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At Harris Academy Rainham we want our students to engage with the greatest that has been thought and said and to strive for greatness themselves. In order to embed this ethos, our teachers need to keep up-to-date with current literature, teaching pedagogy and subject advances. In order to achieve this, we have the following opportunities for our staff.
Theory Aligned Practice (TAP) workshops
These weekly workshops link with our Academy’s learning principles:
- Students think hard
- Students grasp new ideas
- Students embed learning in their long-term memory
- Students address gaps and misconceptions
- Students are curious and thirsty for learning
We base our training around a recommended book and deliver workshops which allow our teachers to experience current literature, engage in debate and try new strategies in their classroom to maximise challenge, memory retention and curiosity within our students. For example, we have based a workshop around the cognitive science book Why Don’t Students Like School? by Daniel Willingham. Examples of recent sessions include the following.
- People are naturally curious, but we are not naturally good thinkers. How do we create the optimal conditions for students to ‘think hard’?
- ‘Imagination is more important that knowledge’- a session disagreeing with Einstein.
- Memory is the residue of thought, so how can we get students to remember something?
- How can we cheat the limited capacity of students’ long-term memory?
- How can I incorporate practice into my lessons? What sort of practice best supports the acquisition of knowledge into students’ long-term memory?
Teachers book club
Learning is a never-ending cycle. Everyone always has something to learn. With this in mind, we have a teaching book club. A book is chosen by our lead practitioners and all members of staff are encouraged to sign up. This year already we have 26 members of staff (teaching and non-teaching) involved in our book club. Books we have read include, for example, Boy’s Don’t Try? by Matt Pinkett. We are all very excited to meet as a group to discuss our thoughts and feelings from the books we read. We will then work as a team to explore ideas and embed strategies within our Academy relating to this book, ensuring that we have a whole school impact.
We also provide other fantastic research and books for our teachers to explore. We have an expanding teaching library where teachers can sign out books. This is found in our new professional learning room - a purposeful space for meetings, feedback and small group T&L sessions.