It was Sunday the 23rd of Feb – last day of half term break, I sat there thinking, what am I supposed to teach my year 13s tomorrow?
They are a high ability group, and I feel guilty at times that the lesson is dictated and lead mostly by me.
What can I do to facilitate a lesson rather than control it? How can I get them to discuss and debate Psychology content in depth, and also minimise my planning time? On average, planning a A level Psychology lesson complete with resources etc takes me up to 2.5 hours plus!
Then suddenly it hit me!
Why don’t I print off resources and handouts from other sources and use this as a guide to direct the lesson and meet the lesson objectives. Year 13 being a small group, I can even move the furniture round and create a small boardroom environment (I’m really a secret Alan Sugar fan…), and have sheets ready on desk and facilitate the lesson through various levels of questioning. A bit like a conference. I present… Conference Style Teaching!
This is a massive contrast to my usual ‘death by Powerpoint’ lesson. The content is explained by me, questions are asked, but for the students, the focus seems to be more on ‘I need to get the notes down before Miss moves on’. Today’s lesson using the ‘Conference Style Teaching’ was probably one of the most productive and vocal lessons we have ever had. It was student-led and progressed at a great pace.
We read together as a group, exchanged our thoughts, connected it to previous learning demonstrated synoptic skills and even got into a full-blown debate about whether any psychology experiment can be generalised to anyone at all.
As the student feedback was so positive at the end of the lesson (they noted their thoughts on Post Its), I decided to tweet about my mini success:
Our TL Leader suggested the 5 Minute Research Plan, and I instantly felt the need to look into it. The more I read about it, and the potential positive impact it can have on my teaching practice, the more I wanted to research Conference Style Teaching and its impact… hence the start of this micro-blog.
I am currently looking for research papers, teaching practice, thoughts etc, from anyone and everyone regarding Conference Style Teaching so feel free to offer some ideas!