Today I have been thinking about how the ‘learning’ centred approach training with Di Pardoe has transformed our school. We had the training back in February and since then the classrooms have truly undergone massive changes.
Children now talk about themselves as ‘purple’ learners and they are aware of the values of resilience and tenacity. They are constantly thinking about how they can further challenge themselves which is now evident in their work. As part of this the teachers constantly talk about ‘learning’ in a whole new way.
At the start of September, teachers will have conversations with the children about their learning. As a class they will think about what helps their learning and what blocks their learning. This forms part of a class display which focuses on learning. Some of the younger classes actually have ‘purple buses’ to highlight those children who are working as ‘purple learners.’ During lessons they work towards being on the purple bus.
We are starting our year off with Di’s training again on our Inset day in September. Our partnership schools are joining us as we move into the second phase of this approach.
However, as I have been thinking about this, I have been pondering about ‘displays’ generally in the classroom. Most schools I have been in haven’t been too preoccupied with this, but I am actually thinking about ensuring that every classroom has certain displays in them. Displays need to be helpful for children’s learning. Yes, we need some that celebrate achievement, but the rest must serve a ‘purpose.’
If I was to think about it – all classrooms should have a ‘working wall.’ Now, what I mean by this is that for English and Maths you should have one large display at the front of the class that is constantly changing on a day by day or at the most week by week basis. This display should have success criteria or pertinent facts or vocabulary words that relate to that week’s objectives.
Further, there should be the ‘learning’ focused display (i.e. based on Di Pardoe’s work) which the children have all added to. Ideally, I would also like to see a display in the classroom which shows children’s input into the curriculum – like post-its with ideas about what they know already about a subject or what they would like to learn.
I like boards that are interactive, that make children read them and take notice. Boards that change ensure that children don’t ignore them. They need to know that there are certain places in the room that can actually help them with their work.
It would be really interesting to hear what other people think about this. What does your school do in the way of displays? Do you insist on certain boards in classrooms? Let me know your thoughts.