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How can I help my tutor group to work better together

and improve their learning?

 

Assignment submitted successfully as part of the

Master in Education programme at the University of Bath

Tutor: Sarah Fletcher

Researcher: Emma Kirby

 

Situation - I am a Year 7 tutor.  The group of 31 are mixed ability.  The pupils have come from at least 5 different Primary schools both in and out of the area.  The pupils are taught as a tutor group until the end of Year 7.  I coincidentally teach take them for French (5 hours a fortnight).  The class have begun to settle in but their inability to work well is causing discipline problems in a number of subjects and is therefore limiting their learning.

The Idea - By team building with the class and getting them to focus on their own relationships with each other I can hopefully help them to improve the way they work with each other.  This should create a more positive atmosphere in the classroom for both the teacher and pupils and allow the pupils to learn more easily.

How - By setting up learning partners with the pupils.  Each child will have a learning partner in the group for their French classes only.  The Learning Partners idea has been used successfully by Moira Laidlow at Oldfield School for Girls in Bath.  Pupils are paired up and take responsibility for the learning of their partner.  The pupils will be given their own target to work together better as a class in order to improve their learning. The reason for doing this and the benefit to them is explained by the teacher.  The benefit being that if the pupils work better as a group then there will be less problems in class, teachers will shout less, there will be less detentions, teachers will be able to concentrate on teaching and not managing behaviour which will all lead to the pupils having the opportunity to learn more and more quickly.  The pupil aim would be worded similarly to my own 'How can I help myself and our class to work better together and improve our learning?'

The object of having a learning partner is to monitor your partner, to be monitored yourself and in time to begin to monitor ones own behaviour.  It is also to set targets for improving their partners learning.  To record their partners targets and progress pupils will use a Learning Partners booklet, which would work as a reflective diary to give each pupil space to write about their partner and to write comments about themselves.  They will also be able to record their ideas and strategies for helping their partner to meet their targets.  Pupils would then feedback orally to their partner on how they are working towards meeting the their targets.

This can then be followed up in 1 - 1 interviews / small group discussions and / or questionnaires with the pupils.

The Evidence - Video evidence of the group in action taken at different stages throughout the year starting with the lesson where the project is set up and explained to the pupils.  The video would be accompanied by reflective commentary from myself.  At different stages in the year pupils can also be interviewed on video as to if the project has helped them and what improvements could be made.

Resources - A small book for each pupil to write in.  Time - it may be possible to take some of the tutor period on 7/11 to set it up.  Attached tutors could be used to take registers on occasions to allow me to meet with a couple of pupils or pairs of pupils.

Presenting the idea to the pupils.

I will start by praising the pupils on how well they have settled into Hanham High School and on the progress they have already made in all of their subjects.  Then I will try to set the context of high achieving and I will explain that I want them to achieve the most that they possibly can whilst at the school.  I will then try to get the pupils to brainstorm on who else can help them to learn by asking the question 'Who can help you to learn?'  I will highlight the importance of working together as a team as a way of helping them learn by asking them the questions 'How can other people in the class help you learn?' and 'Why is it important to work together as a team?'  By team building with the class and getting them to focus on their own relationships with each other I can hopefully help them to improve the way they work with each other.  I will then tell them about Learning Partners in the following way.

Firstly, I will explain that they will work with the person sitting next to them in a slightly different way in French.  The person sitting next to them will be their 'Learning Partner'.  Each of them will be responsible for helping their partner to learn better. 

The pupils will be given their own class target  'How can I help myself and our class to work better together and improve our learning?' which will be displayed in the classroom as a constant reminder.  The reason for doing this and the benefit to them is explained by the teacher.  I will try to get as many of the ideas from the pupils first by asking the question 'If we do this what will be the benefit to you?'  The benefit being that if the pupils work better as a group then there will be less problems in class, teachers will shout less, there will be less detentions, teachers will be able to concentrate on teaching and not managing behaviour which will all lead to the pupils having the opportunity to learn more and more quickly as it should create a more positive atmosphere in the classroom for both the teacher and pupils and allow the pupils to learn more easily. 

Questions that I will ask the class to try to illicit the responses and information I am looking for.

'Who can help you to learn?' - answers that I will be looking for are me, other teachers, themselves, their parents, and most importantly for this activity other people in the class

'How can other people in the class help you learn?' - by not distracting them by talking, by not misbehaving and distracting other pupils or the teacher, by helping them with their classwork / homework, by helping them revise for tests, by making suggestions about their work, giving advice and opinions

'Why is it important to work together as a team?'

'If we do this what will be the benefit to you?'  - The benefit being that if the pupils work better as a group then there will be less problems in class, teachers will shout less, there will be less detentions, teachers will be able to concentrate on teaching and not managing behaviour which will all lead to the pupils having the opportunity to learn more and more quickly as it should create a more positive atmosphere in the classroom for both the teacher and pupils and allow the pupils to learn more easily. 

 

 

 

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