I am officially ‘TEEP trained.’ That sounds more like a seedy confession than a declaration but it means that I have undertaken the first level of the ‘Teacher Enhancement Effectiveness Programme.‘ It is something that led to one of the best learning experiences with a class that I’ve had so far. I intend to return to my learning this term. It’s not that anything I learnt has necessarily left my practice but I’m certain that if I return to it now from a fresh perspective, I’ll be able to see a wider range of ways in which what I learnt can affect my current practice.
Having returned to my notes, there is far too much for a single post so I intend to share my learning over a short series. In this second post, I will give a detailed summary of what the five underpinning principles of the model are. (You can read post 1- ‘What is TEEP?’ here).
Underneath the learning cycle are the five fundamentals of the classroom. As you read through each of the five, you may think that all of this seems common sense. What is different when it comes to TEEP is the thinking behind the way they are integrated. As with any great classroom practice, they should only be integrated if they have a positive effect on learning.
TEEP promotes that learners should be made aware of the language of learning in the classroom and it should be actively shared with them. At different stages of the lesson, they might be able to recognise that they’re engaging with each of these things. TEEP exposes the thinking process that should occur behind each of these activities and the key premise is that learners should be taught how to do many things effectively.
I don’t know about you but I can hold my hands up and say that in my first few years of teaching, I did a lot of things in the classroom because somebody told me I should. This includes many of the assessment methods deemed to be ‘good practice.’ I only believe it has the potential to be good if that practice is deliberate, considered and well-communicated to students. Otherwise it’s just an ‘activity’ and it’s likely to have very little impact on learning.
Assessment for Learning
There are a whole range of assessment methods that can be employed in the classroom to enable learning. One of my favourite tools is this.
In terms of TEEP, some of the key premises are:
Clear and achievable goals should be set, monitored, and perhaps more importantly, achieved. It is incredibly motivating for a learner to always be working towards something, but it is essential that these targets are achievable otherwise the opposite effect of not having achieved anything, will far outweigh any of the positives of moving towards a goal.
During the planning stages we should be planning questions, intended techniques and who will be answering. This way, we can ensure our questioning achieves what we set out for it to achieve and that the questions are suitably challenging for our learners.
Taking pictures and video content is particularly powerful of giving learners a visual record of their achievements.
In a classroom where a sense of community is built, students are the crew, not the passengers.
Teaching that takes this idea one bit further is found in approaches where the students are co-constructing the learning. (See @headguruteacher for instance).
For those of you new to teaching, some essentials in terms of achieving this ‘community’ are:
Don’t include those who shout
There should be clear classroom rules maintained, especially ones that prevent learners dominating or being lost in the clamour to respond. Expectations around questioning should be made clear, whatever they are: no hands up, lollipop sticks for random selection, learners will nominate one another… This recent post on questioning is certainly worth a read.
Set expectations for group work
Forming a ‘success criteria’ with your learners about expected behaviours during group work activities is essential to ensuring that all learners are able to participate and make a valued contribution. Provide feedback on group work as much as you comment on what they have produced; learners will soon recognise the value you place on such activities. Using an IPPP tool after group work could also have a similar effect.
Maintain a culture where you are not always the first person they ask
Learners are in a classroom to learn but does that necessarily have to be learning directly from you? The key premise of TEEP is that teacher acts as facilitator; steering their crew in the right direction for success. There are ways in which you can get learners in the habit of relying on other things than just you. Yet, also being able to recognise when they need to ask you a question is important. There are some ideas around this here.
Effective use of ICT
I have written about a number of ICT methods I use in class to engage learners with content. The word ‘effective’ is incredibly important here. Anything that we should do in the classroom should never be done to tick a box, but because we have concluded that it will affect learning in positive ways; rendering it ‘effective.’ I believe that ICT is most effective and powerful when placed into the hands of students.
One key premise of this is that learners should be encouraged to use multiple learning methods in order to make best progress. Instead of sticking to a ‘preferred style,’ learners should instead be encouraged to take multiple approaches in engaging their whole brain with content and learning (although being aware of their preferences is useful). It is in this way that they will be best equipped for the future.
Whilst providing suitable stretch and challenge for learners, we should also be enabling them; giving them the confidence to succeed. This connects to the environment that we create for them as it is directly related. The importance of making connections should be central to activities and this can help contribute to lessons being challenging.
We must be careful to ensure that it is challenge being created, and not stress.
Feedback should be immediate (timely) and adequate time should be spent on reflecting and acting upon it. Alex Quigley has written about ‘DIRT’ as one possible strategy.
Regular reviews are important for learners to work through any problems they may have with a topic and/or to check they remember it.
Howard Gardner and Bobbi De Porter are two key authors on this subject should you wish to explore it further.
Thinking for Learning
Take a look at ‘thunks‘ here. Anything that gets learners thinking at higher levels is what you want.
Matching learning outcomes and associated activities to Higher Order Thinking is important.
If questioning is to be effective, then giving learners suitable thinking time is important.
Metacognition is essential here: not ‘What skills or new knowledge have I learnt?’ but ‘How did I learn it?’ This kind of process is important for learners beginning to value the learning process far more.
Much of TEEP can be summed up by:
Take ownership of it
And these are the things we should be enabling learners to do.
It seems as teachers, especially in FE, that we are constantly being encouraged to embed this and that. I question the validity and importance of much of it. Is it really necessary to have equality and diversity, English and maths, employability and progression embedded into every lesson? The short and sensible answer is no, it should be a natural inclusion across the course of a scheme of learning where the elements are naturally occurring. Yet this common-sense approach doesn’t sit well with the formal observation process, where there’s a requirement to shoehorn it in and for what real gain?
What I can state now, with absolute certainty, is that consciously embedding the above five elements will have far greater impact on learners’ learning and progress. Being involved in it will less resemble a tick-box exercise than it will an exercise in doing the job we were brought here to do: facilitate learning and enable confident and autonomous lifelong learners to pursue their dreams.