Learning and Teaching Strategy
5 Phase Lesson
MEA has established a ‘5-phase lesson’ to ensure our students benefit from excellent teaching which develops independence, creativity, innovation and risk taking to deepen the knowledge, understanding and skills our students need to stay on track to achieve their full potential regardless of starting points.
We encourage our students to think for themselves and explore ideas through a range of challenging activities and tasks which move learning forward at a fast pace which leads to high levels of student engagement, determination and enthusiasm.
The academy has also introduced ‘Red Zone’. The main purpose of this challenging strategy is to encourage our students to be reflective and imaginative and to experience exam-like conditions in every lesson, working independently to build resilience as well as improving their writing stamina.
4 Learning and Teaching Priorities
1. LITERACY/ORACY: Teachers have excellent questioning skills to elicit
high quality responses and pupils are encouraged to speak in full
sentences, at all times, in order to articulate and develop their ideas
and literacy skills.
2. RETRIEVAL PRACTICE: Teachers use strategies to aid student retention
and retrieval of important knowledge, which improves and develops
3. RED ZONE: Teachers plan opportunities for students to apply their
learning in new contexts, through meaningful and challenging
4. RAD: Teachers use the core principles of the academy RAD (Raising
the Attainment of Disadvantaged Students) by engaging with the Venn
intervention sheets which include disadvantaged as one ‘circle focus’
ensuring that these key individuals are targeted in-class for effective
Wave 1 intervention.
Red Zone Rationale
- We have a responsibility to help students to successfully work hard on difficult concepts and challenges for increasingly lengthy periods of time.
- Highly successful RZ activities bring about higher levels of productivity and this is key for us to evidence the impact of teaching and its typicality over time – Link to Priority 3 Quantity and Quality of work.
- Red Zone activities are the 4th phase of the MEA 5-Phase lesson; we should plan each individual lesson and sequences of lessons around the RZ to ensure that these activities are meaningful, and impactful.
- Effective Red Zone activities should last for between 8-12 minutes.
- It is important that we ensure that our learners are being given the opportunity to execute sustained writing for significantly lengthy periods of time so as to prepare them for their external examinations and to build up the muscles that they need to write for 2 hours in an examination (a level of responsibility falls on all subject areas here).
- It is important to emphasise that the Red Zone is not purely about the development of extended writing.
- Activities will be extremely varied and could include research, planning and preparation, re-drafting and refining, summarising, preparing an argument and so on.
- What is essential is that the activity is difficult and is being undertaken in silence. The Red Zone has, at its heart, a determination to prepare students for the reality of linear examinations, during which they will need to be able to concentrate, in silence in a sustained manner.
- Discussion should not form part of the Red Zone; discussion will either emerge from Phase 4, or lead into Phase 5.
- It should never be the case that a RZ activity is not present in a lesson.
- The teacher should articulate very specific timings in order to instil an urgency into our pupils e.g. you have 12 ½ minutes to complete this activity.
- For the vast majority of subjects the RZ will take place in silence all of the time. It is through the ‘silent application of work’ where high levels of productivity are achieved.
- With regards to practical subjects: PE, Performing Arts, D&T practical lessons and Science practical lessons, the RZ must still take place; it must be the most challenging part of the lesson and it must be clearly identified to students. It is however permissible for this to take the form of group work and is therefore not in silence, although there is still an expectation that Phase 5 activities take place in silence on occasions in these subjects.
- At no time during the RZ activity should students be supported in their work
- Pupils will and should be making mistakes in the RZ because of the challenging nature of the work being undertaken. Please however use your professional judgement here; if students are demonstrating major misconceptions guide them back to the right track.
- The RZ should cover two types of work: It will be either new content; or it will be material already covered but is now being addressed in much greater detail at a level of significantly greater challenge.
- The RZ activity should be clearly marked in students’ books and should become an integral part of the marking and assessment process.
- Students do not all have to complete the same activity; effective differentiation of RZ should be present to ensure that all students are challenged in-line with their starting points and abilities.