In from the margins

26th November 2004 at 00:00
There are 20 modules in the pack, beginning with structuring learning, then moving through topics such as lesson design, questioning and group work.

There's a leadership guide, covering the management implications. Two DVDs have video illustrations of the work in action in classrooms.

The whole contains a wealth of practical ideas. Some will be familiar to many teachers - the notion of a lesson with learning episodes is well known, but here it is explained with great clarity: the most experienced colleague will gain something from it.

One unit is worth particular mention: lesson design for inclusion is going to be welcomed by special needs co-ordinators who every day try to convince colleagues that they can't leave everything to the special needs department. The basic principle here is called holding pupils to the pace of learning. Teachers are advised that, "Care must be taken to ensure that groups of pupils are not simply following a parallel curriculum or being rendered dependent by a lack of opportunity or ineffective support."

This is followed by examples of how it can be done, including setting up pre-teaching. This means enabling pupils to have some extra teaching before their peers - through a focused homework that leads children into the next lesson, or through using a teaching assistant to introduce children to an idea that's about to come up in the whole-class lesson. This unit alone has the potential to change the experience of many children marginalised within a class that's going at the pace of the ones in the middle.

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