Anita Head, year 5–6 team leader at Halswell School, explains how drawing on the individual strengths of her team allows them to provide a more refined programme for their students. Georgia, a year 5 student, comments, "I like having lots of different teachers because lots of them are good at one particular thing, so if you go to them for one particular thing, they can give you lots of really good feedback."
Anita Head: We’ve had to work really hard to develop a sense of community within the learning centre because it can be quite tricky to put six existing classes together and expect them to just work in seamlessly with each other. But, what we have found is that the children actually really enjoy the broad range of interests and backgrounds that they all bring to this community and so it’s actually ended up being a real positive.
Ameya: I like working with different friends, like I made two new friends just because we work in like one big classroom.
Anita Head: Developing student agency has been a really big focus for us since moving into our ILE and one of the aspects of that is our Daily Five programme.
Georgia: Daily Five is where you have several activities and you can choose which ones you want to do on different days.
Anita Head: So in that, they’re choosing which aspects of the programme they’re going to do throughout the week. They’re responsible for making sure that they keep on track with that and get them completed ready for checking by the end of the week. I think our students are more aware of what they need because of the fact that we’re sharing more information with them. You know, it used to be that you did a test and the only person that ever saw it was the teacher but we give all that information back to the students now. They keep it, they highlight the things that they can see are their gaps and then they use that when they’re making choices about aspects of the programme. More and more of our tasks are being shared with the children online now and we love this because it’s giving the children the opportunity to decide where and when they work. It also means that their work can be happening at home and that’s involving the parents too.
Georgia: My Mum and Dad say, they give me feedback and they say, “Oh Georgia, you can work on having more expression in your voice”, and things like that.
Anita Head: We use Hapara as a way of keeping track of what the children are doing online and the children know that we have that access and I think that’s really valuable in making sure that everything that they do online is safe and sensible.
Georgia: I get feedback from the teachers because they have an app on their computers and they can access the links to all of our blogs.
Anita Head: The main benefits for students in an ILE is that the teachers are able to refine the programme to meet the children’s needs. If we think of maths, for example, in a single cell class, you might run three maths groups. Here with six teachers each running three maths groups, we’ve got nine groups so those groups are very finely tuned to what the children need.
Georgia: We can sign up for a hot spot group. Hot spot is when you go to a teacher for 15 minutes before you go to maths.
I like having lots of different teachers because lots of them are good at one particular thing, so if you go to them for one particular thing, they can give you lots of really good feedback.
Ameya: I like having some freedom to plan because I don’t like getting told what to do, I like choosing a variety of things that I can do.