Reflections on what we have learnt from an extraordinary period in history

CPD was not very high on the agenda in March of this year and all of us at Learning Cultures were very unsure as to what the future would hold for a company that does nothing else except deliver training and development for schools and colleges.

We had to make significant changes to our business model and change our approach to how we can provide an offer that will help and support all those in the profession to manage the profound changes the pandemic and school closures have created.

Learning how to create an online platform that is as successful as face to face training has given us all a host of new skills.  We have been surprisingly busy with some innovative sessions and have worked with delegates from the UK and much further afield.  We have delivered whole school virtual INSET with break out rooms and opportunities for highly interactive learning conversations. We have facilitated live links with senior leadership teams who wanted to focus on how to strategically manage blended learning and we have designed a suite of tools for educators to use to ensure they continue to deliver high quality learning.

We are continuing to innovate to ensure the outstanding courses that we have designed and delivered over many years continue to provide educators with the knowledge and skills they need for continuous professional development.  This term has been operational for many, strategic planning that will inevitably include CPD has probably remained something for later.  When you are ready, we have some superb training courses, coaching programmes and a certification route to becoming a coach. We have ready-made training packages with everything there to deliver CPD to suit your training timetable. We have live webinars where the trainer is there and we have a new range of CPD in a nutshell courses that individuals can dip into in their own time.

We can also offer you our expert team of coaches if you want to talk, share ideas or discuss the best approaches to ensuring learning continues and everyone is safe. This next week is about reflecting on what is important and building the reserves ready for what happens next.  Remember the importance of CPD to your own well-being and continuing professional learning and when you are ready dip into what is simply the best, most highly researched and well-regarded training out there.

  • Live Webinars, two sessions of two hours covering the same content as our offsite courses and providing the same high-quality resources and materials either as twilight sessions or sessions in the morning
  • Inclusive online CPD programmes where the whole course is for use at a time to suit the CPD timetable. Everything is there including video presentations, whiteboard animations, activities, card sorts, resources, links to research and relevant publications and a multiple-choice quiz. This suite is designed to be used as part of your own CPD timetable
  • In a Nutshell courses – one- hour webinars to buy off the shelf and to use at any time. We have six courses and will be adding to these over the next few weeks.  They provide a generous starting point for anyone wanting to learn a little about coaching, curriculum design, and learning.
  • Bespoke online or in-house CPD delivered for whole school, college or team sessions where the content is tailor-made linked to whole organisational or team priorities
  • Online one-to-one coaching sessions for senior and middle leaders and for teachers and other staff in a school or college
  • Leadership consultancy working with an expert coach to co-construct excellence in school strategic planning and building high quality outcomes for all involved in educating the next generation.
  • We also offer a 360° review service. This is a highly beneficial process that provides an in-depth focus for strategic professional development and the management of change.

 

How do we weave curriculum design and intent into a blended learning tapestry?

How do senior leaders empower their teams to continue to plan for and implement a curriculum that has depth and breadth and delivers high quality learning? Have a look at some tips that we have compiled from research here in the UK and internationally, Planning a Blended Learning Strategy – Advice on planning for a blended future.

Planning for a blended learning curriculum is essential as the unfolding story of this pandemic continues to dominate. Schools are compelled to provide online learning where learners are not in school for whatever reason and this creates a challenge for curriculum leaders in how they plan and develop a curriculum that can be delivered both in school and online.

Schools have worked hard over the past two years to be curriculum ready for the introduction of the OFSTED Handbook in September 2019.  Nobody could have predicted what happened next and what did happen next has meant that for many the implementation of the intended curriculum is much more difficult to deliver and measure in terms of depth, breadth and cross curricular consistency, never mind the interweaving of skills and the challenge of mastery.

If seamless learning is the goal then forward planning and high quality professional conversations virtually or otherwise are essential.  Teachers and learners are back in school but for many time away from school is still a reality and if the situation deteriorates there is a suggestion that schools could operate a system where learners are in school for two weeks and home for two weeks.

