Presentation Evening 2012
The Student Commission is a pioneering project that is designed to encourage greater collaboration and cooperation between staff and students, with the ultimate aim of improving the overall quality of teaching and learning. Students are involved in a wide variety of very different projects ranging from observing staff in lessons with a view to sharing good practice to researching the latest apps for iPads that might be of use to staff and students.
The work of the Commission has started in earnest this year and the students are beginning to have a real impact on the quality of teaching and learning within school. The students that have been selected to be a part of the Student Commission recently attended a presentation evening to receive their Commissioner badges from Mr Longman. The evening was a great success and was attended by staff and governors. Part of the evening was also designed to give some students the opportunities to share with those present some of the work that has already been done, and an update on the progress they have made. You will find below a brief overview from each of the groups that presented.
Learn to Learn – Lead prefects
I have been a student commissioner for 2 years now. I first introduced the programme to my year 7 form last year. It was all new to us and I began to learn more about my approach to my own learning also. A year on, I still see my form around and about the school and we often exchange greetings around school. It is great knowing I am approachable from some of the youngest people. We often catch up and I learn that they are utilising some of the skills we went through last year. They can recall best the more game type exercises and ask me when I will be in next to lead another fun (but also educational) session. It has been great to be a part of the programme. I was part of the design process and have seen my lesson plan carried out and taught. I underestimated the initial effect my input would have however I have found it greatly rewarding knowing my contribution has been highly valuable.
As a member of the Student Commission, I am involved with the Learning2Learn programme. My position as a Learning2Learn prefect involves organising and running form time sessions for year sevens. Such activities engage the students in realising the 5R’s: Reflection, resourcefulness, Responsibility, Reasoning, and Resilience. The sessions are delivered by the Pastoral Prefects in hope for the Learner to realise how they can improve to become a ‘Better Learner’. The activities are meant to make the year sevens think how they can actualise their potential throughout the day, and improve from the things which are said. The aim of the Learning2Learn Prefects (Ellen and myself) is to provide a working collaboration between ourselves and the staff, with the long-term aim of an established partnership. The programme allows us to move away from a co-existence, giving out own input into the sessions, and having the opportunity to organise and plan these.
Our sub group was chosen as active revision because we thought it would aid students in their current and future lives because of all the exams they might be taking could ultimately change their lives for the better or for worse.
Some aspects we would have liked to introduce before we finish would be that we would have many students finding revising for exams not only easier and quicker but also more effective and most importantly fun. We also hope to have introduced a variety of new and different revision techniques so that all students have a choice at which technique suites them best so they can get the most out of their revision time.
One of the most important activities we conducted last year was probably taking on a Geography class of our age and trying to develop their memorising and revising skills on a topic we were doing at that time. We also were given feedback from teacher who also experienced this mini lesson. After this we decided to move on to the languages department as these were subjects that could be revised for and would need revision as they don’t come naturally to us. We proposed a few revision techniques to our teachers and we saw some use of them in classes and we hope that only grows.
In the future we hope to place many videos of revision techniques onto our school website or on pupil shares meaning that it is in either a student, parent or teachers reach ready to be used whenever they would like. We are also looking into taking a year eight LFL lesson and teaching them how important it is to revise but more importantly how they can.
Last year in the student mentoring group, we worked in the languages department. They focused on French and taught five year 8 students on Tuesday lunch times for four weeks. They did activities including learning vocabulary, revision techniques and learning oral pieces. I focused on Latin and taught four year 8 students on Monday lunch times for four weeks. The activities I did included learning vocabulary, learning verb endings and making revision cards. The students showed improvement in end of unit exams in both of these areas
For the oncoming year we are taking a new approach to student mentoring and will be focusing on year 11 students who are about to take their GCSE exams. Matt and Anna are focusing on French and will be using the same techniques but on a higher difficulty level to aid them in getting higher grades in their controlled conditions. For the oncoming year I will be focusing in Biology and will aim to help students get higher grades in their GCSEs.
The transition group are a group of 9 students who work with King's junior school in order to improve the transition from year 6 to 7. We focus on the move because we remember it as the biggest change we had ever experienced ourselves, and at times it was traumatic, therefore we want to help new year 7's settle in quicker. We plan to do this by hopefully making year 6 lessons more similar to year 7 lessons, therefore new students wouldn't feel uneasy because there wouldn't be a massive change. The transition group have already researched learning different styles in both years 6 and 7 by creating a questionnaire (answered by pupils) and by observing lessons in both year groups. From this, we will be able to compare the lessons and see where the major differences lie, and ultimately make them less dissimilar.
As part of the communication, mentoring part of student commission our aim last year was to improve public speaking skills within the school. This is a vital life skill needed in the future, whatever you might go on to do. So we wanted to develop it especially with the younger years who had little experience. We have run workshops with all the year eights and with teachers, to build confidence and give them public speaking skills. This year we want to develop this by running a drop in session at lunchtime so people can easily approach us for help with presentations they have to do and also will be continuing our workshops.
Honda ‘School of Dreams’
Our group attended a ‘School of Dreams’ workshop which helped develop our ideas about learning styles and ways of learning. We now want to pass this information to the rest of the school. At the workshop, we did many activities, from juggling to skygliding (metaphorically, of course!) using different techniques to help us absorb information effectively. We specifically liked the “apache relay”, which involves members of different teams competing small tasks and could be anything from tying a shoelace to drawing pictures. This can be used in many subject areas using different skills. We also had to present an “elevator pitch” which focussed on making what you want to say short and concise for impact. The third idea from the workshop is “reflection” which we did after each activity. This involves thinking about how we did the tasks, what we could do better and which were easy, difficult or interesting.