The ASE North Conference 2015

My first ASE conference! And only my second education conference in 7 years of teaching (Northern Rocks last June my first). I loved it. Met many lovely people, heard some interesting and informative talks and have come away with lots of ideas to implement. Well worth a Saturday in Manchester 🙂

It’s a 10 minute walk to the part of the MMU campus where the conference was being held. Ten slightly confusing minutes for an ex Manchester University student, 13 years post graduation. Walking down from Oxford rd station, turning right off Oxford rd and heading into what was ‘not advised to go down there territory’ and finding many new buildings, flat areas ready to be built on and student halls.  The conference was in the very shiny and lovely Birley building, now the Brooks building! Very different from the old Didsbury campus, or so I kept hearing.

I arrived early enough to see the exhibitors. There was a sticker competition to make sure you spoke to all of them. I spoke to most of them, but didn’t collect most of the stickers. Never mind, I thought , then at the end I saw someone collecting a kindle from the raffle! Wow! I should have taken more notice.

After the intro talks my first session was ‘Preparing your students for linear assessment’ with Tracey Baxter. She gave a great overview of different challenges facing students and useful, practical ideas for how to help them. We looked at how to step away from the structure of the current specs – designed to repeat a lot of yr10 work in yr11 with greater depth. Suited to modular exams, but time wasting and not the best flow for linear assessment.  Revision techniques were focused on for part of the session. I loved the ideas about building ‘secret’ revision into lessons.

My second session was ‘Building confidence in A Level Physics practical skills’ with Alaric Thompson. This was a fantastic workshop session in a lab. Great for practical avoiders like myself. There were several experiments set up with student guidance, teacher notes and example write ups. There was great discussion about A level physics practicals and amazing resources and ideas that will help make the practical experience for my A level students a more predictable and worthwhile experience.

‘Science teaching: what works’ with Stuart Naylor was next. This highlighted the key research findings about what make the most significant difference for pupil outcomes that teachers can have a direct influence on. Most importantly, there were practical ideas for including these in lessons.

Finally, I went to learn more about ‘Mathematics in the new Science curriculum’ with Richard Needham. The key message being: there’s going to be more of it, and we can’t wait for maths to teach it. We need teachers to have the skills to teach it and the teaching of it must be embedded in the curriculum.

I’m sure I missed many other excellent talks and workshops and what I’ve written here is a very quick over view of each session I got to. I’ll definitely be trying to get to more of these conferences. It certainly went some way to missing out on the IoP gender balance conference I couldn’t make it to.

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