Everyone has an answer to every question, every time, in a lesson at Dame B’s – but there’s no hands up, right answer, wrong answer and on to the next waving hand.
Instead, we emphasise the benefits of working together with a partner, who changes regularly and is the person you discuss ideas with before you come up with your response. It means that no child is put on the spot without the chance for a quick chat first and that we all benefit from sharing different perspectives and thought processes.
In a mixed ability class (we set children for English, maths and science), quicker children become teachers and gain pleasure from sharing what they know, while their partners receive support from their peers and learn more easily.
We’re also huge believers in taking learning away from books and into real life, taking a topic that spans many different subject areas.
Say we’re looking at water. We might visit a local river to measure its speed, flow, width and depth in maths, study watery creatures in science, take a trip to the Thames to see how it has affected London’s history, make a model of the Thames Barrier in design technology and study Hokusai waves in art.
It couldn’t be further from chalk and talk – it’s learning as an adventure and it’s always fresh and relevant.