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THE HONG KONG SMALL CLASS TEACHING (SCT) STUDY Maurice Galton Faculty of Education, University of Cambridge (mg 1.

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Presentation on theme: "THE HONG KONG SMALL CLASS TEACHING (SCT) STUDY Maurice Galton Faculty of Education, University of Cambridge (mg 1."— Presentation transcript:

1 THE HONG KONG SMALL CLASS TEACHING (SCT) STUDY Maurice Galton Faculty of Education, University of Cambridge (mg 1


3 Study on Small Class Teaching Year of Study Small classes 20-25 pupils Normal classes 35-37 pupils 2004/05P1(small)P2 (normal) 2005/06P1(small)P2(small)P3(normal) 2006/07P1 (normal)P2(small)P3(small) 2007/08P2 (normal)P3 (normal) 3

4 1. The main research questions 4

5  What are the benefits of SCT in the local context?  What teaching strategies, professional support and resources are necessary in order to maximise the benefits of SCT in Hong Kong primary schools? 5

6  Do pupils in small classes make more progress than those in regular ones?  Are attitudes to languages and mathematics stronger in small classes? Does self- esteem/motivation improve?  Do attitudes and attainment improve the longer pupils remain in small classes?  Is attainment or attitude associated with certain teacher and pupil behaviour?  Do pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds benefit the most?  What other factors (school leadership, parent support) influence performance in small classes ? 6

7 Research Methods Used in the Study 7

8 At school level  Chinese  English  Mathematics  Parents’ survey  Principals’ survey  P1-P4 year groups At class level Teacher characteristics  Gender  Experience  Qualifications  Training  Subject specialism  Survey of opinions Class size Observation  Questions asked  Statements made  Feedback given etc.  Class/group/ individual  Sustained At pupil level Pupil characteristics  Gender  Age  Place of birth  S.E.S Outcome measures  Attainment  Attitudes  Self-esteem  Motivation Observations  Time on task  Pupil talk  Target’s setting 8

9 SAMPLES In most years of the study some 700 classes were tested in Chinese, mathematics and English Approx 20,000 pupils took part in P1, 23,500 in P2, 20,500 in P3 and 11, 000 in P4. 53.9% of the initial P1 sample were in small classes, 27.2% from the regular classes in the same schools and 18.9% from the reference schools. 9

10 2. The Main Results 10

11 Conflicting views on the benefit of small classes What teachers sayWhat the research shows More individual attention for pupilsLittle change but conversations last longer Better pupil attainment Moderate increases in a few cases Better attitudes/motivationAttitudes decline year by year but more slowly than in normal classes Improved relationships with pupilsYes: according to pupil interviews 11

12 School Learning Orientation (combined attitude & motivation as % of maximum score) 12

13 Relative academic Performance of SCT classes and control classes 13

14 End of P1 scores 14

15 End of P2 scores 15

16 End of P3 scores 16

17 End of P4 scores 17

18 Main Conclusions These results are difficult to interpret but in all cases differences between the various samples are not large with small to very small effect sizes.  Cohort 2 do best in P1 drop back in P2 but do better again when they return to normal classes in P3  Cohort 1 do least well in P1 and P2 (except in English) hold their own in P3 (compared to controls) but fall back again when they return to normal classes in P4 There is therefore no overwhelming evidence that being in a small class boosts pupils’ attainment. Consequently being in a small class for 3 rather than 2 years has a marginal effect. Returning to a large class has a positive effect in Cohort 2 but a negative one in Cohort 1. The fact that these trends are not consistent suggest that  Initial attainment at the start of the year is the major determinant of progress  The expertise of the teacher of a particular class is also a crucial factor  Teachers in small classes were still experimenting with different teaching approaches; hence the variable results. 18

19 Teacher Talk in Hong Kong Primary Classrooms 19

20 20

21 Some implications of this finding The figure for the average % observation when no pupil was in focus had dropped from 73% to 66% by the end of the study. During this time pupils were  Listening to the teacher talk or watching him/her demonstrate  Singing a song or reciting a poem/story/ writing on the board in unison In a 35 minute period there is a maximum of 12.3 minutes to give individual attention ( either alone in a group or as part of the class). With 20 pupils this gives a maximum of 37 seconds. With 40 the figure is 19 seconds.. 21

22 Four types of teacher of teacher behaviour Cluster analysis used to identify 4 teacher types:  Type 1 (30.1%): Individual/pair sustained enquirers  Type 2 (18.5%): group task monitors  Type 3 (30.1%): Whole class instructors  Type 4 (21.3%): Whole class questioners 22

