Preview: Episode one
Professor Dylan Wiliam looks at the practice of 'hands-up' and examines the issues it can cause in the classroom.Watch a clip from episode one
A headteacher's perspective
When the BBC approached us to see if we were prepared to take part in The Classroom Experiment, we jumped at the chance. We know that school improvement depends absolutely on what goes on inside the classroom; students need to be engaged with the learning process and teachers need to know that every child is making progress in every lesson.
The prospect of working with a leading educationalist for a 10-week period was an exciting one and it was a rare opportunity for our young staff, many of them in their first year of teaching, to be coached by Dylan Wiliam.
The results were astonishing; students not only made twice the progress as others in the same year group, but were more firmly focussed on their learning and, actually, life in general. Students are still talking animatedly about their experience and have so many insightful comments to make. Many simply affirm those things that we already know, for example the enormous impact of all subject teachers applying the same simple strategies in every lesson, but it is still sobering to hear just how much difference this sort of collective response on our part can make to each student’s experience. “It was worth it,” William Morris told me. “It definitely improved our learning, it improved our relationships with our teachers and it certainly involved the whole class much more in our lessons. We also enjoyed it more – it was fun and actually, we didn’t necessarily expect it to be.”
On a final note, William also saw the personal benefits extending beyond the classroom: “It affected me at home, too. I used to be much more argumentative with mum and dad, but it’s made me more pleasant there too.” Now, there’s an interesting thought…
Jan Palmer Sayer
Headteacher, Hertswood School
On location at Hertswood School
Professor Dylan Wiliam with 8HJ
This programme is part of School Season on BBC Two, a collection of programmes focusing on education, our schools and the tough choices parents have to make.Visit the School Season website