I led the first session on Learning and Teaching with Newly Qualified Teachers in East Lothian this afternoon. This is the third year that I’ve been asked to run this session and each year I’ve tried to move on from the previous year.
My intention was to influence the teachers to always reflect on the connection between their intention and the learning task that they subsequently devise – as I described it this afternoon – “I want to get inside your heads”. In a sense I wanted to plant a seed which niggled and challenged them to ask questions about their own practice.
I’ll not go into detail about the content but it took this basic form:
- Think about one the most intense learning experiences of you life
- Share that experience with a partner
- Share your experiences wioth the group and seek common elements from group experiences
- Think of the most successful lesson you have ever taught.
- What made it succesful?
- Share that with your group and list the characteristics of these successful lessons.
- Develop a list of these characteristics drawn rom the goup and captured on a screen, e.g relavance, engagement, etc
- Think back the lesson you were teaching yesterday at 10.00am
- List how many of the characteristics that we identified in step 7 that you included in that lesson
- Selected one person’s lesson and considered the link between his intention and the learning task that he had selected.
- Asked each group to come up with an alternative learning task to meet his intention.
- Further explored the relationship between intention and learning task
- Each group was then asked to generate a topic for another group to devise a suitable teacher intention and learning task
- Other groups then took that topic and generated the intention and fleshed out the learning task
- The last task was for each group to present their ideas to another group who played the Dragons (as in the programme) who then challenged and picked holes in the connection between intention and learning task.
Throughout the afternoon I interspersed various thoughts which were intended to challenge their thinking associated to the tasks I set.
One of the most interesting things to emerge in the course of the afternoon was the difference between a “teacher’s intention” and the “learning intention” which is shared with learners. It’s now standard practice in many classrooms to share the “learning intention” with the learners – usually by writing it on the board and then linking this with success criteria, e.g. Learning Intention – To learn how to use verbs in short sentences; Success Criteria – write four sentences using different verbs in each of the sentences.
It might help here to look at how LTS define the following terms:
|Learning intentions||Goals that are set for the outcome of a lesson or series of lessons. They may be related to a process or the final product.|
|Learning objective||Similar to a learning intention – a target or goal that is set for learners to work towards in a lesson or series of lessons.|
|Learning Outcomes||Broad summary statements in the curriculum guidelines, on areas of attainment for pupils as they move through programmes of study.|
As I read this I think there is a difference between teacher intention and learning intention. For me teacher intention links to “why am I teaching this?” – my knowledge as a teacher helps me to understand why this is important and how it links with other things we will be doing to draw out and extend the learner (see ZPD), whereas learning intention links more with the learning objective (both are interchangeable above)
It came out today in the form of a simple example derived from task 13 – one group gave another group a topic “to bake a scone” – for children this is a reasonable learning intention to share with them and one can imagine the succcess criteria which might link with this intention. However, the intention of the teacher will be a lot more sophisticated than simply for the children to bake a scone – it’s this sophisticated or high level inention which I think is different but which ultimately informs the type of learning task/experience we devise/create.
I’ll be investigating the relationship between these two intentions over the next few weeks but it’s getting late. I’d like to thank all the NQTs who so fully engaged themselves in this afternoon’s activities.