TV tonight BBC2: The Classroom Experiment

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Susan Godsland
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TV tonight BBC2: The Classroom Experiment

Post by Susan Godsland » Mon Sep 27, 2010 3:22 pm

The Classroom Experiment
Monday 27 September
7:00pm - 8:00pm
BBC2

1/2

If you're at all interested in how children learn and how teachers can help them, watch this. It's the sharp end of the BBC's ongoing Schools season, a series where inspired educationalist Dylan Wiliam introduces deceptively simple techniques over one term to one school in Hertfordshire. So, for instance, the students - 12- to 13-year-olds - are picked at random to answer in class rather than putting their hands up, so the bright ones can't dominate and the bored ones can't stay below the radar. Their day starts with an exercise session in the gym - it helps concentration later. And there's a brilliant trick where each student gets a set of red, yellow and green paper cups to show how much they understand what's going on at any stage of a lesson. The results are fascinating.

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Re: TV tonight BBC2: The Classroom Experiment

Post by JIM CURRAN » Mon Sep 27, 2010 8:46 pm

Thanks Susan, I really enjoyed this programme. I would have liked to have had more about the research base for the various ideas that Professor Williams was promoting. It’s not so easy to translate theory to successful practice in a busy classroom. I was very impressed by Miss Obee’s openness and willingness to learn and the two pupils who featured most Katie and Sid.

I know that many comprehensive schools in England use a mixed ability model. I have never taught in this type of classroom and I really don’t know how well it works. I feel however that it could be a real challenge for both pupils and teachers.

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Re: TV tonight BBC2: The Classroom Experiment

Post by Susan Godsland » Mon Sep 27, 2010 8:58 pm

Watch episode one on iplayer here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00txzwp

Fascinating stuff... episode two is on tomorrow night BBC2 7pm.
In this two-part series, theory and practice meet head on as education expert Professor Dylan Wiliam sets up an experimental school classroom. For one term, he takes over a Year 8 class at a secondary comprehensive to test simple ideas that he believes could improve the quality of our children's education.

Some of the higher ability students are not responding well to the new rule of No Hands Up in class, and Wiliam is worried they are at risk of being left behind.

There is a classroom revolt when the teachers remove grades from work. The idea is to make the students actually read the comments on their work in order to help them improve, but they are left confused and angry after becoming so used to the traditional grading system.

By the end of term, however, even Wiliam is surprised by the impact the experiment has had on the students' academic achievement.

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Re: TV tonight BBC2: The Classroom Experiment

Post by annwebster » Tue Sep 28, 2010 7:58 pm

I watched the programme with incredulity- ALL of those techniques are well known to primary school teachers- and have been for a number of years. It confirmed for me that some secondary school teachers may be very well versed in their own subject but are very poor at the actual skills of teaching. What do they learn on PGCE courses? One of the teachers was simply appalling and seemed not to realise how much she needed help. Maybe I am getting old but I wanted to weep to think that this is the impression of the teaching profession that the general public will receive from the programme.

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Re: TV tonight BBC2: The Classroom Experiment

Post by JIM CURRAN » Tue Sep 28, 2010 8:28 pm

Thanks Susan, I really enjoyed the two programmes. The late Michael Pressley has an excellent piece comparing the damage caused by competitive classrooms with the benefits of what he describes as task- involved, non-competitive classrooms. Chapter 8 Motivation and Literacy page 289 Reading Instruction That Works.

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Re: TV tonight BBC2: The Classroom Experiment

Post by Susan Godsland » Tue Sep 28, 2010 8:45 pm

Tomorrow, BBC2 7pm watch 'Start your own school'

Toby Young feels the educational choices available for his children are so limited that he has decided to set up his own, parent-run, state secondary school.
Toby Young, the journalist and author of How to Lose Friends and Alienate People, is leading a group of middle class parents attempting to set up one of Britain's first so-called 'free schools', in west London. His determination to be the first means an ambitious deadline and an enormous amount of work to do, against fierce opposition.

The film follows the group's trials and tribulations over a turbulent nine months and gives a glimpse into a world where no-one can escape that very English subject of class. Will Toby succeed this time in winning friends and influencing people?

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00v1zk5

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Re: TV tonight BBC2: The Classroom Experiment

Post by JIM CURRAN » Wed Sep 29, 2010 8:10 pm

Help Susan, I’ve become a telly addict. I found the Toby Young programme fascinating. If Toby Young manages to set up a middle class school in Acton that also caters for a fair percentage of disadvantaged children then I’m all in favour. My fear is that his West London Free school may cater almost exclusively for middle class children just like the existing top 200 state comprehensives that admit on average fewer than 6% of children on the free school meals register.

