NQT Professional Enquiries

Our school's NQTs presented their professional enquiries to staff at an in-service session this afternoon, with each one at a different table in the canteen. I was humbled and thrilled by the depth of their thinking, and by the tone and level of their discussions with staff.

I picked up the following key insights from the three enquiries I heard about:

  • female pupils still often appear to defer to male pupils in group discussions. Randomised groups aren't good enough.
  • pupils prefer to work with friends, but the quality of their discussions might actually better when they are with peers they know less well. With the right support they can realise this themselves.
  • we hold enormous power as teachers, and the language we use with pupils can make a huge difference to how they feel about learning and about themselves as learners.
About the ensuing discussions at the canteen tables, I was particularly delighted that:
  • many teachers hung around in conversation with the NQTs long after the session was supposed to have finished.
  • the teachers with whom I shared discussions were genuinely curious about the NQTs' enquiries - open minded about actually learning from the NQTs.
  • the tone of the discussions was so supportive. Not the slightest hint of "yeah yeah I knew that already - I have nothing to learn here".
Now it may be that my presence affected the tone of the discussions in which I participated (I really don't think so), but even then I would be delighted: if teachers think "keeping Jonesey sweet" means being curious, humble and open-minded about pedagogy, they are right!

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