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West Midlands Professional Exchange 2018-19

WMCETT has been running a new-style Professional Exchange in the West Midlands region, following a successful bid for funding to the Education and Training Foundation.

The 2018-19 Professional Exchange has given participating organisations and their staff an opportunity to learn from and with other organisations through a programme of joint practice development; by implementing current research findings and methodologies; by taking supported risks in trying out new techniques, and by sharing existing effective practice, including from other regions and sectors.

The groups which were set up after a launch event in March 2018 have finished meeting, and produced outcomes, and a second wave of groups are also now coming to the end of their cycle.

Professional Exchange groups

We set up a number of groups to work with our experienced facilitators to research a new area of interest or concern, or try out new techniques which can benefit them and their learners, and through production of a short report or development of a resource, benefit others.

Developing mathematical resilience

This group is exploring learners' unhelpful attitudes and emotions, such as maths anxiety and ‘I can’t do maths’ beliefs. It will explore the Growth Zone Model as a means to help learners understand and articulate their feelings, and what teaching for mathematical resilience really means. The group meets for the final time on July 5.

Groups which have finished meeting and reported back

Maths area:

Developing new approaches to teaching functional maths, which are more active and engaging, within apprenticeships. This group's outcomes can be seen here.

Developing strategies and approaches to engage and motivate GCSE maths re-sit learners in colleges in the first six weeks of their programme - see here for results.

Continuing to develop the maths and English skills of apprentices/learners who have Level 2 functional skills or GCSE in English/maths - see here for ideas to help continuing to develop those skills, and here for specific project ideas

Maths and ESOL area:

Creating an accessible maths assessment tool for ESOL learners - the results are here .

Creating practical Functional Skills maths activities for ESOL learners on subjects which can be challenging language-wise - the resources can be seen here.

Digital skills area:

See here for the outcome of research into creating a digital skills framework.

The results are here for the group which looked at making effective use of blended learning, using the ETF's EdTech Strategy and Digital Skills Competency Framework as a foundation.

English area:

The group looking at improving retention of adult learners of English has shared their results here .

SEND area:

The two groups have both produced outcomes.

One has come up with a dyslexia screening tool for ESOL students, and the other a quick-access delivery guide for different learning needs - see here for results.

Supporting staff area:

One group looked into ideas to ensure that new teachers are effectively supported during their first months in the sector, and in a new organisation. Their findings are here.

Another group created a self-assessment tool for tutors to look at their own way of teaching and dealing with behaviour management, and then pointed them in the direction of support and help. The results are here.

Outcomes from 2019 groups

1) One SEND-related group produced a Dyslexia for ESOL screening activity .

2) Another SEND group produced Delivery guides for different learning needs here .

3) A digital skills group created a Digital Skills Framework.

4) A maths group looked at strategies to motivate GCSE resit learners in their first six weeks on a new course.

5) An English group investigated how to improve retention of adult learners.

6) A maths group looked at developing new approaches to successfully teaching functional maths

7) One group looked at creating an accessible maths assessment tool for ESOL learners

8) A group created Functional Skills maths activities for ESOL learners

9) One group looked at how trainees in WBL could continue to develop their maths and English skills beyond Level 2

10) An offshoot group came up with project ideas for developing maths and English skills

11) A group looked at ways to support new teachers

12) Another group looked at effective use of blended learning

13) A group created a self-assessment tool to help tutors manage learner behaviour

14) A final group looked at developing learner resilience in maths.

How groups operated

The Subject and Thematic Groups aimed to be ‘teachmeet-style’ events for teachers or managers to share and develop practice and resources in a dynamic and generative way so that facilitators captured and shared what works and supported experimentation, tackling tedious teaching and spreading lively and long-lasting learning.

This project facilitated a number of strategic interventions enabling sector practitioners to develop their practice in key broad areas identified by local managers and practitioners across the sector.

As a result of participating in new groups where expertise is shared, modelled and explored, participants committed to cascading their learning to colleagues in their organisation and, more widely, in their professional networks, face-to-face and online.

Longer term, WMCETT aims to build sustainable communities of practice around principles of Joint Practice Development to continue beyond this Professional Exchange, with enthusiastic commitment by members, and increased collaboration between partner organisations.