The power of collaborative learning

Reflections of a PGCE Student

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Luke Kirsten has been teaching History and Psychology at Aldenham for a year and a half. Before that, he studied Social Dynamics at Stellenbosch University, majoring in History and Psychology.

Sam Dawe has completed his PGCE this year, but has been teaching for two years. He started off as a graduate assistant at Aldenham School. Prior to teaching, he worked for boohoo.com for 2 years and attended university at Sheffield Hallam.

Teacher training is often a stressful and difficult year for PGCE students. Young teachers are presented with the formidable, multi-levelled Teaching Standards and are faced with the challenge of collecting evidence that they have met and even excelled at these. It is possible for this to become a meaningless ‘jumping through hoops’ activity, although we have found that engaging and grappling with the Teaching Standards to be one of the most important developmental exercises we have done this year.

These standards are, albeit imperfect, the crux of what it means to be a teacher. Below, we have tried to give examples and methods we have used to demonstrate each Teaching Standard, as well as reflections as to what these Standards mean to us.


TS1 Set High Expectations which inspire, motivate and challenge students:

Use the star question in an envelope to motivate students to be rewarded for their answers. LO at start of each lesson used to challenge students so they know what they need to be able to do/understand to succeed.

TS2 Promote good progress and outcomes by pupils

Use of a top 10 leader board

Use of class dojo

TS3 Demonstrate good subject and curriculum knowledge

Observations by members of department to check you really know your stuff!

TS4 Plan and teach well structured lessons

Start with the L.O.

The 5 minute lesson plan!

TS5 Adapt teaching to respond to the strengths and needs of all pupils

Differentiated activities – Lemon and herb, medium and spicy hot

Sentence starters

Bloom’s Taxonomy Phrase Sheet

TS6 Make accurate and productive use of assessment

Marking colours – green = great; pink = think

Tweet – 175 characters to summarise learning

TS7 Manage behaviour effectively to ensure a good and safe learning environment

Thoughtful seating plans

Welcome them in and out of my classroom


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