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An Ethic of Excellence in the Classroom A Passion for beautiful work….

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Presentation on theme: "An Ethic of Excellence in the Classroom A Passion for beautiful work…."— Presentation transcript:

1 An Ethic of Excellence in the Classroom A Passion for beautiful work….

2 Just one teacher’s core belief? I believe that work of excellence is transformational – Ron Berger Because it leads to a new self image An appetite for excellence Builds pride in excellence books.usa

3 How do we aspire to this vision of excellence in action? Shift the focus of our work in the classroom from quantity to quality To enable an Ethic of Craftsmanship To enable An Ethic of Excellence

4 Essential First steps… Become an Archiver of Excellence… Start your lessons with a taste of excellence. Introduce your students to models of great work by their predecessors – allow them to see themselves as standing on the shoulders of giants. Admire the work; explore and discuss its power. Set excellence as the aim. Carry portfolios of excellence forward into the future.


6 Three Dedicated Toolboxes A School Culture of Excellence Work of Excellence Teaching of Excellence

7 A School Culture of Excellence Is it cool to raise your hand in class? To do homework? To love every brick of your school? Schools need to consciously shape the culture of their schools so it’s cool to care. They need to make peer pressure a positive force for creating respect for work. The power of the culture rests in the community.

8 We need to consider school as an experience… What does a student go through in the course of a day? How does a student behave in order to fit in? Where do students feel safe? What are the opportunities for students to contribute, to create, to be recognised for their talents and achievements? What motivates them to care?

9 Work of Excellence Good work builds self esteem through Discoveries that impress classmates Problem solving in groups Creating work that others admire As teachers we need strategies for building craftsmanship in work and thought.

10 Assignments that Inspire and Challenge Powerful projects in Action Exploring Ron Berger’s work YRcDU YRcDU cHFE cHFE

11 Work of Excellence Berger employs a research based project module approach Berger sees the classroom as the hub of creation A project workshop Where the overall quality of the work is a concern for every member in it Projects are made public and every student knows it

12 Genuine Research ‘There is almost nothing more exciting in education than being engaged in genuine research – research where the teacher and students are exploring new ground together.’

13 Opportunities for research are everywhere… Public records that sit neglected Environmental conditions that no one is monitoring Businesses and families whose history has never been explored Senior Citizens, immigrants, craftspeople, veterans, survivors – whose stories can enrich, empower and engage.

14 Frank’s Story





19 Original Research Some issues – it doesn’t come easily to us. Berger’s advice is to align the research with the curriculum and then stretch time and travel restrictions as far as you can. He argues – let go of the expectation of being the expert, the person who knows all the answers. Become the lead researcher, co-investigator. Model standards for techniques for research but then find experts to help and support you and the students.

20 Models – An ethos of Excellence Models set the standard for what student’s are aiming for. They excite interest. Provide challenge. Provide opportunities for analysing strengths and weaknesses. Joint exploration of what success looks like. Your classroom itself can be a model of excellence.

21 Multiple Drafts The pressure students should be under, according to Berger, is the pressure to produce something of real value not just one draft work. The story of Ron’s House Blue prints, problems, changes, ten drafts, critiques at the house itself. Strawberry Fields Forever shoulder-of-charles-dickens-the-man-who-wrote- of-a-christmas-carol shoulder-of-charles-dickens-the-man-who-wrote- of-a-christmas-carol

22 Quality Work Needs re-thinking, reworking, polishing. Students whom do this need to be celebrated for their commitment. Doesn’t discourage if it becomes the expectation of how students will learn. Allow students to choose a favourite version and justify their choices through critiques. Yearly presentations of the students best work to administrators, teachers, school governors members, local officials.

23 Modelling Again First week of new term show films of the presentations set the expectation for success development and achievement. Students build portfolios of work, projects are presented to classmates, their parents, the school as a whole and classroom guests. Two weeks before presentations the films are revisited.

24 Critique Berger suggests that teachers take critique to a whole new level and make critique a habit of mind that suffuses the classroom in all subjects. Make them a cornerstone of your class practice and the informal culture of critique they spawn is at the core of work improvement. Mr.Hall’s experience of Maths!



27 The Power of Critique Not just about the author A primary context for sharing knowledge and skills with a group Analysing together in guided sessions Build excitement for and understanding of, the incredible learning potential in looking carefully at student work. Refining the criteria and vision of excellence.

28 A Protocol for Critique Be kind the environment must feel safe and free from sarcasm. Be Specific avoid comments like It’s good or I really like it ; these are timewasters. Be helpful the goal is to help the individual and the class, not for the critic to be heard, echoing the thoughts of others. This, too, wastes time.

29 The Guidelines Begin with the author explaining the ideas and goals, and explaining what particular aspects of the work they are seeking help with. Critique the work not the person. Begin with a positive and then move on to constructive criticism. Use I statements I am confused by this… Use a question format I am curious why you chose to begin with this or Have you considered including…?

30 Two Distinct Critique Formats Gallery Critique the work of every child is displayed to be read. Generates desire to be involved, generating models of strong work, setting the tone for the whole class standard. In depth Critique Look at the work of one child or group and spend time critiquing it thoroughly. Allows teaching of vocab and concepts of the discipline the work emerges from and modelling improvement.

31 Making Work Public Using Assessment to build stronger students If students developed and presented portfolios of their work parents would get a clear picture of their child’s skill levels achievements and learning style. Year Nine book inspections

32 Assessment Assessment starts in the wrong place – it’s not done to students but goes on inside them. Is this good enough? Do I feel comfortable handing it in? Does it meet my standards? Changing assessment at this level should be the most important assessment goal of every student. The question is how do we affect self assessment so that students have higher standards for their behaviour and work?

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