General GCSE A-Level CPD

“I” is for Impact

I have previously blogged about the new Ofsted framework and now I am looking at “I” is for Impact! Having already considered Intent & Implementation it is important that we look at the impact we have on the learners.

What is Impact?

Assessing the impact we have on our students is quite hard in some ways. As music teachers we are working with students in different capacities all of the time. I think it is therefore important to think about Impact separately for our curriculum programme and our extra curricular programme. Fundamentally though we are asked to considering a couple of key things:

  • Have students learnt the things we have taught them?
  • How do we know that they have learnt these things?
  • What do we do when we find out that they don’t know the things we have taught them.

Extra Curriculur Impact

I am a firm believer that what we do outside the classroom is hugely important and has a big impact on the students we work with. We teach them so much in rehearsals and concerts, not just about music. It is therefore important to be aware of this, particularly if you are expecting a visit from Ofsted. It might be good to have some kind of document that considers the impact of a particular Ensemble or Choir. I am not one for paperwork, but it would probably be a fairly satisfying task to consider the impact you make on the lives of young people every day. But also I think it is good to highlight how musical learning continues outside of the classroom. If you mention key compositional techniques when playing through a big band piece then this will impact those taking GCSE & A-Level Music. Encourage students to arrange music will also support them as music students.

Music also impacts students in terms of their wider school involvement and preparation for life. Being part of a team, performing in public, organising events and working with younger/older students – all great examples of key life skills. I would highlight these to students, parents, senior-leaders and of course, Ofsted.

Curriculum Impact

One of the best things about a new framework is that it gives you a chance to re-think what you are doing. I have “enjoyed” looking at my schemes to consider why I teach certain topics and what order I teach them in. Considering Intentions behind a topic is a great way to get the lessons right for the students I teach. It is therefore also positive to think about the impact a certain topic or lesson has.

Recently I have really enjoyed the impact that teaching Drum notation to Year 9 has had on their overall understanding of notation, rhythm & reading music. But how have I witnessed this impact in my lessons?

Well firstly it is clear to me that all the students I teach can now do something that they couldn’t really do before the scheme of work. They have all learnt how to write drum rhythms to differing degrees of complexity. Some have extended their patterns and so I know they have understood the learning.

But I have also seen them applying this learning to other work in Cubase where they have had to create a drum pattern in a different way. And where students struggled with the notation side of things, using a drum machine editor has helped them to learn the notation. The impact however is more than just them learning to write a drum kit part. To some extent if they just followed steps and copied my process then they will be able to do it. So the impact is more than just – they can now do it. The impact is that they are now able to write solid patterns that they can then develop. They are also now able to read more complex rhythms and extend their thyrhsm. The knock on effect is that they are now better composers, better notation readers and also more creative.

Start Small

Why not start by considering just one lesson to see what the impact has been. Consider their prior learning and then look at how far they have come. Once you have established that you have had an impact, consider how this impact will spill over into future work. Impact doesn’t end after one lesson, it continues into future learning. And if we have got our initial Intent & Implementation right, then we should have a huge impact in lessons and across whole schemes.

“I” am positive

IN conslusion, all this “I” stuff has been quite positive for me. It is good to look over schemes, consider impact and also assess implementation. I think that I am not much more aware of why I am teaching certain lessons. I also think that my schemes are now much more methodical.

But I do think that as music teachers we have a huge impact on our students. And we can also impact them in and out of the classroom, something not all subject benefit from. So pat yourself on the back because you are probably shaping and affecting lives much more than you realise. That might be a scary thought, but it is also true! Be confident that you are having more of an impact than you might think!

Do check out other great Music Education Blogs –

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