As I am preparing my presentation for the Teaching, Learning & Assessment conference at Berkhamsted on Saturday (now sold out – should be a great day), I cannot help but think about the value we should place on the micro aspects of teaching and learning. Often we are drawn to conversation and writing about the macro situation of education, attempting to generalise, strategise and prescribe for teachers and pupils: how things should be done, best practice, outstanding lessons et al.
However, it is the small things that actually make the difference; possibly it these that make outstanding lessons. The human connections between teachers and learners that make the difference to what it is we are all doing here. I’m calling this the granular work. It is what I look for/aim for in every lesson I observe/teach. Each small thing has great value – every grain of sand makes up the beach. When thinking about and planning for change, we need to make sure we champion the teacher with the most number of large classes that will be effected. Their planning, marking, lessons and reports. Their extra responsibilities beyond the curriculum and even something as seemingly minor as break or lunch duties. Around me I watch colleagues creating connections and opportunities: DofE, CCF, trips, charitable fund raising and many more. But the most impressive aspect of any teachers work, for me, is how well they know their pupils and where those pupils are in their learning: their SEN and G&T, their struggles outside school and somehow they manage with a few words of authentic feedback to see each child in their care. Inspiring. For school management, surely there is a responsibility to make sure – to protect – the space where the granular work happens.
Carmel Greene, from my school, is also presenting a workshop in the Geography section of TLAB13. She is so very good at the granular work despite only qualifying two years ago. She will be discussing how she overcame obstacles of independent learning in her classroom.