Teachers are life long learners

Last week a group of six teachers at St Edmund’s observed 15 lessons across Senior School. The aim was to gain a snapshot of our pupils’ daily learning experiences in a typical day while learning from each other. This extract of the report refers to catering for pupils of varying abilities within Mathematics and Modern Foreign Languages.

‘An A-level Further Mathematics lesson was designed specifically around pupils’ responses to a recently set prep on differential functions. On the board, the teacher worked through examples that became progressively harder. As pupils gained in confidence they worked independently on further examples, leaving out steps to speed up their answers. Meanwhile, in Lower 5th Set 4 Maths Learning Enhancement and Maths teachers team taught a lesson on angles. Independent work was supported through colourful prompt mats. A system of coloured ‘traffic light’ cards on desks allowed pupils to request help and/or work independently with minimum fuss.

We saw a completely immersive Lower 6th French lesson. Here, the teacher skilfully adapted language and questioning according to pupils’ abilities. More fluent pupils extended answers for others, while all received personalised feedback on how to improve. Vocabulary, tenses and grammar were displayed and simultaneously introduced through discussion. A mixed ability Lower 5th Spanish class was also visited. Here, pupils were practising speaking by describing pictures. Key vocabulary was provided; pupils were given the option of working with no nouns, with nouns or with nouns, position and action. Pupils worked to their own level yet had lots of opportunities to extend themselves.

The best lessons featured skilful use of questioning and praise tailored to the individual. Due to the seminar approach to teaching at A-level, this approach alone works well for 6th formers. The best 5th form lessons also feature a variety of carefully structured activities.

We concluded that a real strength of teaching at St Edmund’s is pupil teacher relationships and how well we know our pupils, which facilitates highly personalised teaching approaches.’

Mrs Bensberg, Deputy Head Academic