The case against Power Point as means of implementing curriculum – David Didau


1st items initial: I have almost nothing in opposition to PowerPoint. As suggests for exhibiting visual data it undoubtedly has its merits. I have no concerns with teachers working with slides to share pics, diagrams or moving illustrations or photos with college student (despite the fact that I do have a several reservations about working with it to share text.) My argument here is focussed on the common exercise of employing PowerPoint (or any other related solution) as a signifies of implementing the curriculum.

When I began instructing the notion of displaying slides in lecture rooms was a distant aspiration. My to start with classroom did not even have a modern whiteboard and I built do with a pull-down blackboard. We did have an overhead projector knocking around somewhere in the section but the time and issues of developing acetates meant it was hardly ever made use of.

Lesson designs existed – if they existed at all – in printed strategies of perform. Somebody would have gone to the problems of writing down instructing aims and a listing of additional or fewer wise routines which had been supposed to direct to these objectives getting fulfilled. When I planned classes I both made them up or tailored the strategies that highlighted in the scheme of work. Either way, I had to imagine about what I preferred to do with students ahead of the lesson took place.

Speedy forward a several many years and I was a new head of department top the process of creating thorough schemes of perform for very a great deal all the things we taught. When a plan of do the job was penned, it was distributed to the group and then everyone’s lesson slides were being collated on the shared location. Sometimes I’d make slides from scratch, occasionally I’d appear by way of and adapt other teacher’s slides, in some cases I just pitched up with a board pen and a bucket load of enthusiasm. Either way, I experienced to imagine about what I wanted to do with pupils just before the lesson took spot.

A number of a long time afterwards again and I’d moved to a new university with a senior leadership role. As element of my introduction to the new English division I offered to prepare a sequence of classes on anything – I overlook what – and share the resulting slides with everyone else. I have a obscure memory of my individual classes going rather very well (there had been unquestionably no disasters) but it turned out that this wasn’t everyone’s knowledge. A person member of the staff came to notify me that the classes I’d prepared were being a bit rubbish. Taken aback, I questioned what had long gone erroneous. “Well,” the educate in issue told me, “I opened up the PowerPoint and I couldn’t function out what to do. The class have been all sitting down there so I just informed them we have been heading to do a thing else as a substitute.”

And here was the challenge: she had not had to feel about what she wanted do with her students prior to the lesson took position.

Extra a short while ago, I labored with a group of universities who had a centrally planned English curriculum. Instructors were being provided with university student booklets and lesson designs in the type of PowerPoint slides. Crucially, instructors ended up presented the express instruction that these slides have to be tailored for the college students in their class. Sometimes this transpired and at times it did not. I observed a amount of lessons where it was apparent that the written content of the PowerPoint was as novel to the trainer as it was to the college students as properly as tons of classes wherever it was equally clear that lecturers experienced worked to put their individual stamp on lessons.

Each individual established of slides experienced in depth bullet points of accurately what should occur at each individual phase of lesson, but it was extremely distinct that most of these guidelines have been for the gain of instructors alternatively than students. 1 of the factors I modelled was how to get out extraneous details so that students only noticed things that had been handy to them and internalising the info I’d exercised to instruct. This had some results, but I was remaining with an unspecified but quite robust aversion to using slides to apply a curriculum.

When I started function with Ormiston, the English office at Ilkeston Academy in Derbyshire bought in contact to clarify how they have been applying the new ambitious curriculum they’d planned over lock down. The important was to use what they identified as Instructor Guides. Every Trainer Guidebook offered annotated edition of the texts furnished to learners, guidance on how to teach classes to provide the curriculum, and a curated assortment of content articles and methods built to be certain each member of the staff had obtain to all the professional know-how they’d need to have to educate each element of a scheme of get the job done. They referred to these guides as ‘CPD in a booklet’ and spent division time demonstrating each member of the group how to flip the info in the guides into classes. Unique instructors were welcome to set together their individual slides really should they want to, but the concentrate was pretty considerably on using visualisers to product looking through and creating to students.

I took very minor convincing that this was how we should really go about implementing the OAT curriculum and we established about creating Teacher Guides for the strategies of perform we were producing. Although these in some cases furnished suggested instructing actions and buildings, in the major they focussed on specifying as obviously as we could deal with, the articles to be communicated to college students and the understanding required by instructors to make this a achievement.

We produced schooling video clips on how to use the Instructor Guides and change them into lessons and allowed educational institutions to experiment with teaching the strategies. Unsurprisingly, this came as some thing of a society shock to teachers raised on becoming delivered with detailed PowerPoints. For some the notion of possessing to use the Trainer Guides to system lessons felt like an unreasonable expectation at very first, but most had been weaned off PowerPoint with relatively minimal complaint. Definitely, there have been plenty of hiccups together the way, but most of the feedback we have acquired is that academics have loved training our schemes and, via speaking to students and looking at the operate in their textbooks we can see the high quality of the curriculum shining by.

Preparing a curriculum by using PowerPoint is terrible strategy, even if you produce the best slides possible. We have to bear in mind that the subject we’re educating is a big area of awareness. Our curriculum samples from that area to give pupils obtain to impressive and culturally prosperous know-how which they will be supported to use to make indicating. If we want learners to have a meaningful experience of the curriculum, they have to have to see how tips link and branch over and above the limitations of lessons. A lesson selects from a curriculum and seeks to distil complexity into a set of pursuits and steps that can choose area within the confines of 50-60 minutes. There’s nothing wrong with the process per se, but it’s the action of possessing to decide on that leads to memorable and meaningful experiences. The dilemma with getting lesson slides provided for you is that a person else has performed that sampling and picking for you. Until we have interaction with as much of the area – or at minimum as much of the curriculum – as feasible right before distilling information into a lesson we will not know considerably about the material of that lesson ourselves and this can direct to teacher knowing very little a lot more than their students.

But wait, what about workload implications? What if you centrally approach bullet evidence PowerPoints to ensure that ECTs and non-specialist lecturers are thoroughly supported? Wouldn’t that be superior than inquiring lecturers to expend their important time planning classes? When the DfE did their workload survey back again in 2015, the most significant grievance teachers manufactured was about pointless workload. Get the job done that feels worthwhile and meaningful is not some thing most folks are likely to object to. But nevertheless, no one particular wishes to insert to the strain on instructors unnecessarily. It’s essential to remember that on one’s being questioned to prepare from scratch. The Teacher Guides incorporate almost everything essential to prepare classes and the system tends to consider 5-10 minutes at most. We try out to be certain that academics are presented common – preferably weekly – departmental time to co-program the week’s classes and to communicate even though potential challenges. All this make a real variation to teachers’ knowledge and subject information.

The essence of the challenge: If a person else programs your lessons, you do not discover the curriculum. The most effective you or your college students can hope for is that you discover the contents of the PowerPoint. If you have to go as a result of the procedure of turning the data contained in a Instructor Guideline into a curated practical experience for your learners to have interaction with, not only will they master much more, so will you.

Below are some examples of Instructor Guides for the OAT KS3 English curriculum.

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