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Copying stuff off the board!

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by cillia, Sep 9, 2018.

  1. cillia

    cillia New commenter

    Recently started a new position where it's a vocational subject at A' Level and the vast majority of the course is exam based. It's a group of learning centres or MAT's where the curriculum is centralised; so a presentation document is disseminated and double lessons consist of getting the students to copy large amounts of information off the board into exercise books. Although some Q&A and discussion a bit of video resource goes on, they are copying stuff off the board in silence. Computers (good ones) sit in front of them not turned on. Learners have little or no experience of hands on techniques and use of equipment and it's not a main requirement. Digesting proposed theories and regurgitating them in handwriting is the methodology. IS THIS OK?
  2. Lara mfl 05

    Lara mfl 05 Star commenter

    Copying isn't necessarily bad if it means students have a record in their books for purposes of revision.

    I certainly was taught this way and have used the technique. However it was never just present the text and students start copying.
    First the text would be presented and then discussion of various points would take place. In groups, as a class. Then copying would happen and yes that takes place better in silence so students can process as they write. This can be an important part of their learning. Dyslexic students who had problems copying would be provided with a copy of the text and either highlighted or underlined salient points.
  3. blazer

    blazer Star commenter

    I always restricted copying to key points, usually as a summary of what we had covered.

    Look on the bright side. If everything in the book is copied then there is no marking.;)
  4. peakster

    peakster Star commenter

    Do it occasionally - not as often as I used to

    Essential things only
  5. grumpydogwoman

    grumpydogwoman Star commenter

    It doesn't really work.

    Not if you actually want them to remember it. Memory works better when there's added effort/emotion/significance etc.

    You're more likely to use it if you have to underline facts and put opinion between quote marks. You have to interact with it. Take the data and put it in a grid. Copy it into a grid. But DO something with it. Or you have to illustrate it. Anything that adds value.

    It's not exactly useless but it's a very poor way to learn anything. You have to adapt it.
  6. Piranha

    Piranha Star commenter

    Lucky you! I have sad memories of entire lessons spent copying History notes from the board. It turned me off the subject completely. It was only when, as an adult, my book club picked William Hague's biography of William Pitt the Younger that I realised that History was interesting. And, later on, helping my daughter with History homework then discussing it with her during her degree.

    My proudest achievement at school was doing almost no work throughout my O-level History course, getting 14% in the mock, reading the entire text book the day before the exam and getting an A.

    To get back to the OP, limited copying of notes as part of a lesson, fine. Lots of it - please, no! If you have to do this, you really have my sympathy.
    ATfan, agathamorse and Lara mfl 05 like this.
  7. saluki

    saluki Lead commenter

    It is September. By October half term the students will be kicking off Big Time.
    So... all these notes in books are to prove to Ofsted that you have taught what you have taught. Good. If Ofsted observe one of your lessons which insist on students copying things in silence you will get an Inadequate. V. Bad.
    This is a Vocational Course. This means the students are Not Academic. They don't like writing. They are active learners. This proves that MATs should not be interfering in areas that they know nothing about. The FE sector knows how to teach vocational subjects. MATs don't.
    Introduce more active learning into your lessons. Then,teach them what they need to know, possibly in a didactic way. Then, give them the choice: they can either write copious notes or they can buy a ringbinder and you will provide them with hand-outs which must be studied stored neatly for future reference - failure to do so will mean that they have to return to taking copious notes.
    Don't ask me about how to defend your printing budget.
    One advantage of handouts is that if students have missed a lesson at least they will have the notes.
  8. frustum

    frustum Star commenter

    Provide the notes in electronic form, require the students to print them out themselves (or copy them out) and put them in their ringbinder / stick them into their books.

    How about giving them the notes with gaps in, and they have to fill in the gaps? Maybe you could get away with claiming it is "differentiation" as you have some students with particular needs. They'll probably think more about the content if they have to work out what goes in the gaps than if they're just copying the whole text.

    Look on the bright side: when you leave in disgust, at least the supplies will be able to put up the presentation.
    cillia, ATfan, agathamorse and 2 others like this.
  9. grumpydogwoman

    grumpydogwoman Star commenter

    Look, this is the modern way. See the other recent thread on here about a DT teacher with a class of 30. No technician. Got some tools and kit and stuff but how can you do proper hands-on activities with 30? In a space that's probably designed for many fewer.

