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What Teachers Tapped This Week #42 - 16th July 2018

15 July 2018

And so, the end is near, many of you have just a few more days to go…

But while all the World Cup madness was going, what did we learn from Teacher Tappers? It is a bumper week. Hold on!

1 We learnt about the World Cup

A cool thing about teaching is that you hear about all the latest fads because kids talk about them incessantly. The World Cup was no exception, with pupils getting practising their Harry Kane celebrations all over the playground.

But did teachers also get more excited about the Cup as time went on? They did! For the quarter finals, only 79% of teachers watched along. By the semi-final that went up to 87%!


Clearly teachers didn’t want to miss out on chatting to pupils about it the next day. #Dedicationswhatyouneed


2. End-of-term shenanigans

In a week or two almost everyone will be enjoying school holidays and we have no idea how this will affect Teacher Tapp. Will everyone tap frantically at 3.30pm because they’ve nothing else to do? Or will they be snoring on a beach/lake/sofa and be too chillaxed to care?

In preparation for the change, we wanted to know if people were finishing last week or this week, so we could ask questions accordingly. 

90% of Teachers Tappers are still in school this week. And apparently in some parts of the country you’re still in next week too. Yikes. Here, have another Southgate motivation moment: 

Image result for gareth southgate hug gif



3. Video lessons

The annual moanathon about ‘video lessons’ has started on Twitter. The  ‘never-vids’ have been complaining about the ‘here-kids-pick-a-dvd’ crowd. But how prevalent are ‘video lessons’ in the last few weeks of term?

Last week, 20% of teachers admitted to having shown a film – though only 3% said it was a totally fun film. 

The biggest gulf is between English and Maths teachers, with:

  • 92% of maths teachers saying they haven’t shown a film and don’t intend to, but
  • 53% of English teachers have either shown or intend to show a film

All of which might explain why 39% of people reckon at least one colleague has shown a video this week… they’re probably within earshot of the English department!


4. What’s the point of data?

Collecting data sucks up teacher time. But it’s worth it if reveals issues with pupils, right? Maybe. But, more than half of teachers say that even the smartest use of data hasn’t revealed a new problem with a pupil. Only 7% of teachers said data quite often or frequently revealed new issues.

The people who most learn about pupils problems from data are senior leaders and headteachers. Probably because they aren’t in classrooms doing most of the teaching.

But the million-dollar question is: might it just be quicker to get teachers to send over a list of the pupils who they think are behind rather than sending over reams of data? What would get lost if they did? 


5. Grading lessons observations

Some schools are still grading individual lesson observations – 29% of them, according to our poll.

Who is most likely still being graded? In primary, it is outstanding schools who are more likely to do graded observations; in secondary schools it’s the reverse. 


6. Wither the English textbooks

Textbooks are still a hot topic of discussion in schools. Co-founder Laura was in a school last week where the entire year 11 intervention budget is going into textbooks next year as pupils said that’s they’d found most useful in their studies.

Are textbooks a great source material for creating a curriculum, though? English teachers seem not to agree. 

This isn’t a new trend. Back in December when we asked about this, we found that English teachers are by far the least likely to use textbooks

And it looks like that trend continues, with primary teachers following closely behind.

Given what we know about the marking loads of English and primary teachers, are there gains to be had in creating better textbooks for both groups? Or is the resources market doing a good enough job catering in other ways?

7. Hesitation, Deviation, Repetition

Beyond textbooks, a second government plan for reducing workload is the providing more lesson plans. But teachers often say they don’t like having to stick to a rigid plan. 

Given this, we wanted to know how often do teachers move away from the lesson plans to respond to pupils’ thoughts and interests?

Almost everyone deviates at least sometimes, and most teachers say it happens often.

We thought it might be very different across subjects, but there’s not as much variation as you might expect . (Bar maths teachers, who are a bit more of a stickler for plans).

Who would you expect to deviate more from lesson plans? Experienced or inexperienced teachers? Our hypothesis was that experienced teachers would feel most comfortable deviating from lesson plans. But that only seems to be the case in primary…

Deviation from lesson plans therefore doesn’t appear to be a factor related to subject or experience, it just seems to be a thing most teachers do! One to keep thinking on. 


8. Illusory Superiority

The Lake Wobegon effect is the tendency for people to overestimate their abilities in relation to others. It’s also sometimes called Illusory Superiority. 

We’ve written about it before, back when we showed that 89% of Teacher Tapp panellists felt their teaching was above average!

This week, the effect was back. 64% of Teacher Tappsters felt that they really love children and enjoy spending time with them more than other teachers do. And only 11% disagreed with the statement. 

One reason why people may score themselves highly is because they ignored the comparative element of the question. Instead, they just thought about how much they enjoyed spending time with children and so clicked ‘agree’ to reflect that, rather than as a comparison to others. 

But there’s an important lesson in these results. In education debates, people can fall into a trap of thinking they care more about children than those who are disagreeing with them. Actually, this result shows that most people feel they care at least as much about children as you do, if not more so. Hence, when arguing with other teachers, it’s worth bearing in mind that they are likely to deeply love and enjoy spending time with children. Always assume good intent. Then get on with arguing about the content at hand!


9. Newsletters! Get your Newsletters!

As we sit scribing our weekly blog, it appears that around 30% of you are in schools that do the same. But some schools only produce a pare” alt=”” />

Note the massive difference between how often primary and secondary schools publish newsletters.

Chicken-or-egg Question Time: Does parental engagement drop off at secondary school because schools don’t send things like newsletters, or do secondary schools not send them because parents don’t pay attention? Answers on a tweet please… (to @TeacherTapp)



10. Finally, as ever, we learned that you really love our daily tips, so here are the links for last week:

But that is not an assessment

The memory and retaining information

Powerful pauses

Teaching about infinity

Personalised learning and technology

Saving time in September


Right folks – over and out for another week…

In the meantime, keep sharing what we are doing. Here’s a powerpoint slide (with script), a PDF, and a black-and-white one-pager to help. 

Remember, we need more of you before we can do the really exciting and detailed analysis!

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