How to run successful, focused and engaging intervention in a small department. 

Running focused intervention sessions in a small department.

There is so much emphasis on Intervention groups at the moment. Whilst it might be an educational fad, we all know that we have to work with them. Whether we like the educational fad or not! I like intervention but I’ve approached it in a very different way to other departments.

Let’s start with a few basics.

What is Intervention?

Intervention is providing extra support to children with their learning. Any moment where the teacher helps a student to understand something, or clarifies something they misunderstood, is intervention.

Intervention groups are bringing students together who have similar misunderstandings or other issues affecting their learning. These groups might be working on specific skills like numeracy, literacy or social skills. This whole school approach to intervention is very important.

But, how can a small department approach intervention and make it meaningful and worthwhile.

For me it comes down to the key question of whether this extra input will resolve a students difficulty or help them overcome a barrier to further progress.

The answer is actually quite simple because any extra input from the teacher will always help them make progress. In fact students of all abilities can receive intervention.

Regladless of the level the student is working at student the goal is for the student to respond to interventions. The aim is to close gaps and reach a point where they can sustain continued growth in relation to the national cohort of students taking Drama.

So I approach intervention using a different model to large departments. I run intervention sessions for everyone who takes GCSE Drama.

How I run intervention.

I run intervention in sessions that last about one hour and with about 5 to 6 GCSE Drama students. You can differentiate the groups into ability if you want. I don’t. I mix all the students together to get a mix of views and thoughts.

The purpose is to reflect on what they have learnt and how they have learnt it.

The centre of the Intervention is answering these four questions;

  • The students understanding of the theme or text or style of theatre we’ve been looking at.
  • The students understanding of the key terminology
  • The students understanding of how key terminology contribute to the creation of performance.
  • The work of others and the contribution of others to the work the students have produced.

The first half of the session is a group discussion. The focuse is on what we’ve done in the lessons, how well we’ve understood the work and what it meant to us.

This is a pretty good half-hour discussion. It gives us a shared understanding of what we know and reveals some interesting miss-interpretations or common themes running through our understanding. It is a good time to iron out any mis-understandings together, teachers and pupils working as a group.

As a group we then watch one or two of the performances as work in progress and discuss them. We attempt to link up the first discussion about what we learnt with the second question of how did we do it. How does the key terminology contribute to the creation of the drama? It gives us the opportunity to talk at a much deeper level about the performance work we are creating.

As a way of reflecting on learning, it is fantastic. The students improve on their existing knowledge and it is transposed either back into the drama studio or into their written work.

When students attend an intervention session they are re-energised and excited about returning to practical work. From running these interventions I have seen a tremendous improvement in the students. Improvement in both the quality of students responses in the written paper and their confidence towards it.

I recommend that you take a step back from the traditional form of intervention. Instead of working with a select group of students ask everyone in your class to attend intervention. All your students will appreciate it!

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