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"Outstanding" teachers from girls grammar showing us how to teach!!

Discussion in 'Mathematics' started by mathsboddeen, Jul 17, 2013.

  1. Rant:

    We are an inner city bog comp school with tricky, disadvantaged children. We are not "good" or "outstanding" according to ofsted so we need "help". The solution in Maths, send over the local girls grammar school Maths teachers to show us how to teach!! Don't get me wrong here. The department is all for shared experiences, reviewing teaching methods, learning new tricks but the result of these "outstanding" teachers is that they have demoralised, humiliated and alienated everyone in the Maths department. I observed one of their lessons at our school and frankly, they were worse than rubbish. They do not have a clue how to teach in this kind of environment and last time, I felt like telling their Head of Maths to F*** off back to his largely middle class children with their largely supportive parents and horse-riding clubs after the fu**wit advice he left us with.Thank god it's the end of term.

    Rant over.
     
  2. PaulDG

    PaulDG Occasional commenter

    Yes they do. They get outstanding results in a school where behaviour is managed.

    Ah, you mean an environment where poor behaviour is "understood"? Where constant disruption and petulance is dealt with by "selective deafness"?

    I'm sure he'd be absolutely delighted. I can't imagine why he'd want to teach somewhere where behaviour ruins lessons and the teaching staff do nothing about it. I know when I saw the BBC headline today about some new report suggesting this sort of nonesense should be the norm I though "great, fight your way through the dross* and finally get a job you can actually enjoy and some stupid politician wants to ruin it for you by making you deal with dross* again!)

    (I would normally say this is the fault of management, but the fact that you're defence includes "how to teach in this kind of environment" suggests to me you don't think the environment could and should change.)



    *"Dross" - I mean the managament who accept poor behaviour, perhaps blaming teachers for it, and who settle for low expectations.
     
  3. mature_maths_trainee

    mature_maths_trainee New commenter

    I think you are foolish to be over-critical of this initiative even if you personally find it demeaning. It's really not about you. For a start, I'd say it's quite brave (and certainly rare) for such teachers to be willing to come and try teaching in a school like yours. I would hugely welcome such teachers coming to some of the schools where I've taught to see if they could make many more of their methods work (I couldn't).

    The critical first bit is whether their lessons were successful. When you say 'they were rubbish', what do you mean exactly and - most importantly - what did the teachers themselves think? We they 'happy' with the students learning?

    Did you agree with their view of students learning?

    Or is your issue that you don't believe such teaching would work on a routine basis? (it may have worked for reasons of novelty, or because SLT were present, or because...).

    Whatever it is, by respectful dialogue you've got a chance to get to the bottom of it and (probably) each learn something.

    MMT
     
  4. Piranha

    Piranha Star commenter

    Yes, the challenges of a Girls Grammar school are different to an inner city Comp, and (for me at least) I would say the former is an easier place to work. That does not stop the teachers there having some good ideas to share, and it does not excuse the negative attitude of the OP. If you go into it assuming the teachers know nothing, you will get nothing out of it.

    By the way, are you saying that your type of school cannot be at least good, or just that you already know how to get there without outside advice?
     
  5. frustum

    frustum Star commenter

    I think how useful it is depends on what the real problems are in the weak school.

    I was sent from a weak school to observe in a strong one (with the whole department). I sat and watched a couple of lessons which were very similar to ones I had delivered in my previous school, but of a type I found very difficult to deliver in the weak school. I really didn't learn anything that I didn't already know.

    More helpful was when the AST from the strong school came and taught my class - I could see how he held their attention, although there was still an element of him being the "visitor".

    I don't think what was really needed was help from a maths department, but properly backed-up help within school to improve behaviour and attitudes.

    It might be different if the weak school is short on maths specialists, or has been very reliant on particular teaching methods, or something like that.
     
  6. What would be a useful control, would be to send us terrible teachers over to teach the largely well-behaved, middle class girls at the grammar school, to see if we are still rubbish.