With this as a possibility blending the learning between these two scenarios is the only way forward. Planning ahead for this is critical and requires innovation and creativity in how teachers can use the learning of the last six months to create a tapestry curriculum that blends technology with other traditional learning tools to ensure that the curriculum can be delivered and can provide learners with the knowledge and skills they need to progress and learn.

Our course Blended Learning – Mixing the Virtual with the Actual: a pedagogy for the future focuses on some of the issues that all staff especially middle leaders and teachers need to focus on. Essentially, planning a blended curriculum, teaching and learning strategies, building in challenge, tackling engagement, assessment and collaboration between teachers and teachers, teachers and learners and peer to peer learner interaction. We have drawn on national and international research combined with our own team’s considerable expertise to build a course that will inform future strategy and curriculum planning. Use our self-assessment tool to assess how ready you are to blend the learning and then join us and learn a great deal.

Click on the picture below to download Learning Cultures’ new online learning brochure

Learning Cultures new brochure that celebrates the online CPD we have developed in response to the current situation.  The feedback from the courses we have delivered and the programmes we have sold is amazing.  This is a new dawn and we may never completely return to what was there before.

Blended Learning – Mixing the virtual with the actual: the pedagogy of the future

The latest in our repertoire of online training is a course specifically designed to look at how we can use the experiences of the last few months to build our self-esteem, use the expertise we have gained and share how we can move to a positive strategy for blended learning.

From in-depth research and consultation, the following agenda promises to be exciting:-

Blended Learning – Mixing the virtual with the actual: a pedagogy of the future

  • Investigating and sharing teaching and learning strategies that will support independent and distance learning
  • Putting the spotlight on behaviours and the protocols that deliver successful outcomes for both learners and teachers
  • Exploring how to build in challenge that deepens learning and stretches potential
  • Overcoming the issues of engagement for those learners who have limited access to technology, a lack of parental encouragement of who are disengaged from the process
  • Assessing learning through motivational dialogue, positive outcomes and deep reflection
  • Sharing practice and learning strategies through the development of a coaching approach to group dynamics

There has never been a better time to review the way we teach, reflect on how learners can adapt to new ways of learning and build a new approach to the 21st century classroom.

We also have a series of online courses now available.

Our Zoom suite of courses are virtual face to face sessions for individuals to attend. They offer 4 hours of training split over two sessions with time for reflection in between.  There is a personal presenter and a wealth of resources and materials sent physically and electronically. Find out more.

Our Moodle suite of courses are packages that schools can buy to use as whole school or college INSET, training sessions or twilights. They include video presentations, materials, resources and activities as well as links to research, a bibliography and a quiz. Find out more.

 

Accessing Education CPD through a Virtual Learning Platform

Online CPD for educators is undoubtedly the way forward.  Certainly, in the short term.  Here at Learning Cultures we are working hard to bring you our highly acclaimed training courses to a virtual platform.

We have six courses ready to go.  We are discounting the cost of these by 30% to £695.00 + VAT from £995.00 + VAT per school. We intend to continue this offer until such time as we can provide offsite and INSET training again. You will have access to the course and login details for up to 10 members of staff.

Each course you buy will allow up to ten members of staff to access the array of materials, presentations and activities as many times as they want for up to twelve months. Each will have their own log in details and can then use the training for their own use and to share with their teams. Each of our courses has an element of coaching within it. Coaching is by far the best way to ensure that the learning is cascaded and shared widely.

We are watching carefully the unfolding picture as to how we move forward from here towards a more normal way of life.  It is clear that group activities in large hotels and conference centres are unlikely to happen in the very near future.

However, training your staff is still an essential element of school life and all staff must have opportunities to learn new skills, reflect on their practice and work together through professional conversations and motivational dialogue.  Those who have attended our training courses in the past will know that all our training is outstanding, and full of new and highly researched evidence-based learning materials.  Our online platform will offer the same and more.