23 Questions by type (as % of all observations) 23

24 Statements by type (as % of all observations) 24

25 Feedback by type (as % of all observations) 25

26 Audience by type (as % of all observations) 26

27 Effectiveness of teacher types  At P1 there were no significant differences in attainment between the teacher types in any subject but pupils taught by individual/pair sustained enquirers had higher learning dispositions (combined subject attitude & motivation score) in Chinese. In mathematics pupils in the top third of the ability range taught by whole class questioners had the strongest learning disposition.  At P2 only English registered significant results. Pupils in the top third of the ability range made significant progress in attainment and had better learning disposition when taught by whole class questioners.  When aggregated scores were used P2 pupils taught by whole class instructors had the worst learning disposition while those taught by whole class questioners had the best. There were no attainment differences. 27

28 Pupil behaviour in the classroom 28

29 Four types of pupil behaviour Cluster analysis used to identify 4 pupil types These are similar to those identified in UK:  Type 1 (43.8%): Solitary workers  Type 2 (22.4%): intermittent workers  Type 3 (23.3%): Active collaborators  Type 4 (10.5%): Attention grabbers 29

30 Pupils’ behaviour (as % of all observations) 30

31 Pupil-teacher behaviour (as % of all observations) 31

32 Pupil-pupil behaviour (as % of all observations) 32

33 Pupil types as a function of teacher types 33

34 Some implications & findings No attainment, attitude or subject differences between pupil types More active collaborators in small classes (25.2% compared to 18% in normal classes) Girls constituted 54.8% of solitary workers while 59% of attention grabbers were boys In P1, P2 and P3 solitary workers are in the majority. In P3 there were more active collaborators (30%) and fewer attention grabbers (7.1%) In general patterns are stable suggesting types may be, in part, a function of personality rather than a consequence of teaching approach. 34


36 School aggregated scores were ranked to give 6 high attaining schools and 4 low attaining ones. Comparisons were then made on a number of measures Successful schools had  Principals who took an active part in curriculum development and teachers’ professional learning  Teachers who tended to favour the individual/pair sustained enquiry approach  More mathematics teachers teaching mathematics and less mathematics teachers teaching other subjects  Higher levels of parental support 36


38 Watkins’ (2003) Three Ways of Learning LEARNING as being taught (LBT): process of knowledge acquisition as Individual Sense Making (LIS): making sense of experience as building knowledge with others (LBKO) 38

39 Ways of Knowing I 39

40 Teaching as Instruction  Provide an Advanced Organizer  Check what pupils know with quick, snappy question & answer session  Present new knowledge  Provide for practice which emphasises application  Extend practice by homework  Give feedback which is informative  Review new learning 40

41 Uses of Direct Instruction YES Mathematical procedures English grammar Scientific information Historical facts Using maps Practical skills NO Mathematical problem solving Extended writing Scientific investigations Discussing controversial social science topics 41

42 Ways of Knowing II 42

43 Teaching as Enquiry Engaging in complex cognitive processes requires thoughtful discourse. Pupils are invited to make predictions, debate alternatives, etc. This can take place during interactive whole class teaching or during peer interaction in pairs or groups and should involve:  Placing the topic in the wider, meaningful context (big picture)  Using ‘open ended’ questions  Allowing suitable ‘wait times’  Encouraging explanations or elaboration of answers. 43

44 Ways of Knowing III 44

45 Teaching as Scaffolding Helping pupils to learn how to ‘think for themselves’ requires temporary frameworks. They reduce ‘the degrees of freedom a child must manage in the task to prevent error rather than induce it’. (Bruner)  Providing models of appropriate response (e.g. model answers, demonstrations etc.)  feedback as in guided discovery  Identifying potential problems from the outset  Rehearsing an argument (pupils explain to class/group in words their reasoning e.g.their answer to a maths problem)  Cue Cards ( as in writing frames )  Self-evaluation checklists (requires pupils to check through the process by which they reached a conclusion and to indicate how it might be improved 45

46 What research says about effective teaching John Hattie (2005) surveyed a large number of studies and concluded that the following were important (effect size in brackets):  Motivation: improving disposition to learn (0.61)  More questions, particularly challenging ones (0.42)  Informing feedback (self regulation) (0.95)  Feedback that reinforces effort (0.94) rather than general praise (0.14)  Corrective feedback (0.37)  Peer tutoring (0.56) The more we increase the use of these variables the better our results. 46

47 Six key principles to keep SCT on track Use assessment to inform future instruction Give feedback which helps pupils to sort out their own mistakes Communicate learning goals to class in terms of process not outcomes Provide more thinking time during questioning Develop cooperation between pupils by pair/group work Boost participation during class discussions 47

