Student Leadership, Student voice

Student Perspectives: The Value of Being a Teaching and Learning Ambassador

Aliza Babar – Teaching and Learning Ambassador and Sarah Bonnell School Student

Working as a Teaching and Learning ambassador at Sarah Bonnell School has truly been an enriching experience. Being able to represent students and explore our experience of learning has been a fantastic opportunity to develop our understanding of what makes an effective lesson and how to incorporate the feedback we receive into all lessons.

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As a Teaching and Learning Ambassador, our goal is to ensure all students are working to the best of their abilities and are working effectively when in the classroom. We achieve this through our learning walks, where Teaching and learning Ambassadors are able to observe learning for a brief period of time and have the opportunity to communicate and engage with the students, in order to investigate what environment and what resources they work with best. Importantly, these learning walks are highly confidential between the ambassadors and the teacher teaching the lesson. The entirety of the process is revolved around the students only and not the teacher teaching the lesson.

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Every academic year, the newly selected Teaching and Learning Ambassadors undergo a series of training sessions to ensure they are confident with the process. The series of training sessions that I had participated in were held at Rokeby School, where students from Rokeby School, Lister Community School and Sarah Bonnell School had the exciting opportunity to collaborate and explore some of the key components to effective learning. The sessions were mainly student led, which allowed there to be a much more collaborative atmosphere. Throughout the sessions, we created a ‘learning record form’ which we use to collate our feedback during our learning walks. The experience was definitely helpful as a lot of the knowledge that I carry with me now is a result of those weekly training sessions.

Overall, being a Teaching and Learning Ambassador has helped develop my confidence and how I feel during lessons, and has given me an insight into the development of teaching and learning across the school. It has been a really positive experience for me.

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Marking and Feedback, Student voice

How can effective feedback develop student leadership? 

Sam Walsh-English Teacher and Year 7 Progress Leader. 

Follow him on Twitter: @_MrWalsh_

In my first couple of years as a teacher, I always believed that feedback and marking were the same thing. I felt that these terms were used interchangeably and so, when I was spending hours and hours deep marking books in scribbly red pen, I always assumed that this was just part and parcel of being a teacher.

This assertion is incorrect though. Feedback has various facets to it, but, in its vaguest form, can be defined as ‘some action taken by an external agent to provide information regarding some aspect of one’s task’. Because of this, I set about creating a new way to provide feedback in my Year 8 English class, which would:

1) Dramatically increase the attainment and progress of my pupils; and

2) Dramatically decrease the time I spent marking.

I tried various guises to achieve this: verbal communication which students captured via a pro forma they then stuck in their book; a complex system of highlighters and re-written targets but, the way that proved most successful (100% of students improved their work by half a GCSE grade or more) was a combination of teaching instruction and peer assessment.

As the classroom teacher, I empowered students to accurately assess another’s piece of work, through a series of models and broken down success criteria. Following this, students formed their own triad in which to do the same on their own, and others’ work. After this process had taken place – and I dedicated two lessons to this – students then had a range of written and verbal feedback on their work, ready to re-draft for a final time prior to my final assessment. This final assessment was merely summative, as students had already undertaken a lengthy process of active and independent reflection prior to submission.

It was amazing to see the numerical increase in a student’s progress, but also their developing leadership as they were empowered to be a crucial part of the teaching and learning process.

If you would like to read the full dissertation report following this study, it can be found here: goo.gl/bx1Sai. 

Enjoy.

Student voice

Sarah Bonnell Student Learning Ambassadors

Hi! This is Aimanah and Aliyah, representatives of the Teaching and Learning Ambassadors.

We are extremely excited to be given the opportunity to write the first entry for the ‘SB Pedagogy’ blog. At Sarah Bonnell, we value the excellent teaching that we receive, which consequently enables us to achieve the best in every lesson.

Recently, the Teaching and Learning Ambassadors have been attending training sessions at Rokeby School, collaborating with students at Rokeby and Lister. The training has helped us understand what makes effective learning and how to identify this in the classroom.

This is where you come in. We need your support as we would like teachers to volunteer their lessons to help us implement our training. We would like to undertake lesson looks which will focus on the learning and students NOT the teacher. It is essentially an investigation into how students learn best and what resources are required to enhance this.

Please keep in mind that all observations are highly confidential, focusing on the positive aspects of the lesson only.

We are really looking forward to working with you and capturing what makes learning a fantastic experience for all here at Sarah Bonnell.  

We hope we have persuaded you to get involved in our Teaching and Learning challenge.

Thank you for reading!

Aimanah and  Aliyah