A Levels, composite materials & 'secret students' 

Concerns Over AS Level Exam Results

I hope you have all had a good return to school and that things have run smoothly. 

As we all know there continues to be debate about exam results and a teacher has contacted me with a query about the AQA AS level textiles results in particular. They are concerned that the AS grade boundaries have changed by 11 marks and that this has had a huge impact on her results. I know at least one other school that shares her concerns and wondered how other schools felt. 

I wanted to try and get some feedback for the teacher that contacted me as she is considering querying the issue with the exam board. If you have any thoughts on this I would be interested to hear them. I won't pass on any names and details but your feedback will help her make a case to the board. Email me at julie@julieboyd.co.uk 

Behaviour Management - Secret Students

question mark

I had an email this week inviting me to be a ’secret shopper’ who goes into shops and reports back on their customer experience. Despite this being an invitation to shop I didn’t follow it up but made me think about a similar behaviour management strategy I have used in the classroom which is good for bringing a group together as a team and for helping the teacher focus on the positives rather than negative behaviour.

The strategy needs some background work doing with a class on appropriate behaviours and expectations. A student is selected to be the ‘secret student’ with no one knowing who it is (including the student). If they meet all behaviour standards they are revealed and the whole group gets a reward with the individual being praised by everyone. If the student fails to meet the standards no one finds out who the student was but the group know someone has let the team down. It can be useful for all students to be given time to reflect on if it might have been them that let the side down.It is important to not just just select the well behaved or poorly behaved students as students will quickly spot this and not value the strategy.  

Useful Links I Have Come Across This Week - Composites

I have come across quite a few videos this week on composites, particularly carbon fibre and glass fibre. These clips mention textiles but are also good for teachers across any area of D&T who are teaching this focus area. 

Some information is at quite a high level and a couple of clips are quite long. This means some clips are probably more suitable for A level teaching. They might be particularly useful at A level as a research homework for students to do before you formally teach the topic. There are however a couple of shorter clips or sections from the longer ones that are useful for GCSE groups. 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tZhH2B-EI1I&feature=youtu.be&a - This is the longest one at about 25 minutes. The first 10 minutes focuses on the properties and benefits of composites with references to everyday items as well as higher end uses such as space travel. The second half has information on product testing which is interesting but quite dry. The really interesting bit is around 15 minutes in when they talk about composites being used in planes which are held together by stitching!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kaoq8Mc4xxw&feature=related - Film made by BMW showing the carbon fibre manufacturing process. It could do with more explanation in places as to what is happening as some bits just show the machinery working but it gives a good overview. 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j19na8LMBnE&feature=related - This clip is very short and shows 3D weaving of carbon fibre. This is really useful to help students understand the concept of 3D weaving even if you aren’t focusing on carbon fibre. 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pD7T7y6CsJA&feature=related - This shows the making of a customised bike frame. It shows the fabric being cut using patterns and cutting methods similar to dress making helping students understand that it is a textiles material even though in many cases finished products are hard and not like a textiles fabric at all.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q0mQk1s4tKo&feature=related - This clip shows a magnified view of the fibre

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IeST0vfDuhw&feature=related - This is a promotional video but has some great shots of carbon fibre fabrics and manufacture. 

Places Are Filling Up On The Open Day Event In September So Book Now!


The 10.30 morning session for the Textiles Open Day Event in Nottingham only has a couple of places left so now is the time to book if you particularly want that time slot. There are still quite a few places for the afternoon slot from 12.30 so there is plenty of space for everyone who wants to come. 

The Open Day will be a chance to network with others and to see ideas and examples related to both textiles and teaching and learning. As well as a presentation and small display there will be an hour’s practical hands on workshop producing a simple electronic circuit.  You will go away with a free goody bag and ideas and resources you can use straight away in your classroom. If you attended the Open Day last year most of the content will be different so it is worth another visit (some of the items in the display will be the same). 

For  more info: http://www.textileshotline.co.uk/workshops/teacher-workshops.html

You can now book and pay for the session online by visiting http://www.husqvarnasewing.org.uk/courses-especially--for-dt-teachers-52-c.asp  and selecting the time slot you want to attend (school orders also accepted). 

Developing Outstanding T&L Across D&T

Blooms _Snapseed

Many of the strategies I use in my textiles teaching are relevant to all areas of D&T as well as to other subjects across the curriculum and I often get requests for courses that don’t just focus on textiles. 

With this in mind there will be a one day course in November on how to achieve outstanding results across all D&T subjects. This will include teaching and learning strategies that engage C/D borderline students as well as high flyers, strategies that encourage students to develop higher level thinking skills including tips on using Bloom’s Taxonomy effectively as well as Speed Designing, a teaching and learning strategy developed by myself which teachers have praised for increasing the pace and creativity of teaching and learning. This course will help D&T teachers and departments develop their schemes of work and improve the performance of controlled assessment and exam preparation. (10% discount for students) 

For more information visit http://www.textileshotline.co.uk/workshops/teacher-workshops.html or email julie@julieboyd.co.uk 

Free Photo Download


This week’s image is of an industrial overlock machine. I have chosen this to compliment the industrial lockstitch machine from last week. Students will be able to compare the difference between the overlocks in school and a heavy duty industrial one. 
Click on the image to download it. 

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