Teaching & Learning Team

KYRIAKIDESAmelia Kyriakides - Biology

akyriakides@didcotgirls.oxon.sch.uk

Before applying to teach at Didcot Girls’ School I visited for a tour. Walking through the staffroom I noticed the Teaching and Learning library and knew that this would be an exciting place to learn and to teach. Now, in my fifth year at Didcot Girls’ School, I continue to be inspired by the professional learning culture.

Since joining Didcot Girls’ School, I have completed a Masters in Learning and Teaching with Oxford University. This facilitated reflection on pedagogy through the different lenses provided by educational theories. It also gave me the opportunity to carry out my own research project which aimed to improve students’ long-term retention of knowledge.

In my role as Lead Practitioner I have shared education research through staff CPD, promoted effective study strategies through the revision revolution and last year launched the Teaching and Learning book club.

In addition to working on the Teaching and Learning Team as a Lead Practitioner I am Head of Biology for Didcot Girls’ School and Didcot Sixth Form.

In my classroom, you would see…

  • Structure and sequence. Starting with the activation of prior knowledge and then carefully sequencing learning opportunities each with a clear purpose contributing to the learning goals.
  • Explanation. Every word counts in a lesson. I believe that teacher talk should be clear, concise and precise. A well-crafted explanation that builds on prior knowledge and manages cognitive load helps students to make meaningful connections and supports memory. 
  • Making learning stick. There are many ways to improve students’ long-term retention of knowledge both during encoding and subsequent spaced reviews. Retrieval is an incredibly powerful learning strategy that I make regular use of in lessons and encourage students to use when learning outside of the classroom. 

Particular research/pedagogy interests:

I believe in a scientific approach to pedagogy whereby theories are explored and robust evidence sought. However, it is the combination of science and creativity that makes pedagogy so exciting, translating pedagogical research into the classroom and transforming it into something tangible, practicable and flexible.

My particular interests are in…

  • Retrieval practice: Making learning stick.
    You can find out more about our approach to retrieval in this article published in Impact, the Journal of the Chartered College of Teaching: https://impact.chartered.college/article/placing-retrieval-at-heart-pedagogy-curriculum/
  • Effective study strategies: Ensuring that students make the most out of the time they spend revising.
  • Assessment: Aligning assessment purpose with design and finding effective ways to provide feedback that moves learning forwards. Questioning is an important part of assessment in the classroom and I am interested in when and how different types of questions should be asked.
  • Lesson structure – The sequence and selection of learning tasks and the appropriate level of scaffolding required to help all students to succeed.

Supporting others:

I am always happy to talk Teaching and Learning so please get in touch if you would like to discuss any aspect of teaching especially those listed above. I have an open door so feel free to come and visit a lesson and I love taking inspiration from other teachers so am always keen to visit lessons across the school.

As well as working with teacher in school, I also work with Oxford University PGCE students and Oxford Teaching School Associate Teachers supporting initial teacher training.


A Bodinham

Amy Bodinham - Psychology

abodinham@didcotgirls.oxon.sch.uk

I trained to teach through Oxford’s PGCE programme and started my NQT year at my second placement school in 2016 – Blessed George Napier Catholic Secondary School in Banbury. Although I trained as a Science (Biology) teacher I took on teaching Psychology at the end of my NQT year (as a temporary favour!) and have loved teaching it ever since. I have also volunteered as a PGCE intern mentor in science and school staff governor for two years. I am excited to be teaching psychology full time this year as well as taking on the role of Lead Practitioner at DGS.

In my classroom you would see...

Lots of class discussions and challenging questioning, as well as live modelling of key skills and retrieval tasks.

Particular research/pedagogy interests:

  • Cognitive psychology
  • Teacher training and support (mentoring and coaching)
  • Literacy and oracy 
  • Live modelling and retrieval

Supporting others:

I am very happy to support staff with any aspect of T&L that they would like support with.


E Reynolds

Emma Reynolds - PE

ereynolds@didcotgirls.oxon.sch.uk

After completing my Sport, Health and PE, with Geography degree, I started teaching both PE and Geography at a Grammar school in Buckinghamshire. I spent 5 years teaching at this school and during this time I took on the role of Head of Year 11 and then Year 7 and Deputy Head of House.

 I then married a member of the forces and moved to Germany. Here, I taught in the Service Children’s Education Schools, teaching Geography, PE and Art. This included Secondary and middle schools: a very worthwhile experience.

 After this I returned to the UK and took up the School Sports Coordinator role, liaising with 6 primary schools and one correctional unit, at The Oxford Academy. I remained at this school for just over 9 years and during this time my roles changed to Lead Practitioner in charge of G&T and eventually I settled into my Head of Department role which I continued to do for 5 years. I developed my behaviour management skills and it was at this school that I feel I really learnt to ‘teach’.

