Final OARS Workshop

The OARS Project held it’s final teacher workshop on the 22nd March 2021.

Teachers who continued to remain a part of the project during the COVID19 pandemic came back together to share their experiences of integrating argumentation in and across their subjects of science and religious education.

In the last workshop, we asked teachers to think about what they wanted to specifically focus on in the next workshop. This workshop incorporated these ideas specifically (Figure 1)

Figure 1 – Summary of the needs from communicated from previous workshop

A pre-video was released to all teachers before the event to provide the ‘input’ elements and to share of ongoing data analysis of the project. Recognising that the session needed to remain at a manageable length at the end of a teaching day, this approach allowed for the maximisation of the live session time to focus on reflecting on experiences, sharing practice, discussion of student work, and planning beyond the project.

The live session was held on Microsoft Teams from 4:00-5:30 pm. The session started with an introduction and revisiting the trajectory of the workshops to date. It had been a long time since we were all together last [Novemeber 2019]. Teachers then split into breakout rooms to consider a range of resources created by other teachers in the projects, as well as by the project team, in light of the argumentation input from the pre-video. Coming back together after the breakout rooms, the whole group discussed and shared their experiences of developing activities and resources for argumentation in their contexts. It was striking how many teachers described how they have now embedded learning from their experience not only into their practice but also the plans, curricula, and policies of their school.

Next, the group considered some select examples of student work from the project. These examples were selected by the project team as examples which would serve as interesting cases to discuss. Having considered the cases in minor detail, teachers were also re-introduced to the patterns of the overall student data. Considering both the individual level and cohort level information, teachers engaged in an insightful and provocative discussion about what we could interpret and learn from the data.

Before finishing we briefly considered the ways in which teachers might continue their development and interest beyond the life of the OARS project. We considered the sorts of student outcomes to focus on, the sorts of modifications one might making to achieve these outcomes, or what other subjects could be useful to collaborate with in similar ways.

Of course, the OARS project expressed our sincere thanks to all the teachers who participated in the project and we warmly invite all teachers to the dissemination event on the 1st July 2021.

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