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Re: TV tonight BBC2: The Classroom Experiment

Post by Susan Godsland » Wed Sep 29, 2010 10:28 pm

You might find this of interest, Jim:

http://www.westlondonfreeschool.co.uk/

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Re: TV tonight BBC2: The Classroom Experiment

Post by Debbie Hepplewhite » Thu Sep 30, 2010 11:39 am

annwebster said:
I watched the programme with incredulity- ALL of those techniques are well known to primary school teachers- and have been for a number of years. It confirmed for me that some secondary school teachers may be very well versed in their own subject but are very poor at the actual skills of teaching. What do they learn on PGCE courses? One of the teachers was simply appalling and seemed not to realise how much she needed help. Maybe I am getting old but I wanted to weep to think that this is the impression of the teaching profession that the general public will receive from the programme.
I said the same thing to my husband as we watched the Dylan Wiliam's programme.

But Dylan Wiliam was portrayed as top of the country specialist - whilst delivering very old-hat ideas.

Also, when it was mentioned on the TV that this was a 'good' class - that is certainly the impression one received who knows anything about schools in the UK nowadays!

The teachers would have been eaten alive in many a scenario.

I know that teachers need to be engaged fully and cooperatively with their professional development - and goodness knows they have been coerced into doing all sorts over the years, but the whole tenor of the advice/professional development that was shown to us on the TV was hugely laid back.

I found the children to be very endearing and thoughtful - and the documentary itself was warming - unless, as teachers, we have a deeper understanding about raising standards, challenging classes, improving teaching methods - and so on.

We have just received an advertising fax for a day's training with Dylan Wiliam presumably on the back of the documentary programmes:

The cost is £449 + VAT per day for the first delegate, £429 + VAT for a second delegate.

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Re: TV tonight BBC2: The Classroom Experiment

Post by Kiki » Thu Sep 30, 2010 12:04 pm

Debbie Hepplewhite wrote:
We have just received an advertising fax for a day's training with Dylan Wiliam presumably on the back of the documentary programmes, and I am really horrified.

The cost is £449 + VAT per day for the first delegate, £429 + VAT for a second delegate.
:wtf:

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Re: TV tonight BBC2: The Classroom Experiment

Post by Debbie Hepplewhite » Thu Sep 30, 2010 2:50 pm

I have edited the postings above to correct the spelling of Dylan Wiliam's name which I typed incorrectly. Thank you to Jenny for drawing my attention to this.

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Re: TV tonight BBC2: The Classroom Experiment

Post by Debbie Hepplewhite » Fri Oct 01, 2010 11:09 am

What I found very interesting was Dylan talking about the downside of students having their work graded with national curriculum levels.

This is something very close to my heart and I've gone on record many times stating that I would never talk to a primary-aged pupil about his or her national curriculum level.

I have put forward the suggestion that teachers are dangerously close to perceiving children by their national curriculum levels.

Another worry is the idea that standards can only be raised by the formalising of target setting, individual targets on wall displays, teacher speak about national curriculum levels when marking children's books, copious observations, teacher assessment and evidencing by teachers.

When a school is in difficulties, these types of measures, and their accompanying pressures psychologically and on time management, increase in their intensity and their formality - and many pre-suppose that there is only this one way to turn schools around.

I think my previous postings above about the TV programmes have not indicated enough that I enjoyed the programmess and they did give me food for thought.

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Re: TV tonight BBC2: The Classroom Experiment

Post by JIM CURRAN » Fri Oct 01, 2010 2:47 pm

The research shows that there is a clear decline in academic motivation from the early primary to the later primary classes. One reason for this is that comparative evaluations are less frequent and salient in the early primary years than in later primary ( Harter, Whitesell & Kowalski, 1992; Stipek & Daniels, 1998 ).

With increasing age , children are more aware of the competitiveness in their classrooms ( Harter et al, 1992; Schmitz, Ollendick, & Stanowicz, 1998 ). What is certain based on the research ( Wigfield, 1988 ) is that by the middle primary years, paying attention to how one does compared to others affects perceptions of one’s own competency, expectancies about future success, and thus school performance. ( pages 299- 300 Reading Instruction That Works )

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Re: TV tonight BBC2: The Classroom Experiment

Post by annwebster » Fri Oct 01, 2010 6:19 pm

I couldn't agree with you more Debbie with regard to the use of NC levels to describe children. My pet hate is to hear a child described as a 2a or 3b which is very common among some teachers. I think we have totally lost sight of children as individuals. :cry:

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Re: TV tonight BBC2: The Classroom Experiment

Post by Debbie Hepplewhite » Fri Oct 01, 2010 11:28 pm

Then what we need to keep doing is repeating this observation and question the status quo.

Whilst not that many people regularly post on the forum, many people read it daily - so all such comments inevitably provide food for thought which might eventually make an impression and even effect change! ;-)

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