Learning & Teaching

I offer my warmest welcome to our students and parents. As an Aylward Academy student you are about to embark on an adventure in your schooling that will be exciting, challenging and rewarding.

The main objective for your teachers at Aylward Academy is to support your learning and help you gain the best out of your education. We want to build upon all your strengths and overcome your weaknesses, but never forget the most important person to ensure you achieve your huge potential and success is yourself.

The teacher you will get to know very quickly is your form tutor. He or she will meet with you every morning and is the first person you must inform if ever you feel worried about anything at school. It is important that even the smallest of problems or worries are dealt with quickly and effectively. Your form tutor will of course be most eager to hear all the good things that happen to you both in and out of school.

Rewards are a vital part of your time at Aylward Academy and, where credit is due, it will be given. For example, students who achieve 100% attendance receive significant rewards. These are presented in our celebratory assemblies. We also regularly reward form classes for excellent attendance and behaviour through educational visits.

Success at Aylward Academy is about taking full advantage of the great opportunities presented to you every day, applying yourself to your studies and embracing every subject. Your success depends on how enthusiastic you are to improve and dedicate yourself to your studies.

Let’s do the right things from day one!

Mr. Lamb, Vice Principal - Teaching and Learning 

Policy for Learning and Teaching

“I have come to the frightening conclusion: I am the decisive element in the classroom. It is my personal approach that creates the climate. It is my daily mood that makes the weather. As a teacher I possess tremendous power to make a child’s life miserable or joyous. I can be a tool of torture or an instrument of inspiration. I can humiliate or humour, hurt or heal. In all situations it is my response that decides whether a crisis will be escalated or deescalated, a child humanized or dehumanised.”

Ginott 1972

Underlying Principles

Aylward Academy’s primary function is to promote the learning of our pupils. This policy seeks to provide a clear framework within which teachers, students and other adults can consistently and effectively contribute to this end. We believe we are a learning academy because our academy’s philosophy accepts the following:

·         Teachers are reflective practitioners: they accept that they can always find new and more inspiring ways of teaching a subject.

  • Pupils and teachers alike can always learn and improve. We are never too old to learn new methods and take on new ideas.

Creating a Climate for Learning

Teachers teach more by what they are than by what they say.


Teachers and teaching assistants in this school strive to create relationships with pupils within a learning ethos in which pupils can thrive because they:

  • know that they are valued as people and that their responses will be treated with courtesy and consideration
  • recognise that making mistakes is part of learning
  • have their differences recognised and respected
  • know what is expected of them and are able to achieve what is expected and do not consistently meet and accept failure
  • understand and model good behaviour for learning

Teaching for Learning

Planning

Teachers are expected to have a good knowledge and understanding of the subjects they teach, the expected levels of attainment, the national strategies, knowledge of the syllabus and the pupils in their care. Such knowledge and understanding enables them to plan effectively by taking into account the pupils’ previous learning and attainment in order to set clear learning objectives and by matching explanations, questions, tasks and activities to those objectives. Teachers are expected to plan so that they:

  • ensure the Teaching and Learning cycle is followed and pupils are provided with the opportunities to think, talk, read and write
  • use specific learning objectives for each lesson
  • wherever possible use a wide repertoire of appropriate teaching strategies, approaches and questions taking into account the range of pupils’ learning styles, abilities and needs as outlined in the Academy’s teaching toolkit
  • provide an appropriate level of challenge in lessons for pupils of differing attainment and stage of language acquisition
  • give pupils the opportunity to engage in problem solving and investigative work, gain first hand experience, where possible and practise and apply both newly acquired and established skills and knowledge
  • provide, as appropriate, homework to further and consolidate pupils’ learning
  • ensure the role of support staff during the lesson is planned for
  • always make use of data from assessments, where appropriate, to assist in meeting the learning needs of their pupils
  • plan SOL that allow for progression over time, thus enabling pupils to make the 4 aspirational levels of progress that Aylward Academy aims for every pupil to make

The Learning Episodes

Pupils learn best when they understand what they are to learn from the tasks and activities in which they are involved. In lessons pupils are expected to:

  1. Understand the context of the lesson/topic/learning objectives and consider what they already know about the topic from prior experiences and/or prior learning and what they would like to know about the topic where appropriate – this is generally appropriate where a new topic is being introduced
  2. identify keywords, match them to definitions and then place them in context within a text.  NOTE – a text can be written or spoken
  3. work collaboratively to begin constructing a text. NOTE – written or spoken. Pupils will be supported through peer support/appropriate scaffolding/differentiated resources
  4. demonstrate the learning independently by producing a text. NOTE – written or spoken

Assessment for Learning

“AFL occurs throughout the learning process. It is what good teachers do all the time through their interactions with the learners during the lesson”

Pupils learn best when they understand what they have done well and where and how they can improve. In every lesson pupils are expected to

  • know where they are on their learning journey and be able to articulate their next steps they have to take to make the expected levels of progress
  • Use AFL strategies regularly to show they are learning and working towards the set objectives/targets
  • Use mini-plenaries regularly to show how the episodes are linked to the objectives and to celebrate successes or address misunderstandings
  • Be encouraged to improve in line with the learning objective/outcome/target;
  • Respond to teacher’s verbal and written feedback
  • Respond to comments and assessments made by their peers

Plenary

Pupils learn best when they are encouraged to assess their own performance and where teachers use assessment to plan their next stage of learning. At the end of every lesson pupils are expected to:

  • Demonstrate new learning and progress and/or apply new learning to different context in line with the learning objectives
  • Be provided with opportunities to assess their own work and the work of their peers against the success criteria
  • Understand the next stage of their learning
After the lesson

Students should be given the opportunity to consolidate learning through appropriate homework activities as per the Academy’s homework policy.


Responsibilities

It is the responsibility of all teaching staff to adhere to this policy and ensure there is a consistent approach to teaching and learning. Curriculum Leaders are responsible for their Faculty. They must ensure, through lesson observations, walk-throughs and learning walks and other forms of monitoring, that the policy is being followed.

Review of the Policy

The policy will be reviewed Summer 2013