It was lovely to hear a fellow Norn Irishman at ILILC and Ryan delivered a very impressive session on investigative learning. He did his examples using History rather than focus on one language.
John Connor @bootleian got a shoutout here with his belief (and mine) that we need to move from being the sage on the stage to the guide on the side. ie we need to move away from giving the pupils everything. The temptation is to give them the answers but that doesn't move them on as effectively in their learning. Ryan also pointed that authentic collaboration is where pupils are working together on a task that genuinely needs more than one pupil to work it out, rather than a group of pupils doing a task that could easily be done by one pupil.
So what do good investigations have?
A shared outcome
- Confusion to a) heighten challenge b) induce engagement. Engagement not fun, two different things. Gave them all time activities at the start of the lesson and worked backwards
- Extreme challenge (throwing students into the "Learning Pit") throw them in and let them climb out at the end - James Nottingham
- Group-based investigation
- Independence (silent beginning, cryptic instructions) eg our starter activity here
- A roving, "prompting" teacher - to help them along with
Ryan ended the session by showing us a 14 minute video which had been recorded over an hour's lesson with him and a class of above average pupils. The key points were:
- There were paper signs for start of lesson - Hola and Sentaos por favor, rather than him speaking.
- First activity on board - unscrambling. The pupils started to talk to each other. Activity 1 was blue tacked under the desk - the groups had to organise words into sentences. The group discussions were very insightful.
- Activity 2 A sentence on the board said "Comparatives always bracket a noun - ¿estás de acuerdo?" (Do you agree?) There were Spanish phrases stuck up round the room. There was an icon of Eyes on the screen as a clue along with a series of comparatives in English to translate.
- Activity 3 was a series of sentences which started with half Spanish and half English and worked towards full sentences in English to translate into Spanish.
- Activity 4 was to rank the drugs from least addictive to most addictive.
- Finally there was a Plenary on whiteboard
This was an excellent lesson and an impressive session overall. The pupils were working at a high level with very little input from their teacher and even those who struggled were engaged with the tasks. I enjoyed this session and look forward incorporating ideas into my lessons.