School Papers

he to improve both my knowledge and the

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outcomes as I feel this is outdated instead preferring to differentiate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.