Ten teaching techniques to practise – deliberately.



It’s a well-established idea that, to develop expertise in a particular skill or technique, you need to practise. The more you practise, the better you get.  As outlined by the excellent people at Deans for Impact in their Practice with Purpose document, it helps to identify a specific element of your teaching to practise on and then focus very deliberately on improving in that area.

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Instead of flitting from one thing to another, dipping in and out, the suggestion is that teachers would do better to select one thing from all the options and try hard to keep at it until the practice feels more like a habit. This approach absolutely applies to numerous elements of behaviour management and most of the Silver Arrows I highlighted in this popular post.  However, for this post I wanted to focus on pedagogical elements of teaching.

Here are ten things you might want to…

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A brief guide to handling emails

Chris Eyre on Teaching

In my book ‘the elephant in the staffroom’ I briefly mentioned dealing with email, citing one interesting statistic from John Freeman’s that American corporate workers spend up to 40% of the day dealing with email, in the last few weeks I have been thinking a lot more about the teacher’s relationship with email and would like to extend my thoughts.

Email is almost always a disruption.

– You are in the middle of a lesson and you get an email reminding you of something you haven’t done.

– You are productively working through your to do list in the office when emails keep pinging – you just check because it may be important.

– You are sitting down to watch TV with your family and an email arrives at your device. Your mind is transported back to work.

Email is always a distraction from the thing that you are actually…

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How to Transform Any Team of Experts into an ‘Expert’ Team (Part 2)

3-Star learning experiences

Mirjam Neelen & Paul A. Kirschner

In our previous blog on this topic (Part I), we discussed the existing research on how to help a team of individual experts become an expert team. In that blog, we concluded that learning and performance interventions increase team performance but that it wasn’t particularly clear what these interventions should look like.

So, we dived a bit deeper to explore what research is out there to answer this question. The guidelines we’re using here are from Burke and colleagues (2004) but we adapted them to make them broad and useful for both learning professionals and managers. Before beginning, we’d like to emphasise that the example is quite ‘generic’, simply because the scope of research on team effectiveness and development is very broad and the constructs involved are extremely complex (see Part I of this blog for an overview) and it’s simply impossible to capture…

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How to Transform Any Team of Experts into an ‘Expert’ Team (Part 1)

3-Star learning experiences

Mirjam Neelen & Paul A. Kirschner

The global and technological nature of markets has caused organisations to increasingly struggle with staying competitive. To achieve this, they need to work more effectively, efficiently, and/or innovatively in carrying out ‘complex cognitive work’.

To accomplish the complex work successfully, organisations rely on interdisciplinary and cross-functional high performing teams (Lovelace et al., 2001). Examples of such teams can be found in all kinds of ‘industries’, such as healthcare (Burke et al., 2004; medical or rehabilitation teams), product innovation (Lovelace et al., 2001; design teams), education (Shibley, 2006; teaching or academic teams), …

But a team of experts isn’t the same thing as an expert team just as a football team of superstars isn’t necessarily a super team. The question is, what does it take to ensure that a team of experts isn’t just ‘ordinary’? As Delise and colleagues point out in their 2010 article…

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