Why I love Doddle: A teacher's perspective

Traycie is an English teacher at a co-educational selective academy on the outskirts of London.

In this blog she explains why she recommended that her school purchase Doddle.

At our school, just like everyone else, we face the realities of falling funding, and so everything we buy must be exceptional value for money. There are lots of e-resources out there for struggling students to use, or to support those with subject-specific talents, but for us the challenge was finding a way to help already bright and able children to become life-long enthusiastic learners, and meet their potential.  Plus, like a lot of others, I’m absolutely at my limit in terms of workload, and I don’t want to waste my time on something that doesn’t lighten my workload in real terms. 

One day a member of SLT said:

‘I’ve got a trial of this thing for English and Maths – who wants to give it a go?’ resources-pullquote

Always up for a challenge, I had a look and set some quizzes there and then for my year seven and year nine classes. I also sent some revision resources to year eleven as the inevitable ‘GCSE’s are actually going to happen’ panic had begun to set in. What followed was an interesting week.

It started with year eleven – they’d tried the activities and they wanted more. I agreed – anything that moves them up those final few marks into awesomeness is worth a go. So I set the poetry tutorials for them. Those who had not looked at the resources yet were urged by their classmates to try them out.  Their next assessments showed improvement. In kid speak it was ‘all good’.

Year seven moaned that it was a lot of work, but those who completed the literacy quizzes went on to better standards in their next piece of writing. It was starting to look hopeful, but kid engagement has to be a factor, and if too much effort is required they won’t use it. Lesson learned: don’t set too much at once!

Next was year nine. The group is all male – typically nice lads, generally keen but lacking in long term concentration skills and a few literacy issues. They’d recently had an assessment and had not been happy with the result. 

They said: ‘D’ya know that Doddle stuff you sent us...’

I said: ‘Yes?’ – and braced for moaning.

success-pullquote2It didn’t arrive. They went on to explain how easy it was to access, how it made things seem quite simple and just ‘basically helped’. And so, after a split second of jealousy that I had not inspired this with my teaching alone, I showed them the rest of the resources. A reasonable proportion of the class stayed into lunchtime choosing which activities they would like to try next.

Two weeks later this class tried a similar question to their previous ‘not very good’ assessment and everyone had improved – some up to four sub-levels in one go. It’s an amazing level of success and Doddle is firmly on the agenda for all the boys. If you are wondering whether it was sustainable, those gains have stayed in place, and their end of year exams maintained the progress. Eureka!

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