This year I have been really privelaged to have the opportunity to support the LTSA SCITT design and technology textiles trainees. This weekend we had a really productive session unpacking the new KS4 curriculum (first teaching from September 2017.)
Lots of really productive discussions making use of their observations and experiences of KS4 students so far, the support needs and barriers to the students making really good progress. This also included the trainees fears relating to the planning of a pretty daunting 2 years of teaching.. not a simple task if your scheme of work experience has been limited to creating 6 week mini projects for a KS3 carousel timetable. So.. this then informed the next rather radical task. I introduced the trainees to the concept of ‘dogfooding’
“Dogfooding: to eat ones own dog food to test for quality… or in our case, to actually do a project or a section of our curriculum to fully appreciate and understand what our students will learn.”
Using some of the sample assessment materials for the new specification, the trainees planned a response. The process has really allowed them to see how to effectively plan a KS4 course to ensure that groups get the ingredients that they need to aim for the high grade bands within the assessment criteria. The visual planning process allowed them to see the value in engaging with the new specification on this level to then give them confidence in their planning and delivery as they start what initially felt like quite a worrying thing. In the words of the trainees.. “that’s really helped.”
The ‘dogfooding’ process allowed so many more discussions around how the activities meet the assessment criteria, what needs to be in place at the start of KS4 to allow the controlled assignment to be successful as well as how to ensure their students make progress without compromising the controlled assessment process.. it really helped to focus in on the key elements of the curriculum that would be at risk of being forgotten for a first time KS4 subject teacher.
I am looking forward to seeing how they respond to the task long term. Considering how much the process has helped build confidence so far, as the project develops it will no doubt raise new questions and areas for consideration ready for them to plan really meaningful lessons and schemes of work ready for September.
Have you ever tried actually doing one of your projects from start to finish? Why not try it as a long term thing.. think about something that you have set that hasn’t quite had the impact you wanted.. rather than just binning it and thinking of something new, give yourself the task of actually doing the coursework/project before September to allow you to tweak things before the new academic year. Put yourself in the shoes of your students. Try a bit of ‘dogfooding’.