Lazy Teaching with Jim Smith
At the end of 2016, over 50 EOS NQTs and EoETTC SCITT & School Direct trainee teachers gathered at Riseholme College, Lincoln. The aim? To discover a philosophy that shifts the emphasis from teaching to learning. Jim Smith is the author of The Lazy Teacher’s Handbook and when he is not teaching ‘the lazy way’, he is working with teachers and schools around the country promoting the principles of ‘being lazy’. If you are reading this, concerned that Jim is advocating that teachers don’t do any work, I thoroughly recommend that you read his book to find out what it is all about!
During the course of this ridiculously engaging and entertaining day, Jim challenged everyone to consider whose brains should hurt the most on a Friday afternoon…the students’ or the teachers’? Jim encourages teachers to reflect upon the questions that they ask and the activities they design to ascertain whether they are actually encouraging the students in their class to really think; do they engage pupils in productive struggle?
By providing all who attended with with an incredible amount of strategies and techniques – that will work in a variety of contexts and settings – participants left the event with an inordinate amount of material that they could implement in their classrooms immediately. These tried and tested methods are all designed to have a great impact on classroom practice and learning, whilst enabling teachers to ‘reclaim their Sundays’. By the afternoon session, attendees had the opportunity to plan how they would take what Jim had shared and implement it into their own planning.
In the weeks following this event, I have had the opportunity to observe many of the NQTs and trainees that attended. It has been delightful to watch these effective strategies in action. Moreover, because these strategies can be applied in a variety of contexts, teachers are not spending their Sundays reinventing the wheel! A plenary that engages children in effective questioning and self-assessment in maths before lunch, has the same desired effect in science after lunch!
All-in-all, a thoroughly enjoyable, engaging and thought-provoking day that will ultimately have an impact on learning and outcomes for children across the country.