A new or redesigned GCSE curriculum, or indeed any curriculum should think carefully about student learning. Learning can be defined as knowledge that is permanent, can be applied to a new context and transform students understanding of the world.
So when designing a geography curriculum from scratch there are several strategies we can use to ensure effective student learning. This blog post here explains some research informed strategies.
Flipped home learning is linked to a ‘do now‘ (see Doug Lemov ‘Teach Like a Champion‘) activity as routine. Students are explained the importance of such home learning tasks and consequently there is high level of HL completion. Students come prepared to the lesson having studied a video or pages from a text book at home. The beginning of a lesson is an opprtunity for students to share their learning collaboratively and explain misunderstandings. The teacher can intervene with students who demonstrate misconceptions. For example, a lesson on cliff collapse was prepared for by students completing notes on the factors that lead to cliff collapse. This both linked to prior learning about mass movements and included note taking from the text book. Students were set the ‘Do Now’ question ‘Which factors lead to cliff collapse?’
Students are also asked to make a weekly flashcards on topics covered. This allows for preprartion for practice assessments and the spacing and interleaving of practice. Students must retrieve the weeks learning by making the flashcards themselves and when using the flashcards, can shuffle the pack which allows further interleaving when revising.
Regular recall and retrieval practice is encouraged in lessons. For example short quizzes are used to retrieve subject content covered several week previously. The nature of the ‘Coasts’ unit means that students must apply processes to the formation of landforms and geographical events. Regular practice of linking process to landform is practiced. Multiple choice tests are carefully created, these allow for spacing and interleaving. Questions can be included from across units for example. They can also demonstrate if a student has mastered a particular concept. Some schools are desinging post levels assessment systems based on questions. At the recent ResearchEd conference, Daisy Christodoulou got me thinking about how to design multiple choice questions, especially making parameters difficult to get right just by chance. For example, by having multiple options.
Students complete regular practice assessments that tell both them and I the areas they have mastered and those areas that need further study. They will complete several of these with the aim of being fully prepared for an end of unit assessment, that are cumulative. Exam questions used from various units, derived from edited past paper questions, further interleaved and spaced practice.
The use of technology, specifically google forms are a useful tool along with the flubaroo app to create self marking tests.