February 24, 2024


International Student Club UK

The case against Power Point as means of implementing curriculum – David Didau

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Initially matters to start with: I have practically nothing against PowerPoint. As implies for displaying visible information it undoubtedly has its merits. I have no troubles with academics making use of slides to share pics, diagrams or relocating images with student (whilst I do have a number of reservations about making use of it to share text.) My argument below is focussed on the common follow of applying PowerPoint (or any other similar solution) as a suggests of applying the curriculum.

When I started teaching the concept of displaying slides in school rooms was a distant dream. My initially classroom didn’t even have a contemporary whiteboard and I created do with a pull-down blackboard. We did have an overhead projector knocking all over somewhere in the section but the time and trouble of creating acetates meant it was hardly ever utilised.

Lesson plans existed – if they existed at all – in printed strategies of perform. Another person would have long gone to the issues of producing down instructing aims and a listing of a lot more or less wise functions which were being intended to lead to these aims becoming fulfilled. When I prepared lessons I both manufactured them up or adapted the thoughts that highlighted in the scheme of work. Possibly way, I experienced to think about what I wished to do with students in advance of the lesson took area.

Quickly forward a couple of years and I was a new head of division main the process of making detailed strategies of operate for quite much every thing we taught. When a scheme of do the job was prepared, it was distributed to the workforce and then everyone’s lesson slides were collated on the shared region. Occasionally I’d make slides from scratch, in some cases I’d appear by and adapt other teacher’s slides, often I just pitched up with a board pen and a bucket load of enthusiasm. Possibly way, I had to assume about what I wanted to do with pupils in advance of the lesson took position.

A couple yrs afterwards all over again and I’d moved to a new faculty with a senior management role. As section of my introduction to the new English division I provided to approach a sequence of classes on a thing – I fail to remember what – and share the ensuing slides with anyone else. I have a obscure memory of my own classes heading very very well (there had been absolutely no disasters) but it turned out that this wasn’t everyone’s encounter. 1 member of the team came to inform me that the classes I’d prepared had been a little bit rubbish. Taken aback, I requested what had absent completely wrong. “Well,” the teach in concern informed me, “I opened up the PowerPoint and I could not do the job out what to do. The class have been all sitting down there so I just instructed them we were likely to do something else as a substitute.”

And listed here was the challenge: she experienced not experienced to believe about what she preferred do with her students before the lesson took position.

More not long ago, I labored with a team of universities who experienced a centrally prepared English curriculum. Academics were equipped with student booklets and lesson strategies in the form of PowerPoint slides. Crucially, teachers were supplied the explicit instruction that these slides must be tailored for the students in their class. From time to time this happened and in some cases it didn’t. I saw a number of lessons where it was clear that the content material of the PowerPoint was as novel to the teacher as it was to the college students as nicely as loads of lessons where it was similarly clear that lecturers experienced worked to set their very own stamp on lessons.

Every single established of slides experienced specific bullet points of precisely what ought to occur at every single phase of lesson, but it was extremely distinct that most of these guidelines have been for the gain of academics fairly than learners. One particular of the points I modelled was how to acquire out extraneous information and facts so that college students only saw things that were being practical to them and internalising the information and facts I’d exercised to educate. This experienced some good results, but I was still left with an unspecified but pretty sturdy aversion to employing slides to employ a curriculum.

When I began operate with Ormiston, the English department at Ilkeston Academy in Derbyshire received in touch to describe how they were being utilizing the new ambitious curriculum they’d prepared in excess of lock down. The key was to use what they named Instructor Guides. Every single Instructor Tutorial offered annotated model of the texts provided to pupils, instructions on how to train classes to supply the curriculum, and a curated variety of article content and sources developed to assure every single member of the group experienced entry to all the professional know-how they’d will need to train every single part of a scheme of function. They referred to these guides as ‘CPD in a booklet’ and used department time exhibiting just about every member of the workforce how to switch the details in the guides into lessons. Person academics were welcome to set alongside one another their have slides should they want to, but the concentration was quite substantially on working with visualisers to model studying and writing to students.

I took extremely little convincing that this was how we should go about utilizing the OAT curriculum and we set about developing Trainer Guides for the strategies of get the job done we were creating. Though these in some cases supplied suggested instructing routines and structures, in the principal they focussed on specifying as clearly as we could take care of, the written content to be communicated to students and the information necessary by academics to make this a good results.

We produced instruction films on how to use the Teacher Guides and convert them into classes and allowed educational institutions to experiment with training the schemes. Unsurprisingly, this came as something of a tradition shock to lecturers raised on staying provided with thorough PowerPoints. For some the notion of possessing to use the Instructor Guides to plan lessons felt like an unreasonable expectation at first, but most were weaned off PowerPoint with rather minimal criticism. Definitely, there have been plenty of hiccups together the way, but most of the feed-back we’ve been given is that academics have appreciated training our techniques and, via chatting to college students and searching at the operate in their textbooks we can see the top quality of the curriculum shining through.

Planning a curriculum via PowerPoint is terrible thought, even if you make the best slides feasible. We have to keep in mind that the matter we’re instructing is a large area of awareness. Our curriculum samples from that domain to give college students accessibility to highly effective and culturally loaded know-how which they will be supported to use to make this means. If we want students to have a meaningful practical experience of the curriculum, they need to see how tips hook up and branch past the boundaries of lessons. A lesson selects from a curriculum and seeks to distil complexity into a set of pursuits and actions that can just take area within just the confines of 50-60 minutes. There is nothing at all erroneous with the system per se, but it’s the action of getting to decide on that sales opportunities to unforgettable and meaningful ordeals. The difficulty with obtaining lesson slides supplied for you is that anyone else has completed that sampling and deciding upon for you. Unless of course we have interaction with as significantly of the area – or at least as much of the curriculum – as probable just before distilling written content into a lesson we will not know a lot about the articles of that lesson ourselves and this can guide to trainer knowing very little more than their pupils.

But wait around, what about workload implications? What if you centrally plan bullet proof PowerPoints to make sure that ECTs and non-specialist lecturers are thoroughly supported? Would not that be superior than inquiring academics to shell out their treasured time organizing lessons? When the DfE did their workload study back in 2015, the most important criticism instructors designed was about unneeded workload. Operate that feels worthwhile and meaningful is not something most people today are inclined to object to. But continue to, no just one desires to incorporate to the pressure on teachers unnecessarily. It is important to try to remember that on one’s remaining asked to approach from scratch. The Instructor Guides comprise everything necessary to program lessons and the process tends to get 5-10 minutes at most. We attempt to assure that teachers are offered standard – ideally weekly – departmental time to co-system the week’s lessons and to speak even though potential difficulties. All this make a actual variation to teachers’ abilities and subject matter knowledge.

The essence of the challenge: If an individual else options your classes, you don’t understand the curriculum. The most effective you or your college students can hope for is that you learn the contents of the PowerPoint. If you have to go by the process of turning the info contained in a Trainer Manual into a curated encounter for your pupils to interact with, not only will they understand a lot more, so will you.

Below are some examples of Teacher Guides for the OAT KS3 English curriculum.