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Jemma, our Project Co-ordinator and qualified teacher, shares her top 10 revision tips to help both teachers and students during the stressful exam period.
You need your students to be more resilient: encourage growth-mind set
Create a positive culture in the classroom, instilling the idea that a mistake is something to learn from. Intersperse challenging tasks with tasks the students know they’re good at; encourage peer support; give small, personal targets and arm students with the skills to try a different approach.
Everyone needs a healthy revision-life balance, including you
To avoid burn-out, it’s important to get enough sleep and take frequent breaks. Allow time to do something you love, whether it’s reading, drawing, walking, listening to music, or cooking. It’s vital that you drink plenty of water and always ask for help -share lesson plans and best practice with colleagues.
Reduce anxiety and stress: encourage mindfulness
Reducing anxiety and stress is about being in the moment and seeing the positives in every day. Why not try guided meditation, or learn breathing exercises together. Make sure that you, as well as the students, know when to take a step back and breathe.
Maximise differentiation: Team Target Teach
Identify the areas of need within your class, divide the groups within the department and each teach a revision session to this target group.
Mark more effectively using a key
Create a key for common ‘even better ifs’ and only mark the number from the key for the students’ target. Share the key with the students and get them to write in the target – this way you know that they’ve read it too!
Manage the extra marking students bring you: get them to do the work
When students re-write answers for you to re-mark, ask them to highlight the changes they’ve made, and ask them to explain why they think it adds to their response- before you take a look at it.
Ease the pressure of revision classes: create a timetable
Split the planning amongst the department and ask teachers to sign themselves up for a targeted session, this will ease the pressure on everyone. Run more informal, open, drop-in sessions, where students can revise together in a more casual environment.
Make sure you’re addressing the students’ questions or concerns:
Using post it notes is an excellent way for students to communicate any questions or worries they have. Ask the students to write down their concerns and leave them on the board at the end of the lesson. There’s often a common theme. You can then address them next lesson. Don’t forget to write down yours too – the act of writing things down can be very therapeutic.
Encourage your students to become more confident and independent:
Always make sure students use keywords from the criteria to justify a grade and suggest improvements. Use paired discussions to encourage students to answer each other’s questions.
You need students to access the next level:
Marking and improving a model response together as a class can be very helpful, and allows students to talk through their thought process. To reduce your own workload, why not try sharing good models you already have at hand from the class, or a colleague’s group?
We hope that these revision tips have been useful to you and your students. Good luck to everyone completing their exams!
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