This term I have started a series of weekly coaching planning / teaching sessions with the teachers at our school. Essentially it involves a 30 minute conversation about their plan for a session, after which they might tweak a few points. The following day they teach the session with myself joining the class. At times I might ‘tag in’ and make a contribution, at other times we will both step back and analyse the learning and other aspects together while it is still in progress. We find that we both learn from this process.
What we have come to realise is the importance of SUAE (yes I agree it’s not catchy and no I can’t work out how to pronounce it either: maybe ‘sway’)
Succinct: short & precise teaching, instructions and clarity of the Learning Aim and Success Criteria.
Understand: Giving pupils time and varied opportunities to develop their understanding and explore questions and queries.
Apply: Ensure opportunities are given in the session and many following sessions to apply this learning in a variety of contexts.
Embed: The learning then becomes a habit for the pupils. (In a similar way to the subconscious way I change gears when driving a familiar route).
What I have also realised more and more is how important these words and this process are when developing staff and moving a school forward. My school has only been open 4 terms – so we have many aspects still to develop, and currently only 3 class teachers – so not a huge amount of capacity to share the workload. Although I know where I want us to go as a school, the short-term priorities require SUAE.
Succinct: Clear, precise and a small number of key priorities to focus on.
Understand: Time to discuss, debate, observe, trial… these key priorities.
Apply: Opportunities without high levels of risk to trial and develop these practices in a range of subjects, classes and contexts. Observing others and engaging in professional dialogue and sharing feedback.
Embed: I need to ensure these priorities become second nature before moving on fully to new priorities.
With the best will in the world, whether with pupils or adults, new learning needs to be clear, understood, practised and part of everyday automatic practice if it’s going to have impact.
And it doesn’t have impact, it’s pointless.