    The blobbies they sent over to us were really poor and that is even after the pupils were relatively calm because of the 'new teacher' influence (oh, and the observers watching what was going on); they couldn't differentiate for toffee and the materials they had prepared were far too advanced for about 70% of the class; the bottom two thirds made questionable progress and the bottom lot did not make any progress at all; (that's a 'poor' OFSTED lesson, isn't it, because everyone now has to make demonstratable progress?). Like I said, we are all for raising our game and learning new things, but it would be much better if a similar type of school were linked up to ours, and we taught their pupils just to prove it isn't us. This lot they have sent us are frankly destined to be in a girls grammar school for the rest of their lives, and that is to their complete shame. I know I speak for the whole Maths Department when I say **** off, w*******.
     
  7. David Getling

    David Getling Lead commenter

    I expect that the only reason these guys were at your school was because of some misguided social initiative. I'd rather (and positively enjoy) spend a week teaching well behaved, motivated girls than an hour with rat-bag kids, and I bet they feel the same.

    Schools like yours need to have a drill sergeant on call to get your kids into line. And if your management is prepared to pander to their behavior they should be taken out and shot.
     
  8. blue117

    blue117 New commenter

    I don't know if I've missed something here, but the lessons we prepare in our comp have to work harder at keeping the interest; no-one has said these kids are badly behaved - so why all the negativity? I agree with MathsB, as our 'links' in a not dissimilar situation led us to offer some useful (and free) long-term in-service to them, but was repaid by letting down the dept who'd been supporting their teacher. In another area, an exemplar lesson in a grammar school was pitched 2NC levels too low, had no differentiation, no extension work, and belonged in another age.

    Incidentally lessons are never the same with 2 teachers in the room - use video.
     
  9. bombaysapphire

    bombaysapphire Star commenter

    Why is having a job where the kids are co-operative "to their complete shame"?

    I have taught successfully in comprehensive schools for 7 years. I have spent the last year in a private school. It is easier and more pleasurable to teach pupils who want to learn. I will probably stay in this school for a number of years, possibly the rest of my career. I feel no shame for doing so!
     
  10. PaulDG

    PaulDG Occasional commenter

    Differentiation and "extension work"....

    Those come from the need to excuse lack of work from some of the kids in the room - essentially they mean "settle for less from these kids". They're the product of a culture of low expectation.
     
  11. Guish

    Guish New commenter

    There's misuse of the word differentiation. Most of the students in the class do the same exercises. Those who are very quick do more challenging exercises from the book.( if you have a good book). I always keep extra worksheets for those who could get bored in the class as well. The expectations don't need to go that low.
     
  12. DeborahCarol

    DeborahCarol New commenter

    Agree it's not right to have an 'outstanding' teacher from a girls' grammar show teachers at such a comprehensive how to teach. Anyone who has not taught at least...seven days (?!) at sucha comprehensive cannot ever fully grasp just how unfair this is! It would be much better to have 'outstanding' teachers' from comprehensives with similar catchments visit. Although mathsboddeen doesn't do himself/herself any favours with the f*** and f*** that, and his stereotyping of grammar school children, I do have sympathy and understand the anger.
     
  13. I can certainly sympathise with some of what the OP is saying.

    Earlier this year I was brought to book for not using enough 'group work' and sent on a chase around school to see how it 'should' be done. All that anyone could come up with was seeing the Deputy Head working with a nice little group of Year 7s in the library researching 'the Romans'. I didn't find it particularly helpful when working with bottom set Year 11 on a Friday afternoon.

    I was particularly annoyed since I haven't had any problems with behaviour and last year all of my groups met their FFT D targets.

    I did, however, try to make something of a positive experience of it, and spoke to some maths colleagues from other schools. There I did pick up at least a few things that I hadn't previously thought of.

    I always have the greatest of respect for those working in very challenging schools.