 In my 17th year of teaching I took up my current post as Head of PE and Lead Practitioner at DGS. Shortly after this I became a SLE and have thoroughly enjoyed my time so far.

In my classroom you would see...

A focus on questioning (direct and probing), to ensure progress is being made and identify any areas of weakness or misconceptions. In theory lessons you would see a focus on retrieval and low-level quizzing, helping me to learn which areas I may have to revisit and those that have been nailed! Another area of focus would be modelling, both practically and structurally in theory lessons, ensuring that all students understand what is expected of them. You would see a culture of high expectations for all students and excellent behaviour management created by building positive student relationships.

Particular research/pedagogy interests:

 I am particularly interested in how questioning can be used to establish how much progress is being made, address any misconceptions and allow students to expand on their own or another’s response. I like to experiment with how hands down questioning, direct questioning and ‘dialogic’ questioning can effect the quality of a response given.

Another interest is coaching/mentoring and how this technique can help develop other staff members.

Supporting others:

In my role as Lead Practitioner I look to continue to support others in their own classroom practice to embed the DGS non-negotiables, particularly the use of SOPs and how to hold difficult/mediating conversations with students (and staff).


J Durie

Julia Durie - English

jdurie@didcotgirls.oxon.sch.uk

After completing my Linguistics degree, I became a Teaching Assistant in a primary school, which I absolutely loved (just not quite enough to become a primary teacher!)

Once I realised that secondary education was my area of interest, I trained to be an English teacher through OUDE, and I carried out my main placement at St Birinus School. Having had a brilliant experience as an intern, I stayed on at SBS to complete my NQT year and then I subsequently became Key Stage 3 Coordinator for English as an NQT+1. The following year I moved to DGS to become Second in English and this year I have taken on the role of Acting Joint Head of English and Lead Practitioner. I have found DGS to be a highly rewarding, motivating and inspiring place to work and I am delighted to work with the Teaching and Learning team this year.

In my classroom you would see...

A focus on ‘scaffold for challenge’ using modelling and gradual release to ensure that all students are able to access high-challenge concepts and skills to ensure excellent progress and boost cultural capital. You would see a culture of high expectations for all students, including the quality of the work they produce, their oracy skills, and behaviour for learning through positive student relationships.

Particular research/pedagogy interests:

I am particularly interested in the way feedback moves students forward in their learning. Similarly, I am interested in the role metacognition has to play in students taking ownership of their own learning and being able to apply teacher feedback in an impactful way. The question of why students sometimes repeat previous mistakes has caused me to interrogate the feedback loop in my own teaching and I look to experiment with ways to ensure feedback is consistently impactful with all of my classes.

Supporting others:

In my role as Lead Practitioner I look to support others in their own classroom practice to: embed scaffolding for challenge; use modelling effectively; employ gradual release and build positive relationships with students in a motivating classroom environment built on high-expectations.


Freya Ralph

Freya Ralph - Psychology

fralph@didcotgirls.oxon.sch.uk

I always knew I wanted to be a teacher. I enjoyed coaching student gymnastics and supporting my English teacher at sixth form with her younger classes. During the summer between second and third year at university I volunteered at a local grammar school where I was a teaching assistant for Psychology A-level students.

I completed my PGCE in Worcester (one of the few places you can train to be a Psychology teacher). I am currently in my fifth year of teaching having previously taught at a school in Buckinghamshire. I am HoD for Psychology having taken up the role initially as a maternity cover.

I have really enjoyed my time at DGS so far and it is great to have the opportunity to further my career here by taking on the role of a Teaching and Learning Lead Practitioner.

 I have also (just) completed my master’s in Teaching and Learning with Oxford University, which gave me a great opportunity to focus on improving independent learning within Sixth Form.

In my classroom you would see...

  • A focus on retrieval. I am keen to make sure all students feel confident in understanding the vast content required for the psychology course, meaning we do a lot of retrieval quizzes.
  • Challenge. Making sure all students are stretched so that no one is left behind or left waiting.
  • Booklets! Never to been seen without at least one booklet in each class - I believe they are a great personal revision source that provides the highest quality of explanation and learning, perfect for helping all students consolidate.

Particular research/pedagogy interests:

I am particularly interested in EdTech. As part of my PGCE I specialised in technology use in the classroom. I enjoy learning about new technology and seeing how best it can be implemented in the classroom. As a result, I am also a ‘digital champion’ at school as I believe that technology can help all teachers in reducing workload.

I am also interested in designing effective resources which provide concise and effective explanations. This ties in with the importance on helping students to develop the coherence of explanation both verbally and in a written format. I am also interested in developing effective revision resources in order to ensure students create effective notes and revise effectively.

Supporting others:

In my role as Lead Practitioner I am always happy to support others with any teaching and learning queries or have a natter about T&L. Having just completed my masters on independent learning, I am interested in helping others use this knowledge to their advantage. However, I would also be happy to support others on modelling, assessment and building positive relationships with others.

 

 

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