection the stronger students

completed the activity very well with some less able students struggling. I

think that I should have offered the weaker students a framework for their

answer which would have aided their completion of the activity.

I decided to finish the lesson with a fun

activity students had to describe how they could add value to themselves. I

felt that this activity could provide a more engaging element to the concept of

added value. Students were actively engaged, and the activity helped to further

develop the knowledge of added value.

A plenary consisted of AFL, students had

to write down at least three things they had learnt and understood during the

lesson and anything that they had not understood.

Student self-assessment encourages students to take responsibility for their

own learning. It incorporates self-monitoring, self-assessment and

self-evaluation. This helped me evaluate if students had made progress and

areas that they had struggled with could be identified and further help could

be provided to any students who required it. On refection I feel that using

both formative and summative assessments it could be identified that students

had made progress throughout the lesson.

On the reflection of the lesson I feel

that I did differentiate by using both extension activities and progressive

questioning, however further differentiation by task is also required. Within

each activity I should have had different tasks based on the students’

aspirational grade. I feel that this would have motivated students and helped

to stretch and challenge all abilities. I feel that aspirational grade is a

more accurate way to differentiate than the predicted grade a student is given

at the start of the course. Predicted grades are often based on ALP’s scores

and I have found them to often be inaccurate. According to Ofsted, teachers should make sure that all students

have opportunities to fulfil their potential, regardless of their starting

points or abilities.

Differentiation is extremely important in

the classroom. Differentiation can be accurately

described as classroom practice with a balanced emphasis on individual students

and course content. Tomlinson (2010) describes

how students differ as learners in terms of background experience, culture,

language, gender, interests, readiness to learn, modes of learning, speed of

learning, support systems for learning, self-awareness as a learner. Taking

this advice, I decided to research differentiation strategies that I could use

in my future teaching. According to

Tomlinson, teachers can differentiate

instruction through four ways: 1) content, 2) process, 3) product, and 4)

learning environment. Content has been set by the exam board however Blooms

Taxonomy can be used to differentiate questioning and activities to make sure

that the learning needs of all students are being catered for. Process can be

developed to make sure all learners are getting the knowledge they require from

the lesson. On reflection I did use VARK to help different learning styles by

having different activities for different aspects of the lesson. I feel that I

could have given students more options about the activity to be completed based

on the way they learn so that every student did not have to complete the same

activities. The product is what the student creates at the end of the lesson to

demonstrate the mastery of the content. I had student’s complete a past

paper question, I think that after reflecting I should have had several

questions that students could complete depending on ability. Another option

would have been to provide several writing frameworks that students could use

differentiated by aspirational grades. The final area that Tomlinson describes

is learning environment, during the lesson I dictated when students did paired

work, when they did group work and when they worked individually, perhaps I

could have given them the option of deciding how they completed the task so

that they could complete it to the best of their strengths.

As referenced by Subborn (2006) Current

educational trends across the globe reflect significant changes in student

populations from two or three decades ago. The inclusion of students from

non-English speaking backgrounds, students with disabilities, students from

diverse cultural backgrounds and students on accelerated programs, compel

educators to relook at their teaching and instructional practices. Within my

class I had one student who had English as an additional language, I found

myself spending a lot of my time during the lesson giving additional support

and instruction, this took my time and attention away from other students

within the group. I think that I should have prepared additional resources and

instructions for this student leaving me more time to attend to the needs of

other members of the class.

On reflection the Kagan approach works well,

and I did use it briefly during the lesson. I think that I should have

implemented more of Kegan’s theories as I feel that it is very constructive to

learning and helps progression through sharing ideas whilst encouraging

independent thinking. While I think the group work was a valuable part of the

lesson I feel that I should have differentiated the groups more to include a

range of abilities which would have resulted in a more progressive learning

environment.

Taking the lesson in its entirety I feel

that the area that I need to work on is differentiation both through delivery

and outcome, through researching several methods of differentiation I feel that

focusing on differentiation in my future teaching will benefit both me and the

students I am teaching.