The Tomsett Method:a joint evaluation 

So, this week my-esteemed-colleague-and-fellow-blogger-teacher-adventurer-Greg and I both read this post by John Tomsett. Greg put the idea straight into an A level IT lesson and I dismissed it for my current Year 11s thinking it would be more appropriate for a written subject. More fool me.

Fortunately I bumped into Greg and ended up in one of our highly enjoyable teaching and leaning rants, and he challenged my dismissal of what we now appear to calling ‘The Tomsett Method’, as it had been very successful with his class. So, driving into work one of the mornings that I have already forgotten the name of, I decided to take the last six questions of a foundation calculator paper and ‘Tomsett’ them. It felt quite a vulnerable thing to do but desperate times call for desperate methods (this is the group I’m am trying to out smart all data on. I wrote about them here). Scanning the papers so I could project them turned out to be a bit of a hurdle involving me interrupting my go-to-much-younger-emergency-scanning-help-teacher’s Year 8s but, hey, I think modeling that we all need help learning is part of my job.

So what happened? It surprised me at how different it was from the usual exam technique advice of how to tackle a question which we all do verbally when preparing pupils for exams. The Tomsett Method goes back a step further than that. It shows pupils what we are thinking in order to carry out the steps that we teach them in order to approach a question. We tell them to read a question carefully and highlight key words. But this method shows what we are thinking as we read the question and how we decide which are the key words. This is written evidence, that pupils can take time to process visually, of adult metacognition.

Impact? I did it over two lessons so I can’t monitor much impact yet. Overall I felt a sense of gratitude. I felt the pupils were more engaged. That may have just been a morning thing but I’d do it again. In fact I think I need to make it a regular part of my practice. It makes sense to start with year 10. I’ll let you know what happens.

P.S. Thanks Greg for your constant support and push to improve. And to John Tomsett for his blog extraordinaire.


3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Greg Wright
    May 11, 2015 @ 18:08:03

    Nice blog post Heidi. I’ll have to get on with my reply.


    PS Flattery will get you everywhere!

    Sent from my Xperia Z2 on O2


  2. Trackback: Will They Really Answer The Question? | The Revolution Starts From Within
  3. Mark Lavis
    May 21, 2015 @ 21:12:26

    Love working with you


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