    I agree with those who have said behaviour is something that needs sorting out. A lot of the problems stem from the belief that all would be well if only the lazy classroom teachers would get their act together and teach 'interesting' lessons, and that SLT have no role to play in managing behaviour. I'd certainly challenge that view. I think it does have to be a partnership but unless a classroom teacher has some back up they can often be on to a losing wicket.
     
  14. profmatt

    profmatt New commenter

    I think it's terrific when teachers get together and collaborate. Anyone who cares about their subject and their teaching will have developed all manner of really effective approaches. But no-one else knows about them because teachers rarely have time to share. Equally, there will be areas we know we teach poorly and can't seem to get a grip on, yet a colleague down the corridor has a great way of dealing with it.

    What does not work is telling Group A of teachers that they're incompetent and need to be taught how to do it properly by Group B of teachers. Anyone with even the slightest understanding of psychology and group dynamics will realise that such an approach is doomed to failure.

    So I have much sympathy with the OP. There was no doubt a way this could have been structured that would have benefitted both schools. It appears instead to have been cack-handed and clumsy.
     
  15. Piranha

    Piranha Star commenter

    I also sympathise - it must be hard to be poorly rated by OFSTED and then have others held up as experts. I also sympathise with the Grammar school teachers, who probably did not want to do it either. However, I am appalled by the contempt shown to fellow professionals. The Grammar school teachers are likely to be expert at what they do, and there is no shame in that, even if they could not cope in a more challenging environment (and I am sure that some of them could). What is more, the assumption that others don't have a clue is a major barrier to learning from them.
     
  16. m4thsdotcom

    m4thsdotcom Occasional commenter

    Politics and rights/wrongs aside I love watching others and learning from ANY maths teachers.

    Some of the best teachers I have seen have never been rated outstanding, some of the less able ones have played the game and been rated as a 1.

    Regardless I keep an open mind and see if I can take anything from others teaching.
     
  17. rich_m

    rich_m New commenter

    I am very keen however to observe others teach, as it is invaluable in helping you reflect on your own teaching, both things you do well and things you could improve on. Earlier this year we had a triad coaching scheme where everyone had to observe the other 2 staff in their triad (always from different departments). I was grouped with an english and a performing arts teacher, now while the actual lesson content was irrelevant in many ways, the way they approached the teaching was very interesting and useful to see. I will point out however, that the collaborative aims were clearly stated and it was intended as a learning experience, not a critical one. We chose the class we were seen with and the lessons content, no observation forms were used and no gradings mentioned or fed back to SLT (amazing but true). Looking back it was a very useful experience, at the time I was skeptical, but I've definitely picked up a few strategies which I have used since.

    If you go into collaboration with an open mind it can work, but it needs to be set up properly where each party is on the same wavelength. You need to go into anything like this wanting to improve by reflecting on your own teaching, you need to be critical of your own methods and steal, adapt and integrate others methods into your own style.
     
  18. profmatt

    profmatt New commenter

    We had a similar scheme when I worked at a school in the US. It was called peer observation and was strictly non-judgemental. Feedback was offered in the form "I saw this, I saw that". I found it fascinating and very useful.
     
  19. Failiure to provide extension work essentially means, "let every child do whatever is the maximum that the dimmest pupil is able to do." It means, "let the bright kids coast." It's why my sons think that maths lessons are about sitting around waiting for the rest of the class to catch up.
     
  20. bigkid

    bigkid New commenter

    I set what I perceive to be a reasonable amount and level of work for the brightest pupils to do in a lesson and get the rest of the class to do as much of it as they can.

    Rarely is extension work needed.

    I also find that apart from pupils that are profoundly special needs I rarely need different work for the weaker pupils either.

    It's amazing what "weak" pupils can accomplish when they are forced to listen, think and try to do the work.

    Sadly the word "weak" is often misused when "lazy" or "poorly behaved" would be more appropriate.

    I'm not saying I don't differentiate, just that I don't find I need to much.
     

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