Teaching and Learning - How to Use the Units

From OER in Education

4 How to use the study units

The resources have been designed with maximum flexibility in mind. They do not require attendance at external courses. Teachers of varying experience and competence can use them. While they are best used by groups or pairs of teachers working collaboratively, they could be used by an individual teacher (who should still have the support of a mentor or coach). They focus on the classroom as the workshop for professional development. However, while the study units offer flexibility, there is also a need to introduce an element of rigour into their use. Successful changes in practice depend on an understanding of the theory behind the change, so it is important not to ‘cherry pick’.

The resources offer a means by which teachers can investigate and develop a teaching competence or skill in a practical manner that will have an immediate impact on classroom activity and pupil learning.

The way in which the resources are used in a school will depend on the culture of the school, current and competing priorities, resources, and strengths and weaknesses of teaching and learning. It will depend on the maturity and robustness of the schools’ CPD provision. Some possibilities are described in Table 1.

Table 1

Mode of use Advantages and disadvantages
Whole-school use of single unit Provides a whole-school focus on a single set of related issues, and a coherent set of expectations and experiences for pupils but

… could compete with alternative priorities for some teachers.

Subject department use of single unit Provides a whole-department focus on a single set of issues but … may have less impact on pupils if not supported by whole-school approaches.
Whole-school use of a range of units Provides a whole-school focus on strengthening teaching and learning based on priorities identified by audits but … individual changes in teaching and learning styles may have less impact on pupils if not supported by whole-school approaches.
Teaching and learning development group use of a single unit or range of units Allows schools to build expertise and experience of new approaches where whole-staff involvement may not be possible but … may not have significant impact on pupils until new approaches are more widely adopted.
NQT, GTP or trainee use of a single unit or a range of units Based on an assessment of needs and the use of the NQTs’ career entry development profile, could provide a useful ‘rolling programme’ of skill acquisition but … needs to be part of a coherent induction programme and have the support of an induction tutor or mentor.
Use of units across a group of schools, e.g. a LIG collaborative Provides valuable opportunities to share and build on experiences beyond those available in a single school but … confidence and expertise may need to be developed before it can be shared.