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DIRT: Is it time to get rid of the dedicated pupil feedback initiative?

Discussion in 'Education news' started by TES_Rosaline, Jan 14, 2019.

  1. TES_Rosaline

    TES_Rosaline Administrator Staff Member

    Is DIRT really a useful method of making feedback visible, relevant and beneficial for pupils?

    ‘The problem with this is the same as the problem with so many initiatives: it started being imposed on teachers with very little thought about what it was trying to achieve. It became yet another thing we had to demonstrate we were doing. It turned into something to be put on lesson plans and checklists and even started to appear in classroom Dirt displays.

    Dirt usually involves improving a piece of work; the pupil completes something, they receive feedback on how to do it better and they make some corrections. This is fine if our objective is for them to be able to eventually produce one really good piece of work, free from errors. But it may not help when they come to do any other piece of work. It confines feedback to being something that happens in one section of the lesson: “Improve this piece of work you did last week. Now put it to one side and we will move on.”’

    Mark Enser is head of Geography and Research Lead at Heathfield Community College.

    What are your views about DIRT? Is it an effective tool for your pupils or does it take up too much lesson time with little benefit?

  2. PeterQuint

    PeterQuint Lead commenter

    Almost every new initiative is a pointless waste of time.

    The best schools providing the brightest people in the world for the last couple of centuries. Based on DIRT? Pupil-centred learning?

    Or simply based on teachers with good subject knowledge and a bit of empathy, telling them what they need to know?
  3. mothergoose2013

    mothergoose2013 Occasional commenter

    Exactly as @PeterQuint says.
    My personal strategy was to ignore it until it went away. It worked.
    ajrowing, agathamorse and Jamvic like this.
  4. Jamvic

    Jamvic Star commenter

    Wish I’d done this a lot earlier in my career.
    agathamorse likes this.
  5. Sinnamon

    Sinnamon Established commenter

    I couldn't get behind this initiative either. Using the term 'DIRT' to get students to raise their attainment and aspirations seemed flawed to me from the start.
    PeterQuint and agathamorse like this.
  6. adam_nichol

    adam_nichol Occasional commenter

    I work in User-Centred design (and behavioural insights). Outside of the industry User centred (or pupil centred) is one of the most hideously misused phrases by management across the land (along with Agile).
    I was a teacher for a decade before shifting to digital services; and never found that getting students to redraft work was all that useful (not counting mandatory coursework). It's a fine theory - especially for likely exam questions, but isn't it just practice effects there? - but I found the backward looking aspect the limiting factor.
    Instead, shouldn't we be challenging students to identify why their shortcomings in a piece of work were what they were? Ie: getting students to look at their craft when it comes to learning, finding improvements there and checking against outcomes on the next submission. The opportunity then is for skills development (even if the skill is to improve understanding of core concepts thru whatever strategy)?
    That's what pupil-centrism should be - finding and guiding the pupil on the skills needed to successfully navigate the curriculum.
  7. gainly

    gainly Star commenter

    It seems a bit like what used to happen with coursework. Pupils would constantly get their work returned with comments on how to improve it. It seemed a complete waste of time and meant the final version was not really their own work at all.
    Sinnamon likes this.

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