    And what do the students make of it? You elect to do something practical but you end up doing more of the one thing you hate most - writing. Great way to nurture a love of lifelong learning!
    agathamorse and Jolly_Roger15 like this.
  10. oscillator

    oscillator Occasional commenter

    Blazer - you would think that would then mean no marking! In my previous school, I was required to 'mark' and correct all spelling and grammatical mistakes when the little darlings mis-copied (which was often because they were lazy by and large). It was a fantastic use of time.
    agathamorse, Lara mfl 05 and Piranha like this.
  11. Jolly_Roger15

    Jolly_Roger15 Star commenter

    @Piranha: We had a geography teacher like that, who just told us to copy out chunks, or make notes, from the textbook, and answer the questions at the end of the chapters, while he sat at the front glaring at us and fiddling with treasury tags. The most interaction he had with us was when he went around with an ink-roller, putting maps into our exercise books.
    ATfan, agathamorse and Piranha like this.
  12. sparkleghirl

    sparkleghirl Star commenter

    I get students to take notes, yes, by copying. As Lara says though, either the notes are discussed in class or the notes are produced between us (teacher and students) as the result of a discussion.
    Children like having notes to study from, it makes them feel secure.
    agathamorse and Lara mfl 05 like this.
  13. grumpydogwoman

    grumpydogwoman Star commenter

    I only see the value of copying if it's dates, amounts, places or technical vocabulary.

    You don't want the students to make mistakes with any of that.

    Other than that - no copying.
    agathamorse, yodaami2 and Piranha like this.
  14. elder_cat

    elder_cat Established commenter

    Let them have the required texts in electronic format on the PCs. You can then break the content down into chunks, where each segment is supported by some kind of activity - discussion, role play, debate, Q & A sessions, or whatever. They can then spend their time making their own notes to accompany each segment, rather than having to copy the entire content verbatim. If for some reason, you're not allowed to access the computers, maybe consider something like PPT with speakers notes option, printed out for them. They don't have to copy everything, and can add their own notes as required.
    ATfan, agathamorse and Lara mfl 05 like this.
  15. Jolly_Roger15

    Jolly_Roger15 Star commenter

    It was the same in science. Trying to squeeze 30 - 35 students into a laboratory designed to hold 25; not having enough stools to sit them down; no technicians, so we had to prepare all the equipment ourselves, and not enough equipment to make class sets anyway. We cut down drastically on the number of class practicals, as we simply did not have the time to prepare them, and many would not have been safe to do with students nearly falling over each other due to lack of space.
    ATfan and agathamorse like this.
  16. grumpydogwoman

    grumpydogwoman Star commenter

    Well, copying off the board probably worked for Gove. Not sure how much science he ever did. Or vocational subjects. And that's all that counts.


    Did It Work For Michael?
    ATfan, annie2010 and agathamorse like this.
  17. MrMedia

    MrMedia Star commenter

    If you were paying hard cash for this and you were the post 16 student would you be happy with value for money when down the road others are being taught properly?

    Yes, exactly.
    agathamorse and Lara mfl 05 like this.
  18. sbkrobson

    sbkrobson Star commenter

    What is the format of the writing you receive to display?
    If it is in a text document, there are a million things you can do to liven it up.
    Give them 5 mins to read it quietly.
    Give them a couple of minutes to sound out new terminology with the person next to them.
    Then display a pre-prepared mash up of it-you've cut it in half and pasted the two halves the wrong way round, then done the same in thirds-you end up with a sort of puzzle which they need to verbally correct.
    Give 5 mins to dicuss this. Display the original, and you'll hear a few of them say "Aaaaah!". That's what you want, no?
    You could also get them to dictate it to each other-one person sits with their back to the screen. Manage it somehow that everybody ends up with it in their books, but simultaneously get them to read out loud and listen to others.
    Then you could do "bananas". (or whatever random word)You simply replace every seventh word with the word "bananas" and they have to replace it with the original from memory. If you have prep time, you can form a numbered and assessed task out of this.
    You can also read out the text with errors in-they see the correct version, but they listen to you. They have to raise their hand when they hear an error or make a note of your purposeful errors. This is good, because it forces reluctant readers to engage with the written word.
    Ach, there are many things you could do, but I remain perplexed at what you are supposed to do if one of them has literacy issues....there is always a need for somebody to get the thing on a handout.
    Pfft, not fond of such a one size fits all approach, but really -you can be pretty inventive as it stands.
  19. jarndyce

    jarndyce Occasional commenter

    “Right - any more interruptions, and we’ll stop and you’ll spend the rest of the lessons copying notes off the board!”
    “It’s what we do in all our other lessons, sir!”
    Piranha, Lara mfl 05 and agathamorse like this.
  20. yodaami2

    yodaami2 Lead commenter

    Ridiculous. Never heard the like. What a waste of time. Loving some of @sbkrobson ’s ideas.
    Lara mfl 05 and agathamorse like this.

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