Jane Clapp has to be one of the most perceptive teachers I have ever spoken to. She has the ability to cut through all the chaff that litters education, all the fads, all the pointless ideas that add little to the quality of a child's experience at school. Listening to Jane is truly inspiring; she just gets what great education is about. She has so many thoughts about how to create a wonderful learning environment that I know she will be coming back another day as we only scratched the surface of what makes her such a good teacher.
In this podcast we discuss ...
- How tiring the end of the summer term can be, but how being inspired by the children is the thing that keeps you crawling to the finish line.
- The importance of the teacher believing that every child can learn successfully. If you don't believe, they won't.
- Asking children to do scary things is fine, as long as you have provided a truly safe classroom environment for them.
- Why children struggle when adults are inconsistent. All children can flourish when they know what is expected of them.
- The importance of having an authentic positive relationship with your class.
- How appropriate routines are essential to create high expectations. So you have to pick what is most important for you and set up routines that children understand. Tell them what you expect, rehearse it endlessly and keep going until they meet it. Don't lower the bar ... ever!
- The fact that rehearsal leads to fluency, so make sure you do this enough for everything!
- How contextual learning makes activities more meaningful to children, but each new context may need revision of key learning. Meaningful contexts provide a real purpose for learning that children enjoy.
- The need to keep learning in each lesson clear. It's easy to overcomplicate teaching, so focus on the building blocks that are essential for each lesson and go deeper rather than endlessly extending tasks. Overcomplicating is rarely beneficial to teachers or pupils.
- Why the tick box approach to writing (such as the endless list of success criteria) actually diminishes the quality of children's work. It can be so exciting for all children to write when they are inspired; sometimes our teaching approach takes away this joy and removes the life from the children's words.
- How using the National Curriculum helps to make learning more straightforward. Activities often morph into to something quite different that children can't understand (studying phases of the moon is one of these).
- The most important thing is to enjoy your class. Don't get het up by all the things you have to do, as some are not of any value. Enjoying your teaching is always important, as is keeping your teaching simple and practising your routines over and over again.