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 lead 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 first post, I will give a brief summary of what TEEP is and why it works.

The TEEP model

This is the ‘TEEP model.’ Each of my posts will cover the elements in detail- the six stages of the learning cycle in the centre and the five underpinning principles around that.

The two outer elements, the principles of effective teacher and learner behaviours, are relatively simple. In essence, they refer to the establishing of a clear routine in your classroom.

TEEP suggests that learners become more effective if they are enabled to construct meaning in their learning, monitor their own progress and reflect on the whole process. This is generally achieved through the development of their collaboration, thinking & metacognition and communication skills.

For teachers, effectiveness can be affected by many of our behaviours but if the following four factors are developed positively then an equally positive result will follow:

  • Classroom climate
  • Classroom management
  • Whole class interactive teaching
  • Variety of teaching and learning styles

These behaviours for teachers and learners, form the foundations of the TEEP model and are essential for effective learning to take place.

Classroom Climate

This should be developed so that is safe and inclusive. There should be a clear understanding that is a ‘safe failure zone’ and that all learners are valued. There are various methods for achieving this and much of it comes from promoting a growth mindset, as per Carol Dweck. On TEEP, we were introduced to some practical strategies for ensuring a classroom environment conducive to learning.

  • Circle Time– At the start of a lesson, students should be gathered in a circle. They each share how they’re feeling. This encourages students to talk about feelings, acknowledge that their performance in the lesson may be affected but that they make some kind of commitment to trying their best regardless. Therefore, during this time, asking students to share a fist/five rating of how they’re feeling and one thing they intend to do during the lesson to improve their mood can be useful.
  • Park It– If you do teach a group who struggle with a lot of personal issues outside of class (and which of us don’t!), have a parking space pinned on the wall. They could write something that’s bothering them on a sticky note and add it to the car park. Alternatively, to keep it private, they could write it on a note and stick it in a jar. This way, the students’ issues have been acknowledged but they’re put to one side so that the learning can continue.
  • Rotating Welcome Slides– As students enter, it’s great for them to be welcomed into the room by you. Perhaps whilst they get on with a task ready for them on the table (Bellwork), they could be welcomed by a rotating PowerPoint slideshow you’ve created with all of their names on it. This is easy to set-up and perhaps each week/fortnight, it could be edited to include a personal message for each student so that they’re greeted differently each time. This greeting could be related to what they did well in a previous lesson or what they developed on their last piece of work.

Each of these small additions to the lesson, can promote students’ emotional wellbeing and ultimately, they help to demonstrate that you care about more of them than just their learning, homework completion and grades.

Classroom Management

All teachers know that having effective classroom management leads to effective learning. This will always be the area of my teaching that I’m seeking to develop but over the years, I’ve found that the most effective tool is a clear routine. If students, to a reasonable extent, know what to expect in your classroom, then they’ll be far more likely to go along with the unexpected. That’s really as far as my advice goes on this part of teaching as there is much more useful advice to be found elsewhere.

Whole Class Interactive Teaching

Interactive teaching shouldn’t just involve those students who already want to take part, but every student in the room. For the most part, this is achieved by the 5 underlying principles and these will be explored in more detail later. What I will say for now is that interactive teaching doesn’t have to mean moving around, jumping up and down and chucking playdough around (although a combination of this might well work). In fact, it means that students must be engaged with the process of learning for the duration- however you choose to achieve this.

Variety of Teaching & Learning Styles

There should be variety to the teaching so that all students can gain access to the learning. This is mainly supposed to be based on learning styles. I personally think that regardless of how you learn, I’d like each of my students to leave my course having developed so that whatever they’re thrown, however it appears, they’ll be able to handle it well and learn from it. This means being able to successfully learn in a range of ways. Yes, they may develop preferences, but ultimately, life doesn’t always pander to our preferences and so students should be trained in the art of a multi-disciplinary approach to learning.

Coming soon- guides to the five underpinning principles and the six elements of the learning cycle.

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