Teachers sharing resources online
Teachers sharing resources online

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Teachers sharing resources online

2.1 Why make use of other resources?

You may already be familiar with the notion of reflective practice, which typically has four stages:

  • identifying a need
  • planning how to address that need
  • carrying out an activity or action
  • reflecting upon the effectiveness of that action.

The Practitioner Research Cycle (Twining, 2011) extends that by adding in two further stages:

  • finding out what the wider community already knows about the need you have identified
  • sharing in return what you’ve learnt through your activities or actions to further enrich the community knowledge base.

Activity 3

Timing: 10 minutes

Read this brief introduction to practitioner research by Twining: What is Practitioner Research? [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)]

Write down a few sentences on how this might relate to finding and reusing learning and teaching resources you can find on the web.


By making use of resources created by other educators, you can learn from their experiences and find new ways of approaching a topic. Your students are given the opportunity to access expertise from different sources, often giving a different context or point of view and potentially enriching or breathing new life into a subject area.

As a teacher, time is a valuable commodity and you don’t have to reinvent the wheel. Making use of high quality existing resources can free up time to spend on other activities.

Activity 4

Watch this video, which is one of the case studies you watched in Activity 1 at the start of this unit. Note in particular the reasons Raj gives for making use of shared resources. Consider her statements. Were there aspects to resource reuse that you had not previously considered?

Download this video clip.Video player: Rajbir
Skip transcript: Rajbir

Transcript: Rajbir

Rajbir Nandhra
My name is Rajbir Nandhra, a Science teacher in Wolverhampton, and I’ve worked here for about 6 years now and I’m a Key Stage 3 Science Coordinator.
When I first started teaching and my boss told me about TES, I didn’t use it that much. You’re so busy trying to get your own practice perfect that you’re sort of isolated and you’re doing it yourself. But when you look at the TES you realise, oh my god, there’s so much out there, then you feel a bit inspired. It was almost like I was addicted. I was like I need this resource, I need that resource. I was looking all the time at resources and then one day I tried to upload one resource and it was a year 7 scheme of work that I’d done. They have to have skills about the Bunsen burner, investigation, graphs, things like that. I was really proud of it and I uploaded it and what I noticed was I kept getting emails and feedback and people kept putting stars by it. I really liked that, the fact that I was working out of school now and I was getting feedback and it was really positive, that then inspired me to really upload and then I ended up uploading 750 resources in the end.
The way I use TES Connect is when I’m doing lesson planning. I need ideas, inspiration for the lessons obviously cause of all the different abilities of the children. I had a lesson on alcohol with a bottom set so I wanted them to know the right things about alcohol. I had a resource and I thought well it needs a bit of tweaking, so let me see if I can find a quiz or something to really start the lesson. I just literally went on the TES, typed in ‘alcohol quiz’ into the search bar and then when you get into the search bar you get a lot of a different types of resources coming up. The best way to get the best ones are it will say recommended on the side. If other teachers like something they can also favourite it, they can add stars to it out of 5, and they can comment on it.
Some of the things that its helped me to develop with is roles. I mean got this straight off the TES, and when we’re doing group work in science, there is always a couple of students who are not focused, not working. These sort of things give students a role to do; you got the time keeper, the scribe, things like these have really helped and inspired me in my lessons. And then sometimes, when we’re doing debating, get some talk cards so half the class can be debating, some of the class are watching some of the others so that’s something I’ve used as well.
Here’s a resource I adapted off the TES. What I basically did, I went in, got a resource on metals and non-metals, and this table came up which is really quite good. With materials: is it hard? Does it conduct electricity? And the PowerPoint that went it was absolutely fantastic. But when I looked at my group they needed a lot more stretching. If I start saying ‘oh today’s lesson’s on metals, non-metals’ its quite boring straight away. So what I did I sort of designed this lesson where I took a robot and I said that this robot’s come from outer space and it’s confused about its own body and how its body might react when it comes to this planet. I got them to put post it notes all over here to find out what they already knew. I said right, put post it notes around this robot to tell him what you know. They couldn’t really tell me much, they were like ‘well, it’s hard, it’s a metal’ and that’s where it kind of stopped. I didn’t want them to know so much and it was quite good that they didn’t know that much but what we then did we sort of moved on and we did the practical work so I made these and it’s got all of the science behind why things happen. So we put this all around the room as extension material for them, and then after that, they told the robot right actually you’re sonorous, you make a noise if someone bangs you, you’re malleable you can be squashed, and then they tracked their progress along here and they’d made so much progress. So I did adapt it but I needed that inspiration at the beginning to start my lesson from somewhere.
When I put resources on, usually the resource just goes on as it is, like, if it’s a worksheet anything like that just goes on straight away. If it’s a lesson plan, then you have to definitely take some information, so I’ve got to take off the names of children who are special needs, the gifted and talented, all that personal detailed data it comes off, but then I just upload the whole thing and that’s fine, and sometimes in some of the PowerPoints like I’ll put like a random picture of me, I… look at energy resource, Dragons Den and I’ll put my face on, sometimes I’ll knock that off but sometimes I do forget.
One of the most important things about TES is it’s atime saver when you go home sometimes there’s no time to make outstanding resources so when there’s one already there for you it is really useful. You will need to change it, etc. but the impact it’s had on time for me, it’s amazing. Teaching - it’s taken me to outstanding which I never thought I would get to, considering I’m from a school that had a 15% pass rate at school. Impact on the students they love it because some of the resources and the sound effects and some of the fun things that have come up, are absolutely hilarious, and they do enjoy it, and you know something, you can be the most creative teacher in the world but there are teachers out there who are very inspirational and you can gain a lot. So the impact on the students is I’m hoping that it has made a difference to their progress. So its affected me cause I’ve lots of time and I can create good resource; the students love it.
The TES, it does fit into my life in a big way I think. It’s very inspiring. You gain things from there that I couldn’t gain from anywhere else, for example, behaviour. If I need to talk to a colleague about the students behaviour and what to do and how to move this forward, you know, I know you could go on the TES and google that and people have put like really all of their work on there and sometimes they’ve put on from twitter as well. They’ve added links on, so its really good you can gain a lot from that. I mean overall I don’t think there’s nothing that it hasn’t got. It would be everything: behaviour, management, professional development, special needs, literacy, science, you know, personally I think it’s got everything that I need.
End transcript: Rajbir
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Benefits to using shared resources might include:

  • accessing resources that you don’t have the tools or skills to create yourself, for example a film or video or set of photographs
  • refreshing your teaching materials – new resources are being created and shared all the time and a ‘stale’ lesson can be reinvigorated with something new
  • course or curriculum requirements can change and you may find that others have already created resources to meet these new needs
  • accessing resources that use other contexts than those with which you are working in
  • gaining feedback from others, which you may then use to improve your resources.

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