Teachers are well known for having incredible workloads. Marking is a major contributor to workload but it provides invaluable feedback for pupils. David Gwilt sought to address this by streamlining feedback for his Mathematics and Computer Science classes. By making more extensive use of the tools available on Schoology, David was able to save time, reduce printing costs and provide a record of marks and comments that pupils could access for end of year revision. David undertook a research project to evaluate this system and reflect on pupils’ feedback. You can read more of David’s research here.
Despite the importance of vocabulary in the study of languages, many pupils can struggle to learn new words. It was this problem that Lilly Freeman set out to solve in her research project. Lilly applied the principles of metacognition – “learning to learn” – to help her year 7 class develop their language skills. By employing the correct method, pupils were able to form stronger mental connections between the foreign words and their English counterparts. This allowed pupils to grow in confidence and improve their scores in their weekly vocab’ tests. Lilly completed her research as part of the Perse Research Award programme and you can read more about it here.
The Perse School was pleased to host the annual conference of the SAGE group of schools last week (21-24 September 2016). Delegates heard from a wide range of educational experts and shared best practice from around the world. Some of the members of staff who attended the conference have agreed to share their thoughts here:
Students with special educational needs face many challenges at school and staff work hard to support these pupils. For example, language subjects can be particularly difficult for pupils with dyslexia. Rachel Sharp, Teacher of French, recently researched strategies for engendering success in foreign languages for dyslexic pupils. This proved to be such a success that she developed an in-house INSET for Modern Languages at The Perse. You can read more about Rachel’s work here.
One of the big challenges facing schools is how to best prepare their pupils for the demands of an ever-changing and increasingly globalised world. In her most recent research, Katie Banks argues that it is pupils’ capacity for independent learning that will set them apart. As Head of Sixth Form Research, Katie is well versed in the benefits of independent learning for older students. For her research project, Katie chose to apply these principles to her year 8 Geography classes, with interesting results. Katie completed her research as part of the Perse Research Award programme and you can read more about it here.
Fieldwork is a fundamental part of Geography and gives pupils an opportunity to ground the ideas and skills they learn in the classroom in a real world context. Inspired by last year’s Year of Fieldwork, Beth Gladwell conducted research into the use of iPads for fieldwork – from the practicalities of software and insurance, to the educational advantages for students. Trailing her approach with learning activities around the school site, Beth was able to evaluate each approach and gather feedback from her pupils. Beth completed her research as part of the Perse Research Award programme and you can read more about it here.
Although it might not always be popular, homework has an important role to play in any student’s education. At The Upper, the homework timetable for years 7 – 11 has been revamped over the summer break. Several changes have been made with a view to better balancing pupils’ workload and offering greater flexibility for independent study.
To gather more information on the new system, a school-wide research project has been launched. The aim is to measure how much time pupils spend on their homework and which sorts of tasks prove to be the most useful. This project involves staff and pupils from across the school and will run throughout the Michaelmas and Lent terms.
You can follow the progress of the project here as it progresses, with the final report due in the summer term.