The London East Teacher Training Alliance (LETTA) recently hosted a workshop for early career teachers, a vibrant group who have shown remarkable resilience and adaptability in their first year, absorbing a wealth of information and swiftly adapting to the dynamic landscape of education. The attendees, representing a diverse range of schools across East London, gathered to delve deeper into the nuances of subject-specific pedagogy.
As a frequent visitor to LETTA, it's always a joy to facilitate these sessions. The enthusiasm and commitment of these teachers to their professional growth never cease to inspire. This workshop took a hands-on approach to explore key concepts such as topic planning and critical thinking, essential components of effective teaching and learning.
Topic planning is a crucial skill that helps teachers structure their lessons in a way that optimizes learning. It involves breaking down a subject into manageable chunks and sequencing them in a logical and coherent manner. This not only makes the content more digestible for students but also allows teachers to scaffold learning effectively.
Critical thinking, on the other hand, is about teaching students to think for themselves. It involves developing students' ability to analyze information, evaluate arguments, and make reasoned decisions. In an age of information overload, fostering critical thinking skills is more important than ever.
The workshop also addressed the importance of differentiating learning and making learning visible, particularly for neurodiverse students. Differentiation involves tailoring instruction to meet individual needs. Whether it's through content, process, product, or learning environment, differentiation ensures that all students, regardless of their abilities or backgrounds, can access and engage with the curriculum.
Making learning visible, meanwhile, is about making the abstract concrete. It involves using visual aids, manipulatives, and other tangible resources to represent and explore concepts. This is particularly beneficial for neurodiverse learners, who may process information differently.
Preparing the next generation of teachers is a responsibility we take seriously. These early career teachers are the future of education, and equipping them with the right skills, knowledge, and mindset is crucial. They need to understand the principles of effective teaching and learning, and they need to know how to use evidence to inform their practice. Evidence-based teaching involves using the best available research on the learning process to guide teaching decisions. It's about being responsive and reflective, constantly questioning and refining one's practice in light of the latest evidence.
In conclusion, the LETTA workshop served as a platform for early career teachers to deepen their pedagogical knowledge and skills. By focusing on subject-specific pedagogy, topic planning, critical thinking, differentiation, and visible learning, the workshop equipped these teachers with the tools they need to thrive in their roles. As they continue their journey in the world of education, they carry with them the principles and practices that will enable them to make a real difference in the lives of their students.