This is a guest blog from Mark Healy, Vice Principal, Arrow Vale RSA Academy, Redditch.
Mark devised the RSA TeachMeet. This is what happened at the first one.
TeachMeet learning in action
It was fantastic to see so many highly skilled and dedicated teachers from the RSA Family of Academies at the first RSA TeachMeet event held at Arrow Vale RSA Academy in Redditch.
A TeachMeet is a group of teachers and educators that have got together to share ideas. These are ideas that they have used in the classroom and that they want to share with a wider audience. With colleagues from Whitley Academy in Coventry and RSA Academy in Tipton negotiating motorways and traffic jams to join Arrow Vale and Ipsley Academies in Redditch, the evening was hosted by Head boy, Tom Bagley, and Head girl Carley Whittaker.
Teachers were first treated to a ‘Being a student in 2014’ presentation by three students in Year 9 (Hollie Willow, Chloe Wiley and Jake Muckle), and were told in no uncertain terms what switches them off learning, but more importantly, what inspires them to learn. The students also highlighted some of the difficulties faced by young people in 2014, particularly around social media and the internet.
Then it was the teachers’ turn! A rapid fire of ideas and inspiration as the audience witnessed 12 x 2 minute ‘nano’ presentations all based around Teaching and Learning. Presentation titles included ‘use of lead learners’, ‘masquerade marking’, ‘high challenge learning mats’, and the intriguingly titled, but brilliantly delivered ‘one useful thing’! The nano presentations were delivered by teachers from all four of the RSA Academies. All of the presenters did a fantastic job – even though we tried to put them off with a 20 seconds to go ‘alarm’!
These presentations were followed by the opportunity to network over refreshments. Then it was the turn of the ‘micro’ presentations. These are 7 minute presentations put together by the real experts in Teaching and Learning at the RSA Academies (or the people that put their hand up last when volunteers were requested!). The group of 50 teachers were split into two to watch a choice of 3 micro presentations. Again, presentations came from all four RSA Academies covering a wide range of topics. Rachel Lomas (Ipsley) got the audience up and running about as she demonstrated a most active and productive way to ensure quality feedback for students. Mat Carpenter (RSA Academy) used theory and a little provocation to get the audience to reflect on what makes great learning. Laura Wilson (Arrow Vale) provided marking and feedback solutions that reduce the amount of teacher time, but increase the outcomes for students. Matthew Purslow (Whitley) looked at positive failure – strategies to overcome a ‘can’t do’ attitude and role model that it is OK to make mistakes, it is what you do next that is important. Gemma Alldritt (RSA Academy) shared the benefits of ‘Keep it Real’ project based learning, and Harriet Barnfather and Simon Lynch (Arrow Vale) got the audience thinking with their learning crossroads idea that promotes student choice in learning.
Overall, RSA TeachMeet was an exhibition of rapid fire expertise and networking packed into two hours at the end of a school day at the end of a long term. The dedication and quality of the teachers within our Academies is impressive, and many email addresses were exchanged to enable the collaboration to continue. Colleagues from all academies went away with new ideas to both try themselves and disseminate within their schools.
More RSA TeachMeet’s in the future? Yes please!
Sharing tips and techniques