๐Ÿ’ฌ Rethinking the culture of interventions in schools

Replied to Dancing in perfect stillness โ€” Rethinking the culture of interventions in schools by Josรฉ Picardo (Shooting Azimuths)

This year, at Hampshire Collegiate School, we are trialling an approach to exam interventions in Year 11 that focuses more on essential skills and less on the traditional support or revision session. To be clear, we have not eliminated support and revision sessions altogether (they may be sometimes necessary) but we are working on readdressing the balance so that we can target our support more surgically to the specific areas of need.

This is an interesting reflection Josรฉ. Having taught both Primary and Secondary, I wonder about the difference between the two, especially when it comes to intervention. My experiences have involved removing students from class to work on ‘core’ literacy and numeracy skills presumably not covered in class.

I have yet to meet a teacher who is not happy for their student to be taken out for this form of intervention. However, what this ‘involvement’ means differs. One of the biggest problems I found when I taught it was everyone wants it to happen, but no one actually wanted to take any responsibility for making it meaningful. This meant there was not enough dialogue between the ‘core’ teachers and those responsible for the intervention.

This had two consequences. Firstly, I ended up spending too much time gathering my own data and observations. Secondly, this independence often led to a culture of isolation, where what was done in intervention often stayed in intervention, with limited connection back to what was actually occurring in the classroom. The only benefit of this was that I was not relying on someone else’s idea and impression.

What I learned during my time was that ‘intervention’ is always a choice. Although many schools run differing intervention programs, it does not necessarily have to be this way. For example, in Victoria the number of students in a class is not necessarily dictated by the teacher (i.e. 1 teacher = 25 students). Instead it is a complicated algorithm based on all of the teachers who ‘support students’. This includes specialists, intervention teachers and those in leadership. Schools therefore could choose to choose to scrap some of these programs to make smaller classes or as you have discussed, do it differently.

I need to note, I offer only one fractured experience that has probably changed now. However, I am no longer in that sort of role, so would not know.

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