When we put teachers together from different subject areas and ask them to discuss the techniques they use to support deep learning and create opportunities for progression where learners can analyse and problem solve independently it is surprising how unaware they are that similar techniques and strategies are used in many subject areas. Each of these is linked closely to the development of good literacy skills either through
It is equally surprising that learners do not automatically make connections between the tools and techniques that they are using as part of the process of learning across the subject divides.
In these sessions we ask teachers to focus on the Personal, Learning and Thinking skills as a vehicle for planning a series of lessons where at least one of the lesson objectives is how these skills will be developed over the duration of the planned lesson series. The emphasis is on empowering the learner to focus on how they learn and how these skills are being used across all their subjects and other extra-curricular learning opportunities.
The collaboration across faculties or departments means that learners are aware of the skills they are developing. They understand that the same techniques are highlighted as an outcome for all lessons and are practised in different subject areas. Teachers discuss ideas, resources and pedagogical approaches that they are using and share best practice. This peer to peer dialogue allows the teacher to feel confident about trying different techniques, focusing on active learning where the learner has ownership of their learning and helping the learner to develop a range of skills that support learning across the curriculum.
This collaboration is essential in helping to ensure that all lessons are learner centred and move the focus of the lesson from the teaching to a learner centred approach to learning leading to opportunities to show progression in literacy skills and one or more of the PLT skills and move ever closer to ensuring all lessons are ‘deemed at least good with some outstanding features’.