Have a look here for more details and order your virtual CPD so that all your staff can continue to develop professionally using the acclaimed resources and presentations for which we are justifiably proud.

The answers you hope for depend on the questions you ask

What are the questions that achieve the best outcomes from your learners? Do you have at your fingertips questions that will inspire enquiry, problem solving and challenge? Are you stimulating for your pupils the desire to learn, find out more and deepen knowledge and understanding?

“the disciplined practice of thoughtful questioning enables the learner to examine ideas and be able to determine the validity of those ideas” Socrates

The Learning Cultures’ team are experts in coaching.  This gives us an edge in the techniques required to be innovative in how to ask the right questions.  We know that incisive and focused questioning is one of the most fundamental skills a coach must develop. It is also the most powerful pedagogy in the classroom. This exceptional time in our lives and the lives of all our learners provides us with the time to reflect on how to skilfully use questioning as a stimulus for learning.

Asking open questions that start with who, when, where, what, how or why require the recipient of the question to answer fully.  Asking a learner ‘where did you find the information to inform your answer?’ ‘What do you know already about the Romans?’ cannot be answered with a yes or no answer and lead the learner to explain their reasoning or recall what they already have learnt.  We have included here some resources that you can use to reflect on how you use questioning and how you can use specific types of questioning to challenge deeper thinking, create opportunities for reflection and motivate learners to take risks and find their own solutions.

We have included a proforma that explains the main questioning types and when to use them. We have put together a few slides from a presentation we use to deepen knowledge about questioning and how to cleverly use questioning techniques as part of learning how to coach. We have also added in a list of ‘Socratic questions’ and example answers. We have also included a table that provides some examples of progressive questioning for higher levels of response linked to Bloom’s taxonomy.

Happy questioning to all of you out there learning how to teach remotely. I wonder how much will change for all of us as we remain in this virtual world for a little while longer.

We are going virtual with some of our training courses. CPD for educators while we are not in school is just as important as ensuring the right approach to teaching our pupils. Have a look below at our first suite of online CPD for educators,

 

 

 

Learning on line – top tips from Glynis at Learning Cultures

Most teachers probably have little experience of distance teaching.  Their role is fundamentally to be there in the classroom to teach, facilitate learning, support and challenge.

While schools are closed how can teachers offer a presence that ensures pupils can continue to have a meaningful and valuable education?

We have been building some of our training courses for educators to be delivered through an on-line platform.  This has given us an extraordinary insight into how to create that presence remotely. I want to share some of our learning that you can use to ensure that pupils are inspired to continue to learn and progress.

Here are 10 top tips that have helped us to develop our on-line presence:-

  • Create some protocols to share with pupils prior to embarking on any kind of on-line learning strategy
  • Check the technical capability of your IT infrastructure and what pupils are using at home. If diagrams, text and pictures are difficult to see it will impact on motivation
  • Plan carefully so that there is a sequence to the learning that becomes a clearly defined map or journey for pupils to follow
  • Make sure pupils are prepared in the same way you would expect if you were still in the classroom, the right equipment, good posture, comfortable dress and readiness for learning
  • Focus on the end points and work backwards to ensure that the learning is sequenced well and be clear what you want pupils to achieve
  • Be very clear as the to the learning goals and objectives. Focus on how you can ignite interest by matching your expectations with the pupils’ interests and capabilities
  • Define a study plan that outlines what pupils are learning, how long will the session last and how the session builds on prior learning and prepares for next steps in learning
  • Use this opportunity to focus more on study skills than on content, such as specifically teaching listening skills, note taking skills; how to use enquiry techniques to support self-study or a focus on reading to learn (comprehension)
  • Create opportunities for discovery learning by posing questions to stimulate pupils to find out for themselves
  • Find activities that are fun, and learner centred. On-line is their domain trust your pupils to be solutions focused and innovative in how they use their time for learning

Our on-line learning suite of courses for leaders, managers and teachers will be available in April.  The first courses are listed below. Email us to register your interest.