Starting in September, Core subjects have been taught in focus days. Monday, Wednesday and Thursday, KS4 only attend Maths, English and Science lessons (Welsh, RE and WelshBaq are taught in the mix as well).
At this point, I need to explain that KS4 for us is Year 9, 10 and the high flyer’s from Year 11. Also, that we don’t share or split classes between teachers.
What that means for most students is that they have double, triple or quadrupile lessons – at 1hr each.
My timetable for next week looks like this:
Monday: 4 hours of Year 11 – same class, same room for 4 hours
Wednesday: 3 hours of Year 9 – same class, same room for 3 hours
Thursday: 2 hours Year 10 – traditional “double” lesson of 2 hours
As we get the second term well under way, its time to reflect whether or not this works.
- The extended lessons mean that practical activities can spill over into 2+ hours. Within one day, you can plan, execute, write up and discuss some significant practical tasks.
- The down time at the transition of lessons in removed – we estimate that a quadruple lesson gains us 45minutes of additional teaching time.
- It forces the teacher and learners to establish a positive working relationship very quickly. Nightmare Year 9 classes, taught for 3 hours straight forces some radical approaches to classroom management / relationship building.
- Learner progress is easier to evidence (to them at least) – we can say “This morning you didn’t know (Reaction Rates) – now look what you can do”
- The amount of practical activities undertaken has skyrocketed. As a result learners are anticipating a “wicked” lesson.
- Learners attending vocational lessons can complete whole assignments within a x4 hour session.
- Planning for 4 hours straight require different and potentially new strategies for teachers
- Lessons need to be engaging with regular pit stops to re energize the learners
- Personalities start to really matter – staff / learner relationships become critical
- If students miss a day, they miss out on up to x4 hours of Science
- Consumable costs have soared due to increased practical activities
- Staff were initially sceptical, with concerns over CPD
- Learners considered the whole exercise bonkers as they’d be stuck with the same teacher ALL day.
But, once we started teaching like this, staff and learners alike have warmed to the idea. Staff like the fact that such concentrated lessons lead to more tangible progress and behaviour in lesson is better. Learners like it as they get to do more practical, the lessons are more relaxed and they get a greater sense of achievement. I (as Head of Department) like it as timetabling is so much easier.
What are your experiences in teaching extended lessons?