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10.21.15Harry Fletcher-Wood’s Checklist for Practice Sessions

Teach First’s Harry Fletcher-Wood has a new book coming out: Ticked Off: Checklists for teachers, students, and school leaders. Imagine Atul Gawande’s Checklist Manifesto applied to the world of schools.  Our team has been all giddy with anticipation since long before we found out that one of his checklists is for designing effective practice activities for educators.  Harry agreed to let us share it.  It’s a fine thing- simple and elegant, really useful, provides key vocabulary for helping educators talk about practice based training. First there’s a list of the things you should plan. Yes, you should check them off one-by-one. Then there’s a model Harry provided. Here it is. 

34. How do I design an effective practice session?

  • Objective: What skill (or part of a skill) will teachers master by the end of this session?
  • Success points: What differentiates being great at this skill from being good?
  • Practice: What practice activities will teachers do to achieve this mastery?
  • Preparation: When and how will teachers prepare what they will say and do in their practice?
  • Model: How will I show teachers excellence in the skill? How will I show them excellence in the practice activity?
  • Feedback: How will I ensure teachers receive constructive and useful feedback?
  • Integrate or loop: What will I do to increase the challenge if teachers succeed initially? How will I reduce it if they struggle?
  • Enduring change: How will teachers synthesise and record what they will do with what they have learned?
  • Culture of practice: Looking back through the plan, how will I build in opportunities to make practice feel important, safe and fun?

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This checklist is adapted from the Teach Like a Champion team’s Practice Perfect workshop, and the book which shares the rules of their practice.[1] Influenced by them, I have come to believe that professional development only leads teachers to change if it goes beyond inviting them to consider what good teaching is and offers them the chance to put it into practice there and then.

 

Example

<C> Objective: What skill (or part of a skill) will teachers master by the end of this session?

By the end of the session they will be prepared to plan effectively by formulating accessible, challenging and meaningful objectives.

<C> Success points: What differentiates being great at this skill from being good?

Economy of language, specific (measurable) objectives and alignment to the curriculum.

<C> Practice: What practice activities will teachers do to achieve this mastery?

Teachers will work from the curriculum plan to identify the knowledge inherent in a curricular objective, choose one section of that knowledge and formulate appropriate lesson objectives.

<C> Preparation: When and how will teachers prepare what they will say and do in their practice?

Teachers will write their lesson objectives from the curriculum.

<C> Model: How will I show teachers excellence in the skill? How will I show them excellence in the practice activity?

I will talk teachers through the process of creating lesson objectives from the curriculum, giving examples from maths, biology and physics.  I will also emphasise what not to do: choose activities first and then find lesson objectives to fit.

<C> Feedback: How will I ensure teachers receive constructive and useful feedback?

Teachers will pause in their objective writing half way through, share objectives with someone teaching the same subject and offer feedback to each other. I will offer three possible lines of feedback (be more specific, reduce the amount of material and increase your economy of language) to help focus their feedback. I will also model applying this feedback with a poorly framed objective.

<C> Integrate or loop: What will I do to increase the challenge if teachers succeed initially? How will I reduce it if they struggle?

To integrate, I will ask teachers to begin planning the assessment they would use to evaluate whether the lesson objectives work; to reduce, I will ask teachers  to focus back on the knowledge implied by the curriculum and identify a single objective teachable in a lesson.

<C> Enduring change: How will teachers synthesise and record what they will do with what they have learned?

Teachers will write one short-term and one long-term takeaway, and when they will act on it.

<C> Culture of practice: Looking back through the plan, how will I build in opportunities to make practice feel important, safe and fun?

Modelling putting the feedback to use to make it feel less threatening. Being honest about my own protracted failures in getting this right and what I did that led me into them.

<B> How else could this be used?

This checklist could be used for any activity when teachers want their students to practise to achieve mastery.


 

 



 


 

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