48 Small Class Teaching: The next steps 48

49 Professional Development Learning Circles have been well received with the number increasing during the past year. Attendance appears to improve the quality of classroom discourse More needs to be done for coordinators who in many schools exercise sole responsibility for running the SCT programme. Some Principals need to rethink their leadership strategies (less delegation and more active participation) particularly in relation to pedagogy. 49

50 Teachers who attended Learning Circles Offer more ideas Provide more informing feedback Have pupils of different abilities working on different tasks Often sit pupils of different ability by themselves when working on these tasks More often praise for effort 50

51 Factors promoting successful professional learning communities Offers intra- school as well as inter-school sharing & support Takes account of contexts (school environment, pupils etc) Involves collaboration with peers, mentors & outside experts Takes place over a lengthy period Addresses key issues in curriculum & instruction Must be linked to specific content areas Provides resources & opportunities to practice new ideas 51


53 Experienced and less experienced Principals Experienced school leaders  Gave teachers less freedom to try out different pedagogic strategies.  More likely to delegate total responsibility for small class teaching to middle managers  Saw their main role as acquiring as many resources as possible, setting clear goals, and formulating practicable action plans.  Less likely to supply time for collaborative lesson planning or peer observation. 53

54 LEADERSHIP & ACCOUNTABILITY According to MacBeath (2008) today’s school leaders are often “more concerned with accounting than learning, with compliance than with risk- taking and with public relations than with the quality of student experience,” 54

55 Leadership for Learning MacBeath suggests that Leadership for Learning requires a kind of collegiality which challenges rather than reinforces existing practice. Learning is viewed as a collaborative, communicative and cooperative experience and, as such, it involves everyone; senior managers, teachers, support staff, pupils and parents. 55

56 5 CONDITIONS FOR WHOLE SCHOOL LEARNING 1.A focus on learning: learning at the heart of all we do 2.Conditions for learning: attending to conditions which optimise learning 3.Creating a dialogue about learning and leadership 4.Sharing leadership 5.Sharing a sense of accountability 56

57 Where learning and leadership meet Learning Leadership Is an activity Is about change Is both individual and distributed Is an activity Is about change Is both individual and distributed 57

58 QAD, EDB (2008)58 Leaders as learners The most notable trait of great leaders, certainly of great change leaders, is their quest for learning. They show an exceptional willingness to push themselves out of their own comfort zones, even after they have achieved a great deal. They continue to take risks, even when there is no obvious reason for them to do so. And they are open to people and ideas even at a time in life when they might reasonably think—because of their success—that they know everything. (Hesselbein, et al., 1996, p. 78) 58

59 Leadership studies School leaders improve teaching and learning indirectly and most powerfully through their influence on staff motivation, commitment and working conditions School leadership has a greater influence on schools and students when it is widely distributed Collaborative patterns beyond the school strengthen the quality of learning and teaching (Leithwood, 2006) Leithwood et al. 59

60 Leadership for Learning Dialogue A focus on learning Conditions for learning Shared leadership Mutual accountability 60

61 Leadership is exercised not at the apex of the organisational pyramid but at the centre of the web of human relationships. (Joe Murphy, 1994) 61

62 Student learning Professional learning Organisational learning leadership 62

63 Student learning Professional learning Organisational learning leadership 63

64 The task of leadership is to make visible the how, why and where of learning. It achieves this by conversations and demonstrations around pupil learning, professional learning and learnings which transcend the boundaries of the school. The challenge for leadership is to nurture the dialogue, to make transparent ways in learning interconnects and infuses behaviour. It promotes a continuing restless inquiry into what works best, when, where, for whom and with what outcome. Its vision is of the intelligent school and its practice intersects with the wider world of learning. (MacBeath et al, 2007) MAKING LEARNING VISIBLE 64

65 Flying below the radar An extra-ordinary generation of school leaders who have bucked the trend, who are not intimidated and oppressed by ‘the centre’ because with imaginative leaders and committed creative teachers they follow their best professional instincts, who don’t say I’d love to do innovation but I can’t afford to because of …….. They’ve just got on innovating and doing exciting things and running very good schools - exciting places for teachers and kids to be in. (David Hargreaves) 65

66 Go to the people Live among them Start with what they know And when the deed is done The mission accomplished Of the best leaders The people will say We did it Ourselves. 66

67 Some References MacBeath, J. (2008) Leadership for Learning: exploring Similarity and Living with Difference, in J. MacBeath and Y.C. Cheng [Eds] Leadership for Learning: International Perspectives, London: Sense Publishers Watkins, C (2003) Learning: A sense-makers guide, London: Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL). Watkins, C. (2005) Classrooms as Learning Communities: What’s in it for schools? London: Routledge. Wood, D. (1998) How Children Think and Learn,Oxford: Blackwells 67

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