Professional development

Train your thinking!

Date: 26th March 2020
Place: The Teacher Training School of Rauma, Finland

Click here for further information and to book a place.


Introductory day at King's College - 25th June 2020

Let's Think in English will be running an introductory day at King's College London on Thursday 25th June 2020.  The title is Only Connect! and the day focuses on how Let's Think in English increases students' knowledge of English and improves their memory of what they have learnt. Please see details here.


PGCE student talk, King's College London

Laurie Smith has been invited to talk to PGCE students at King's College London and Goldsmith's University, to Teach First students in Birmingham and Nottingham, and to the Wandle Teaching Schools Alliance in Wandsworth.  In each case he discusses how emotion triggers memory.
There is strong evidence that an emotional response to a text increases detailed memory of it and Let's Think in English provides ways of harnessing these responses.  His presentation is here.

Let's Think English workshop

Let's Think in English will be presenting a workshop on: Cognitive Development through Oracy for the 56th International Conference in Oxford on Sunday 5th July 2020 at the UKLA 56th International Conference. The Conference focus is: "Why spoken language matters in literacy learning and teaching". For further details please see:

Research and Reading

Reassessing Ability Grouping: Improving Practice for Equity and Attainment

Becky Francis, Becky Taylor and Antonina Tereschenko.  Routledge 2020
Published early this year, this book summarises a large-scale empirical research project entitled ‘Best Practice in Grouping Students’ based at the UCL Institute of Education.  There are three main strands that run through the book. Firstly, it provides a comprehensive literature review of existing research on the practice and impact of different kinds of ability grouping in schools nationally and internationally. Secondly, the book guides the reader through the authors’ ‘best practice’ project findings: the impact ability grouping has on institutional and teacher beliefs, the related narrowing of curriculum and pedagogy and the resultant negative impact on pupils’ self-beliefs and attainment.
Finally the authors champion the potential of well executed mixed attainment teaching, exploring the complexity and difficulty of doing it well.
Teachers and leaders in Let’s Think schools will be interested to hear that the clear recommendations given in the final chapter relate well to our pedagogical and professional development models.  Mixed attainment teaching is more likely to be successful where there is:
  • within class adaptation and flexible groupings,
  • high expectation for all with rich tasks that students can access at different levels and receive ongoing feedback,
  • a classroom climate of mutual support.
Professional development opportunities that offer high quality mixed attainment resources and lesson plans and the opportunity to see these in action, with collaborative reflection are strongly recommended.

Interview with...

Parmjit Varaitch
Deputy Headteacher, Hermitage Primary School

In Autumn term 2018 I joined a Let’s Think in English programme for primary and secondary colleagues at Ruislip High School. I loved the lessons, the level of talk and the discussion that is embedded within the structure of the lessons. The stimulus for the lessons was varied, engaging and different from what you would normally teach in your English curriculum.

It’s had a considerable influence. I have considered the type of resources I use. I’m also increasingly aware of the importance of building in quality peer-to-peer talk. I also realised the importance of pitching a challenge or conflict that provokes talk.

The course has led to increased engagement particularly with lower performing pupils. Numbering the pupils to ensure turn taking and equity of opportunity has really supported the pupils to find their voice. In these lessons, they didn’t face the barrier of reading independently or creating a piece of writing by themselves. They have increased access to and ownership of their learning.

I only started teaching the lessons in Year 6 in September 2018, and this year will be attending the Let’s Think in English extension course. This academic year I’m modelling lessons for my colleagues across the school from Years 2 to 6 . I will team teach over the remainder of the academic year,  promoting the culture of these lessons in a supportive way for our teachers. Feedback from staff to date has been very positive. The idea of expanding our English curriculum through stand-alone lessons that offer depth of collective talk and thinking has been exciting.

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