Thursday, 19 July 2012

The video: Teaching SOLO taxonomy through SOLO taxonomy

I have recently run a successful SOLO taxonomy to staff.  Full details including the presentation are here

The idea of the session was to introduce SOLO taxonomy to staff.  For many, this is the first time that they had ever heard or seen SOLO taxonomy.  I therefore needed to ensure that in the time I had, I got the main features of the taxonomy over and explained some of the key principles.  I would need to keep much of the theoretical element quite simple in an effort to not overload staff.  I would also have to pick out the key features which would have the most impact for staff.  The idea is to get the imagination running and then direct colleagues to further reading (in the form of books, blogs and websites).  I therefore decided (with our Director of Learning) to run the session in the following way:
  1. Introduction to SOLO Taxonomy - Gaining the theoretical knowledge and understanding
  2. SOLO Taxonomy examples - How we at Brookfield are trialling it in PE and Music
  3. Collaboration and developing in your own practice - A chance for staff to chat through ideas with others and see how SOLO Taxonomy could fit in the subject area
  4. Future thinking - Discussing a time when we can meet up again and see how things are progressing.
As you will see, the first section is very directed by myself.  This was simply to get the facts across clearly and skill up staff before they embarked on their journey.  If I were to use this with students, I would make it more active and include tasks which allowed students to interact with SOLO as they learnt it.  The review of the session for the staff though was very positive indeed so I was happy in the structure.

In no way is this the full explanation.  In no way is this complete package.  I am also sure I have made mistakes and missed out key points.  What it is though is a start.  An introduction.  An idea.  If after watching it you aren't interested in SOLO taxonomy then that's completely fine.  I would never force anyone to try it or push my thoughts or opinions on people.  But, if like me (and many others) you catch the bug, please head back here and check out some links to other teachers who are playing around with it!  Enjoy (and be nice!!).

Section 1a - Introduction to SOLO Taxonomy (the longer version)

Section 1b - Introduction to SOLO Taxonomy (the shorter version)

Section 2 - PE and Music examples of SOLO in use (@davidfawcett27 and @riches50)

Section 3 and 4 - Future planning

So, since the session took place, SOLO taxonomy has begun to take speed.  In fact, I ran this session twice more with smaller groups of staff.  So where are we now?  Well, many staff are still getting the background reading done in preparation for September.  A few though, have already taken the plunge and started embedding SOLO straight away.  As I have said, this is one way of explaining SOLO to staff.  Next time I plan to take this one step further and have more 'hands on' SOLO activities (like I would with students).  But what I hope this has done is give you a taster or insight into SOLO and what SOLO can do.


  1. This is great David
    - thanks so much for your enthusiasm, your energy and your effort in exploring how SOLO helps your students self assess their own learning - "The best thing you'll see is when you start sharing with your students"
    - and then thanks for the clarity of your sharing with others - both within your own school and then through the videos and the blogging (and the solo dropbox)- you are supporting so many other educators - and take this so much further
    - I know this will be very helpful for teachers looking at the SOLO model and wondering how and why they might share it with their own students.

  2. Thank you so much Pam. I think, all of us 'SOLOists' or #soloarmy (as we are affectionately known) will say is that it has been your work that has inspired us and taken an idea into a real classroom setting. Your books and website have been an essesntial resource and something that has made embedding SOLO so easy and achievable. I feel I am still on a journey to master SOLO but know that it will be a journey I am looking forward to and will share as many experiences I can in order to help others. Look forward to collaborating through the #SOLODropbox!