The Learning Curve at Minsthorpe
When it comes to learning and teaching, Minsthorpe likes to be at the cutting edge and there is no better way of illustrating this than by describing two initiatives that are currently taking place at the college.
1. Spaced Learning
The Science team are involved with a research project led by the Education Endowment Foundation, Sheffield Hallam University and Queens University, Belfast. Spaced learning is a technique based on the principles of neuro science that have discovered that the repetition of learning, following periods of non-cognitive activity (such as juggling, skipping) strengthen the neural pathways that link to memory. Students receive bursts of intensive teaching broken up by play activities that do not demand the processing of memory. Early studies have shown that, using this teaching method, much more knowledge can be absorbed – and retained – by the brain. Thousands of students across the UK are trialing this method of teaching and their results will be compared to control groups of matched students who will be taught exactly the same scientific content – but in a traditional way. I will let you know the results of the experiment later in the year. If it works it could transform the way we teach content and facts to students and lead to much more effective revision strategies.
2. Video Enhanced Observation
VEO is a revolutionary app which uses the power of video and data for effective professional learning improvement and development in a range of sectors including education, business and medicine. The prototype was developed by Newcastle University in 2014 and it allows professionals to video, tag and review their practice using iPads and iPhones in order to build up a portfolio of best practice that can be used to teach fellow professionals as part of personal development programmes. Teachers will be able to view each others’ lessons virtually and, by using the tags, go straight to areas of good practice such as open-ended questioning, starter activities, classroom management etc. and learn from seeing effective practitioners at work. Twenty eight teachers are going to trial the app at Minsthorpe and to use this to improve their teaching practice.
Level 1 Public Service Students passed out at Castleford Fire Station on Friday 15th April as the final part of their Young Firefighters course. For the past 20 weeks, the students have attended the fire station every Friday working towards a BTEC Level 2 Certificate in Fire and Rescue Services in the Community. Whilst they have learnt a numerous amount of skills specific to the fire service they also have developed life-long skills such as teamwork, leadership and first aid together with work to help them with their college course. As part of their passing out parade they carried out, successfully, two drills in front of parents, fire service staff and Minsthorpe staff. They then received their certificates from the Area Manager for Wakefield and a final photo opportunity.
Two Minsthorpe students run for Barnsley Athletics Club and competed in the Spring Open meeting held at Doncaster this week. Ruby Sullivan in Year 8 ran in the Girls’ Under 15 80m and took part in the long jump, achieving a personal best in the 80m. Charlie Glennon from Year 7 competed in her first ever Track and Field 800m and clocked a season’s best time. Well done girls, an excellent effort!