Conscience A* Paper 2018

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Charity Event for Sight Support

This year I launched a Philosophy Ambassadors programme designed for a select group of students who wanted to help on Open Evenings, enhance subject advertisement, provide subject mentoring for other students and extra support through study sessions. One idea discussed was organising and running a charity event. Now this is something that I have never done with my students, mainly because I could never think of a way of raising money that was different from the usual fundraising. But loving a challenge, we ran with the idea of a charity event and brainstormed lots of ideas of how to go about it.

The charity we selected was the Yorkshire Coast Sight Support, who support those with sight loss and visual impairment across Scarborough and the wider area. This local charity has a dedicated team of staff and volunteers who organise social groups and meetings and offer assisted technology and equipment essential for people with sight impairments. We decided that for our event rather than collecting money, we would collect donations (e.g. clothes, dvds, books, toiletries, children’s toys, games) for the Sight Support charity shop. After weeks of preparations including designing posters, contacting local schools and informing parents, we launched the event at the start of January. I am very pleased to say that over a three-week period the students collected over 30 bin liners and 20 boxes full of donations to sell in the shop.

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Day One
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Week One
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Week Two
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Finale

We also put a number of collection pots around college including the staffroom, canteen and library. In total we raised over £200.00 for the Guide Dogs as well. I would like to thank everyone who donated and enabled this event to be such a success. Also a huge well done to the Ambassadors for all their hard work!

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Ensuring Questioning Impacts Students’ Learning

Just before Christmas I ran a short CPD session with staff on questioning techniques. Now the difficulty with such an area is that there is no secret ingredient or coverall fail safe approach (like with starters for example, you try an activity and it either works or does not.) However when it comes to questioning, this is not an activity it is a skill, so the first step is recognising what you are currently doing and asking if it is working or not. This is often best supported with an observation, another set of eyes that can listen to the questions asked and the responses given but this is not always the desired approach nor very helpful when running a training session. So instead I turned to my new set of books (and Google of course).

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I started the session by asking staff the reasons why we ask questions. Now I know this is not a very creative start however it was necessary to emphasise that we know as teachers why we question (e.g. to interest, engage and challenge students, to check on prior knowledge and understanding, to focus students’ thinking on key concepts and issues etc) but what the research points out is that whilst we know why we question, very few questions are asked that promote reasoning, problem solving and evaluation or to promote students’ thinking about the way they have learned.

This got me thinking back to my PGCE days and Bloom’s Taxonomy. Now I am not a big fan of teaching fads, however Bloom’s to me is different. Back in the 1950’s Dr Benjamin Bloom, educational psychologist and his team, designed a framework that focused upon Knowledge (cognitive), Skills (psychomotor) and Attitudes (affective). This developed into his Taxonomy, a six stage developmental programme of learning. So within my session I give teachers a blank triangle separated into 6 sections and they had to order the subheadings from least to highest order skill:Annotation 2020-01-16 152849

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