The Team Sky Approach to GCSE PE – Marginal Gains in every lesson

This guest post was kindly written by Michael Davison – @davisonpe

In this second post on the Team Sky approach to GCSE PE, I am going to talk about some tools which could be used and embedded in every lesson to help achieve marginal gains in pupils learning.

It is important to remember that these are tools which need to be embedded and become constant to have an effect on learning. I have used these tools with two GCSE PE groups and have done so ever since their first lesson. These are now things which pupils expect in their lessons and because of that they have had a real positive effect on developing pupils learning and their independence.

Learning Diaries

At the start of every lesson, whether it be Practical or Theory, each pupil completes their own personalised Learning Diary.
These diaries are documents where pupils fill in what they learned in their previous lesson. These are always completed within the first 3 minutes of the lesson and allow pupils to review previous learning and make links to their current lesson.
As well as making these learning links these diaries also include information on pupil’s target, modular and homework grades so that they can clearly track their progress and check/review targets in every lesson.

A copy of the learning diary that I use can be downloaded from here.

Commercial Breaks in Lessons

It is often noted in education that pupils of different ages and abilities have different concentration spans and will therefore become distracted or disengaged in lessons at different times.
One way to try and keep every pupil in the lesson engaged at all times is by introducing commercial breaks.
These breaks take place every 15/20 minutes and last between 2/3 minutes. During these breaks pupils take a break from their learning or task by watching a motivational sports video. After the break is over pupils go straight back into their learning, more engaged and much more focused.
It is important to remember that these breaks are short; sharp breaks to refocus and motivate students. They are there to benefit learning, and improve pupil’s progress. One of the video’s that I have used can be viewed below.

Pupil Observations

The final tool which is constant in all lessons is one which has the biggest marginal gain, but is also the most controversial.
A lot is made in education these days about lesson observations, the purpose of them and what they actually do for teaching and learning. From a personal point of view I see observations as a useful tool in shaping learning, progressing pupils and increasing achievement, however only if they are done by the pupils.
In every lesson you have 20/30 pupils who need to make progress in their learning so who better to feedback on the lessons than the pupils themselves.

In every lesson 1 or 2 pupils complete a Pupil Feedback sheet which lets them evaluate their learning in the lesson. Pupils comment about the objectives of the lesson, if they have worked in groups and if they feel they have made progress and more importantly how.
Pupils also list 3 ways in which they have been successful in their learning and 3 ways in which they feel their lessons could be improved to develop their learning further.
This type of feedback gives accurate and instant feedback on the lesson from those people that really matter most, the pupils themselves!

If you would like to use Pupil Observations within your lessons, there is a copy of my Pupil Feedback Sheet on the @pegeeks website here

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