ITTE Computing/Teaching & Learning

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Key Stage 3 National Strategy Key Messages Foundation Subjects: Pedagogy and Practice

Good teaching fosters good learning. It stems from effective lesson design whatever the age of the learner, their level of ability, or the subject or skill being learned. Good teaching results when teachers:

  • focus and structure their teaching so that pupils are clear about what is to be learned and how, and how it fits with what they know already;
  • actively engage pupils in their learning so that they make their own meaning from it;
  • develop systematically pupils’ learning skills so that their learning becomes increasingly independent;
  • use assessment for learning to help pupils to reflect on what they already know, reinforce the learning being developed, and set targets for the future;
  • have high expectations of the effort that pupils should make and what they can achieve;
  • make the learning motivating by well-paced teaching using stimulating activities matched to a range of learning styles;
  • create an environment that promotes learning in a settled and purposeful atmosphere.

Learning styles[edit]

The work being undertaken through the Secondary Strategy, especially through the Foundation Subjects, has enabled serious discussion of learning style preferences and the role of the teacher in ensuring that no particular style is prejudiced by their method and style of delivery. Whilst many Year 7 pupils will have an emerging awareness of their own learning preferences the adults entering initial teacher training in ICT (and their school based mentors) are less likely to have undertaken such personal assessment and will need to be given particular guidance on this aspect. Many LEAs have set up online tests and reporting and there are other learning style assessment tools out there. You may wish to direct your trainees to:

Although there is no specific publication for ICT the publication Teaching and Learning in Secondary Schools Unit 10 Learning Styles (DfES 0350/2003) provides a succinct overview with workshops linking to video case studies.

However, we need caution in adopting the 'learning styles' movement too uncritically. "These so-called 'brain-based' ideas do not yet form a coherent theory - each guru has their own set of categories of styles - and the influence of the teaching strategies associated with them has not yet been researched reliably to my knowledge." (Kennewell)

These ideas do have a fashionable status in schools (and are mentioned in the Secondary strategy), but it is important that all educators consider them as useful ideas to incorporate into teaching as part of a 'well-balanced diet' of approaches, which also include autonomy in learning, thinking skills and interactive teaching.

It's not the outcomes of the test/audits themselves but the realisation in the tutor (and pupil peers) that everyone doesn't learn like they do (getting the scales to fall from their eyes). It's all about other people's world view. As it says in the Talmud (or Anais Nin said ... depending on where you find the quotation) 'We don't see things as they are; we see things as we are' - and there are a whole set of ideas surrounding (trainee) teachers recognising that they are constrained by their own beliefs.

See Learning Styles - What They Can Offer for more detailed consideration of these issues. You can download it here: Download PDF document: LearningStyles.pdf (1431K)

Pedagogy of ICT[edit]

A second major issue is that of the Pedagogy of subject ICT – it must have one but there are few published items specifically dealing with this; the majority are looking at ICT to support other subjects. However Section 1 (pp 7-11) of ICT and Pedagogy (Cox et al, DFES/0793/2003) may help you in your thinking.

Other issues[edit]

Ofsted and other interested parties have indicated several other critical issues related to teaching and learning in the specific documentation on ICT inspections and in generic documents. For more on these go to Issues

author: Neil Stanley email the author