Teaching approaches: The ORBIT Resources
Working with our Resources
While the ORBIT materials may be used 'stand alone', or via exploration of the wiki - which highlights links between resources, lesson ideas, and teaching approaches - you may find it useful to think about how ORBIT could be used in wider Professional Development activities. Figure 1 Working with the ORBIT materials (Adapted from TESSA Working With Teachers, section WorkingWithMaterials).
What are the ORBIT resources?
The ORBIT materials promote interaction and offer ideas for innovative teaching in your classroom to help your pupils’ learning.
Once you have selected and adapted the appropriate ORBIT materials, concentrate on the following
- planning your lesson
- teaching methods
- classroom management
- time management
- assessing pupils’ learning
- thinking about and improving your teaching.
Planning is a continual process that helps you to think and prepare what is needed to help your pupils respond well to you and the content of what you teach.
For your pupils to learn from your lessons they need to be
- interested – if they are not, nothing of any value will take place
- very clear about what you want them to do and achieve.
For further information on planning and preparing your lesson plans, see Teaching Approach Planning page
Things to think about and do before the lesson starts
- An ORBIT activity can take place across more than one lesson period, or for only a short part of a lesson
- Some lessons can take place outside the classroom, but you need to have an alternative plan should the weather change.
- It’s important to ensure you have all the resources you need at hand before the lesson starts
- Organise your classroom to suit the activity
- If you are using technology, have you tested that it still works?
- Before you carry out an experiment, you may want to try it yourself or with your colleagues so that you are confident when trying it out with your pupils.
The ORBIT materials promote interactive pedagogy, however, as a teacher you need to remain involved throughout the lesson, even when your pupils are engaged in group work. For more information on using group work in your classroom, go to the Category:Group work
Do not panic if something in your lesson does not go according to plan. Wherever possible, during your lesson planning, create alternative activities to ensure the success of your lesson.
Things to think about and do during and after the lesson
If you involve people from outside the school in your lessons, ensure you have an alternative plan should they not turn up.
Ensure that your alternative plan fits in with the classroom arrangements already made.
Should something unexpected happen just before or during the lesson
- acknowledge the problem.
- involve the pupils in solving the problem.
- identify parts of the lesson plan that can still take place.
Ensure that you follow up on any promises made to the class.
Teaching and learning methods
Table 2 below shows some important active teaching and learning methods and some of the skills that you will need to use as a teacher.
Table 2 Teaching and learning methods
|Active teaching and learning method
|Some of the teaching skills you need
|Thinking about what your pupils will learn. Being able to build the model yourself.
|Knowing your pupils, to enable you to decide on working groups.
|Giving all pupils an opportunity to participate.
|Identifying what materials you will use to demonstrate. Allowing pupils to handle, draw and discuss.
|Giving all pupils an opportunity to participate.
|Displaying real items (exhibitions)
|Organising your classroom or exhibition space.Thinking how pupils can share their knowledge, e.g. labels.
|Thinking about what your pupils will learn.Being able to play the game yourself.
|Arranging your classroom in advance.Deciding how to divide your pupils.Deciding on a job for each pupil in the group.
|Planning the investigation/inquiry with your pupils.Deciding how pupils will report.
|Helping pupils to discover for themselves.
|Mind mapping/ brainstorming
|Identifying clearly the issue or problem.Letting pupils know the rules.Giving a clear summary at the end.
|Using local resources.Using questioning.
|Helping pupils form appropriate questions.
|Setting out the problem clearly.Identifying in advance areas of difficulty.Thinking of questions which will help pupils.
|Using group work.Helping pupils discover and think for themselves.
|Thinking about the type of question – open or closed.Encouraging a range of pupils to answer.Encouraging pupils to think for themselves.
|Using a variety of ways – oral, posters, etc.
|Defining the research question.Deciding on the research method.Deciding on how the findings will be recorded.
|Using group work to act out a situation.Thinking about where the groups will work – inside or outside of the classroom.
|Giving pupils a clear brief.
|Story telling/folk tales
|Identifying where you can find local and other stories.Using different people to tell stories – you, pupils and local people.
|Student field work
|Planning.Setting clear learning objectives for pupils.Using investigations.
|Using good time management.
(Adapted from TESSA Working With Teachers, section TeachingWithORBIT).
How can ORBIT help develop Interactive Teaching, and benefit my students
How does using ORBIT materials contribute to pupil learning? The ORBIT materials provide a set of high quality, curated resources for interactive pedagogy. Such pedagogy - as is discussed in subsequent strategies - is associated with better learning outcomes.
How does using ORBIT materials contribute to Professional Development? Teachers should reflect on their lessons to determine what worked well, and what did not work well so as to improve teaching, and plan better subsequent lessons. In doing this, some of the questions you could consider are
- What challenges did I have while planning and preparing for this lesson?
- How did the pupils respond to the activities
- (participation, interest, excitement …)?
- What did my pupils learn and how do I know this?
- Were there differences in what they learned?
- Were the outcomes of the lesson achieved?
- What was I pleased about?
- What surprised me?
- What, if anything, was disappointing?
- What difficulties were there in teaching the topic?
- Was there enough time to do the activities?
- Were the resources used appropriate and adequate? (Adapted from TESSA Working With Teachers, section PupilBenefits).
ORBIT resources provide sample classroom materials, related Professional Development resources, and in many instances suggested technological tools to support interactive learning. This combination provides a solid grounding for Professional Development activities in interactive teaching, with applied examples, practical development activities, and current tools highlighted.