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CATS Canterbury physics lesson awarded 'Highly Commended' at the ISA Remote Learning Celebration 2021!

30 April 2021

Congratulations go to Dr Radu Stancu, of CATS College Canterbury, for achieving a Highly Commended in the ISA Celebration of Remote Learning in STEM category with his online lesson on ‘Nuclear Fusion’.

The Independent School Association (ISA) is the registered charity that represents the Heads of 559 of the UK’s best independent schools. It recently ran a competition for its member schools in order to recognise teaching excellence in remote learning. Judges were looking for creativity and innovation demonstrated by those who had gone above and beyond since the beginning of the pandemic. 

A video of the online lesson was submitted along with Dr Stancu’s description of the activity: “Students are engaged in solving a couple of timed starter questions, which are afterwards discussed in class. The emphasis is on checking prior learning, addressing misconceptions, making connections between previously taught concepts, enabling students to acquire the correct level of language expected for the course. I tend to avoid feeding the answers straight away, or rushing answers to supportive questions, as I want to give students time to think and reflect on their answers, in order to enhance their logical approach, improve initial answers, accuracy in answers and understanding. This sometimes leads the students in bringing important contributions to the lesson, which addresses the questions or misconceptions of other peers. Students get the opportunity to strengthen their prior knowledge, which enables them to access the new content more easily. What follows after this typical introduction is that students are presented the new concepts and afterwards split into groups for solving scaffolded levels of questions, during which they support each other’s learning.”

He explained: “Delivering high quality online lessons requires a significant adaptation of usual classroom strategies into the virtual world, but it is perhaps one of the most rewarding experiences I have had in my teaching career so far. In my opinion, a successful online lesson is one in which you manage to engage students by stimulating their independent thinking and ability to reflect on areas for improvement. I think we can consider it a professional enrichment, a multi-staged CPD in itself, which is perhaps as valuable as a formal CPD that we normally attend, as we had to learn new hardware and software skills, how to assess and mark effectively on PDF and how to create an engaging virtual environment for our students. I have no doubt that when we will return fully to face to face teaching, without even realising it, we will become even better practitioners, embedding technology based innovative strategies in our practice. I think this modern approach will in turn teach and support our students in being well prepared in terms of embedding technology in their education and they will adapt faster to the same rigor expected at University. In all my roles at CATS College Canterbury (Teacher of Maths and Physics, Curriculum Director of Maths, Principal Examiner for UFP) I am enjoying collaborating with my colleagues, both in subject specific activities or in school wide or cross-college work groups. I am very proud of all our students who bravely adapted to this new experience, and I am especially proud to be part of a hardworking, supportive and dedicated teaching body at CATS Canterbury, who offer our students a quality education and, more importantly, a quality academic experience.” 

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