I am privileged to work as OTI Trainer with a great group of colleagues at Chase High School. Cohort 1 started their OTI journey in January 2014, Cohort 2 in March. Cohort 3 commences in September. Jackie Williams, Deputy Headteacher/CPD Leader coordinates the OTI-ers as a significant aspect of the school’s CPD Strategy.
OTI-ers now answer a question with a question – enabling students to think for themselves and be more independent. Some OTI-ers are confidently getting students to lead parts of lessons, coach others and give feedback to each other as well as to the teacher.
We are midway through the 3-cohort programme. Staff who have not yet embarked on it, or who are receiving other training, are extremely curious (even slightly jealous) as they see the OTI-ers’ enthusiasm, energy and their students’ very positive response.
Regular ‘tea and cake’ meetings help to share what we have been trialling, evaluating each others’ plans, discussing what went well (or didn’t). OTI-ers get presents along the way – teachers love stationery, so sponge dice, posters, post-its, stampers and stickers have caused a lot of excitement.
We are now considering how to disseminate what we are learning and embed the good practice. We are planning demonstration lessons to all teaching and support staff; leading subject-specific development sessions; OTI-ers becoming teaching and learning coaches across the school. In next year’s CPD programme, each OTI-er will have a group of staff to ‘buddy’ and mentor to ‘infect’ others still further.
I intend to keep the cohorts as learning development groups next year (and beyond) to ensure that what we have learned and practised is embedded across the school and to continue developing skills and techniques as part of the school’s DNA.
The best way of measuring impact is to hear from some of the OTI-ers themselves:
“OTI has made me develop and use more interactive activities and methods for motivating my students’ engagement in learning.” Alex, Maths teacher, QTS2
“The OTI course has given me the confidence and inspiration to plan and deliver active lessons. There are so many creative, engaging ideas and resources I now practise in all classes. My students are in the routine of active learning, expecting it to happen. No one sits in their seats all lesson. The students love it!” Jemma, RE teacher, NQT
“OTI has tested, pushed, prodded every cell in my brain but it has been 100% worth it! My students are more independent, my resources more creative and my mind full of ideas for the next challenge.” Claire, English teacher/Assistant Head
“The OTI training has been a positive and inspiring experience , recharging my enthusiasm for new techniques and resources. I feel confident in the classroom to have these tools available. My classes have responded well to these new initiatives, making for some exciting and engaging lessons.” Michelle, Technology teacher/QTS1
“Being on the OTI has given me a new lease of life. Simple techniques requiring minimal preparation have reduced planning time, improved the quality of my teaching and the students’ independence. Students are more engaged and seem to enjoy their science more. Go OTI!” Colin, Subject Leader Science
“OTI has made me want to be inventive and creative every lesson. How I think about my lessons has completely changed. I am no longer scared or worried about students not understanding. I actively encourage them to get completely stuck. Yesterday the students were “buzzing”; there was such an atmosphere in the air. Students asked if we could do the lesson again around another topic; they have actually planned a debate lesson for me today.” Nadia, Second in Science
Photos Copyright 2014 of Ann Bridgland. Used with kind permission.